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Bulletin for Sunday December 12, 2010

Pastor’s Corner. . .As we draw nearer to Christmas, our minds turn to the birth of Our Lord in Bethlehem. During the first thousand years of the Church’s life, much emphasis was placed upon the divinity of Christ, in opposition to the numerous heresies that grew denying that Jesus was both God and man. While the truth of the two natures of Our Lord was believed by all, the stronger emphasis upon His divinity made Him seem too distant a redeemer, unable to understand the weaknesses or difficulties of our daily lives.
Saint Francis of Assisi began to change that by his preaching that by the Incarnation–God becoming a man—God actually revealed that He does understand us, since He loved us so much that He became exactly like us, except without sin, in order to make us more like God. It was Saint Francis who gave the Church the first Nativity scene or Crèche, with images of the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, the shepherds with their flocks and the three kings around the Infant Savior. Here is a God who understood human hardship and suffering from the moment of His birth in a cold stable.
Other devotions concerning Our Lord’s infancy began to develop in the middle ages, the renaissance, and later, fostered by some of the Church’s most popular saints: Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. If you visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, you’ll see a small doll-sized crib, of wood and silk, with baubles and beads. It dates from the 13th century, when devotion to all aspects of Our Lord’s birth and infancy were very popular. There are innumerable paintings of the Infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph in every country and from all centuries and cultures.
Another devotion, still very popular today, is that of the Infant of Prague. The original statue was made in Spain and came to Prague with a Spanish noble lady, Marie Manrique, when she married a Czech nobleman in 1587. In 1628 the statue was given to the Carmelite priests of the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Prague, and has been known as the Infant of Prague ever since. It is a tiny wooden and wax statue [barely 18 inches in height], dressed in costly gowns similar to those worn at the imperial court in 16th century Spain. He is crowned and holds an orb, or globe, in His hand, with His right hand raised in benediction. Our statue of the Infant of Prague stands below the Blessed Mother statue on Her side altar.
Shortly after 1628, Prague was invaded by protestant Swedes, who burned much of the city, including the Church of Our Lady of Victories. The Carmelites returned to their destroyed church in 1638, and, while clearing the rubble, discovered the little statue of the Infant Jesus, battered, with his hands broken off, but otherwise intact. One of the priests, Fr. Cyril, cleaned the broken statue and placed it in an oratory, open for public prayer. One day, as the legend goes, while the priest was praying, the Infant spoke to him, saying “Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.” Over the centuries, innumerable miracles and blessings have been attributed to the Infant of Prague, and the devotion is still one of the most popular throughout the world.
At the church entrances, you will find copies of the Novena to the Infant of Prague, which begins December 16th, and continues through December 25th. You can also find it in November’s issue of the parish magazine, The Eagle. Please join in this beautiful devotion to our Infant Savior and King. What a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas by praying the Novena daily with your family to the Infant Jesus. Besides favors we might ask, Our Lord will give us peace in our lives if we offer Him our hands and hearts so He might continue His work of saving mankind from sin and death, through our acts of charity and mercy in our daily lives. Please join us, and pray to the God who became a child for us; who shares our sufferings, heartbreaks, and even death, in order to free us from the power of evil, sin and death, so we might live with Him forever in Heaven.
— Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Bill Skidd, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, James Bosilevas, Doreen Harry, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Adriana & Noelle Quinones, Corrie Evans, Joseph J. Lasko, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi, Maurice Babe Ruggiero, Marlene Stern, Megan Bobroske, Isabella Baptiste, Aileen Bainton, Jamie Chapin, Angela Bonneau, Emily Turturino, George Szele, Sr., Robert Lebeau, Cheryl Carucci, Joan Bachman, Nicholas Czekanski, Wilfred Baretto, Haitian Earthquake Victims.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Robert Lockhart, Luis Vericat, Fransoice Simon, Rose Pavia, Margaret Smegal, William Cody, John Donaher, Shirley Piacenza, Sheila Lockhart, James Andersen, Domineco Gentile, Alma Vota, Ben DeSalvo, Sue Richard, June Lambiase, Robert D’Aquila, Kevin Sutton, Catherine McVey Hanley Smith, Nichole Philips, Jane Lubin, Mary Moriarty, Katie Fontneau, Achille Lamontagne, Rosemarie Gaffney.

