For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday March 20, 2011
Pastor’s Corner. . . “This is a wicked generation, which asks for a sign. The only sign that will be given is the sign of Jonah” (Luke 11:30).
Our Lord’s words, so enigmatic to us, were clear to His contemporaries, who demanded that He perform a miraculous sign to prove He was sent by God. He’d only fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, raised Lazarus from the dead, healed innumerable individuals, but those signs obviously were insufficient. Not enough. Another trick was demanded before people would agree to believe in Him! But, as Our Lord knew, nothing He could do would change hard-hearted people who simply did not want to believe in Him. So, He let them think about Jonah. What is the sign of Jonah? It has a double meaning.
When anyone hears Jonah’s name, the image of a whale is Googled in the mind’s eye. The Book of Jonah in the Old Testament tells the story: God wanted Jonah to preach to the pagan inhabitants of the city of Ninevah. He refused; caught a boat to escape from God; the sailors threw Jonah overboard after they’d figured out that God sent a deadly storm to stop Jonah; Jonah is swallowed by the whale, spewn out onto the shores of beautiful downtown Ninevah, and Jonah finally agreed to do what God wanted and preached to the Ninevites.
Jonah and the whale is one of the most ancient and popular images of the early Church. In Rome and elsewhere, Jonah appears in catacomb paintings and funerary carvings, as the decorative motif in oil lamps and vases. The first meaning of the sign of Jonah is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead: “Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale. . .so, too will the Son of Man be in the belly of the earth, and rise on the third day” (Mt 12:29). So, the first significance of the sign of Jonah is that it referred to the greatest and most miraculous of Our Lord: not simply the feeding of thousands, or the healing of the sick, but the accomplishment of that most desired but most unrealistic hope of humankind: triumph over death. No one wants to die, and there hasn’t been anything yet invented to stop that annoying reality. Until Jesus: He, both God and man, would be the first to literally rise in His human body from death on the third day. He came to save the whole human person, both body and soul, so we could live with God forever in the flesh.
The second aspect of the sign of Jonah is his preaching to the inhabitants of Ninevah. Jonah refused absolutely to do what God asked of him: he would not preach repentance to pagans. Yet, once he finally agreed to do God’s will, albeit after rather harrowing experiences: tsunamis, mid-ocean storm and being swallowed by a whale—he finally decided to cooperate with God. And the results were amazing, since not only did the people of Ninevah repent and stop sinning, but they did serious penances, and turned their hearts and minds to God. The second aspect of this sign: change of heart—finally wanting to do God’s will.
Underlying both aspects of the sign of Jonah is the human heart: you must want to do what God wants you to do and to believe in Him so much that your life is changed. Why was Jonah ultimately a success? Because finally he decided to do God’s will. How would Jesus’ contemporaries come to believe? Not by Jesus doing more tricks, because no matter what He did they did not want to believe in Him. How do we share in Jesus’ ultimate triumph over death in the Resurrection: once we decide to do God’s will. Faith is more than believing or knowing facts or ideas about Jesus. Faith is moving your human will to actually want to do that which pleases God in your life, every day. Faith is the beginning: we believe in God and His Son, and then we move our human will to want to cease sinning against God, and want to do what He asks. “What shall it profit, if one says he has faith, but not works? Shall faith be able to save him? . . . Faith without works is dead. . . The devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:14,17). You must believe and then do something—you must want to believe in Our Lord, and then, because of your faith, want to do God’s will, and then do it. Faith is the beginning: we must want to believe, and then live accordingly. Salvation is an act of the intellect and heart, and of the will. Otherwise, we make all this a game.
The reason why Jesus could defeat death for us?—because He wanted to do the will of the Father, even unto suffering and death on the Cross, and He did it. Lent is the time to become more obedient to God’s will: start by obeying the law of the Ten Commandments, then allow your faith to bear fruit by coming to love God and desiring to please Him by your life. Then you will become a sign of Jonah to those around you.
Please pray for the sick. . . Terry Cooke, Gaynor Brennan, Jr. , Frank Cronin, 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. . . Mother Lillian, P.O.S.C., Dr. Raymond Gabriele, Harold John Frost, Dorothy Davis, 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.
Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.
Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light Memorial. . . + Anna Taricani req. Leon Taricani.
