For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday December 26, 2010

Pastor’s Corner. . .Once God became a man, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, everything changed: the relationship between creation and the now Incarnate-Creator became the heart of existence, and the way we live should becomes different than if He had never become a man. Since the first Christmas, the personal happiness and fate of each of us would now be determined by our daily response to this God become man in each of our lives.
God would touch the hearts of each human person born, and their response to that Divine intervention would be seen, not merely in words theological, but in lives spiritual, clear and distinct in their bearing witness either that God became a man to change us into sharers of His eternal life, or witness that we really don’t care about God or eternity, but only about our personal here-and-now.
The saints give us such examples of men and women who succeeded in responding to the Incarnation actually, in daily lives and not merely in daily words or pretty religious sentiments. They are God bearers in their unbelieving centuries and cultures; their love for God formed their very thoughts and motivated their every deed. Since we are blessed in the parish with numerous relics of saints—rather real proofs that living to please God was possible in years past and is possible in the present, I would like to point out some rather interesting saints during this Christmas season.
On the high altar are two tower-like reliquaries: 19th century English works of superb craftsmanship of carved brass, donated by a parishioner. Each bears relics of saints: that on the left contains a large bone of Saint Constantine: the more imaginative of his biographers said he was the nephew of King Arthur! Actually, he came from Scotland, married the daughter of the King of Brittany and, after her untimely death, renounced his crown and fortune as King of Cornwall to become a monk, worked with Saint Columba in Ireland and St. Kentigern in South-West Scotland. He was elected abbot of his monastery and bishop on the Island of Kintyre, and while preaching God’s Incarnate mercy to convert local pagans, he was finally martyred in 576 A.D. One man’s bearing witness to God-become-man so we could become God, and the response of others rejecting that offer of Divine mercy into their daily life, by murdering the messenger, Saint Constantine.
In the right-hand reliquary, are the relics of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Our Lady, along with the relic of Saint Stephen, the first martyr. The legend of Joachim and Anne is that they were an elderly couple, who were unable to have children. Mocked by their neighbors, they separated, and prayed for divine guidance. Their prayers heard, and sent back to each other by God, their love and God’s grace finally accomplished the seeming impossible: Saint Anne conceived, and her daughter, Mary, would become the Mother of Our Lord, whose birth we celebrated on December 25th. They trusted entirely in God and His promises, and found happiness by being able to participate in bringing salvation to the world in Bethlehem. Saint Stephen, a contemporary of Our Lady’s parents, of Our Lady, Our Lord and the Apostles, Stephen was one of the first deacons, as spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles, 6-7. Because of his forceful preaching and charity, he was dragged outside the walls of Jerusalem soon after Christ’s Resurrection, and stoned to death. As he was dying, he prayed for the one who led his murderers: Saul, who soon would be chosen by the Resurrected Lord to become the Apostle Paul. Stephen’s prayers, witness of God’s mercy in the flesh and charity towards his persecutors, even as he was dying, are said to have brought Paul to conversion. Saint Paul would work with Saint Peter as the two Princes of the Apostles, the founders of the Church in Rome. Stephen’s feast is December 26th, to remind us the day after Christmas that the birth of the Savior is serious business: neither Satan nor many people like the reality of God coming into the world, because it makes God too real, and demands an equally real personal response by us: acceptance or rejection.
These people, not really different from ourselves, understood that because God had become a man at a certain time and in a certain place, everything was different: the Creator had become a man to reconcile all creation with the Father. These saints knew that their lives would bear immense importance by doing one thing: loving the God who took on human flesh, in their words and deeds, in order to share in the victory of the Christ born in Bethlehem, crucified and risen from the dead in Jerusalem. These saints are remembered around the world by millions of people throughout the centuries to the present today. Can you remember the names of the kings or princes who ruled when these saints lived? Can you name any public figures of their times, or politicians or any of the shakers and movers who lived in the same cities where these saints lived? No. Yet it is these saints who are remembered because they responded to the Divine Generosity manifest at Bethlehem: they lived to please the God who became a man, so that one day they could share God’s very life. Let’s do the same: kneel at the altar rail after Mass today, and say a prayer to Saints Joachim and Anne the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to the martyrs Saints Constantine and Stephen: we share the same Faith with them, and are part of the same Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, in which they are still members with us. Pray to imitate them in the New Year, since they imitated Christ perfectly, so we may all meet one day in Heaven. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Joseph Hlavaty, Doreen Harry, 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.