Retirement Fund for Religious Collection . . . Please drop your Retirement Fund for Religious envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory. There will only be one collection today.

Christmas Fair. . . My thanks goes to all who worked to make the fair a great success: Marjan Falek, Mirella Bidetti and Tracey Banahan served as the Three Graces organizing the efforts of so many good parish women, including Diane Jackson, Alice Campofranco, Judy DeFelice, Maude Hughes, Noreen DeSoye, Lisa DiCunto, Margarita Ucero, Landa Leute, Angela Giannitti, Juanita Evans, Beth Carpanzano, Mary Jean Dalmolin, Mary Cycon, along with Jeff Spetland, Tony Colon, Carmine Boccuzi, and the members of the parish staff who spent days cleaning and preparing the hall, setting everything up and breaking everything down at the end of the event.

The Parish Finance Council. . . Has a new chairman: John Regan has been elected to the post. I am grateful to John for his willingness to serve as chair of this parish body. Likewise, I want to thank Dr. Jon Alsenas who served as chairman for the past few years.

Christmas is on a Saturday. . .So, this year it will be awkward for the usual weekend Mass schedule. PLEASE NOTE: On Christmas Day [Saturday, December 25th] there will be NO 4:00pm Saturday Vigil Mass for Sunday. All who normally attend the Saturday evening Mass will have to come back on Sunday for Sunday’s Mass, just like the rest of us.

Memorial Votive Lights . . . The two votive lights at the shrine of Saint Peter, and the one before the icon of Mary Protectress of the Roman People, 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.

Protectress of Rome Votive Light . . . Special intentions Ann Borkowski req. Michael Borkowski.

Saint Peter Votive Lights. . .The two St. Peter votive lights are in memory of John & Dorothy Hyland req. Tarleton Family.

Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Hour: December 13th at 7 p.m.

R.C.I.A. classes. . . Meet in the Rectory on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm .

Sunday December 5, 2010 $ 10,278.62
Sunday December 6, 2009 $ 12,422.03
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

December 19th Sunday Readings: Is 7:10-14; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24.

Latin Mass. . . Fr. Cyprian LaPastina will again offer the Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form each Tuesday’s at 9:30 a.m. here at Saint John’s, beginning Tuesday, December 14th . All are welcome.

Parish Tour Guides. . . Training will continue beginning mid-January. Stay tuned for details.

Self-guided Tours. . . Please pick up a Basilica self-guided tour booklet at the church entrances, give it a try, following the enclosed map of the Basilica, and let me know what you think. This is one of a number of efforts to prepare the Basilica for pilgrimage groups and visitors beginning this summer.

Novena to the Infant of Prague. . . Booklets can be found at the church entrances: please take one and pray the novena beginning December 16th through Christmas Day: a great preparation for your family’s Christmas celebration.

Home Schooling Families. . . A group for home schooling families meets one Tuesday each month. All ages are welcome. Please contact Julianne DeMarco at 203-966-3641, juliannedemarco@yahoo.com or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301, jmlancaster@optonline.net.

St. John’s Flock Catholic Young Adult Group . . . December Events:
Monday, December 13th at 7:00pm – Holy Hour and Adoration at St. John’s Basilica followed by a meeting from 8-9:00 at the rectory;
Saturday, December 18th at 7:00pm – Christmas Cocktail Party. Additional details available by joining our group on Facebook.  Please follow us on Facebook by searching:  St. John’s Flock (Catholic Young Adult group in Stamford, CT)

Job Seekers . . . Meets the 4th Monday of each month in the rectory at 7:30 pm: all are welcome. There will be NO December meeting. Our next meeting is January 24th. Topics: job interviewing, writing of resumes, networking and job seeking strategies. There is no charge for these services.

Holy Spirit School. . . “Take a Look Tuesday” to visit the school for parents interested in enrolling their children for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years: call 203-329-1623 or visit www.holyspiritschool.info.

