For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday August 8, 2010

Pastor’s Corner. . . After months of searching, I am happy to announce that the Basilica now has a new Organist and Choir Master: Frederick Backhaus will begin his duties here at Saint John’s on September 1st.
Mr. Backhaus comes to Saint John’s with more than twenty-five years of choral experience in the Episcopal Church, including direction of professionals, volunteers, treble choirs, men-and-boys choirs, solo instrumentalists, brass ensembles, and orchestras. He holds a Master’s degree in Organ Performance and the coveted Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with David Craighead. His musical formation was as the assistant to Edith Ho at Boston’s historic Church of the Advent, where he conducted the volunteer and professional choirs, and appeared on their second CD, The Church Music of William Byrd.
During the past five years, Mr. Backhaus was Organist and Master of Choristers at the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont [Boston], where he built up the Choir of Men and Boys and instituted the Chamber Choir. From 1988 to 2004, he served as the Director of Music at Christ Church, Oyster Bay. There he directed the Adult and Treble Choirs, oversaw the Concert Series, released two commercial CD’s, and served as a Dean of the American Guild of Organists. In addition to his conducting responsibilities and concert performances, Fred held faculty positions at Hofstra University and at the George Mercer School of Theology, where he taught courses in choral rehearsal techniques for church musicians. He has served on the music staff of King’s College Treble Training Course of the Royal School of Church Music in America, and is a past Dean of the Nassau Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
He is married to Kathleen Blixt, who spent twenty-five years on voice and choral conducting faculties of Hofstra University, and served as a section leader and vocal coach at Christ Church. Together, Kathleen and Frederick founded the professional vocal ensemble, Voci da Camera, which has toured the United Kingdom and Europe, released two commercial recordings, and, in 2000, spent a week as the choir-in-residence at Gloucester Cathedral. Kathleen continues to sing professionally and maintains a private voice studio for singers interested in classical and theatre music. Frederick and Kathleen have five children all grown, whose occupations include a newly-minted veterinarian, a carpenter, an electrical engineer, a politically-involved homemaker, and a graduate student in technical theater at Yale. Mr. & Mrs. Backhaus are eager to meet the people of Saint John’s and to further develop the distinguished musical tradition of the Basilica.
I am delighted that Frederick and Kathleen will be joining us at Saint John’s. You will be able to meet them on Sunday, August 15th following the 4 pm Evening Prayers, at the ice cream social to be held in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.
We had 49 applications for this position: 3 from the United Kingdom, 1 from France,
1 from Russia, 2 from the Netherlands, 1 from New Zealand, 1 from Hong Kong, and the remainder from the USA. During these past months, the parish selection committee worked diligently to find a person well-suited for Saint John’s. My gratitude goes to Darryl Podunavac, Janet Gill Gentry, Heidi Vanderwal, Maude Hughes and June Roberts for the scores of hours they spent pouring over the curricula vitarum of the applicants, and interviewing many of them. The result is that they have chosen the best. I know everyone will welcome Frederick and Kathleen—and that many will consider joining the parish choirs to offer greater praise to God. — Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Dermott McMahon, Isabella Baptiste, 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, 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. . . Jane Lubin, Mary Moriarty, Katie Fontneau, 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.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. . . Sunday, August 15th, is one of the most beloved of holy days in the Church’s calendar: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the closest of Christ’s disciples, and the first to enjoy the benefits of her Son’s resurrection, being assumed body and soul to Heaven. Join us in our celebration at 4pm 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 Monsignor Nagle Hall. All welcome, and will have an opportunity to meet our new Choir Master, Frederick Backhaus, and his lovely wife, Kathleen.

Monday Holy Hour. . . To pray for the people in the Gulf States Region. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Rosary, Monday, August 9th at 7 pm. All are welcome.

Memorial Votive Lights. . . The two votive lights next to the statue of Saint Peter, the one which will soon hang before the icon of the Protectress of Rome above the statue of Saint Rita, and the two above the side altars of Saint Joseph and Our Lady, may be memorialized each week for the intention of a loved one, or for the repose of a deceased loved one for a donation of $20.00 per candle, per week. The memorials will be published in the bulletin. Please call Cindy at ext. 21, between 9AM—1:30PM.

Saint Peter Votive Lights Memorial. . .The left votive is in memory of Katie Fontneau.
The right votive is in memory of Maurizio M. Mastracchio req. Rosy Mastracchio.

Our Lady Votive Light Memorial. . .In memory of Herbert Olnek req. Catherine and Jay Olnek.

