For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday February 14, 2010

Pastor ’s Corner. . . Lent begins this Wednesday—Ash Wednesday. Lent is much more than a time of increased piety or resolutions designed to break bad habits: Lent is the Church’s annual season of struggle against Satan. By “The Church”, I don’t simply mean the Universal Church, but, I mean you and I, who make up that Universal Church; and the struggle against Satan is our personal and daily one. That struggle began over 2,000 years ago when the eternal Son of God, creator of the universe, took on human flesh of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. The Creator became a creature to free the only creature made in His image and likeness-US-from the power of Satan and from the sway of his most potent weapon, death. As one of the prayers for Christmas Mass reads: “Hasten, Lord our God, do not delay, and free us by Your power from the devil’s fury.” What is “the devil’s fury”? Moviegoers might imagine a scene from The Exorcist, or some other cinematographic nonsense. The reality is otherwise: the Devil’s fury is subtler and more boringly mundane than anything Hollywood might imagine: the Devil’s fury is daily temptation, which Satan ratchets up as we seek to practice virtue. By falling into sin, Satan wins, and his hatred of God bears fruit in our eternal damnation. Why should he bother expending so much time and energy as Hollywood suggests in demonic possession, when the Devil can control us by simply tempting us?
Lent is the Church’s great annual spiritual exercise with its focal point on the mystery of Christ’s redemptive mercy: foretold in the Old Testament, realized in the earthly life of Jesus, especially in His Passion, death, resurrection and ascension; and which is realized in us by our worthy and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, and then in prayer, fasting, acts of mercy, spiritual reading, and a more intense practice of the Christian virtues in our daily lives. In other words, we open ourselves more readily to Christ’s transforming grace by living a more intense Christian life. According to Saint Peter Chrysologus, “Three things sustain faith, devotion, and virtue,”. . . “prayer, fasting, and mercy to others. Prayer knocks at God’s door, fasting wins us what we need, and mercy is the hand cupped to receive . . . Let him who prays also fast; let him who fasts have pity on others; let him who wishes to be heard hear those who ask his help, for such a person alone has God’s ear whose own ear is not closed to the needs of others.” [Sermon 43]
How to begin? Don’t make crazy resolutions that you’ll never keep. Decide to set sin aside, instead, and to open your heart to doing God’s will as the most important guide for all you do in your daily life. First: go to Confession and use this first week of Lent to meditate on the Passion of Christ: look at His sufferings for what they are—Jesus suffering to save you from Satan and eternal death. “There is no greater stimulus to love our enemies [in which fraternal charity finds its perfect form] than the contemplation of the marvelous patience of Him who . . . offered His face to be spat upon and endured the other torments of His Passion . . . Did anyone hear those sweet and loving words of Christ from the Cross: ‘Father forgive them. . ?” Blessed Abbot Aelred continues, “If you are to love yourself correctly, you must not yield to carnal pleasure, by which is meant self-centeredness. If you do not to yield to carnal pleasure, center your affections on the loving person of the Lord.” [The Mirror of Charity, 3]. Start your first week of Lent by reading and meditating on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels. Read some each day, and think about them, and pray for a few minutes daily in gratitude to God for thinking so highly of you, personally, that He sent Christ to die for you. Express that gratitude in acts of charity, fasting, prayer and penance. —Mons. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick… Irene Zelinsky, Nicholas Czekanski, Wilfred Baretto, Haitian Earthquake Victims, Mary Moriarty, Carmella Micik, Julie Grant, 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…Kay Pullen, Wilhelmina-Belia Falek-Roerhost, Keith Segovia, Frank L. Infante, Dolores A. Deluca Freccia, Haitian Earthquake Victims, Roshah E. DeJean, Paul Reda, Katherine Dziezyc, 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.

Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

ASH WEDNESDAY: is February 17th: It is NOT a holy day of obligation. Ashes will be distributed during the 8:00 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. Masses, as well as during the day at the rectory office until 7:30 p.m.

LENTEN FAST AND ABSTINENCE . . .On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent, all Catholics age 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat, and all Catholics in good health between the ages of 18 and 60 are also obliged to fast. Abstinence means not eating meat or meat products; fasting means having one full meal and two light meals during the day, with no snacks between meals. Drinking water or taking medicine or vitamins does not break a fast. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence from eating meat. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of both abstinence and fasting.

