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Bulletin for Sunday February 7, 2010

Pastor ’s Corner. . . February began with the commemoration two commemorations of martyrs: Saint Agatha and Saint Paul Mike and his companions.
Saint Agatha was martyred in 250/51 a.d. during the persecution of the Church by the Roman Emperor Decius. Clergy were first targeted; next the members of the propertied and ruling classes, under pain of exile and confiscation of property by the imperial treasure. Agatha was of a noble and wealthy Sicilian family, and her arrest by the Consul Quintinianus was motivated by his plot to take advantage of a young girl in order to obtain her property for himself, not by any desire to change her religious allegiance. He offered to rescue her life and fortune from the Empire: marry him, and she could live to enjoy her fortune, even though it would pass to Quintinianus at marriage. The Consul was surprised when Agatha refused his advances, showing she was made of stronger stuff: for her, this was not a question of fortune, but of her faith, since she had dedicated herself to Christ in perpetual virginity. Arrested, she was incarcerated in a brothel for thirty days to take care of her virtue. Having failed to break, she was beaten, tortured on the rack, her flesh torn with hooks and her breasts cut off. Appearing once again before the Consul, she repeated her dedication to Christ. She was strapped on a bed of coals, then rolled over broken potsherds. The Acta of her martyrdom recall her final prayer asking pardon for her persecutors, and continued, “Lord, my Creator, you have ever protected me from the cradle. You have taken from me the love of the world, and given me patience to suffer; receive now my soul.” She was only a teenager.
During the persecutions in Japan between 1587 and 1715 a.d., some estimate the total number of Christian martyrs to be as high as 35,000 persons. Paul Miki and his 25 companions died on February 5, 1597. Paul was born in Japan, baptized as a child, and entered the Society of Jesus, which, along with the Franciscans, were the first missionaries whose efforts were successful. He was renowned for his preaching and charity. To break down the Church’s influence, the government required Christians to desecrate a copper image of the Crucified Lord. Twenty-six priests, lay catechists and children—altar servers—were crucified on a hillside in Nagasaki because they refused to comply. Here is part of an eyewitness account of the martyrs as they hung from their crosses: “When Paul Miki saw himself set at the head of the band of martyrs, he openly proclaimed that he was a Japanese and a member of the Society of Jesus, and that he was dying for having preached the gospel, a reward for which he thanked God. Then he added, ’In such a moment as this, none of you, I suppose, will think that I want to say less than the truth. I tell you, therefore, that there is no way to salvation but the Christian way. It teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have harmed me. I therefore willingly pardon the emperor and all who are putting me to death, and I ask them to accept Christian baptism.’ Then he turned to his companions and began to hearten them for the final struggle.
“The faces of all were filled with joy, but it shone especially in the face of Louis. . . Anthony, at Louis’ side, kept his eyes to heaven, called upon the holy names of Jesus and Mary.
Still others of the martyrs kept repeating serenely: ‘Jesus, Mary.’ Some exhorted the bystanders to a worthy Christian life. In all these ways they showed how ready they were to die.
“The four executioners then unsheathed their lances; it was a grisly sight and all the believers present cried, ‘Jesus, Mary’. Their cries of distress filled the air as the executioners thrust their lances into the sides of the crucified men and boys, slaying the martyrs in short order.” [Acta Sanctorum, Feb. 1, 1769]. Loving Christ is serious business, and these martyrs are inspirations for us as we draw near to Lent. —Mons. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick… Wilfred Baretto, Haitian EarthquaeVictims, Mary Moriarty, Carmella Micik, Julie Grant, Kay Pullen, Lois Porter, Joseph Lasko, Billy Therriault, Wendy Woodin, Janet Rodgers, Kevin Sutton, Anne Marie Brutus, Rene Villard, Corrie Evans, Margaret Romaine.

Please pray for those who have recently died…Frank L. Infante, Dolores A. Deluca Freccia, Haitian Earthquake Victims, Roshah E. DeJean, Paul Reda, Katherine Dziezyc, Mary Halbert, John Castellano, Eugene Lops, Msgr. Lawrence McMahon, Rev. Al Russo, George “Bud” Ayers, William Wolf, Alfred Gautrau, David Lloyd, Evelyn Mahan, Joseph Logsdail, Peggy Pikul, Monsignor John Horgan Kung, Theodore Pikul, Rosemary Hynes Finn, George T. Murphy, William Morris, Jesus Cala, Liliane Joelle Tsemo, Elizabeth A. Coughlin, Hector Jance, Paul Rittman.

