For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday March 21, 2010

Pastor ’s Corner. . .March offers two great solemnities: the 19th was that of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary; and the 25th will be the Solemnity of the Annunciation. They both involve the Mystery of our salvation in Christ: the 19th: Saint Joseph willingly sacrificed his hoped for joys of being a father when asked by God to do so for one reason: for love of God, and to play a far greater role as the foster father of the Savior, and the protector of the Mother of God. The opening prayer for the day expresses this perfectly: “Almighty God, in its beginning you entrusted the mystery of mankind’s salvation to the faithful protection of Saint Joseph. By his intercession may your Church. . .bring that salvation to full flower.”
The ancient name for the Annunciation on the 25th was “the Feast of the Incarnation”, when the Word [the Second Person of the Trinity; the Eternal Son of the Father] took to Himself our human nature in the womb of Blessed Virgin Mary in Nazareth after she said to the angel Gabriel, “Be it done unto me according to thy word” [Luke 1:38]. It was exactly then that, by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, a body was fashioned from the Virgin’s flesh and blood, a rational soul was created and infused into that body [as in every instance of human conception in the womb of a mother], and, in the same instant, the complete human nature was united to the Divine Person of the Father’s eternal Son. God became a human being at the moment of his conception in the Virgin’s womb. That is what the Church celebrates on March 25th–Nine months before Christmas. Why did God become a man? In order to redeem mankind on the Cross. God’s love for sinful mankind is so strong that He determined to save us by entering into man’s actual destiny, experiencing our very life, suffering, death and Hell, in order to free us by means of solidarity with us, and raising us to share His divine life forever. The God who feels no pain and knows no change because He is perfect and eternal, assumed a human nature and body like ours in order to suffer and to offer it in sacrifice, so that the whole human person might obtain eternity. Pope Saint Leo the Great described it, “He descended into what is ours [our human nature and body] to assume not just the substance but also the condition of sinful nature” [Sermon 71, 2]. Some of the earliest Church Fathers reckoned that March 25th was both the day of Adam’s creation and fall into sin, as well as the date of God’s Incarnation, and Christ’s death on Calvary: the second Adam [Christ] coming to rescue the first Adam by taking on flesh and sacrificing that flesh on the Cross. While the dating is whimsical, the reality is clearly expressed: Christ, the new Adam, came to save the old Adam [ and us, the offspring of the first parents]. A medieval author’s version runs: “Hail festive day [March 25th], that staunches our wounds, the Angel is sent, Christ dies on the Cross, and Adam is created and falls on the same day” [Summa Aurea, vol. I, 602]. Another medieval poem claimed that Christ’s Cross was fashioned from the wood of an apple tree, since mankind’s fall came when Adam picked and ate that forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Poetically, the reality is expressed: the final goal of the Incarnation—God becoming man—is the Cross. But there is more: God became a man to redeem us not only from but for something: from the effects of sin, death, and for entry, by grace, into the life of the Blessed Trinity. The Three Divine Persons contribute to our salvation in the Incarnation, in order that we might share their life. St. John of the Cross expressed this in one of his poems: “Though the Three Persons worked the wonder, it only happened in the One, so was the Word made incarnate, in Mary’s womb, a Son” [Prosigue la Encarnacion, 8]. The Incarnation, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus on the Cross, and Pentecost, the beginning of the Church, are all expressions of God’s love in the reality of our life, to lead us to share the life of the Trinity forever. —Mons. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Robert Lebeau, Connie Ward, Cheryl Carucci, Jerry Pellegrino, Joan Bachman, 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. . . Paul Jankowicz, James Thomas, Marjorie L. O’Kane, Lawrence Schmidt Jr., Catherine B. 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.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Confession. . . During Lent, St. John’s will offer Confession each Tuesday evening, from 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. We also continue the usual daily Confessions, 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. (Note: Audio requires “ActiveX” which is specifically designed to work with Windows systems [i.e. Internet Explorer]. “ActiveX” by Microsoft is not supported on other operating systems such as Apple “Mac OS” or “GNU/Linux.”) 