St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial . . . + Joseph Taricani req. Leon Taricani.
Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Hour: March 21st at 7 p.m.
Repainting the Church. . . During the past two years, we have slowly begun the repainting of the church interior: the murals in the sanctuary and side chapels are now restored beautifully by the John Canning Studios: the same artists who restored Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York and Boston Public Libraries, and the Hartford State House. Today I received the updated estimated cost to complete the church interior: $625,000. I ask everyone’s help in this. If each individual or household would contribute $1,000, payable over 10 months. In these hard times, that is a lot to ask, I know. Look at it this way: —that’s $100. per month, or $25. per week, or $3.57 per day, and we can do that. Please lend us a hand. All those who contribute at least $1,000. will have their family name publically recorded as a testimony to your generosity. Please lend us a hand. Letters will be sent out within the next few weeks, and I ask you to make this part of your Lenten sacrifice, just as the poor Irish immigrants did 150 years ago to build our church. Now it’s up to us; let’s do it.
Annual Bishop’s Appeal. . . Our parish goal to support the charitable and educational works of the diocese is $87,000. Currently we have $19,090 collected. During the upcoming weeks, many will receive letters from Bishop Lori asking for your support. We ask your help, and that you acknowledge your parish as the Basilica of Saint John, so your donation will be credited as part of our parish goal.
R.C.I.A. (Convert) Classes. . . in the Rectory on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm.
Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . Meets each Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the rectory during March. Please join us as Fr. Futie moderates our reading of the Pastoral Rule by Pope Saint Gregory the Great. We use English translations of the patristic writings.
Lenten Fast & Abstinence. . .On all Fridays during Lent, all Catholics age 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat.
CONFESSION. . . During Lent, every Catholic Church throughout Fairfield County will remain open each Tuesday evening, from 7:00 -9:00 P.M. for confessions, including here at the Basilica. This parish already offers Confession daily, Monday through Friday and Sunday, 30 minutes before each Mass. Saturdays Confessions are offered 3:00 –4:00 pm.
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.
Sunday March 13, 2011 $ 11,980.87
Sunday March 14, 2010 $ 9,154.00 (Nor’easter Storm)
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
March 27th Sunday Readings: Ex 17:3-7; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn 4:5-42 .
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, March 22nd.
GRANT WRITERS. . . Our next meeting for the parish grant-writers will be
Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:30 pm in the rectory.
ALTAR SERVERS. . . We are looking for boys and young men to serve the new 8:30 am Sunday Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form. You have to be at least 10 years old; we’ll teach you the Latin. Please call Monsignor 203-324-1553, [ext. 11].
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301, email@example.com.
Job Seekers. . . Meets the 4th Monday of each month in the rectory at 7:30 pm: all are welcome. Topics include job interviewing, writing of resumes, networking and job seeking strategies. There is no charge for these services. The group is led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. For more info, see: www.redinc.biz or e-mail her at Melanie at Redinc.biz or call her at 203.866.1606. Next meeting: March 28th.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, ph. (203) 438-4866, or Gene D’Agostino at 203-530-1908 or email@example.com.
St. John’s 20’s and 30’s “The Flock”….will now be meeting Monthly in the Rectory (adding to the Social and Service aspects of the group). Our 1st Monthly meeting will be on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25th (Subsequent meetings will be held on the 2nd Thursday of each Month). Doors open at 7:00 PM. (More info: Deirdre.Garrahan@gmail.com).
St. Gabriel Church . . . Sung Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated on Friday, March 25th at 7:30 PM for the Feast of the Annunciation. All are welcome! Saint Gabriel Church, 914 Newfield Ave., Stamford, Connecticut 06905.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS. . .Each Friday during Lent at 4:00 pm in English.
Each Friday during Lent at 6:00pm in Creole/French.
Hebrew Beginners’ Grammar Class. . .Thursdays at 5:30 pm in the Rectory.
Biblical Greek Study Group. . .Thursday at 6:30 pm in the Rectory.
Latin Reading Group. . .Wednesdays at 6:15 pm in the Rectory.
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 19
4:00 +Wilhelmina-Belia Falek-Roerhost req. Mary Jean DalMolin
Sunday, March 20
7:30 +Helen Kravarova req. Fabiola C.
