For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday January 23, 2011

Pastor’s Corner. . . For the majority of mortals residing in New England, January holds little more than gray, gloomy and frigid days, remembered only by the seeming eternity with which their bleak hours pass. It was never better. For example, January 26th, 1851 was just another such miserable mid-winter’s day for the inhabitants of Stamford, except for a handful of impoverished Catholic Irish immigrants and one travel-wearied bishop, who gathered to dedicate the wooden clapboard chapel of Saint John the Evangelist, then located on Meadow Street—where the Mariott stands today. The event merited a few lines in the local Stamford paper, on the bottom of the page, very well below the fold:

“This very neat edifice which has been recently finished, on Meadow Street, in this village, was dedicated on Sunday last by appropriate ceremonies. The services were conducted by the Right Rev. Bernard O’Riley, of Providence, R.I.”

The wooden chapel measured 60 by 40 feet, and was under the jurisdiction and care of Father John C. Brady, Rector of St. Mary’s in Norwalk, who lived on Cove Road in Stamford, mid-way between both towns.

In Yankee Connecticut, Catholics were few, and priests non-extant, in the early part of the 19th century. Patrick Walsh, a native of Ballintaylor in Waterford, Ireland, wrote his immigrant son Michael, then living in Rochksborough [today, Roxbury Road], Stamford. In his letter of June 19, 1828, Patrick scolded his son for not attending Mass: “You tell me you have no Roman Catholick [sic] Priest nearer to you than New York. Nevertheless, mind your duty to God and your Master, which is the only way to forward you, here and hereafter” [Basilica archives].

By 1851, there were no more than about 100 Catholics in town. But they were loud and insistent, having repeatedly complained to the Bishops of Hartford to impress upon them that Stamford’s Catholic community, while small numerically, meant business, and needed not merely an occasional visit by an itinerant priest, but a pastor of souls who lived in town, with a church of their own. And they got what they needed and wanted!

Those two-fisted Catholic forbearers of ours were the men and women who also built our present church a few decades later, assisted by the help of hundreds more poor Catholic immigrants, whose presence swelled the Catholic community; and they built more than just another church, but, for the time, the largest stone church in the state. Somehow, they raised the funds, and, somehow, in the next century, they built one of the largest schools in the city, two convents, and Saint Joseph Hospital. Not bad! Those were the decades when the Church formed the local culture. Now, 160 years after the dedication of the original tiny wooden clapboard chapel on Meadow Street in “Little Dublin”, we are also a Basilica—the pope’s church in Fairfield County.

So, happy anniversary of our dedication! While the anniversary on the 26th of this month in the Year of Our Lord 2011 may not make your January days less dull, it should warm your hearts knowing that earlier generations of parishioners so loved and cherished the same Catholic faith that we share today, that they endured much to pass it on to us by providing God with the most beautiful church in the state. Let’s do the same: it’s time to complete the repainting of our basilica, so we can preserve both faith and parish church for the subsequent generations of Stamford’s Catholics.
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Tana Sibilio, Kathleen Nichols, Kyaiera Mistretta, Millie Maida, Joseph Hlavaty, Doreen & Courtney Harry, Dr. Elaine Parliman, Tom Timon, Bill Skidd, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Courtney Harry, Doreen Harry, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Adriana & Noelle Quinones, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Joseph J. Lasko, James Bosilevas, Robert Lockhart, Luis Vericat, Fransoice Simon, Rose Pavia, Margaret Smegal, Bill Cody, John Donaher, Shirley Piacenza, Sheila Lockhart, James Andersen, Domineco Gentile, Alma Vota.

Church in Latin America Collection . . . Please drop your special Church in Latin America envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

NEW SUNDAY MASS SCHEDULE: Beginning March 13th:
Saturday Vigil Mass: 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 7:30 a.m.; 8:30 a.m. Latin Mass; 10:00 a.m. Family Mass; 12:00 noon Solemn Choir Mass; 5:00 p.m.

Sunday Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form. . . Will begin at Saint John’s on March 13th, the First Sunday of Lent, at 8:30 a.m. This will be a Low Mass, offered each Sunday throughout the year.

Sunday Afternoon Mass. . . Will begin at Saint John’s on March 13th, the First Sunday of Lent, at 5:00 p.m. There will be no music or added ceremony at this Mass: 30 minutes.

Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Hour: January 24th at 7 p.m.

Memorial Votive Lights . . . The votive lights near Saint Peter, and the one before the icon of Mary Protectress of the Roman People, may be memorialized for the a donation of $20.00 per candle. Please call Cindy at ext. 21, between 9AM-1:30PM.

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

Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . Each Wednesday at 7:30PM in the rectory; we are reading the letters of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, in English. Please join us.

