For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 27, 2011

Pastor’s Corner. . .Lent is much more than a time of increased piety or resolutions designed to break bad habits: Lent is the Church’s annual season of your personal struggle against Satan. That struggle began over 2,000 years ago when the eternal Son of God, Creator of the universe, took on human flesh of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. The Creator became a creature in order to liberate the only creature made in His image and likeness-US-from the power of Satan and from the sway of his most potent weapon, death. As one of the prayers for Christmas Mass reads: “Hasten, Lord our God, do not delay, and free us by Your power from the devil’s fury.” What is “the devil’s fury”? Moviegoers might imagine a scene from The Exorcist, The Omen, or even the most recent production, The Rite, or some other cinematographic nonsense. The devil’s fury is subtler and more boringly mundane than anything Hollywood might imagine: the devil’s fury is the daily temptation you and I face, which Satan ratchets up as we seek to practice virtue more effectively. By falling into sin, Satan wins, and his hatred of God bears fruit in our eternal damnation. Why should Satan waste so much time and creative energy possessing someone in the best of Hollywood fashion, when personal temptation is just as effective, even if less entertaining!?
Lent is the Church’s great annual spiritual exercise with its focal point on the mystery of Christ’s redemptive mercy, foretold in the Old Testament, realized in the earthly life of Jesus, especially in His Passion, death, resurrection and ascension; and which is realized in us by our worthy and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, and then in prayer, fasting, acts of mercy, spiritual reading, and a more intense practice of the Christian virtues in our daily lives. In other words, we open ourselves more readily to Christ’s transforming grace by living a more intense Christian life. And Christian Life is nothing less than trying to imitate Our Lord every day. It ain’t magic; you don’t have to climb tall mountains or retrieve the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West; just be more like Our Lord in how your relate to God and to others, who are the Image of God. According to Saint Peter Chrysologus, “Three things sustain faith, devotion, and virtue,”. . . “prayer, fasting, and mercy to others. Prayer knocks at God’s door, fasting wins us what we need, and mercy is the hand cupped to receive . . . Let him who prays also fast; let him who fasts have pity on others; let him who wishes to be heard hear those who ask his help, for such a person alone has God’s ear whose own ear is not closed to the needs of others” [Sermon 43].
How to begin? Don’t make crazy resolutions that you’ll never keep. Decide to set sin aside, instead, and to open your heart to doing God’s will as the most important guide for all you do in your daily life. You know what your favorite sin is: make a resolution to knock it off. Why? So you can be more pleasing to the God who loves you. First: go to Confession and use the first week of Lent to meditate on the Passion of Christ: look at His sufferings for what they are—Jesus, God Himself, suffering to save you from Satan and eternal death. One of the Church’s great spiritual writers, Saint Aelred of Rievaultx [1109-1167] expressed why we should strive to make ourselves more pleasing to God: “There is no greater stimulus to love our enemies [in which fraternal charity finds its perfect form] than the contemplation of the marvelous patience of Him who . . . offered His face to be spat upon and endured the other torments of His Passion . . . Did anyone hear those sweet and loving words of Christ from the Cross: ‘Father forgive them. . ?” Blessed Abbot Aelred continues, “If you are to love yourself correctly, you must not yield to carnal pleasure, by which is meant self-centeredness. If you do not yield to carnal pleasure, center your affections on the loving person of the Lord.” [Saint Abbot Aelred, The Mirror of Charity, 3]. Start your first week of Lent by reading and meditating on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels. Read one chapter each day, and think about them, and pray for a few minutes daily in gratitude to God for thinking so highly of you, personally, that He sent Christ to die for you. Express that gratitude in acts of charity, fasting, prayer and penance.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 9th. You have a little over one week to prepare yourself for this annual retreat: what will you do this year that will make you more pleasing to God? Make it realistic, but make it real, so you will be more like Our Lord in daily life by the time Lent is over. Remember: God has gone to a lot of trouble, and done a lot of hard work, to get you to Heaven to be with Him forever. Love yourself as much as God loves you, and turn your heart and life around, by jettisoning your favorite sin through prayer, fasting and acts of charity: get into the habit of being like Our Lord, and you’ll get out of the habit of sin, and everyone will be happier, for all eternity. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Christina Wright, Bovais Buissereth, Stacey, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Babe Ruggiero, Tana Sibilio, Kathleen Nichols, Kyaiera Mistretta, Millie Maida, Joseph Hlavaty, Dr. Elaine Parliman, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . William Loughlin, Courtney Harry, Beauvais Buissereth, Violette Leclerc, 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.

2012 Mass Book. . .is now open. Please feel free to call Cindy at ext. 21 for more information, Monday thru Friday, 9AM—1:30PM.

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 28th at 7 p.m.

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. (Convert) Classes. . . in the Rectory on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm.

Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . 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.

LENT PARISH RETREAT….March 28-30, Mon-Wed from 7-8pm. Come join us for Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction, Confession and a Lenten Reflection. All are welcome.

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 20, 2011 $ 10,148.81
Sunday February 21, 2010 $ 12,143.08
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

March 6th Sunday Readings: Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32; Rom 3:21-25, 28; Mt 7:21-27.

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 29th.