8:30 +Rita Hessert req. Michael Borkowski
10:00 John Lancaster req. David Lancaster
12:00 +Wilhelmina-Belia Falek-Roerhost req. the Marchetti family
5:00 +William Borkowski req. Ann and Michael Borkowski
6:00 +Mr. and Mrs. Maissance Jean-Guillaume req. their grandchildren
Monday, March 21
8:00 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Stephen, Irene and Nicholas Churley req. Mary Churley
Tuesday, March 22
8:00 +Rita req. Kali Sapounakis
12:10 +Mary Baron req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, March 23
8:00 +Emma deCespedes req. Kali Sapounakis
12:10 +Rosario D’Amico req. Frank D’Amico
Thursday, March 24
8:00 +John F. Murphy req. Mary Jean DalMolin
12:10 +Jeanette – 3rd Anniversary req. Millie
Friday, March 25
8:00 +Lucy DalMolin req. Mary Jean DalMolin
12:10 For the deceased Priests and religious in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Saturday, March 26
8:00 +Joseph Bavoso req. Joseph Melfi
12:10 +Barbara Heyman 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.
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…The Jeff Cavin’s program has ended on February 24th. We will NOT be offering another one 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 Advocate:
140 years ago, or so:
March 21, 1873: “The celebration of St. Patrick’s day has been more than usually general and extensive throughout the country. At Hartford, New Haven, Middletown, Bridgeport and other Connecticut towns and cities the display was larger than on any former year. In this locality the procession included the Drum Corps and Cadets connected with St. John’s R.C. church. St. Patrick’s Temperance Association decided not to turn out, but many of its members took part in the celebrations at New York and Bridgeport.”
100 years ago, or so:
March 20, 1913: “Tonight, in St. John’s R. C. Church, the Tenebrae will be sung by the priests of the church, assisted by visiting fathers, laymen of the parish and the boys’ choir. The Tenebrae is seldom sung in any church outside a cathedral. It is a ceremony that is very interesting and full of symbolic meaning. The office contains the lamentations of Jeremiah and other psalms and hymns appropriate for Holy Week.”
70 years ago, or so:
March 20, 1941: Bishop McAuliffe Breaks Ground For Catholic Hospital. “The Most Reverend Maurice F. McAuliffe, bishop of Hartford, braved the gale-like winds and bitter cold of yesterday to lead ceremonies attendant to the breaking of ground for the erection of St. Joseph’s Hospital on Strawberry Hill. The short program was directed by the Reverend Nicholas P. Coleman, pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church, who was chosen two years ago by Bishop McAuliffe to direct the building of the hospital in Stamford. Bishop McAuliffe, upon his arrival in Stamford, presented his personal check for $2,500 to the capital building fund. It was received by Father Coleman in his introduction of the bishop.”
60 years ago, or so:
March 23, 1953: City Championship-St. John’s State CYO Grammar Titlist. “The Stamford CYO Grammar division champions, the St. John’s basketeers, won the Connecticut title yesterday at St. Stanilaus’ Auditorium in Meriden, defeating the St. Thomas’ five of West Hartford, 41-34. The victory qualified the Stamford team for play in the New England CYO Championships at Providence next Saturday and Sunday. The St. John’s athletes rolled to a 12-1 lead in the first quarter, but the West Hartford team came back in the second quarter and then matched baskets in the third period. The Johnnies had a championship kick, however, developing a big fourth quarter surge to overpower the opposition.”
The Call to Holiness
– 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). Paul teaches us in his Letter to Timothy, “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own designs and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel”(2 Timothy 1: 9-10).
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. Our Lord also calls us to “take up our Cross” – in other words, to share in the Redemption of the world through a share in His sufferings. Love by it’s very nature is sacrificial. We sacrifice “our Will” to take up “His Will” each and every day. We may offer our smallest suffering to our greatest suffering to Him and He will turn it into grace for ourselves and for others. There is a filial trust involved: Will you hand everything over in a childlike way and allow God to heal, to nourish, to build grace in the soul and so transfigure us into a faithful image and likeness of Himself. The “task” of holiness is ultimately a daily conversation with God meant to be a joyful knowledge of His true and abiding Presence. And as the saying goes, “If we walk with Him in this life, we will walk with Him in the next. 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, like Peter, James, and John in the Gospel today, 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).