For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday February 6, 2011

Pastor’s Corner. . .Gentlemen of the parish: please consider this a friendly service from your pastor; one which, if heeded in time, might actually save you great annoyance and pain: One week from Monday is February 14th. For most mere mortals of the male variety of our speicies, this means little, except that it is a Monday night to watch hoops (West Virginia at Syracuse followed by Kansas at Kansas State). However, take heed, for your own safety!!—it is Valentine’s Day!!! There may be someone you know of the female variety of our species, interested in this day, and not because of the sports calendar. Despite the day’s development during the past decades, undoubtedly through the efforts of emporia specializing in flowers, chocolates and greeting cards, there really is an historic basis for the day, even if the Church has moved on to other saints remembered on the 14th: it may not interest you, gentlemen, but you might read on—for your own safety that day. You’ll want to sound like you’re interested, so read on.
In the Church’s calendar, two martyrs named Valentine are recorded, and their feast days used to be on February 14th. Both died around 269 A.D. According to the Roman Martyrology: “At Rome, on the Via Flaminia, the birthday [into heaven] of St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr, who, after many wondrous works of healing and teaching, was scourged with rods and beheaded under the Emperor Claudius.” And, “At Terni, St. Valentine, Bishop and Martyr, who, after lengthy ill-treatment was imprisoned; and since he could not be overcome, he was brought out of his prison in the silence of midnight and beheaded, at the command of Placidus, prefect of the city.” Since the town of Terni is only about 60 miles outside of Rome, modern scholars believe that the two Valentines were actually one person, with two records of different aspects of the same martyrdom. His tomb became a popular pilgrimage site, and a basilica was built over his grave outside Rome by the fourth century. The cult of St. Valentine proved a popular one, especially since his was the first martyr’s grave to be visited by religious pilgrims on their way to Rome.
The interesting practice of sending Valentine cards to one’s “significant other”, seems to have developed along two lines: the first comes from an ancient Roman pagan practice of the mid-February Lupercalia, when young men drew by lot the names of unmarried girls. The second, a supposed medieval belief, that on February 14th, birds chose their mates and began nesting, hence the “romantic” side of it.
Even though the local sparrows and starlings have, in fact, begun building their nests in the rectory eaves above my bedroom, despite the cold and ice, [Punsxutawney Phil did, indeed, presage an early spring this year] these two ideas wouldn’t seem sufficiently impressive to justify an annual celebration of human love on the feast of a martyred celibate priest. The Church’s one time celebration of this day on the feast of the saint’s martyrdom can be linked to the Christian notion of romantic love: Saint John’s narrative in his first letter that “no one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend,” while describing Jesus’ unconditional love for us, has also been the foundation for the Church’s teaching on Catholic marriage. A man and a woman sacrifice their private lives and interests for the benefit of the another—Catholic marriage is a martyrdom of personal self-interest for love of the other, and the sacrifices necessary to remain faithful to that person, are those offered by each partner as a spiritual sacrifice, for the other’s eternal salvation.
That is what a martyr does: offers his or her life rather than deny the Beloved, who is Jesus. Saint Thomas More, the Catholic lawyer-martyr under England’s King Henry VIII, in a letter to his daughter Margaret, explained why he could not deny Christ or His Church: “In the end, it is a matter of love.” Love for God, manifest in love of neighbor, who is the Image and Likeness of God.
So, pagan Roman fertility practices and nesting birds notwithstanding, the commemoration of human love on the February 14th feast of the martyr, Saint Valentine, does have some importance: charity in two forms: giving oneself for one’s beloved with no hope of personal benefit—an offering of self to another person because of love, which leads to eternity.
While the Church no longer celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day on February 14th [it’s actually the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 9th century missionaries to Eastern Europe], we can still do so: husbands and wives can reaffirm their love for each other in Christ: a love, faithful until death, just like Christ’s love for us on the Cross: its result is eternity with God. Gentlemen, pay heed, and don’t forget the flowers, romantic salutation in the morning, chocolates and the rest of it. If you do it right, you still might be allowed to watch the game on Monday night (Go Syracuse!). Happy Valentine’s Day! —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Babe Ruggiero, 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, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Adriana & Noelle Quinones, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Jamie Chapin, 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.

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 .

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: 35 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: February 7th at 7 p.m.

Protectress of Rome Votive Light Memorial . . .Special Intentions Michael and Matthew Borkowski req. Ann Borkowski.

Memorial Votive Lights. . . Five votive lights for memorials: The two votive lights next to the statue of Saint Peter, the one 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.

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

Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . Will next meet in March, at 7:30PM in the rectory; to read the Regola Pastoralis by 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 Tuesday, February 15th 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.

St. Anne’s Society . . . will meet Sunday, February 27th. We will begin with Adoration at 5pm and then move to the Church Hall for a Potluck dinner and a lecture. All are welcome to attend. Please bring a hot dish, salad or dessert so all can join in.

Sunday January 30, 2011 $ 12,222.16
Sunday January 31, 2010 $ 12,309.53

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

February 13th Sunday Readings: Sir 15:15-20; 1 Cor 2:6-10; Mt 5:17-37 or 5:20-22a,
27-28, 33-34a, 37

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, February 8th .

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.

Help!!. . . 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.

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.

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: February 28th.