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 this Sunday, February 27th, after the 12 PM Mass. Questions, please contact Ferry Galbert 203-324-1553 ext. 22.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 26
4:00 +Anna Young req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
Sunday, February 27
7:30 +Betsy Woolf req. Fabiola C.
10:00 +James Tomas req. Maria and Tony Marchetti
12:00 +Paul Reda req. Marion Morris
6:00 +Beauvais Buissereth & Violette Leclerc req. Nicole Buissereth & Family
Monday, February 28
8:00 +Frank Janesch req. Cycon Family
12:10 Patrick Heiny USMC and Stephen Turner USMC req. Sharon Gannon
Tuesday, March 1
8:00 +Niall O’Toole req. Jie-Eun O’Toole
12:10 Special Intentions Jie-Eun O’Toole req. Jie-Eun O’Toole
Wednesday, March 2
8:00 +Chad Braggiotti req. daughter
12:10 +Salvatore G. Roberto, Jr. 1st Anniversary req. Dr. Joe McAleer
Thursday, March 3
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 St. John Fisher Seminary Faculty & Students req. Bosilevas Family
Friday, March 4
8:00 Sister Ellen Mary Birthday req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Bill & Maverne Leute req. family
Saturday, March 5
8:00 Special Intentions David & Alex req. parents
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 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.

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:
125 years ago, or so:
Feb. 28, 1885: Stamford: “The many friends of Miss Sarah Kearns were pleased to learn of her admission last week, into the order of the Sisters of Mercy, who takes in religion the name of Sister Mary Thomasina. On last Sunday Father Kelly paid a visit to Father Walsh at Plainville. Father Kelly, who has been here on a visit, will leave Stamford for Washington, and from there will start for Dakota. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Reverend Bernard Kelly was a vocation from St. John’s.)”

The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
120 years ago, or so:
March 6, 1891: “The Stations of the Cross and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament were given in St. John’s R.C. church on Wednesday evening.

115 years ago, or so:
March 1, 1894: “The fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Hartford diocese of the Roman Catholic Church occurs March 17 of this year. It was on that date in 1844—50 years ago—that Bishop William Tyler was consecrated. He was bishop until his death, which occurred June 18, 1849.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: St. John’s was part of the Diocese of Hartford until 1953.)

110 years ago, or so:
March 1, 1999: Father McClean’s Able Sermon. “Rev. Peter H. McClean of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Hartford, preached in St. John’s R.C. Church last night. He took for his text a portion of the Apostles’ Creed, and from it drew a wholesome lesson of the life a good Christian should live. In a clear, concisive way, he told of the passion and death of Christ, and then of his resurrection. There was a very large congregation present, and all gave Father McClean the closest attention.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Reverend Peter McClean was a vocation from St. John’s.)

The FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
15 years ago, or so:
March 1988: “Rev. Hector Lemieux of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, whose special mission is to promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, will conduct the Service of the “Seven Last Words” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday in St. John’s Church in Stamford. Father Lemieux is a past rector of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers’ Major Seminary in Australia, where he lectured regularly on the Australian Catholic Hour, and was known as the Fulton Sheen of Australia.”

The Call to Heaven
– Fr. Terry Walsh
Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that we must always start with the “End” in mind. What is it that we hope to accomplish? What then are the necessary acts that enable us to realize our goal? Well, God created us in His own Image and He calls us to share in ‘the eternal exchange of love within the Holy Trinity’ – this is the “End” we seek – this is the Glory of the Beatific Vision, the profound and indescribable joy of Heaven. We are invited to share in that Glory. “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him”(1Cor2:9).

The necessary “tasks” have been clearly revealed to us through Divine Revelation: love of God, love of neighbor, living a life worthy of our Christian Dignity by adhering to the 10 Commandments and the Gospel precepts; pray and receive the Sacraments with a pure heart. Imagine Heaven. What must it be like? We are given glimpses of Heaven in the Scriptures. For instance, consider the call of the Prophet Isaiah. In chapter 6 of the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, Isaiah is given a vision of God, high and lifted up on a Throne. He is surrounded by myriads of angels and he hears a constant chorus: “Holy, Holy, Holy! God of Power and Might!” He recognizes that he’s in the midst of the complete and utter beauty of the radiant Light of God Who is pure holiness and love, and Isaiah is awestruck – he is afraid. He immediately recognizes his unworthiness, his impurity, and he feels a need to leave the Presence of God. What does God do? He sends an angel who touches the lips of Isaiah with a burning coal that purifies Isaiah, and then he is worthy to stand in the Presence of God.

No one can stand in the Presence of God unless he is first made clean. Our souls are made clean first through the Sacrament of Baptism. Likewise, our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we may always seek to remain in the State of Grace and He generously offers us the treasure of Indulgences to wipe away even the ‘Temporal Punishment’ due to sin. With each faithful reception of Holy Eucharist, we grow in holiness and bear our Cross with His Strength. Indeed, each Sacramental encounter with Christ brings us closer to our goal, the “End” we seek, since we allow Him to mold and shape our hearts into vessels of Divine love. Then we will faithfully follow in the footsteps of our Lord, confident that one day all the trials and suffering will be behind us and we will stand in the presence of God and live. Saint Paul encourages us: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compare with the glory to be revealed for us”(Romans 8:18).

Our Lord tells us: “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” The Sacrament of Baptism clears away the debris of sin and establishes the Temple of God in our Soul. He is there, dwelling in us and the “living waters” of grace then begin to well-up from within—if we desire it. Our Lord abundantly blesses us and wants to fill us with Himself—to “water the garden of our soul” so that we can become like Him. It is of course up to each one of us to turn on the faucet. “Ask, and you shall receive.” Then, as our Lord provides for our every need through our prayerful desire, we become bit-by-bit more able to stand in the presence of His Divine Light—that is—we become “children of the Light” – we become fit for Heaven.