Latin Reading Group. . .Wednesdays at 6:15 pm in the Rectory.

Biblical Greek Study Group. . .Thursday at 6:30 pm in the Rectory: open only to those with a reading ability in Biblical Greek.

Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . Will meet again January 5th and each Wednesday of the month to read the letters of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, led by Father Richard Futie, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. All are welcome to what should be fun!!

Bible Study. . . Meets each Thursday at 7 p.m. in the rectory to study the Book of Revelation and Acts of the Apostles. See Schedule of Events on the Parish Website for dates.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 11
4:00 +Vincent and Dolores Freccia, Jr. req. family
Sunday, December 12
7:30 +Kevin Jordan req. Bill Christiaanse
10:00 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry
12:00 The Unborn req. Jimmy & Michelle Sagdati & Marion Morris & Family
6:00 +J. Wesley Crowl req. Joan Giannotti
Monday, December 13
8:00 Special Intentions
12:10 +James Meehan req. Leon T.
Tuesday, December 14
8:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Members of DeRosa, Kronk, Capobianco families & Edwin Clark req. Joan & John Kronk
Wednesday, December 15
8:00 +Daniel Stamatis req. Dr. Joseph McAleer
12:10 +Taricani Family req. Leon T.
Thursday, December 16
8:00 +Rose Donahue req. Marie Carr
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.
Friday, December 17
8:00 Robert A. Silveri Birthday req. daughter-in-law and son
12:10 +Curioni Family req. Leon T.
Saturday, December 18
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Alsredo Escobedo req. wife & daughter

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 . . .meets Saturdays in the rectory at 9:30 a.m.

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

St. Anne’s 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.

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

St. Dominic Savio Society & St. Maria Goretti Society . .. The Next Meeting for St. Dominic Savio Society will be on December 12 in the rectory, after the Noon Mass. The Next Meeting for St. Maria Goretti Society will be on December 19 in the rectory, after the Noon Mass.

Bible Study…Meets each Thursday at 7 p.m. in the rectory. This year’s study includes the Book of Revelation and Acts of the Apostles. See the Schedule of Events on the Parish Website for dates.

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 parish hall. 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: open only to those with a reading ability in Biblical Greek.

Coffee Hour. . . After the 10:00 a.m. Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall. All are welcome.

St. John’s in The Advocate:
80 years ago, or so:
Dec. 19, 1931: EAGLE BADGES FOR THREE BOY SCOUTS: “Three Scouts of Troop 22, Boys Scouts of America, received their Eagle Badges, and the troop was presented with its new charter at a parents’ night rally held in St. John’s Parochial School hall last night. The Eagle badge is the highest award any Scout may receive. The Scouts receiving this badge were Thomas Tunney, Everett Mastrich and Thomas Kerrigan.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The above were the third, fourth and fifth boys to receive the Eagle award from the Troop.)

75 years ago, or so:
Dec. 13, 1934: St. Ann’s Ladies Aid Solicits Gifts for Christmas Baskets: “St. Ann’s Ladies’ Aid Society is again soliciting its many friends, this season for articles of wearing apparel and food which will make possible the sending out of baskets at Christmas time. Without the aid of persons who year after year give donations, it would be impossible for the society to carry on its work. The Ladies’ Aid has many calls for Winter clothing, mostly for men and boys. At present there is an urgent request for an overcoat for a boy ten years old. Clothing may be left at the society’s rooms in the rear of St. John’s Church basement.”

