For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday February 20, 2011

Pastor’s Corner. . .Come February 22nd, which is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Saint John’s will have been a Minor Basilica for one whole year. As the pope’s church in Fairfield County, Saint John’s simply reflects the reality of who Saint Peter is in the Church founded by Our Lord, as reflected by Our Lord’s words to Saint Peter in the Gospel: “Simon , son of John. . . You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” [Mt 13:16-19].
When Our Lord spoke these words to Simon, son of John in the presence of the other Apostles, He did not single out a particular friend, or grant to this fisherman a mere personal concession of authority. Jesus would never have chosen Peter: Jesus was surprised that Simon, of all the Twelve, was the only one who answered His question correctly: “Who do you say I am?” Not being the brightest of the Apostolic crowd, Simon’s answer pointed out to Our Lord that the Heavenly Father had chosen Simon, and provided him with the answer, in order to clarify to Jesus who it was who should head up the Church. Next, Our Lord changed Simon’s name: whenever God changed the name of anyone in the Old Testament, as He did with Abram to Abraham, it meant that God was changing the very reason for that person’s existence. Abram became Abraham in order to be the Father of the Chosen People and all the faithful of Christ’s new covenant, whose “descendants would be more numerous than the stars” [Gen 23:17] He changes Simon’s name to Peter, since Peter would bring that promise to fulfillment through the Church—the New Israel. Why did Jesus choose the name “Peter”? Why not George or Reginald? Because Peter means Rock in Aramaic, the language spoken and in which the Gospel of Matthew was written: the word for rock is Kephas, or Cephas in the English transliteration, which is repeated in the Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul [4 times in Galatians; 4 times in I Corinthians]. In English, this play on words doesn’t work: the name Peter doesn’t look anything like the word Rock; the closest in a modern language is the French word Pierre—for both Peter and Rock.
Our Lord next told Simon that “You are Peter [Rock], and on this Rock [Peter] I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” [Matt 16:16-19]. The Church isn’t built on an idea, or a social movement, or ideology: it was established by the Divine Person of Our Lord, obedient to another Divine Person, the Eternal Father, and enlivened by the Third Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, guiding the Church to teach only the truth so that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” And, the Church’s visible head is another person: Peter. But that office and duty Christ gave to Peter was not a personal gift to that one man. Jesus was establishing a permanent Church, which would last until the end of the world, and reach to the ends of the world, offering truth, grace and salvation to everyone. The symbol of that authority ?—the Keys of Heaven: Jesus just about quotes Isaiah 22:22, which is about the king giving authority in the form of keys of the palace to the chief steward. That chief steward was given the keys of authority only for a while, and then they were passed to his successor. So too with Peter and the Church. Jesus did not make Peter the absolute Head of the Church: that is Jesus. But the visible head of the Church is Peter, and his successors, the Bishops of Rome, where Peter taught and died a martyr with Saint Paul.
Our Lord knew that Peter was imperfect; He scolded Peter soon after, when Peter objected that Jesus shouldn’t suffer and die. Likewise, Peter denied knowing Christ three times on the evening of His arrest; abandoning Him the day He died on the Cross. Yet, Our Lord did not withdraw His grant of authority from this weak and flawed Rock. After the Resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” —offering Peter three opportunities to redress his triple denial of Jesus. Peter‘s triple reply, “Yes Lord, you know I love you”
[Jn 21:15-19]. Peter grew into his new job as the Rock upon which Christ built His one Church: he had to understand that the only way to exercise authority in the Church was first to be so in love with Jesus that he wanted to imitate Him entirely, even to the point of martyrdom, and for Peter, on the cross like Christ.
We are blessed to have an exact bronze replica of the statue of Saint Peter found in the Vatican’s Basilica of Saint Peter. As in Rome, so too in Stamford: for Peter’s feast day, the statue is vested in pontifical vestments—red, the color of martyrdom and of popes: the color of Peter’s willingness to sacrifice himself in imitation of the Christ he believed in and loved. So, this weekend, or on any day you visit our Basilica, stop at the statue, say a prayer for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and, like the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, kiss St. Peter’s foot. And we are in Rome, here in the pope’s church, sharing the same faith as the Apostles and Saints, in union with today’s Rock: Pope Benedict, successor of the Fisherman from Galilee. Faith must lead to love of God, and we can all get there, even though we are weak and imperfect.
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Stacey, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Babe Ruggiero, Tana Sibilio, Kathleen Nichols, Kyaiera Mistretta, Millie Maida, Joseph Hlavaty, Doreen & Courtney Harry, Dr. Elaine Parliman, Bill Skidd, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, 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.