The Board of Representatives. . .of the City of Stamford has bestowed a great honor on Saint John’s: On Monday evening, a resolution was passed unanimously by the Board congratulating Saint John’s on our new dignity as a Minor Basilica. I am very grateful to the Board of Representatives; and in particular, I am grateful to Representative Mary Savage for having initiated this resolution on behalf of our beloved parish.

Mass On Line. . . Visit the parish website: www.stjohnsstamford.com, click the photo of the church up top, and you’ll see live all that’s going on in church, daily. ALSO, a light now burns all night in church, illuminating the tabernacle, so you can make a home visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Note: Internet Explorer required for audio. Audio will not work on Apple Computer’s Safari browser nor on Firefox.

Basilica Inauguration. . . Mark your calendar: Bishop Lori will formally inaugurate the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist on Monday February 22nd at 7 pm with Solemn Evening Prayer and Benediction celebrating the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. All are invited.

Metropolitan Opera at Saint John’s. . . Mark your calendar- May 1st, sponsored by the Richard Tucker Foundation and in honor of His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, to begin our fundraising efforts to repaint the church interior. Details forthcoming.

Saint Patrick’s Parade. . . The Annual Parade Dinner will be held at the Ancient Order of Hibernians Hall on Greyrock Place, on Friday, March 6th at 7 pm. Monsignor DiGiovanni has been named the Grand Marshall of this year’s parade. If you’d like to attend the dinner, please contact: Tim McGuinness [203-327-1866; 646-728-3466; tmcguinness@icsc.org] The evening is great fun: a cocktail hour, superb food with wine and beer, a cash bar and Irish dancing and music. Please join us for Stamford’s Annual Saint Patrick’s Parade on Saturday, March 13th. The parade steps off at 12 noon from lower Summer Street, and proceeds around the center of town. Great marching band, Irish dancers and bagpipers show off their talents in honor of Saint Patrick. Join us and be proud to be Irish—even if only for the day.

Upcoming Parish Events. . . This Spring will be filled with special parish activities:
May 1st: The Metropolitan Opera at Saint Johns, to benefit the parish;
May 7th: Clark Eno Jazz Orchestra will provide an evening of Jazz favorites;
May 13th: The Manhattan String Quartet will perform classical favorites;
May 29th: The Lumina String Quintet will perform chamber music favorites;
June 3rd, 4th & 5th: Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap, presented by The Parish Rectory Players;
June 6th: The Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Stamford.
Mark your calendars and plan to join us—and bring along a friend or two.

Sunday January 31, 2010 $ 10,489.50

Sunday February 1, 2009 $ 12,542.45 “I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

February 14th Sunday Readings: Jer 17:5-8; 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20; Lk 6:17, 20-26.

Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 96 (2) 225.

Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass
Mass Ordinary: Missa ‘Simile est regnum cælorum’ – Tomás Luis de Victoria, 1548-1611.
All are encouraged to sing the Creed at the Noon Mass, which may be found in the hymnal at No. 289.
The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Venite adoremus Deum (Come, let us worship God and bow down before the Lord; let us shed tears before the Lord who made us, for he is the Lord our God. Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise unto God our Saviour. [Ps. 95: 6,7,1]); Alleluia Laudate Dominum (Praise the Lord all nations; praise him in unison, all peoples. [Psalm 117:1]); Offertory Perfice gressus meos (Render secure my footsteps in your paths so that my feet do not slip; incline your ear and hear my words; display your wonderful mercies, O Lord, Saviour of those who place their hope in you. [Psalm 17:5,6,7]); Communion Introibo ad altare Dei (I will go in to the altar of God, to the God who gives joy to my youth. [Psalm 43:4]).
Offertory Motet: Like as the hart – Herbert Howells, 1892-1983 (Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God. When shall I come to appear before the presence of God? My tears have been my meat day and night, when they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God? [Ps. 42:1-3, trans. M. Coverdale]).
Communion Motet: Ego sum Panis vivus – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1525-1594 (I am the living bread. Your forefathers ate manna in the desert and are dead; this is the living bread from heaven: whoever eats it shall not die. [from St. John: 6]).

