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Bulletin for Sunday December 19, 2010

Pastor’s Corner. . .Everyone knows that we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. But, who is He? For a variety of Christian and non-Christian groups and organizations, the answer to that question varies: was he a philosopher, or a prophet, or just another religious man, like Buddha, Mohammed or the Dalai Lama? Those answers are not even close. Jesus is much more, and His real identity is revealed to us by the Church.
Beginning last Friday, December 17th, the Church gathers together some of the Old Testament prophecies about the Savior’s birth. At each daily Mass, these give us hints about the identity and nature of the child born of the Virgin in Bethlehem, celebrated on December 25th. These are biblical prophecies, placed in verse form in the 7th century, each beginning with the exclamation, O! These daily O’ Antiphons, as they’ve come to be known, addressed to Jesus, continue through December 23rd, and tell us that Jesus is not just another prophet, but God the Creator who became a man for us that we might become Godlike:
Dec. 17th: “O, Wisdom of the Most High, ordering all things with strength and gentleness, come and teach us the way of truth.”
Dec. 18th: “O, Ruler of the House of Israel, who gave the law to Moses on Sinai, come and save us with outstretched arm.” [on the Cross]
Dec. 19th: “O, Root of Jesse [Father of King David], sent as a sign to the peoples, come to save us and delay no more.”
Dec. 20th: “O, Key of David, who opens the gates of the eternal kingdom, come to liberate from prison the captive [Adam] who lives in darkness.”
Dec. 21st: “O, Morning Star, radiance of eternal light, sun of justice, come and enlighten those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Dec. 22nd: “O, King of the peoples and corner-stone of the Church, come and save mankind whom You made from the dust of the earth.”
Dec. 23rd: “O, Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver, come and save us, Lord our God.”
Saint Augustine described the effect of the birth of God in the flesh: “The faithful God made himself our debtor, not by receiving from us, but by his own promises. He even bound himself in writing, as though handing us a written pledge; thus, when he would begin to carry out his promises, we could determine from the Scriptures the very order of fulfillment:
“God’s ultimate promise was of eternal salvation, unending blessedness with the angels, an everlasting and glorious inheritance, the sweetness of his face, his holy house in heaven, resurrection from the dead, and release from fear of death. . . Thus, he promised divinity to men, immortality to mortals, justification to sinners, and glory to the humble.
“Since all this might seem incredible to us, God not only put his promises in writing in Scripture, but also gave us a Mediator, his only Son, to show how he would lead us to the promised goal. More than this, he made his Son not only show the way but himself be the very Way” [Commentary on the Psalms; Psalm 109: 1-3].
On December 25th, Our Lord, the Eternal Son of the Father, Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Creator of the entire universe, was to be born in the flesh, taken in the womb of the Virgin Mother; He came as God in the Flesh to rescue us from the power of sin and death. The great Easter Hymn, the Exsultet describes God’s saving work for us in Jesus: “To ransom a slave, you gave away your Son.” We are that slave, as Saint Paul writes, slaves to sin and death. Our response should be one of immense awe and gratitude before this divine generosity and charity. He began this great work, as the ancient Roman Martyrology described it, by “leaping down from His eternal throne in the fullness of time”. God became a man in order to raise us up to share His divine life forever, in the flesh. Not a bad Christmas gift, if you ask me. Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years to all!
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Dr. Elaine Parliman, Tom Timon, Bill Skidd, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, James Bosilevas, Doreen Harry, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Adriana & Noelle Quinones, Corrie Evans, Joseph J. Lasko, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi, Maurice Babe Ruggiero, Marlene Stern, 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.

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

2011 Calendars . . . 2011 St. John’s Catholic calendars are available free and can be picked up at all the entrances and exits of the church. Please take one home per household.

CHRISTMAS CONFESSION SCHEDULE:December 24th: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
December 25th: 7:00 a.m. -7:30 a.m.; 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

CHRISTMAS MASS SCHEDULE:
Christmas Eve: 4:00 p.m. and MIDNIGHT Solemn Mass with Choir[11:30pm: choir concert]
Christmas Day: 7:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m. with Christmas Carols, 12:00 noon Solemn Choir Mass; 6:00 p.m. in Creole.