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

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 21st at 7 p.m.

Protectress of Rome Icon Votive Light Memorial . . .In thanksgiving for Michael 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. . . Fr. Futie’s final class: letters of Gregory the Great will be on Wednesday, February 23rd at 7:30 pm . The March meetings, at 7:30PM on Wednesdays in the rectory will be to read the Regola Pastoralis by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, in English.

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; our next meeting will be March 3rd.

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 next 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.

The Diocese of Bridgeport ….is joining in the first local 40 Days for Life campaign during Lent 2011! Why not offer your prayer and fasting this Lent on behalf of vulnerable human life by participating in the 40 Days for Life Campaign? A new way to pray and fast this Lent. Visit http://40daysforlife.com/bridgeport to learn more about how you can get involved or contact Christine Murphy: cmurphy1224@comcast.net, ph. (203) 438-4866, or Gene D’Agostino at 203-530-1908 or gdag@optonline.net. All are welcome!

Sunday February 13, 2011 $ 10,593.58
Sunday February 14, 2010 $ 11,167.21

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

February 27th Sunday Readings: Is 49:14-15; 1 Cor 4:1-5; Mt 6:24-34.

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 22nd.

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 juleps 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.

Greenwich Choral Society. . . Will present a concert: “Of War and Peace”, Saturday, March 5th at 4:30pm in the historic Christ Church, 254 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich. Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, as well as works by Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams and others will be offered. Tickets are $50 each: www.GreenwichChoralSociety.org .

Mass On Line. . .Visit the parish website: www.stjohnsstamford.com, click the photo of the church up top, and you’ll see live all that’s going on in church, daily. Now compatible with Apple “Mac OS” as well as Microsoft Windows PCs.

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: February 28th.

Lent. . . Begins on Ash Wednesday, March 9th. We might begin looking at our lives now, and thinking about sacrifices and penances designed to wean ourselves from our favorite sins. For that is the point of the 40-day fast of Lent: to change our hearts, turn from sin to Christ, and lead a life worthy of our calling as Christians.

St. Dominic Savio Society. . .Will meet on February 27th, after the 12 PM Mass. Questions, please contact Ferry Galbert 203-324-1553 ext. 22.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 19
4:00 +Wilhelmina-Belia Falek-Roerhost req. Tracy and Tom Banahan
Sunday, February 20
7:30 +Helen Kravarova req. Fabiola C.
10:00 +Clara Marchigiano req. John Kramer and Icon International
12:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Yvonne St. Preuve
6:00 Special Intentions req. Destin Pompee
Monday, February 21
8:00 +Teodora Cataldo req. Lori and Jim Rubino
12:10 +Rose Germain req. Lloydie Lamontagne
Tuesday, February 22
8:00 +Ron Hurd req. Ralph and Grace DeVito
12:10 +Joseph Waworski req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, February 23
8:00 Special Intentions req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Dolores DeLuca Freccia req. Longo Family
Thursday, February 24
8:00 +Rosanne Fazio req. her Uncle Frank
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, February 25
8:00 +Rosario and Ronnie D’Amico req. Frank D’Amico
12:10 +August Bastien req. Lloydie Lamontagne
Saturday, February 26
8:00 Special Intention
12:10 +Marie C. Belford req. 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 next 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. . . Will meet on February 27th, 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…The Jeff Cavin’s program will end on February 24th. We will NOT be offering another segment this year.

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 CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
110 years ago, or so:
Feb. 24, 1899: Stamford: “On Sunday at the nine o’clock mass for children, congregational singing was instituted and was very successful. The Sisters who have had this work in charge cannot get praise enough as the teaching of some three hundred children is no small task. A singing class at which all the children of the Sunday school are expected to attend will be held every Saturday afternoon in the basement of the church. At the entertainment and prize speaking contest of the High School last Friday evening, our Catholic girls carried off their share of the honors, the prize for the best recitation being awarded to Miss Julia McGinnis, and Miss Annette Conroy meriting special mention for her recitation.”