Singers are needed for the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass! . . . Our volunteer choir raises hearts and voices in praise of God for the 10:00 AM Family Mass each Sunday. The choir rehearses at 8:15 AM on Sundays only, in the Choir Room. Would you consider lending your voice to our choir? Please call Scott Turkington for more information: 324-1553, ext. 18 or email at STurkington@optonline.net.

Shroud of Turin. . . An in-depth presentation about the Shroud, which is the burial cloth of Our Lord, will be offered in our parish hall on Tuesday, February 16th, at 7:30 pm. Full-sized photographic displays of the shroud and instruments of Our Lord’s Passion, along with the relics of various saints, will be available for close-up inspection . A great preparation for Lent. All are welcome; please join us.

Mass Intentions+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 6
4:00 Special Intention Nicki Carpenter req. Jeannene & Ryan McMurchy
Sunday, February 7
7:30 +Alexander Finlay Munro 32nd Anniversary req. Munro & De Vivo Families
10:00 +Vincenzo Giannitti req. Giannitti Family
12:00 Special Intention John Kung req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
6:00 In Honor of Our Lady of Fatima req. Gina Uva
Monday, February 8
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Eva, Charles, Anna & Joseph Kronk and Irene Churley req. Mary Churley
Tuesday, February 9
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Catherine Wellington req. Thomas Kolenberg
Wednesday, February 10
8:00 Special Intention Brian Fuhro req. Jeannene & Ryan McMurchy
12:10 +Dorothy C.F. Bergeson req. Anthony & Josephine Marena
Thursday, February 11
8:00 Special Intention George Paulemon req. Mother
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, February 12
8:00 +John & Rose Gaine req. Mary Bridget Gains
12:10 Tal Talentino – Millie
Saturday, February 13
8:00 +Hope & Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 +Cyril Lloyd req. Carmen Lara

Holy Name Society . . . meets Fridays in the Rectory, 7-7:50 a.m. for coffee, Eucharistic adoration& Benediction. All men of the parish are welcome. Just walk in.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Ladies’ Society . . .meets Saturdays in the Rectory, at 9:30 a.m. for coffee, conversation, Rosary, and a spiritual conference. All ladies of the parish are welcome. Just walk in.

Moms & Tots . . . Moms and their kids meets each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. Please join us.

Religious Education. . . Sundays at 8:30 a.m. Sunday Mass attendance is a duty for all students and Catholic parents.

Convert class [RCIA]. . .Tuesday Evenings 7:30 pm—8:30 pm in the rectory. Call Fr. Walsh, ext. 14.

Pray to end to legalized abortion . . . Wednesdays, 7-10:30a.m., Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St.

St. Dominic Savio Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young men from 8th – 12th grades. Meets monthly. Questions, contact Ferry Galbert 203-324-1553 ext. 22.

St. Maria Goretti Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young ladies from 8th – 12th grades. Meets monthly. Questions, please contact Suzanna Boswick, 203-554-2004.

Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin . . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 6pm in the rectory.

The Latin Reading Group. . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 6:15 pm in the rectory.

The Legion of Mary. . . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 7:30pm in the rectory. All are welcome.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies . . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 7:30 pm in the rectory All are welcome.

Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . Meets Thursday Evenings at 6:30 pm in the rectory.

Bible Study. . . Meets Thursday Evenings at 7:30 pm in the rectory. Join us

Coffee Hour. . . After the 10:00 a.m. Mass. All are welcome.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:
The CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
120 years ago, or so:
February 11, 1888: STAMFORD. “Mr. John White, who has been engaged in the coal and wood business many years with Mr. Theodore Davenport, has started business for himself with Mr. Patrick Hanrahan, having bought out the interest of Mr. Davenport. The new firm of John White & Co. starts out with a practical knowledge of the business and has before it a bright field for success. Their many friends wish for them every success in their new enterprise.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. & Mrs. John White were the donors on a stained glass window in the church, Bell Street side, second from front.)

