For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday June 27, 2010

Pastor’s Corner. . . A tradition going back to apostolic times recounts that Saints Peter & Paul had their last meeting before martyrdom on the road to Ostia, outside Rome: Paul to be beheaded near the present Basilica of Saint Paul, and Peter crucified head downward nearby the present Basilica of Saint Peter. From the very beginning, Christian tradition considered Peter and Paul to be inseparable, even if they each had a different mission to fulfill. Peter first confessed his faith in Christ; Paul received the gift of being able to plumb the profundity of its richness. Peter founded the first Christian community coming from the chosen people; Paul became the apostle of the gentiles. With different charisms, they worked for a single cause: building the Church Christ began with the Apostles as its foundation. St. Augustine made this observation: “Only one day is consecrated to the feast of the two apostles [June29th]. But they were also a single unit. Even if they were martyred on different days, they were one. Peter went ahead, Paul followed…Thus we celebrate this feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of these apostles” (Disc. 295, 7-8).
June 29th is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, celebrated at least since the year 258 A.D. during the Roman persecution of the Church by the Emperor Valerian. For the Church founded by Our Lord on the Apostles, with Saint Peter as her visible head, this solemnity is one of the most important, since it focuses on God’s generous desire to remain with us until the end of time through His Catholic Church; and upon man’s response, sometimes faltering, yet ultimately manifesting God’s power through human weakness.

Pope St. Leo the Great commented about Peter and Paul: “Of their merits and their virtues – which were superior from all accounts – we cannot think of anything contradictory or divisive, because Divine election had made them equal, their efforts similar and their end alike.” He continued, addressing the City of Rome: “These are your holy fathers, your true shepherds, who, as much as they were humanly very different from each other, and even if their relationship was not without tensions, Peter and Paul therefore appear as the initiators of a new city, as a concretization of a new and authentic way of being brothers, made possible by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (In natali apostolorum., 69, 6-7)

And so we can say that today the Church in Rome celebrates its birthday, inasmuch as the two Apostles had laid down its foundations. Moreover, Rome now realizes with greater awareness its mission and its grandeur. In Rome, the link that gave Peter and Paul a common mission has assumed from the first centuries a very specific significance. Like the mythical brothers Romulus and Remus, attributed with the founding of Rome, Peter and Paul likewise are considered as founders of the Church in Rome. The capital of the Roman Empire, which was described in the Book of Revelation as the Whore of Babylon, the destroyer of saints and martyrs, is now replaced by two political and social nobodies, victims of the Imperial persecutions, who shed their blood for the true God they loved, and not for an earthly kingdom. “O, Felix Roma. . . Oh, Happy Rome, whose stones are consecrated by the blood of the Princes of the Apostles”, as an ancient hymn for this feast day proclaims. St. John Chrysostom wrote that “the sky is not as bright when the sun sheds its rays as the city of Rome which radiates the splendor of those burning torches (Peter and Paul) through all the world…This the reason why we love this city…for these two pillars of the Church” (Comm. a Rom 32).

Both were martyred in 67 A.D., and Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D., when Temple was destroyed. The New Covenant forged on the Cross between God and humanity, fulfilling all other covenants since Abraham. With Christ’s resurrection and commission to the Apostles to preach this New Covenant, God’s grace moves out of the world of the Old Covenant and becomes centered in the political and social heart of the Gentile world, with a universal mission to offer salvation to the entire world.

Let us say a special prayer for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the Successor of Saint Peter, this weekend, and on Tuesday, the Solemnity itself, that the Lord will continue to bless and protect him as he continues the work of Saint Peter in the world. Our statue of Saint Peter is vested in pontifical vestments, to remind us to pray for our Holy Father. Pray, likewise, for the whole church, that she, like Saint Paul, may continue to preach fearlessly the truth of Christ to all. —Mons. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Aileen Bainton, Jamie Chapin, Angela Bonneau, Emily Turturino, George Szele, Sr., Robert Lebeau, Connie Ward, Cheryl Carucci, Joan Bachman, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . .Achille Lamontagne, Rosemarie Gaffney, Kushtrim Elezaj, William R. Plank, Paul Jankowitz, Matthew H. Kenealy Jr., Anthony P. D’Ariano, Salvatore Piro, Jerry Pellegrino, Andrew Caruso, James R. Clements, Irene Zelinsky, Margaret L. Rekos, Mary Catherine Sheehan, Paul K. Jankowicz, James Thomas, Marjorie L. O’Kane, Lawrence Schmidt Jr., Catherine B. Pullen, Wilhelmina-Belia Falek-Roerhost, Keith Segovia, Frank L. Infante, Haitian Earthquake Victims, Roshah E. DeJean, Paul Reda, Katherine Dziezyc, John Castellano, Eugene Lops, William Wolf, Alfred Gautrau, David Lloyd, Evelyn Mahan.