25 years ago, or so:
Dec. 18, 1986: Vandals batter church crèche. “In the front yard of the parish house of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Stamford yesterday morning, a statue of the Virgin Mary lay cracked in half. The ceramic baby Jesus was missing two fingers. One of the Three Kings had lost an arm. Sometime between midnight and 6 a.m. yesterday, the crèche was vandalized, damaging eight of the 18 ceramic figures in the manger scene, said the Rev. William Nagle, pastor of St. John’s on Atlantic Street for almost 14 years. “I was upset and distraught,” said Nagle, who was standing out in front of the crèche yesterday. “I was sick at heart. This is a sick person who did this.” It was the first time the church’s manger scene had been vandalized, but police said such acts of vandalism are hard to prevent. “If people are intent on random acts of vandalism there’s not much you can do,” said Lt. Arthur Boccuzzi of the Stamford Police Department. The ceramic statues in the crèche at St. John’s were bought in New Jersey five years ago. Ronald DeCamp, a Stamford carpenter and building contractor, built for free the wooden, box-shaped structure that represents the shed where Scripture says Jesus was born. “The kids used to hang on the fence and look at the crèche,” DeCamp said. “It made me feel good when I drove by.”.”

O Radiant Light
– Fr. Terry Walsh
On a cold night, in a dark and abandoned cave not fit for the dwelling of man – the whole Universe Shook! It had been 9 months since the Archangel Gabriel announced to the humble Virgin the magnificent news of our Salvation; 40 weeks since Mary so perfectly united Her will to the will of our Heavenly Father. Now, the hour was fast approaching – the fullness of time had come. The Virgin Mary was about to give birth to Her Son: True God and True Man. He was about to pierce the veil, uniting Heaven and Earth – the Son of God – and the Son of Mary. The world would never be the same. On that Holy night, the Radiant Light of God would forever sanctify all Who humbly receive Him into their hearts and souls through the Sacrament of Baptism. That night, in that dark cave, His brilliant Light issued forth the pure warmth of Divine Love, filling that humble abode with His Peace. Imagine the prayerful ecstasy of Mary, Her joyful soul overflowing in a grace and peace that is simply beyond human understanding. Yes, the Universe Shook that night! In the humblest circumstances and amid hard hearted people, the mighty Prince of Peace burst into the world in a holy and miraculous way: Picture the Virgin Mary, kneeling in prayer as she prepared to give birth. The Mystic, Venerable Mary Agedra, described her vision this way: “God did not divide, but penetrated the virginal chamber as the rays of the Sun penetrate the crystal shrine, lighting it up in prismatic beauty…(as Jesus) came forth from the virginal chamber…glorious and transfigured.” What a beautiful image of His Radiant Divine Light, keeping forever inviolate the perpetual virginity of His Holy Mother – before, during, and after His Holy and miraculous birth.
Thousands upon thousands of angels surrounded the Holy Virgin as she welcomed the Only Begotten Son of the Most High into the very world He created. Those pure and holy spirits witnessed the Son of Justice come to offer Mercy to a fallen and unworthy people – to us. Another Mystic, St. Emmerich, offered another stunning image. She wrote, “As Mary knew Her time was near, Joseph went to a little recess area to pray. He looked back for a moment and saw Mary kneeling in prayer, Her back to him, Her face toward the east. He saw the cave filled with the Light that streamed from Mary – for she was entirely enveloped as if by flames. It was as if he were – like Moses – looking into the burning bush. He sank prostrate to the ground in prayer – and did not look back again.” As the angels surround the glorious Babe in the manger, they offered Him the most exquisite melody of praise, perfectly chanting the Gloria with the sweetest residue of joy and peace and love. What a beautiful vision of His resplendent majesty and light!
John tells us in the Gospel, “Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly” – to all those who seek Him – to those who follow Him – to those who imitate His love and obedience and offer their “will” to the will of the Father (just as He had done). He came to heal the broken spirit of man. He came to rescue us from eternal death by drawing us into His eternal light. May we faithfully respond to His invitation, just as the poor and humble shepherds did, and run to him, eager to follow Him and do His will so that we, too, might receive the Gift of everlasting life, happiness, and peace! May we approach Him in Awe and Wonder and so be transformed by his marvelous light – the light of grace – the light of divine love – and allow his mercy to pierce our stony hearts and cloudy minds, thus enabling us to peer into the Mystery of his Incarnation – Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. The holy season of Christmas approaches “like the dawning of the day” as the psalmist would say. And the Light of Christ remains in our hearts and minds and so transforms our souls – if only we continue to humbly seek Him in the Sacraments, in our faithful life of prayer, and in “living the truth in love”(Eph 4:15).