Christmas Day Collection . . The Christmas second collection will be for painting the Basilica.

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.

Protectress of Rome Votive Light . . . In memory of deceased members of the DeRosa & Capobianco families req. Joan and John Kronk.

Saint Peter Votive Lights. . .The left votive is in memory of deceased family members of the Kronk family and Edwin Clark req. Joan &John Kronk. The right votive is in memory of deceased members of the Giannitti and Santagata families req. Giannitti Family.

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.

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 20th at 7 p.m.

R.C.I.A. classes. . . Meet in the Rectory on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm . No classes December 21st & December 28th.

Religious Education Classes. . . CANCELLED: December 26th and January 2nd.

Sunday December 12, 2010 $ 11,273.50
Sunday December 13, 2009 $ 13,331.73

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

December 26th Sunday Readings: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Col 3:12-21; Mt 2:13-15, 19-23.

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, the next mass is Tuesday, December 21st .

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

Basilica 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.

Kentucky Derby Night at the Races. . . Organizing meeting will be on Thursday, January 6th at 7:30 pm in the rectory. Open to men and women. All are welcome.

Grant Writers. . . The next meeting of the Parish Grant Writers will be Monday, January 10th at 7:30 pm in the rectory.

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.

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.

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.

HEBREW CLASSES. . .Anyone interested in studying Hebrew?? Our first class will be on Thursday, January 13th at 5:30 pm in the rectory: if interested, call Monsignor DiGiovanni [x11].

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.

Coffee Hour. . . Each Sunday after the 10:00 a.m. Mass in the parish hall. All are welcome. Please note: NO coffee hour on Sunday December 26th or on Sunday, January 2nd.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 18
4:00 Special Intentions Terenzio Family
Sunday, December 19
7:30 Special Intentions Maria Travino req. Lilian & Alvina Ramos
10:00 +Paige Kristina Ziegler req. Natasha O’Donnell
12:00 +Randolph Samedi req. Anne Marie Samedi
6:00 +Catherine Fetchet req. Jodi Kempf
Monday, December 20
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Veronica & John Buckheit req. Leon T.
Tuesday, December 21
8:00 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.
12:10 +Elizabeth Daly req. Leon T.
Wednesday, December 22
8:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 Special Intentions Father Audette req. Millie
Thursday, December 23
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Joseph Turturino – Christmas remembrance req. daughter Christina Strain
Friday, December 24
8:00 Special Intentions Monsignor and all Priests of the Parish
12:10 +Vito Melfi req. the Melfi Family
4:00 People of the Parish
12:00 AM Midnight Mass: Skidd Family req. Marion Morris & Family
Saturday, December 25
7:30 +Anne Augustine Penta req. Armelle Penta
10:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Yvonne & Soimil
12:00 Our Lady of Loretto Altar Guild Ladies

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. Maria Goretti Society . .. The Next Meeting 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.

St. John’s in The NEWS:
The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
145 years ago, or so:
Dec. 25, 1863: Church Services: “In the Roman Catholic Church there will be Mass at quarter to six A.M., and the usual Christmas services at 11.”

The CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
125 years ago, or so:
Dec. 26, 1885: Stamford: “The singing and music in our church on Christmas day in former years were always of a good quality; while this year it is expected not only to equal but to surpass anything ever before given. Special preparation has taken place for the singing, to be rendered on Friday at high Mass, and there is every reason to expect that the appropriate exercises will be satisfactorily carried out. With great pains the following programme has been arranged for that day:
Stearn;s Mass in “F.”
Kyrie—Quartette and Chorus.
Gloria—Chorus.
Gratias—Bass Solo-Bass and Tenor Duet.
Qui Tolis—Alto and baritone Duets.
Quoniam—Chorus and Orchestra.
Credo—Chorus and Orchestra.
Et Incarnatus—Solo and Quartette.
Et. Resurexit—Closing Orchestra and Organ.
Gounod’s—”Ave Maria.” with obligati—Miss Weed and Mr. Collins.
Sanctus—Chorus and Baritone Solo.
Tenor Solo—Benedictus.
Agnus Dei—Alto and Baritone Solo and Chorus.
Soloists in the Mass: Miss Maud Kaler, soprano; Mrs. H. Gillespie, alto; Mr. G. E. Parks, tenor; Mr. C. E. Heath, baritone; organist, Professor C. W. Smith.”