Banns of Marriage:

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . The early Church apologists will be studied through June and during the first week of July: 7:30 pm each Wednesday in the rectory: all are welcome. No in-depth knowledge of Church history, nor knowledge of ancient languages is required, since we provide all with English translations, and the classes are open discussions of the texts, moderated by Lois Gandt, Ph.D., and Mons. DiGiovanni, H.E.D.

Latin Reading Group. . . Will begin translating St. Augustine’s homilies on the Letters of Saint John, Wednesday evenings at 6pm in the rectory: all that’s needed is high school Latin, so please join us.

Parish Finance Council. . . Will meet on Tuesday, July 6th at 7:30 pm in the rectory.

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.”) 

Annual Bishop’s Appeal. . . Our Parish has met it’s goal of $85,000. The people of Saint John’s have given $86,109. I am very, very grateful to you for your generosity. We can now turn our attention to the needs of the parish, once again.

Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. . . The oil painting of the most famous and ancient of Roman icons of the Blessed Mother—Salus Populi Romani, the Protectress of Rome—has now been completed and returned to the parish: she is enshrined in northern side aisle in the top arch, above the statue of Saint Rita. Sometime this week, a spotlight will be installed, as will one to illuminate the bronze statue of Saint Peter. Our Lady is high up, at nearly the same height as the original 9th century icon in the Major Basilica of Saint Mary Major, in Rome. Vigil candles will be placed nearby, as will a votive hanging lamp, within the next weeks. There are kneelers facing Our Lady, which are part of the Baptistry, so parishioners might kneel while offering a prayer to Our Lady and her Divine Son. I am very grateful to a friend of the parish and his family who donated the funds commissioning Grace DeVito, a local portrait artist, to create the beautiful icon for us.

Sunday June 20 2010 $ 9,591.26
Sunday June 21, 2009 $ 10,150.25
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

July 4th Sunday Readings: Is 66:10-14c; Gal 6:14-18p; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9.

Hymns for this Sunday . . . (1) 255, (2)155, (3)222, (4)249

Religious Education. . . Parents, even though the summer school vacation has not begun yet, please consider registering your children early for the upcoming religious education classes which begin in October. Just call the rectory, and speak with Cindy [ext 21] or with
Fr. Walsh [ext 14]. Thanks.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. . . Sunday, August 15th, is one of the most beloved of holy days in the Church’s calendar: The Blessed Virgin Mary, the closest of Christ’s disciples, was the first to enjoy the benefits of her Son’s resurrection, being assumed body and soul to Heaven. Join us in our celebration at 7pm Solemn Sung Vespers, and the solemn blessing of our icon, Salus Populi Romani: Mary the Protectress of Rome. An ice cream social will follow in the rectory backyard. All welcome.

Holy Name Society Pig Roast. . . Will be on Saturday, July 24th following the 4 pm Mass, in the rectory’s backyard. Altar servers and their dads are also welcome: More details during upcoming weeks. If interested, please call Cindy [ext 21].

God Parents. . . If you are preparing to baptize your baby, you will be looking for Godparents for your child. The Church’s law is clear that, since the Godparents’ role is to provide an example of Catholic life, those chosen must be active and practicing Catholics: regular attendance at Sunday Mass, and regular reception of the sacraments are mandatory; they must be living lives of virtue and charity; if married, the Godparents must be in a valid marriage, meaning they have been married in the Catholic Church. If parents have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the parish priests to discuss them.