Farewell Reception. . . Sunday, March 21st at 1:15pm in the parish hall, to say “Thanks” to Scott Turkington as he prepares for his new work at the cathedral in Charleston. All are welcome.

The Eagle. . .A new parish publication, edited by our own Dr. Joseph McAleer, will provide a variety of interesting articles each month on theology, the spiritual life, Catholic cultural life and even reviews of local restaurants, bakeries and other neighborhood emporia.

THE SHROUD of TURIN. . . Donald H Nohs will return to St. John’s on March 27th, the Vigil of Palm Sunday, at 7 pm to repeat a special presentation on the Shroud of Turin. Full-sized photographic replicas of the Shroud will be displayed, as well as full-sized replicas of the Crown of Thorns, the Nails, and the Spear that pierced Our Lord’s side. The Presentation will take place in the Church. All are welcome: no charge.

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. . . Please join us Saturday May 1st at 7:00 pm in the church for a Live Performance featuring Stars of the Metropolitan Opera. Proceeds will benefit the ongoing restoration of our historic church. For ticket and sponsorship information please call 203-324-1553, ext.21 or register on the parish website www.stjohnsstamford.com.
THIS CONCERT WILL NOT BE BROADCAST ON THE PARISH CAMERAS.

Statues are covered. . . So nothing distracts us from focusing on Jesus’ loving sacrifice for us. Crosses are covered until Good Friday, when we recall His saving death. Statues of the saints are uncovered at Holy Saturday: with Jesus’ resurrection, we can become saints through Him.

Sunday March 14, 2010 $ 9,153.00 (Nor’easter Storm)
Sunday March 15, 2009 $ 12,987.10

“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

March 28th Palm Sunday Readings: Lk 19:28-40; Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14-23: 56.

Grand Concert to Benefit Haiti . . . The Stamford Symphony and the Choir of the Basilica of St. John will present the famous Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Sunday, April 11 at 7:30 PM. A benefit concert for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, 100% of the proceeds will go to Haitian relief efforts. The concert will be conducted by Maestro Eckart Preu, the chorus prepared by Scott Turkington. While no entrance fee will be required, a suggested donation of $25.00 will go far toward raising needed funds to aid those now suffering in Haiti. Donors wishing to contribute $50.00 or more will be listed in the Donors’ Circle section of the printed program and will have reserved seating. Please see the St. John’s website for more information. THIS CONCERT WILL NOT BE BROADCAST ON THE PARISH CAMERAS.

Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 50 (2) 69 [Tune: Picardy].

Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass
Mass Ordinary: Mass for Four Voices – William Byrd, 1540-1623.
All are encouraged to sing the Creed at the Noon Mass, which may be found in the hymnal at No. 289. The Creed is sung alternating with the choir at each double bar line.
The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Judica me Deus (Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly nation; from wicked and deceitful men deliver me, for you are my God and my strength. Send forth your light and your truth; these have led me and brought me to your holy mountain and to your dwelling place. [Ps. 43:1,2,3]); Tract Sæpe expugnaverunt me (Often have they fought against me from my youth. Let Israel now say: Often have they fought against me from my youth. Yet, they have not prevailed against me: my back has become an anvil for the hammering of sinners. They have long oppressed me with their iniquities. But the Lord of justice will break the necks of sinners. [Psalm 129:1-4]); Offertory Confitebor tibi (I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and observe your word; revive me according to your word, O Lord. [Psalm 119:7,10,17,25]); Communion Nemo te condemnavit (“Woman, has no one condemned you?” – “No one, Lord.” – Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” [John 8:10,11]).
Offertory Motet: Call to remembrance – Richard Farrant, c. 1530-1580 (Call to remembrance, O Lord, thy tender mercy and thy loving kindness which hath been ever of old. O remember not the sins and offences of my youth: but according to thy mercy think thou on me, O Lord, for thy goodness. (Psalm 25:5,6).
Communion Motet: Miserere mei – W. Byrd (Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences. [Ps. 50:1]).
Postlude: Psalm 50 – Tonus peregrinus.