CONFESSION. . . During Lent, every Catholic Church throughout Fairfield County will remain open each Tuesday evening, from 7:30 -9:00 P.M. for confessions, including. St. John’s. This parish offers Confession daily, Monday through Friday and Sunday, 30 minutes before each Mass. Saturday Confessions are offered 3:00 –4:00 pm.

STATIONS OF THE CROSS : Fridays during Lent: 4:00 p.m. English & 6:00 p.m. Creole

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: Audio requires “ActiveX” “which is specifically designed to work with Windows systems (ie.Internet Explorer). “ActiveX” by Microsoft is not supported on other operating systems such as Apple Mac OS or GNU/Linux.”) 

Basilica Inauguration. . . 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.

Trinity Catholic Junior Class: will collect old cell phones that are not being used anymore. For each phone they collect they will earn a phone calling card to be distributed to our men and women stationed overseas so our troops can call home. Your old cell phones may be dropped off at the Main Office at Trinity Catholic on Newfield Avenue. Your help is greatly appreciated!!!

Sunday February 7, 2010 $ 12,294.00

Sunday February 8, 2009 $ 11,161.08 “I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

February 21st Sunday Readings: Dt 26:4-10; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13

Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 118 [Tune: Sweet Sacrament] (2) 208.

Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass
Mass Ordinary: Missa secunda – Hans Leo Hassler, 1562-1612.
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 Esto mihi (Be unto me a protecting God and a house of refuge, to save me; for you are my support and my refuge; and for the sake of your name you will lead me and nourish me. In you, O Lord, do I trust; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. []Ps. 31:3,4,2]); Alleluia Cantate Domino (Sing to the Lord a new song; for he has accomplished wondrous deeds. [Psalm 98:1]); Offertory Benedictus es Domine (Blessed are you, O Lord, teach me your commandments. O Lord, you are blessed, teach me your commandments. With my lips have I declared all the judgments spoken by your mouth. [Psalm 119:12,13]); Communion Manducaverunt (They ate and were fully satisfied; the Lord gave them all that they desired; they were not deprived of their wants. [Psalm 78:29.30]).
Offertory Motet: Cantate Domino – H. L. Hassler (O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the whole earth.Sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name; be telling of his salvation from day to day. Declare his honour unto the heathen, and his wonders unto all people. [Ps. 96:1-3, trans. M. Coverdale]).
Communion Motet: O sacrum convivium – Franz Liszt, 1811-1886 (O sacred banquet, wherein Christ is made our food, the remembrance of his passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace, and there is given us the pledge of future glory. Alleluia.), Sarah Bleasdale, Mezzo-soprano soloist.

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.

St. Anne Society will meet February 21st, Next Sunday Night, at 5pm. The Evening will begin with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament followed by a Pizza and Pasta dinner in the Hall at 5:30. Msgr. DiGiovanni will give a talk on The Dedication of the Basilica in preparation for the Dedication on February 22nd.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 13
4:00 +Erin Coughlin 1st Anniversary req. Joe McAleer
Sunday, February 14
7:30 Thanksgiving to God req. Fabiola C.
10:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Carpanzano Family
12:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
6:00 Elizabeth Dixon req. Catherine Olnek
Monday, February 15
8:00 +John the Baptist Do req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry Galbert
Tuesday, February 16
8:00 Special Intention Fr. Terrence P. Walsh req. Thomas Timon
12:10 Special Intention Catherine Schwarz req. Jeannene & Ryan McMurchy
Wednesday, February 17
8:00 +Christina Monahan req. Elizabeth Neuwirth
12:10 +Dr. Frank Carr req. Dr. & Mrs. John Centonze
Thursday, February 18
8:00 +Umile Longo req. Josephine & Anthony Marena
12:10 +Christina Monahan req. Paul & Maude Hughes
Friday, February 19
8:00 +Timothy Patrick Murphy req. Mary Bridget Gains
12:10 +Sheila Kilcoyne req. Bill & Felicitas Cody
Saturday, February 20
8:00 +Dominick Carpanzano req. The Carpanzano Family
12:10 +Scholastica 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 advocate:
100 years ago, or so:
February 16, 1893: “Mass was celebrated in St. John’s R.C. Church Ash Wednesday morning at eight o’clock, and was preceded by the blessing and distribution of ashes to the congregation. In the evening there was a benediction, after which ashes were distributed to those who are unable to attend the mass in the morning. During the Lenten season, services will be held every Wednesday and Friday evening at 7:30 o’clock.”