Job Seekers. . . Meets the 4th Monday of each month in the rectory at 7:30 pm: all are welcome. Topics include job interviewing, writing of resumes, networking and job seeking strategies. The group is led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs: for more info, see: www.redinc.biz

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, June 26
4:00 +Vincent Freccia, Jr. Birthday Remembrance req. Family
Sunday, June 27
7:30 +Anna Do req. Thang Nguyen
10:00 +Frances Delaney Birthday Remembrance req. Family
12:00 +Anthony & Derrick Ramos req. Lilian & Alvina Ramos
6:00 +Thomas Mitchell req. Eileen Hernon
Monday, June 28
8:00 +Francesantonio Pugliese req. Pugliese Family
12:10 Thanksgiving to God
Tuesday, June 29
8:00 Special Intention Frank Pugliese req. Brother
12:10 +Camille Mascia req. Brother, Frank D’Amico
Wednesday, June 30
8:00 Special Intention Gabriel Macchio req. Pugliese Family
12:10 Thanksgiving to God req. Sandy Rivera
Thursday, July 1
8:00 In Honor of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord req. Marion Morris & Family
12:10 +Charles Pascale req. John Pascale
Friday, July 2
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Thomas A. Timon
12:10 +Joe & Mary Megale req. Pugliese Family
Saturday, July 3
8:00 Special Intention Kathia Bailey req. Pugliese Family
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.

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 the 8am Mass.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Ladies’ Society . . .will meet May 22nd and will then resume in September.

Moms & Tots . . . Moms and their kids meets each first Tuesday of every month at 10:00 a.m.

Religious Education. . . Students and Catholic parents are obliged to attend Sunday Mass. For information, please contact Fr. Walsh (203) 324-1553, ext. 14, or email at frtwalsh@catholic.org.

St. Anne Society . . .A family society which meets four times a year on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. with prayer, supper, and a lecture in the church hall. For information, please contact Fr. Walsh (203) 324-1553, ext. 14, or frtwalsh@catholic.org.

Pray to end legalized abortion . . . Weds, 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 7:30 pm in the rectory. All are welcome.

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

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

Coffee Hour. . . Is finished for the summer. It will start again in September.

St. John’s in The News:
150 years ago, or so:
The HARTFORD COURANT:
July 3, 1858: Religious Intelligence. “Bishop McFarland (Romish) [a derogatory word for “Roman Catholic” used by the anti-Catholic press] administered the rite of confirmation to about 70 persons on Sunday last, in Stamford.”

120 years ago, or so:
The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
July 1, 1881: The Fourth at Woodside. “For many years past, the Roman Catholic societies have held a picnic in Woodside Park on the Nation’s birthday. This year there will be an extraordinary good time as special efforts are being made to have it so. In the park, various athletic sports and games will be given, including, a ten-mile walk between Swan, Kane, Callee and Bowles of Greenwich, for a purse of $30. The order of procession to the park will be as follows: St. John’s Cornet Band. Sunday-school children and various sodalities of the church. St. Patrick’s Temperance and Benevolent Society. St. John’s Benevolent Society. Ancient Order of Hibernians. Stamford Cornet Band. Robert Emmett Club. St. Joseph’s Young Men’s Temperance Society. Other members of the congregation in carriages and on foot. Refreshments of all kinds will be for sale on the grounds. Platform and music for dancing, etc.”

35 years ago, or so:
The NEW YORK TIMES:
July 1, 1977: 1,500 at Funeral Hear Walter Kennedy Hailed As ‘Man for All People.’ “Larry O’Brien, Pete Rozelle and Bowie Kuhn, the commissioners of basketball, football and baseball, respectively, were among the 1,500 people attending the funeral mass for J. Walter Kennedy today at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church. Several hundred more people were outside the church paying tribute to the former mayor of Stamford and commissioner of the National Basketball Association.”

25 years ago, or so:
The FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
July 1987: The Church in Fairfield County—a new book.’ “Does a good knowledge of history have an effect on the way we view the present? “Yes” says Father Stephen M. DiGiovanni, diocesan historian. Father DiGiovanni is the author of a new book entitled “The Catholic Church in Fairfield County,” which is expected to be published in December of 1987 by Mulvery, Inc. of New York.”