Latin Reading Group. . . Will not meet until mid-August.

Religious Education. . . Parents, please consider registering your children early for the upcoming religious education classes which begin in October. Registration and payment can be made On-Line on the St. John’s Website,, or call the rectory, and speak with Cindy [ext 21] or with Fr. Walsh [ext 14]. Thanks.

Sunday August 1, 2010 $ 11,104.12
Sunday August 2, 2009 $ 11,300.61

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

August 15th Sunday Readings: Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; 1 Cor 15:20-27; Lk 1:39-56.

Hymns for this Sunday . . . (1) 258, (2) 92, (3) 246

Home Schooling Families. . . A group for home schooling families will begin meeting at St. John’s starting in September on one Tuesday of each month. It will include various activities. All ages are welcome. If interested, please contact Julianne DeMarco at 203-966-3641, or Janet Lancaster 203-637-3301,

Volunteers for Coffee Hour. . . We are looking for volunteers to help out with coffee hour after the 10 am Mass. Volunteers provide snacks, prepare coffee and set up before Mass, and serve coffee, juice and snacks after Mass. You can help with as little or as much as you would like. Helping out is also a great way to get to know other people in the parish! If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact Janet Lancaster at (203) 637-3301 or

Basilica Pilgrimage Office. . . By the New Year, we will open an office to organize pilgrimages to our Basilica. Anyone who would be willing to volunteer, especially to give tours of the church building, please call Monsignor: 324-1553, ext 11. Training will be given.

Foundation Grants. . . We are looking for volunteers to help write grant proposals to various foundations to help finance new programs at the Basilica. Anyone with experience writing grant proposals, and interested in volunteering their time and effort, please call Monsignor.

Summer Homilies. . . By the parish’s three priests will address the same subjects during the summer weekends: what it means to be Catholic, and the practical aspects of living our Catholic Faith. While the topics will be the same, the homilies will not be “canned”, but written by each priest in our own personal and inimitable styles.

Mass On Line. . .Visit the parish website:, click the photo of the church up top, and you’ll see live all that’s going on in church, daily. Now compatible with Apple “Mac OS” as well as Microsoft Windows PCs.

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:

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, August 7
4:00 +Joan Mercia req. Eileen & Robert
Sunday, August 8
7:30 Thomas Cycon & Family req. Ferry G.
10:00 Mass of Thanksgiving req. Diane
12:00 +Joseph & Effie Ramos req. Lilian & Alvina Ramos
6:00 Thanksgiving for daughter’s healing req. Anne-Marie Mathieu
Monday, August 9
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Carmine Iantorno req. The Carpanzano Family
Tuesday, August 10
8:00 +Amerigo Panetta req. Frank & Beth Carpanzano
12:10 +William Morris req. Anthony D’Ariano
Wednesday, August 11
8:00 +Paul Rittman req. Dr. Joseph McAleer
12:10 +Antoinette Corcione req. Jo & Ann Corcione
Thursday, August 12
8:00 +Rafaella Annetta req. Pugliese Family
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, August 13
8:00 +Elizabeth Coughlin req. The Mossa Family
12:10 +Gerard P. Albert req. Ann & Jo Corcione
Saturday, August 14
8:00 +Hope & Joseph McAleer req. The McAleer Family
12:10 +Marcello Santagata req. Giannitti Family

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 resume Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 9:30AM.

Moms & Tots . . . Moms and their kids meets in church 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

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

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: we’ll resume in September.

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: back in September.

Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . Meets Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm in the rectory: open only to those with a reading ability in Biblical Greek.

Coffee Hour. . . Is finished for the summer. It will start again Sunday, September 26, 2010.

St. John’s in The Advocate:
125 years ago, or so:
August 15, 1884: “Workmen are now erecting the steps to the front entrance of the Catholic church on Atlantic street. These blocks and slabs of granite are from an eastern quarry and will, when finished, add much to the finish of this edifice. Mr. Seth Miller has charge of the moving of these from the Waterside docks, where they were landed, to the church. The blocks arrived last week by the sloop “Wasp” from New Milford.”

115 years ago, or so:
August 12, 1893: “William Stankard died at his home on the Meadow street on Tuesday. The funeral took place from his late residence Thursday afternoon at two o’clock. Interment was at Springdale cemetery. Mr. Stankard was one of the best known Irish American residents of Stamford.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: William Stankard was the donor of a stained glass window, Rectory side of the church, 2nd from the front.)