February 19, 1901: CELEBRATION AT CONVENT. “Sister Alexius, the mother superior of the Convent of Our Lady of Lourdes in this city, is today celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of her reception into the sisterhood. The celebration of the event began at the convent at 7 o’clock this morning, when a solemn high mass was celebrated there by the Rev. William H. Rogers of Hartford, formerly pastor of St. John’s Church, this city. Father Rogers was assisted in the celebration of mass by the local clergy. Sister Alexius made her profession 25 years ago. After a few months spent in teaching, in Hartford, she came to Stamford with three sisters of mercy and instituted the Convent of Our Lady of Lourdes. This was in April 1876. Sister Alexius has been in Stamford ever since.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Sister Alexius was one of the original four sisters brought to Stamford by the Reverend Michael Tierney, then Pastor of St. John’s, to begin teaching at St. John’s School, then on Meadow St.)

February 20, 1899: Father Mulville to Preach. “At the mass for children in St. John’s R.C. Church, which is held in the basement at nine o’clock, there was congregational singing yesterday for the first time. The children sang very well indeed. At the services Wednesday evening, Rev. Frank Mulville of Hartford is announced to preach. Father Mulville is a Stamford man, and, as he is said to be a preacher of considerable ability, much interest will be taken in the sermon.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: John Mulville, father of the Reverend Francis X. Mulville, donated a stained glass window in the church. It is on the Rectory side, 4th from front.)

75 years ago, or so:
February 16 1934: TWO BOYS ATTAIN EAGLE RANKING AT SCOUT CEREMONY. “At the February court of honor of Stamford Council, Boy Scouts of America, two Scouts attained Eagle Scout rank, the highest Scout rating. They are James O’Brien, jr., and Robert Thayer, both of Troop 22, sponsored by St. John’s R. C. Church.”

A Pure Heart…– Fr. Terry Walsh

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
And cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul teaches us that we must renew our “inner most being” – we must “put on the new man.” The 51st Psalm teaches us the disposition we must have in our hearts in order to be renewed. When we humbly approach the ‘mercy seat’ of our Lord; that is, when we enter into the Sacrament of Reconciliation having made a good examination of conscience and with a heart filled with sorrow for having offended God, we know with certainty that He will truly forgive us of our debts and what’s more, He will fill us with the necessary grace to overcome sin and turn away from temptation when it comes knocking at the door of our heart.
Confession, Penance, Reconciliation – it is a Sacrament of healing We are cleansed of our guilt, or as David sings in the Psalm:
O Purify me, then I shall be clean;
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.(51)

On Ash Wednesday, the prophet Joel exhorts us:
Rend your hearts, not your garments!
He teaches us that the ‘acceptable sacrifice’ is a contrite heart, an interior conversion. Our Lord waits for us in that interior room, our ‘inner sanctuary’ – He waits for our humble, childlike plea: Have mercy, wash me, cleanse me…teach me wisdom… purify me…blot out all my guilt…do not deprive me of your holy spirit.(51)
Our Lord thirsts for our hearts with a love beyond all telling. His mercy is infinite, His compassion fills the universe. His hand is always outstretched to meet ours – to lift us up out of the darkness. But we have to ask for His help. We have to seek His mercy. He respects our freedom. He doesn’t force us to repent. Otherwise, it wouldn’t really be an act of love for Him; it wouldn’t be true sorrow. It must be a free act. And so it is.
Our love for God and our desire to live IN Him should lead us into that true encounter with the One Who came to rescue us, the One Who came to heal us and restore us. And He tells us: “Be not afraid.” “Trust in Me.” “My mercy is infinitely greater than all the sins ever committed throughout all time.” “Simply ask, it will be done for you.” “What are you waiting for?”
Our Lord tells us through the Prophet Isaiah (1:18):
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson’ they shall become white as wool.
In the vestibule of the Church there are guides to Confession that may be helpful in preparing for the Sacrament, especially concerning the examination of our lives in light of the 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes (Matthew chapter 5), as well as the teachings of the Apostles. It’s a good beginning. These holy days of Lent beckon us to an interior purification; a conversion of heart that is lasting and fruitful and consequently, one that relies on the grace of our Lord to accomplish. Come to the ‘Mercy Seat’ and be healed….

A Pure Heart create for me, O God
Put a steadfast spirit within me. Ps 51