Marriage Anniversaries. . . Bishop Lori will celebrate a Mass for couples observing their 15th—50th—plus wedding anniversaries this year on April 25th at 3:00 PM at St. Theresa Church, Trumbull. Please call St. John’s rectory [203-324-1553, ext 21] to register.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal. . .Our Parish goal is $85,000. Please be generous to Bishop Lori.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 20
4:00 + Jennie Freccia 22nd Anniversary req. The Freccia Family
Sunday, March 21
7:30 + Theron & Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
10:00+ William Lagan req. Patrick & Mary Walsh
12:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
6:00 Joan Bachman req. Legion of Mary, Basilica of St. John
Monday, March 22
8:00+ Xavier Fontaine & Family req. Friends
12:10+ Erma Ernil & Gino Rizzo req. Marion & Phil Giordano
Tuesday, March 23
8:00+ Anthony J. Dowd, Jr. req. Joanne & Charlie Crawley
12:10 Rev. Terrence P. Walsh req. Josephine Languedoc
Wednesday, March 24
8:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Eileen Guerin Pendergast req. Dr. Mrs. John F. Centonze
Thursday, March 25
8:00 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Montanise Paulemon
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, March 26
8:00 Souls in Purgatory
12:10+ Barbara Heyman req. Carpanzano Family
Saturday, March 27
8:00+ Katherine Mavrakis req. James & Loraine Rubino
12:10 Zef & Mary Gelaj req. Hana

Holy Name Society . . . For the men of the parish, meets Fridays in the Rectory, 7-7:50 a.m. for coffee, Eucharistic adoration & Benediction. All men of the parish are welcome. We finish in time for 8 am Mass. 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 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 Bosthwick, 203-554-2004.

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:
March 25, 1918: STABAT MATER SUNG. “A congregation that filled St. John’s Catholic Church last night listened in rapt attention to the rendition of Rossini’s “Stabat Mater.” The soloists were assisted by a chorus of 35, and the work was rendered in a manner that delighted the listeners and won praise for the singers-chorus as well as soloists. Miss Margaret Hogan, a gifted soprano, of New Haven, was especially effective in her rendition of “The Inflammatus,” and she was also heard with delight in a duet with Miss Margaret Kennedy, “Quis est Homo.”

60 years ago, or so:
March 23, 1953: City Championship-St. John’s State CYO Grammar Titlist. “The Stamford CYO Grammar division champions, the St. John’s basketeers, won the Connecticut title yesterday at St. Stanilaus’ Auditorium in Meriden, defeating the St. Thomas’ five of West Hartford, 41-34. The victory qualified the Stamford team for play in the New England CYO Championships at Providence next Saturday and Sunday. The Johnnies had a championship kick, developing a big fourth quarter surge to overpower the opposition. It was a team effort by the Atlantic St. crew, but Chick Clark with 18 points and Frank Robotti’s 15-point contribution sparked the triumph. Al Rojas, Ed Ciskowski and Don Spillane contributed some fine ball handling to set up baskets made by the sharp-shooting forwards. The defensive play of the St. John’s was adequate when it appeared that the West Hartford team would make a successful comeback.”

40 years ago, or so:
March 28, 1973: Rev. Parent Dies At 64; Pastor Here. “The Rev. Bertrand E. Parent, 64, pastor of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church on Atlantic St., died Tuesday in St. Joseph Hospital where he had been a patient for a month. He lived at the church’s rectory, 279 Atlantic St. Father Parent became pastor at St. John’s in 1963, succeeding the late Right Rev. Monsignor Nicholas P. Coleman. He had been in Stamford from 1954 to 1956 as assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church. Father Parent was treasurer of St. John Urban Development Corp., which built and operates the St. John Tower housing project on Washington Blvd. He was chaplain of St. Augustine Council of the Knights of Columbus and served on the Governor’s Commission on Alcoholism since 1955. In World War II Father Parent was a chaplain in the Army in the European and Pacific theaters of war. At 10:30 a.m. Friday the Most Rev. Walter W Curtis, STD, will celebrate a Mass of the Resurrection for Father Parent in St. John’s Church.”