The stamford advocate:
100 years ago, or so:
February 11, 1916: CAST OF “MIKADO” FEAST AND FROLIC. “After weeks of rigorous training and discipline, after faithful attendance upon the endless detail in rehearsal for the big event, after a matinee and an evening performance on Feb. 2, which elicited high praise from competent judges of opera values, the local “Mikado” company assembled, last evening, to relax, to frolic, to feast and dance—in short, to enjoy its own sweet will. The entertainment hall of St. John’s Parochial School was most tastefully decorated in keeping with the dominant idea of the evening. The affair was in charge of Committee Chairman A.F. Tynes, Miss Madeleine Shea and E. C. Regan, who are to be congratulated upon both the conception and execution of their plans. Ably assisting the committee, a delegation from St. Anne’s Ladies’ Aid Society performed the indispensable part of arranging the tables and the good things upon them. At the close of the program, Rev. Father O’Brien was called upon, and he responded in a happy vein with an “open confession” of his love for opera since his student days. In well-chosen words, he conveyed to the company his thankful appreciation of their work.”

The stamford advocate:
50 years ago, or so:
February 13 1961: CYO Quintets Continue Play In Round-Robin. “St. Cecilia’s turned back Holy Name, 44-35, in the high school division of the CYO round-robin second half playoff series, at the St. Mary High School Gym Sunday afternoon. In the grammar school division, St. John’s of Stamford was a 25-18 victor over St. Mary. Kem Clark and Brian Malloy led the winners with eight points each. Bob Trout’s seven points was tops for the losers.”

Clear Understanding
-Fr. Terry Walsh
The first Catholic school I attended was St. Anselm College. And it was there that I began to understand that among my fellow Catholics, there existed a wide range of opinions on just about every aspect of our faith. Previously, I simply presumed that everyone was more or less on the same page. I began to wonder – what if I asked 10 friends the same question concerning some teaching of our faith or some question concerning the moral teachings of the Church, would I be given the same answer? After all, it’s the same Church right? But I began to see that the answers were a little different in some cases. Indeed, it was not merely the slight nuances that began to concern me; it was the answers that seemed to oppose one another. I knew that something couldn’t be true and not true at the same time. Why indeed were there differences? Who was right and who was wrong? Where did the ultimate authority rest?
Thankfully, our Lord provided. He gave the keys to Peter and he promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to lead and guide the Church through St. Peter. The authority ultimately rests with Peter (and his successors – today – Pope Benedict XVI) and the College of Bishops, also known as the Magesterium. Through the teaching office of the Church, the Magesterium, we have been given the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In it, we find a wonderfully written explanation of the teachings of the Church regarding faith and morals. Moreover, there are 100’s and 100’s of footnotes that direct our attention to the Scriptures, the Writings of the Saints, the Documents of Church Councils and the like. Indeed, the Church offers us a treasure of information that helps to clarify our understanding of our faith and leads us into a deeper appreciation of gift of the Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit. The Compendium of the Catechism is a shorter, more succinct reference tool written in question format that is easy to read and at the same time enormously helpful. Both the Catechism and the Compendium are divided into 4 parts: Part I: The Creed. The Creed is after all the most important section. It is the outline of our faith: Who is God? Who are we in relation to Him? What is our response to Him? And so on. Part II: The Sacraments How does God nourish and heal us? How is He acting in our soul? How is He forming us – with our cooperation of course – into a more perfect image and likeness of Himself? Part III: The Moral Life (The 10 Commandments, more clearly understood), The Beatitudes, Virtue and Vice, Grace at work, and so on. And, finally, Part IV: Prayer. It is the shortest section in the Catechism, yet it is beautifully written and answers common questions concerning distractions in prayer, the battle of prayer, the various levels of prayer, and so on. In fact, when someone asks me where to begin, I normally recommend that they begin with Part 4. Start with a deeper understanding of Prayer.
We have so many resources available to us. But do we avail ourselves of these treasures? They are meant to be read. They’re written for everyone, not just for scholars or theologians or those with religious vocations. Our faith is the most important thing we have! Do we honor God by devoting time to the study of our faith and the moral teachings of the Church? As we read and ponder the Catechism, we will quite naturally become more deeply rooted in a clear understanding of the path we are called to walk and at the same time we will better lead our neighbor as well. The documents are readily available online for free and in any bookstore for a nominal fee. What wonderful respect we show our Lord when we seek to understand the true message the Church gives us through the Magisterium. It is and act of love for God. Our clearer understanding will likewise enable us to help one another on the true path to holiness.