Lasers uncover first icons of Sts. Peter and Paul
Twenty-first century laser technology has opened a window into the early days of the Catholic Church, guiding researchers through the dank, musty catacombs beneath Rome to a startling find: the first known icons of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Vatican officials unveiled the paintings Tuesday, discovered along with the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew in an underground burial chamber beneath an office building on a busy street in a working-class Rome neighborhood.
The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were uncovered using a new laser technique that allows restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the brilliant dark colors of the paintings underneath.
The technique could revolutionize the way restoration work is carried out in the miles (kilometers) of catacombs that burrow under the Eternal City where early Christians buried their dead.
The icons were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb of an aristocratic Roman woman at the Santa Tecla catacomb, near where the remains of the apostle Paul are said to be buried.
Rome has dozens of such burial chambers and they are a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a peek into the traditions of the early church when Christians were often persecuted for their beliefs. Early Christians dug the catacombs outside Rome’s walls as underground cemeteries, since burial was forbidden inside the city walls and pagan Romans were usually cremated.
The art that decorated Rome’s catacombs was often simplistic and symbolic in nature. The Santa Tecla catacombs, however, represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity, Vatican officials said.
“The Christian catacombs, while giving us value with a religious and cultural patrimony, represent an eloquent and significant testimony of Christianity at its origin,” said Monsignor Giovanni Carru, the No. 2 in the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology, which maintains the catacombs.
Last June, the Vatican announced the discovery of the icon of Paul at Santa Tecla, timing the news to coincide with the end of the Vatican’s year of St. Paul. Pope Benedict XVI also said tests on bone fragments long attributed to Paul “seemed to confirm” that they did indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint.
On Tuesday, Vatican archaeologists announced the image of Paul was not found in isolation, but was part of a square ceiling painting that also included icons of three other apostles – Peter, John and Andrew – surrounding an image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. “They are the first icons. These are absolutely the first representations of the apostles,” said Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of archaeology for the catacombs.
Bisconti spoke from inside the intimate burial chamber, its walls and ceilings covered with paintings of scenes from the Old Testament, including Daniel in the lion’s den and Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. Once inside, visitors see the loculi, or burial chambers, on three sides.
But the gem is on the ceiling, where the four apostles are painted inside gold-rimmed circles against a red-ochre backdrop. The ceiling is also decorated with geometric designs, and the cornices feature images of naked youths.
Chief restorer Barbara Mazzei noted there were earlier known images of Peter and Paul, but these were depicted in narratives. The images in the catacomb – with their faces in isolation, encircled with gold and affixed to the four corners of the ceiling painting – are devotional in nature and as such represent the first known icons.
“The fact of isolating them in a corner tells us it’s a form of devotion,” she said. “In this case, saints Peter and Paul, and John and Andrew are the most antique testimonies we have.”
In addition, the images of Andrew and John show much younger faces than are normally depicted in the Byzantine-inspired imagery most often associated with the apostles, she said.
The Vatican’s Sacred Archaeology office oversaw the two-year $73,650 (€60,000) project, which for the first time used lasers to restore frescoes in catacombs, where the damp air makes the procedure particularly difficult.
In this case, the small burial chamber at the end of the catacomb was encased in up to two inches (five centimeters) of calcium carbonate. Restoration using previous techniques would have meant scraping away the buildup by hand, leaving a filmy layer on top so as not to damage the painting underneath.
Using the laser technique, restorers were able to sear off all the deposits by setting the laser to burn only on the white of the calcium carbonate; the laser’s heat stopped when it reached a different color. Researchers then easily chipped off the seared material, revealing the brilliant ochre, black, green and yellow underneath, Mazzei said.
Similar technology has been used on statues, particularly metallic ones damaged by years of outdoor pollution, she said. However, the Santa Tecla restoration marked the first time lasers had been adapted for use in the dank interiors of catacombs. Many of Rome’s catacombs are open regularly to the public. However, the Santa Tecla catacombs will be open only on request to limited groups to preserve the paintings, she said.