The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
100 years ago, or so:
Feb. 23, 1910: “St. Anne’s Ladies’ Aid Society has resumed weekly sessions for sewing. These are held Thursday afternoon and evening in St. Anne’s room, St. John’s parochial school building.”

20 years ago, or so:
Feb. 23, 1989: A Memorial Mass for the Homeless Who Have Died “’Downtowners they are called. Passers-by might see them and think “a drifter, a bag lady, the pigeon lady.” They are part of the hopeless, hapless, nameless homeless. Yesterday at St. John’s Catholic Church on Atlantic Street, where many gather for peace of mind, spiritual strength or to escape the cold, a memorial Mass was celebrated for the homeless or former homeless who have died in the past two years. The 18 died from exposure, from AIDS, or from overdoses. Yesterday, they were remembered. Their friends, many of whom are also homeless, stood side by side with those who cared for and listened to them during their dying days. Leading the congregation in prayer, the Rev. William Nagle said that marking the end of a life is a celebration of a new beginning. ‘She has gone over the horizon,’ said Nagle, remembering Barbara. ‘But she will come back and we will all be together.’ Judith Moriarty, a counselor who has long worked with the homeless in Stamford, said that so many of these people die and there is not even a note of their passing, like they never existed. They often die alone, or if there is family, there is no money for a proper burial, she said. ‘They are a human being, they are full of possibilities,’ she said. ‘Within that humanity, beyond the stereotyping or labels, there is a greater image reflected, a glory hidden, a divinity poised for ever new creativity.’”

The Interior Law of Charity
– Fr. Terry Walsh
To become like God is be allow God to perfect us through grace
Before God created anything, He existed. He has revealed the very nature of His Being as Triune; that is, He always existed as Holy Trinity – Three distinct Persons yet One God. The Holy Trinity is the greatest Mystery of our faith and we can only know of this great truth because God has revealed it to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, that is, through “Divine Revelation”. God always existed as a perfect community of Three distinct and yet not separate Persons. He always existed as a perfect family overflowing in love. Indeed, John tells us that “God IS love.” He created the Universe and everything in it through love. St. Paul teaches us that ‘we live and move and have our being’ in God; in other words, we are held in existence IN the love of God.
The Church teaches us that the very purpose of our existence is to be “caught up in the love of the Holy Trinity for all eternity” in Heaven. When God created the Universe and everything in it He created it with perfect beauty, harmony, justice and order. It is called “Original Justice.” The sin of Adam, the disobedience of man, caused disharmony, injustice or “Original Sin.” Now, while the beauty and harmony of the Universe was effected by the disruption brought about by sin, Truth itself remains Perfect. Truth is not a thing; nor can it “change”. Truth is a Person: Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is Perfect and what is Perfect can not change. There is an objective Truth by which our lives and our very salvation are governed. We are able to know and understand Truth because God has “written it upon our hearts” and speaks it to us in the very depths of our souls (our conscience). We will grow in our understanding of Truth provided we are listening to His Voice—through our faithful prayer life. God wants all people to come to the knowledge of the Truth and choose to live in the Truth and so be saved. St. Paul encourages us to be attentive in our spiritual journey in this life: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love”(1Cor16:13). Again, in his Letter to the Ephesians: “…he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you be rooted and grounded in love…to know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”.
And so, there is a relationship between Law and Grace. The Law flows from Truth, Jesus Christ, and so points us toward Him. The Law is a “guidepost” to keep us on the well-lit path to our salvation. The Church teaches: “Called to beatitude but wounded by sin, man stands in need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him”(ccc1949). The Catechism beautifully explains the various expressions of Law in Part 3, chapter 3, beginning with article #1949. It is clear, concise, and very helpful in understanding the relationship between Law and Grace. The Incarnation, the New Covenant, ushered in the New Law: the Law of Divine Grace. The Church explains: “The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: ‘I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel…I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’(Heb8:8, Jer31: 31-34)”(ccc1965).