Spiritual Blindness
-Fr Terry Walsh
“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness….Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” – Saint Paul

Lent is a season of Conversion: “Repent, and Believe in the Gospel.” It is a season of opportunity. Our Lord is calling us to a deeper, more faithful relationship with Him. But, saying yes to God means turning away from worldliness which very often blind us to our true end, fellowship with God. The world tempts us to look away from God and place attention selfishly on ourselves. Consequently, the efficacy and even the mystery of the Sacraments can be lost. It takes effort to sit still for a few moments and silently reflect on how God is working in our souls; that is, how He mysteriously anoints us and administers supernatural graces that revive us and enable our spiritual eyes grow stronger. We become more adept at discerning truth and purity and holiness through a deeper prayer life and a more faithful reception of the sacraments. In order to bear fruit, we have to put these “gifts of the Holy Spirit” to work, and, in the quiet of our souls, become docile to the path God calls us to travel. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we’ll begin to see as God sees. We won’t be tempted to see as man sees: man who is so fallible, so proud; man who judges on appearances as if he possessed perfect knowledge and understanding. Pride blinds us. It darkens the eyes of our soul and makes us look silly. It beguiles us along a very dangerous path that constantly chips away at our true identity as “Children of the Light.”
In the Gospel of John (chapter 9) we hear the story of the man born blind. Our Lord uses the occasion to teach that He alone is the True Light. Through Him, we are able to see all that is True. Humility is the key. The Pharisees were the leaders of God’s Holy People, but they had lost their way. They were angry men. Why? Well, they were envious of this Jesus. Could it be that they allowed themselves to be caught up in the imagination of their minds? Had they become ‘little kings’ unto themselves? Could it be that they preferred the appearance of being wise and learned and deserving of respect rather than humbly bowing down before God? Had the Pharisees truly been wise, they would have been men of deep prayer and their prayer would have led them to spiritual purity. They would have recognized Who it was that walked in their midst. They would have witnessed through the eyes of love and mercy the manifestation of the divinity of this Jesus, humbly healing the man born blind – relieving his life-long suffering. They would have rejoiced with hearts overflowing in awe and wonder – not only because of his merciful healing, but even more because they would have clearly recognized the Hand of God in their midst. The great Healer was staring right at them! How could they possibly have missed Him? They were looking right at Him! How could they have missed the very One they claimed to be waiting for – the Messiah! How? Well, perhaps they weren’t really looking for Him after all. Perhaps they were really only concerned about satisfying their own worldly desires. Perhaps they allowed their conscience to be formed by the world – and not by God. They weren’t really interested in spiritual purity. They were more interested in filling their greedy hearts with worldly stuff. The man born blind, on the other hand, possessed a great gift, even before Jesus restored his sight. The man born blind was filled with humility. It was his humility that allowed the Holy Spirit to rush upon him. It was his humility that that enabled him to forget himself so that he could focus his attention upon the Anointed One. In the midst of the angry mob, that humble soul overflowed with love and gratitude, declaring unequivocally, “I do believe in the Son of Man!” What could his foes do to harm his radiant soul? They could beat him. Perhaps even kill him. It really didn’t matter – the Son of Man, the Messiah, knew his name – loved him – healed him and “led him beside restful waters and refreshed his soul.” Those arrogant Pharisees couldn’t harm his soul. It was protected. That poor humble man knew well his own identity – he was a soul loved by God – and he in turn offered him thanks and praise!