Apologies. . . Are due from me to two members of our parish who worked hours to make our Christmas Fair a success—and I forgot to mention them two weeks ago. Robin Uva and Scholastica Nabwire worked diligently to help make the fair a success, and I am very grateful to them for their help; I hope they’ll excuse my bad memory, and accept my thanks.

New Year’s Day. . . Is NOT a holy day of obligation this year, because it falls on a Saturday. Please feel free to sleep in that morning: Happy New Year! The regular Saturday Mass schedule will be observed: 8 am, 12:10 pm Masses for Saturday, and 4 pm vigil Mass for Sunday.

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.

Saint Peter Votive Lights. . .The left votive – Special Intentions Gregory E. Mazza req. his 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. 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 Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Hour: December 27th at 7 p.m.

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

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

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 Cindy [x 21].

Envelopes. . . Some parishioners have not received their weekly envelopes during these past weeks. It is the envelope company’s fault. We have complained to them repeatedly, but to no avail. We have tried to change companies, but those we spoke with seem as inept as our present envelope providers. The envelope company cannot fix this until February. In the meantime, if you have not received your envelopes, please use a plain envelope and write your name and/or your account number on it. It’s a good exercise in patience, I suppose. Monsignor DiGiovanni

Sunday December 19, 2010 $ 12,259.50
Sunday December 20, 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

January 2nd Sunday Readings: Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12.

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 28th .

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. Topics: job interviewing, writing of resumes, networking and job seeking strategies. There is no charge for these services. Next meeting: January 23rd.

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.

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, CHRISTMAS DAY, December 25
4:00PM NO MASS
6:00PM Special Intentions Ferry Galbert req. office
Sunday, December 26
7:30AM +John Melfi, Sr., Mary Melfi, John Melfi, Jr. & Vito Melfi req. the Melfi Family
10:00AM +Randolph Samedi req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:00PM +Jayson Jarrett req. Norma Jarrett
6:00PM +Louise Bonny and Emmanuel Ethert req. Yanick Bonny
Monday, December 27
8:00AM +Nang Nguyen req. Thang Nguyen
12:10PM In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.
Tuesday, December 28
8:00AM +John Maloney req. wife Mary
12:10PM +Stephen & Nicholas Churley & Eva, Charles, Nicholas, Anna, Joseph & Charles Kronk,
Jr. req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, December 29
8:00AM Deceased Priests & Nuns in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10PM Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
Thursday, December 30
8:00AM Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10PM +John Marini & Bob Bell req. Leon T.
Friday, December 31
8:00AM Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10PM Deceased Members of the D’Amico, Schepis & Fazio Families req. Frank D’Amico
Saturday, January 1
8:00AM +Charles Cycon req. Cycon Family
12:10PM All 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 . . .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. . .For the spiritual formation of young men, 8th – 12th grades. Questions, please contact Ferry Galbert 203-324-1553 ext. 22.

St. Maria Goretti Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young ladies, 8th-12th grades. Questions, contact Beth Carpanzano at 203-975-0074.

Bible Study…Meets each Thursday at 7 p.m. in the rectory. Book of Revelation and Acts of the Apostles.

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 Advocate:
115 years ago, or so:
Dec. 26, 1893: Largest Christmas Gathering in Town: “The children of St. John’s R. C. Church and Sunday-school were given a Christmas entertainment in Miller’s Hall, Sunday afternoon. The Hall was crowded to the doors. A short concert was rendered by the Sunday-school scholars, consisting of choruses, solos and recitations. After the concert, Santa Claus appeared and gave a few words of Advice to the boys and girls. Father Rogers made a few remarks in his usual witty style. The distribution of the gifts then began from the huge Christmas tree which stood on the north side of the hall, resplendent with gilt stars, ornaments and articles of all kinds. Each child was presented with a present, a bag of candy and an orange, and they left the hall appearing quite happy.”