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

Hebrew Grammar Class. . .Thursdays at 5:30 pm in the rectory. This is for beginners.

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

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.

Grant Writers. . . The next meeting of the Parish Grant Writers will be Monday, January 24th at 7:30 pm in the rectory. Please bring your notes and experimental work to the meeting.

Parish Tour Guides. . . I’ll be contacting you all this week to begin scheduling our training meetings through January and February: please study the Basilica Self-guide Brochure.

Project Rachel. . . Peace after abortion. Your first step can be a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat for any person who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion. Our next retreat is January 28-30, 2011. Call 203-218-0291 or visit http://www.rachelsvineyardbpt.com. All inquiries are confidential.

The Saturday Ladies’ Group. . . will be discontinued due to parish religious ed. schedule changes.

Sunday January 16, 2011 $ 11,181.35
Sunday January 17, 2010 $ 12,040.73
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

January 30th Sunday Readings: Zep 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12a.

Latin Mass. . . Fr. Cyprian LaPastina will offer the Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. here at Saint John’s; the next Mass is Tuesday, January 25th .

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.

March for Life. . . Monday, January 24th: the Sisters of Life are sponsoring a bus for those who would like to join them on a day trip to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life, the national protest on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The bus will leave Saint John’s parking lot at 5:30 a.m. PROMPTLY. If you are interested, please call Sr. Bernadette Therese at 203-416-1445 or respectlife@diobpt.org. There is a cost of $55.00 per person, and this is for adults.

Foundation Grants. . . The parish has begun work to secure funding for various parish projects and programs. Before our committee begins contacting foundations, I ask all parishioners to lend a hand: if anyone has personal contacts or involvement with any corporations, foundations, endowments or other grant providing institutions, I would be grateful if you would contact me. Personal relationships always are helpful, so if you know anyone on the board of a foundation or charity, or if you are involved in making such decisions for such charitable entities, please give me a call. Thanks very much. Mons. DiGiovanni

Mark your calendar. . . Saturday, May 7th: Join us for the Kentucky Derby in the Monsignor Nagle Hall for an evening of fun, chance, good food, great music, and prizes. We’ll watch the race on jumbo screens, the ladies in huge Derby hats and with mint julips to boot! This will be our major fundraising event of the year, the proceeds of which will be used to help repaint the rest of the church interior. Come join us for the fun, and bring friends: details to follow.

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 24th.

St. Gabriel’s Church Liturgical Events . . . All are welcome.
– Solemn Mass on the Feast of the Presentation with Procession and Blessing of Candles,
Bishop William Lori, Celebrant — Wednesday February 2nd at 7:30PM — Reception to follow
-Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes — Friday Feb. 11th
at 7:30PM. Low Mass with organ followed by Rosary and Benediction
Located at 914 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT. For questions, please call (203) 322-7426.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 22
4:00 + Francesco A. Docimo req. Josephine & Anthony Marena
Sunday, January 23
7:30 + Wilhelmina-Belia Falek-Roerhost req. Sharon Gannon
10:00 + Vincent & Teresa Kung req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
12:00 + Deceased members of the Morris family req. Marion Morris & family
6:00 + Bertha Dantas req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
Monday, January 24
8:00 + Thomas Wesley Crowl req. friends
12:10 + Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
Tuesday, January 25
8:00 + Corina Trombetto req. Dorothy Monahan
12:10 + Eva, Charles, Anne & Joseph Kronk & Irene Churley req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, January 26
8:00 Joseph & Louisa Rustici family req. the Bosilevas family
12:10 + Dorothy Yacucci req. Ann Armstrong
Thursday, January 27
8:00 + Marcello Santagata req. Angela Giannitti
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, January 28
8:00 + Menotti Sammarco req. the Marchetti family
12:10 +James M. Duffy req. the Duffy family
Saturday, January 29
8:00 + Henry Walsh req. Steven Terenzio
12:10 + Eddie and Anna Curtin req. Mary Bridget Gaine

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.

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. Our next meeting will be Sunday, February 27th.

Pray to end legalized abortion . . . Wednesdays, 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. Will meet Sunday the 23rd in the rectory after the 12 PM Mass. 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: all are welcome.

Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . Meets Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in the rectory: open only to those with a fundamental reading ability in Biblical Greek.

Introduction to Hebrew. . . Thursdays at 5:30 pm in the rectory: This is a true beginner’s class in grammar.