St. Gabriel’s Church Liturgical Events . . . All are welcome.
-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, February 5
4:00 Special Intentions John Kung req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
Sunday, February 6
7:30 +Alexander Munro 33rd Anniversary req. DeVivo & Munro Families
10:00 +Helen Nagy Uva req. children Robin & Charles Uva
12:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
6:00 Ferry Galbert req. friends
Monday, February 7
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Helen Kravarova req. Fabiola C.
Tuesday, February 8
8:00 +Mario Campana req. Kashyap Palicha
12:10 +Catherine Pascale req. John and Laura Pascale
Wednesday, February 9
8:00 Special Intentions Laura Gulden req. Francis Baranowski
12:10 Kathy Ciccarelli req. Joan and Jim Renella
Thursday, February 10
8:00 Souls in Purgatory
12:10 +Conrado Molina req. Cecilia Carpio
Friday, February 11
8:00 +Mary C. Waters req. Maude & Paul Hughes
12:10 +Lucrecia Ablan Llanera req. Cecilia Carpio
Saturday, February 12
8:00 + Hope & Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 + Helen Malloy req. the Carpanzano 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.

Moms & Tots . . . Moms and their kids meets in the Church each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30a.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. 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 ADVOCATE:
135 years ago, or so:
Feb. 8, 1878: Death of Pope Pius IX: “A dispatch received yesterday afternoon announced the death of Pope Pius IX at 4:57 Wednesday afternoon. This event has long been expected, as the Pope has been rapidly failing for several months past.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Pius IX was Pope when St. John’s was made a Parish in 1854.)

75 years ago, or so:
Feb. 12, 1935: More Than 1,000 at St. John’s Holy Name Card Party and Dance: “More than 1,000 people attended the card party and dance last night, at the Burdick Junior High School under the auspices of the Holy Name Society of St. John’s R.C. Church. Almost the entire number of people present played either euchre, pinochle, bridge or bingo. For the card players there was an assortment of approximately 150 prizes, donated by friends and members of the society. At the completion of card playing, dancing was enjoyed to the music of a six-piece orchestra. The affair was under the general direction of William H. Brennan, while the bridge section was supervised by Frank Creagh: pinochle and euchre by Daniel McInerney; bingo by John P. Reilly and Mathew Seiler. William P. Troy acted as general announcer.”

45 years ago, or so:
Feb. 7, 1963: Time Turns Back In Flight As Movie Seeks Authenticity: “Moving a little way back in history to the early part of this century, street lights and parking meters have been removed and yellow no parking areas on the street have been painted over in front of St. John’s Church on Atlantic St. for the filming of scenes of “The Cardinal.” Today, though, with the actual outside filming begun, a large crowd gathered to watch members of the Fairfield County Region Horseless Carriage Club driving their vehicles of ancient vintage for scenes of the movie. Some of the drivers even wore raccoon coats. Participants and their cars included: James Dodge of Pound Ridge, in a 1915 Packard; Leslie Douglas of Southport, club president, a 1913 Ford; Ralph DeAngelis of Stamford, 1916 Ford; Everett Sipperly of Norwalk, 1914 Ford; Don Boas of Wilton, 1910 Ford; Don Coley of Westport, 1912 Ford; his wife and son, Donnie, 1910 Cadillac; Allen Saunders of Darien, 1914 Ford; Bob DeForest of Darien, 1913 KisselKar; Vincent Kovlak of Bridgeport, 1912 Republic truck; George Norrick of New Canaan. 1915 Franklin owned by Miley Heinbaugh of Darien.”

The Sacrament of Marriage
– Fr. Terry Walsh
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no human being separate.”
The Church teaches us that the Sacrament of Marriage actually signifies the union of Christ and the Church – it’s actually a cause of Grace which “perfects” human love. It’s this grace that enables the spouses to take up their Crosses and forgive one another and to bear one another’s burdens. It’s Grace that strengthens their indissoluble unity and sanctifies them with a supernatural, tender, fruitful love on the way to eternal life.
Christ is truly present in the Sacramental Bond between the Husband and the Wife. Our Lord speaks to their hearts and invites them to come to know His Heart through their marriage – “What God has joined let no man separate.”
All of Sacred Scripture is filled with Marriage imagery – indeed it begins and ends with it. In the opening pages of the Bible we hear the story of the creation of man and woman in the very image and likeness of God and the Bible concludes with a vision of the Wedding feast of the Lamb (The Holy Mass) in the Book of Revelation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it abundantly clear that the entire Christian life bears the mark of the Spousal love of Christ and the Church – it is a Nuptial Mystery – and it is the fruit of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The ‘mutual gift’ of the spouses to each other becomes then an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves mankind and married life becomes a sign of the presence of Christ (Recommended reading of article numbers in the Catechism: 1601-1666).
Our Patron, St. John, teaches us that this mysterious thing we call love is actually God Himself. The Gift of love gives meaning to every other gift and the humble daily practice of love is our faithful response to our Lord’s command: “Be Perfect, as your Heavenly Father is Perfect.” When a married couple lives their vocation as intended by God, the fruits of that love – the graces of that love – spill out into the whole Christian Community in the Supernatural Realm.
God communicates His love to us primarily and ordinarily through the Sacraments. Jesus is constantly giving Himself to us. Consider what He is doing in the Holy Mass: He gives Himself to the Father in sacrifice (listen carefully to the words of the Eucharistic Prayer) and He gives Himself to us (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) in Holy Communion, the Eucharist. He gives Himself completely – He holds nothing back.
Baptism opens the door to all the Sacraments. We are sustained by the Eucharist, purified and transformed through Sacramental Confession, and in the Sacrament of Marriage, the spouses, joined by the Power of the Holy Spirit, Sacramentally, actually become a source of Grace for one another. Each freely gives to the other what God has given to each of them: they actually communicate grace!
And this is why it is so important to stay close to God in the Sacraments, in prayer, and in faithfully living the promises of the vocation – so that God will be free to pour His grace into the hearts of the spouses, thus enabling the spouses to remain on the well-lit path that leads straight to the very heart of Christ.