The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
50 years ago, or so:
Dec. 21, 1960: St. Johns’ Pupils To Present Play Marking Christmas. “The Sixth Grades of St. John’s Parochial School will present a Christmas assembly on Thursday. The program will be opened by the Rev. Vincent P. Cleary who will lead the children in prayer. The play “Naom of the Inn” has the following cast: James Van Allen, Dennis Feighery, Michael Farrell, Fred Sykora, Kathryn toms, Ann Marie Marini, Mary Quinn, Kathleen Sheehen, Anita Smith and John Howlett. The boys’ choir will sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. A prologue will be given by Jacquelyn Hanrahan and introduction by Edward Leonard.”

The House of Bread
– Fr Terry Walsh
O the Mystery and the Wonder of the love among the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity – what beauty, what humility; so mysterious, so explosive, so pure and holy! We were created through that love. And, even when man, in his foolish arrogance, freely chose to separate Himself from God, taking upon His shoulders the ‘Yoke of sin through Pride’ – God responded with a perfect act of Humility. Christmas celebrates that unfathomable act of love and our hearts and minds naturally open to a deep and profound contemplation of the wonder of God. In His mercy, God descended from Heaven, exchanging His Throne of Glory for a hay-filled manger in a cold cave. The Saints proclaim, ‘God became man so that man might become God’ – ‘He became poor so that we might become rich’ – rich in divine grace, rich in love and mercy. We, likewise, must become humble.

The angels cannot contain their praise and adoration – marveling at the incomprehensible love – the complete humility of the Creator of all things. Those same angels that cried out: “Glory to God in the Highest!!!” that first Christmas night – are with us at every Mass, joined by all the Saints in Heaven; they come to praise and adore God-with-us. We too hear the echo of the calm and gentle words of the angel to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid.” We who once were in Darkness have been redeemed by this Babe in the Manger. Now, we’re able to bathe in the Light, under the grace of God. Through His life, death, and Resurrection, He has opened the door to everlasting life for all who faithfully follow Him. Christ has come to offer salvation to all who are drawn to His Light – the Light of Truth and Purity; the Light of Mercy and Forgiveness; the Light of Love. He has come for all who believe in Him and live in His Light by faithfully living the Gospel.

Born in the City of David, in the little, humble town of Bethlehem, whose Name means ‘House of Bread’ – our Lord – who is the Bread of Angels – becomes for us “the Living Bread come down from Heaven!” It is precisely this act of love – made in perfect humility – that the very Son of God is born into the world – to offer Himself in sacrifice. On that night, He lay in a bed of hay; but now, He comes to us present in a tiny host – what extraordinary humility! Think of it – He makes it easy for us. He nourishes and sustains His divine life in us through ordinary bread and wine. What had been a little piece of bread becomes his dwelling place. He is there – in the host – in “Perfect Humility!” He no longer rests in a cold manger, but rather, in every warm heart that receives Him worthily – in Faith and with love. And at that most extraordinary moment when He enters our hearts; when we receive Holy Eucharist worthily, we experience an explosion of light radiating throughout our souls – a boost of strength and life. It’s this strength which enables the humble heart to “reject godless ways and worldly desires” as St. Paul tells us, and instead “live temperately, justly, and devoutly – eager to do what is good.” Every single day Emmanuel comes to us – hidden in the tiny host! –waiting for us to come to Him. EVERY single day He humbles Himself to become present and dwell forever IN us. May we reflect on his perfect humility and be truly overwhelmed with awe and wonder, echoing the song of the angels – ‘Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all on whom His favor rests!’