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

St. John’s in The NEWS:
The BOSTON PILOT:
160 years ago, or so:
Jan. 30, 1851: Connecticut—Stamford: “Mr. Editor: From a conviction of the interest which your truly Catholic paper has always taken in communicating through its columns the progress of our holy religion, I take pleasure in informing you of the dedication our Church in Stamford, on Sunday, January the 27th, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop O’Reilly. The morning was beautiful and it would appear that the cross shone with more than usual luster; from an early hour in the morning the hills and valleys were literally covered over with the sons and daughters of the emerald isle, whose hearts and souls were overflowing with joy that the time at length arrived when they had a church to be dedicated to the service of Almighty God. This church has been commenced and completed by the indefatigable zeal of our pious and exemplary pastor, Rev. John C. Brady, with the co-operation of the whole-souled Catholics of Stamford. The Church was dedicated to Almighty God under the patronage of St. John the Baptist , after which confirmation was conferred on a considerable number, who were duly prepared by their Rev. Pastor; then High Mass was sung by the Pastor, and after the first gospel the Bishop ascended the platform and preached a very eloquent and persuasive sermon on the gospel of the day to a crowded congregation, many of whom were not of our religion, yet they were much delighted by the mild and charitable sermon. In the afternoon at vespers he preached one of the most powerful and practicable sermons we ever heard. On the following Tuesday he dedicated another Church, erected by the same pastor, under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and administered confirmation to those who were prepared here; he was assisted by the Rev. Mr. Lynch of Bridgeport, and Rev. Mr. Brady of Middletown. So now Mr. Editor you must think that our holy religion is flourishing rapidly along the Sound. A few years ago there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant coming from New York to New Haven, but now the emblem of salvation may be seen in every little village. Yours truly, J. T. O’R..”

The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
100 years ago, or so:
Jan. 25, 1911: Priests’ Salaries Increased: “It is noticed in the annual reports of the Roman Catholic Churches which are read with widespread interest throughout the State, that salaries of the priests appear at $1,000 instead of $800 as formerly. In response to an inquiry it was learned that Bishop Nilan has raised the salaries of the pastors throughout the diocese. The salaries of the curates remains the same at $500.”

Eclipse of the Soul -Fr. Terry Walsh
Imagine your soul to be a beautiful round disk, perhaps in the shape of the Sun. At Baptism, your “disk” might be the size of a pea, or perhaps a tiny little seed. Throughout the course of your life, as you “choose” life, that is, as you choose to walk in the Light of Christ, seeking His grace (especially through faithful reception of the Sacraments, daily prayer, and ‘living’ the Gospel), that little light, your “soul” – grows brighter and brighter. It is the Light of Christ; He has invited us to share in His Light, the Divine Life – the Life of Grace – which sanctifies us. In His Light, the Scriptures teach us, we “see” Light. We begin to understand with ever-greater clarity what is true and pure and beautiful, and our hearts, which are naturally inclined for the good, the true, the pure, the beautiful, become more firmly intent on adhering to Christ. The “little” light in us begins to sort of pulsate outward – it grows. The Light informs our conscience – we know when we’re on the right path and when we’ve strayed. We know when we’re making an honest effort to grow in the Light and when we’ve settled for a sort of mediocre gait. We know. Now, as the Light grows in us, Jesus draws others into the Light through us. In effect, we are cooperating with Him in the salvation of souls. His graces are without measure. We simply need to expand the capacity of our souls to receive Him (Faithfulness to prayer, Sacraments, and ‘living’ the Gospel). What a life we’re called to share with Him! What a joy it will be when He reveals to us the effects of our prayer and our faithful witness to the Gospel demonstrated through the love with which we carried out the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives. And how critically important it is then to make every effort to allow His Light to emanate brightly.
So what blocks that light? What is it that impedes the gifts He has poured into our hearts from being cultivated and used for the good of others? The short answer of course is sin. How often do we allow pride, anger, or some other shield to eclipse the Light of Christ? He dwells within us and thirsts for our faithful cooperation – our love – to build up the Mystical Body – to understand more clearly the gifts He has given each of us and to develop, nurture, and appreciate those tremendous gifts for the salvation and sanctification of souls, beginning with our own. Humbly ask for the grace to accomplish this task, this mission, which we call Discipleship. Once again, we say, “Lord, heal me of (whatever shield I have – pride, anger, unkindness, etc.) so that you may draw others to yourself – through my cooperation with you – that is, through my love for you – through my thanks for what you have done for me – what you do for me every day. It is a heavy shield Lord – I have put it there through human weakness – but you can remove it through your grace. Give me the grace I need so that I can satisfy your thirst.
John Henry Cardinal Newman beautifully prayed:
“Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly, that our lives may be only a radiance of yours. Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus! Stay with us, and then we will begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be ours; it will be you, shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching, not by words but by our example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.” What a beautiful prayer to offer before receiving Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, in Holy Eucharist.

“I am the Light of the world. He that follows Me walks not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – The Gospel of John 8: 12