75 years ago, or so:
August 15, 1935: BISHOP McAULIFFE SENDS STAMFORD BOY TO BELGIUM. “Announcement has been made of the appointment by Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe of Joseph John Matutis to study for the priesthood at American College, Louvain, Belgium, as a reward for his scholastic ability shown at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield. The Stamford boy will sail for Belgium on Sept. 19. Joseph, now 20, was born in Stamford, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon F. Matutis, of 89 Henry St. His father is an employee of Yale and Towne.”

60 years ago, or so:
August 15, 1950: Pope To Proclaim Mary’s Ascension New Church Law. “Pope Pius has called a secret consistory to make belief in the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven a dogma of the Catholic Church, it was announced yesterday. The dogma will be the first added to the doctrine of the church in nearly 100 years. The last was that of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed on Dec. 8, 1854. L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican City newspaper, made the announcement on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption-today– which has been observed by Catholics for centuries. L’Osservatore Romano said the Secret Consistory of Cardinals has been called for Oct. 30, and that Pope Pius will proclaim the dogma on Nov. 1 on the closing day of an International Marian Congress in Rome. Catholic belief in the assumption is based on the statement of St John of Damascus that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty and the apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.”

The Trials of Life in Christ -Fr. Terry Walsh
Our “Spiritual Journey” from the moment of our being “grafted” onto the Body of Jesus Christ at Baptism is shrouded in love. The Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, states: “For man would not exist were he not created by God’s love and constantly preserved by it; and he cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator”(GS19). Each moment of our lives is an opportunity to grow in our devotion to God in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Our Lord is present IN us (see John 14). He also walks BESIDE us. He walks with us every step of the Way – in joy and in sorrow – through abundant consolations as well as overwhelming desolations. He walks with us, if we let Him. We are His children.
How do we understand hardship and suffering? How do we reconcile the “trials of life” with our understanding of God who is Love? What role does suffering play in the lives of God’s children? When we look through the eyes of faith, we are able to understand that there are actually TWO stages of life. It is critically important that we have a clear perspective of this truth. The first stage is our very brief life here on earth. The Kingdom of God truly resides in the souls of all who are born of water and the Spirit and become branches on the Vine, that is, branches of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Yet, we are nonetheless subject to all sorts of trials in this 1st stage of life. Our Lord allows us to experience some measure of suffering and trial in order that we may prove our love, our fidelity, and our desire for God, who IS love. The 2nd stage, we hope, will be upon the Holy Mountain, the Heavenly Jerusalem, where all the trials of life will be over and the joy of complete union with God will fill us with a peace that is simply not of this world. Indeed, we may have that peace even now, in this 1st stage of life, which sustains us in the knowledge of His love. We hear this promise at every Holy Mass: “My peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (once again, see John chapter 14). St Paul reminds us: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”(Rm 8). We simply need to look to the Cross. There we see the Innocent Victim who suffered FOR us. Suffering is not a Good, it is clearly an Evil. Yet, God is able to draw good out of evil. Consider our Lord’s own suffering; His Passion and His Death. Jesus demonstrated His love for us when He became Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He showed the depth of His love for us through His One Perfect Sacrifice. And the good? The Resurrection – the forgiveness of sins – everlasting Light, Happiness, and Peace. Salvation comes to us through the Cross. And yet, how often we run from the Cross rather than sit at the foot of it in prayer and ask for the graces we need – the grace to forgive or seek forgiveness; the grace to have the courage to bear up under the difficulties of this life; the grace of understanding with regard to various relationships we have; the grace to grow in wisdom and knowledge and piety so that we can become more and more like Christ.
The Cross is the Narrow Gate. Our Lord will help us carry it if we ask Him. We encounter the Cross in a 100 different forms each day. Some are little Crosses – others simply seem to crush us ‘like grapes in the winepress.’ Carry the little ones with love and see your spiritual strength, that is, the Power of God within you, grow more vibrant and spiritually mature. Then you will embrace the heavier Cross for love of Him who bore it for you. Every “trial” becomes an opportunity; every “yes, I will carry my Cross, with love” enables our “branches” to grow ever stronger and produce even more abundant fruit. And what is our “fruit”? The fruits of the Holy Spirit are borne through our cooperation with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that flow into our hearts most abundantly through the sacraments. In other words, when we cooperate with our Lord through our daily prayer, our faithfully receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, we will produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, indeed every virtue. Our Lord Himself encourages us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing”(Jn 15). May we open our hearts and minds to the nearness of the Beloved and come to understand that even in the ‘trials of life’ we are actually bearing abundant fruits.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid….Rise, let us go hence.” – The Gospel of John 14:27