70 years ago, or so:
Dec. 31, 1940: The Stamford Advocate Brings New Year’s Messages. “Rev. N. P. Coleman: To my fellow citizens of Stamford: I extend my best wishes for a happy 1941. In a war torn and distressed world, we enter the new year with mixed feelings. First and foremost, should come the feeling of gratitude to God, for the many blessings received during the past year. Then, our thoughts turn to the future, and our hopes are tempered with the feeling of uncertainty. However, if we place our confidence in God, and observe his commandments, whatever the future may bring we shall be prepared. The most important thing for every individual to consider at the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new, is his spiritual and eternal welfare. During the coming year, it would be well for every one to spend more time in daily prayer and communion with God. I would recommend also more frequent attendance at divide worship. Much of the unrest and trouble in the world today is caused by lack of proper religious thought and action. Many people are too lazy or too indifferent to make a little sacrifice in giving proper time to the worship of God. To the young people, especially those of high school age, I would suggest a greater interest in the study of religion. They will find that a spiritual background will be a source of strength and consolation to them in the trials and difficulties that will beset them in later life. I would suggest also, that we cultivate a greater love of God and our fellow men, during the coming year. We should eliminate all feelings of bigotry, racial animosity, and intolerance from our community. If we put the first things first, Stamford will be a happier and better community during the coming year.”

Who is St. John the Evangelist?
-Fr. Terry Walsh
John is, of course, one of the 12 Apostles – the youngest of them all. He and his brother, the Apostle James, were fishermen from Bethsaida, a town in Galilee. They were the sons of Zebedee and Salome and were known as the ‘Sons of Thunder’ because of their deep and abiding faith and their desire to preach the Gospel to all the world. John was also known as the ‘Beloved Disciple’- it was John who leaned against our Lord at the Last Supper; it was John who was at the foot of the Cross. Along with Peter and James, John formed part of the ‘inner circle’ of Jesus. Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus take Peter, James, and John aside and draw them into the most significant moments in His ministry, such as the Raising of Jairus’ daughter and the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Both St. Luke (Acts of the Apostles) and St. Paul (Letter to the Galatians) speak of John as playing a prominent role in the early Church following the Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost.
Who is John? He was the only Apostle at the foot of the Cross. It was there — from the Cross — that our Lord gave John to Mary and at the same time entrusted His Blessed Mother into the hands of his faithful Apostle. We can only imagine the influence the Mother of our Lord had on John through out the years they lived together. We need only look to Sacred Scripture to gain some insight into the influence of Mary’s Motherly love upon the heart of the disciple that leaned against our Lord that night when He would give Himself up for us.
John wrote the 4th Gospel, sometimes referred to as the ‘Spiritual Gospel.’ John pierces the veil, as it were, into the deeper meaning of Jesus’ words. In addition, John wrote three of the letters in the New Testament as well as the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. He was the last of the Apostles to die and with his death the Canon of Sacred Scripture, which comes to us through the Apostles, was closed.
Consider the stunning beginning of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John powerfully proclaims the divinity of Jesus and points to the sacrifice Jesus would offer in order that we might share in His Divine life for all eternity. What a magnificent hymn of praise to our Lord, who calls us to be His very children. Moreover, John beautifully recalls our Lord’s words to His disciples in the 6th chapter of the Gospel, also known as “The Bread of Life Discourse,” and tells how those who are baptized into His Body will be nourished and sustained – it is through the very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Word made Flesh. In this chapter the mystery of Holy Eucharist is revealed. Why did the Word leave His heavenly throne of Glory to become Incarnate? Why did He willingly undergo terrible suffering and die upon the Cross? John tells us in his 1st letter, “God is Love,” and this is why he came. We are called to abide in His love. As we receive His very Body and Blood in faith, we naturally grow in love and, in our own particular way with the help of His grace, we too become – in a manner of speaking – “Sons of Thunder.”

St. John the Evangelist, Pray for us!
Feast Day—December 27th