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

Pastor’s Corner. . . During Lent, the Old Testament readings used at Mass are those pointing to the saving work of Christ in the New Testament. For instance, those from the Book of Exodus, outlining those historic actions of God who sent Moses to lead His people from slavery in Egypt to the promised land. Moses, who gave Israel the Law of the Ten Commandments, is an image of Christ the new Lawgiver, whose commandment is charity in imitation of Himself. Moses came to free Israel from slavery to pharaoh; Christ came to free all humankind from slavery to Satan, sin and death. Moses led his people to safety in the promised land through the waters of the Red Sea; Christ leads us to safety in Heaven through the waters of Baptism.
Throughout the Book of Exodus there are numerous signs and symbols of Christ and His saving work for us. I would like to consider two: the sacrificial lamb and unleavened bread . Both were essential elements of the Exodus from Egypt, and both are essential to the Easter sacrifice of Christ. Let’s consider the sacrificial lamb this week.
After failed attempts to secure Israel’s freedom from slavery to pharaoh, Moses threatened a final punishment if liberty were again withheld: God would kill every first born throughout Egypt. To protect the children of Israel, God instructed Moses that each household was to sacrifice an unblemished one-year old lamb or goat, and to roast it whole. The lamb’s blood was to mark the door posts and lintels of the houses of the Jewish slaves: that blood of the lamb would be the sign protecting the Israelites from the angel of death who would pass over those blood marked homes. The Israelites were to eat the roasted flesh of the lamb with bitter herbs, signs of their suffering and slavery, and with unleavened bread: for there was no time for the dough to be leavened or to rise, since everything would happen very quickly, and Israel would be departing soon. The angel of death killed the first born of man and beast in those houses not marked with the blood of the lamb. Even pharaoh’s son was not spared—the final calamity that urged him to free Israel.
That original Passover night became essential to the identity of Israel; and the saving work of God who freed Israel from slavery to pharaoh and death by the blood of the lamb, was to be celebrated annually. Even to this day, each spring, Passover is celebrated throughout the world in Jewish homes in remembrance of God’s mighty deeds.
When Our Lord entered into Jerusalem, which we will commemorate on Palm Sunday, he was coming to the Holy City in order to celebrate the Passover, and the city was jammed with thousands of pious pilgrims come for the same purpose. For ancient Israel, their liberation and deliverance from slavery by God was paramount to their identity. This is reflected in the Old Testament books, especially in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, in the repeated insistence that Israel remember God’s works by annually repeating the Passover festival, and in the proscriptions against breaking God’s commandments or harming foreigner workers in Israel, “. . . For you were once slaves in Egypt. . .”
The Last Supper of Our Lord was no mere daily meal. It was the Passover, so the evening and the supper were packed with symbolism and meaning, recalling God’s earlier works to free Israel from slavery to pharaoh. Our Lord, therefore, chose that festival and that supper to begin the final and essential works of salvation: He linked the Passover of Israel with this, His Last Supper, and with His sacrifice on the Cross. The Last Supper was popularly represented in many early church frescos in the Roman catacombs: Our Lord at the center, surrounded by the Apostles. But, in the serving dish in front of Jesus, instead of the Passover lamb, there is a fish: an ancient sign of Jesus. And this portrays the essence of that last Passover meal in Jesus’ Last Supper: God’s saving power will no longer come from a sacrificial animal, but from the new Lamb of God: Jesus, who is the Eternal Son of God in the flesh, whose blood will now save all mankind from slavery to Satan, sin and death. The whole of the old ritual law of the Old Testament is fulfilled, and of no value any longer, having been replaced by the final and most important of all sacrifices: God in the flesh, obedient to the Father, paying for the sins of all mankind on the Cross.
In the Book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem is built around and illumined by the Lamb of God: Jesus, Incarnate, Crucified, Risen from the dead in His flesh, who sits atop the book of judgment sealed with seven seals until the end of time. You can see that image in the front lower panel of the high altar in the sanctuary: the Lamb of God atop the book, holding across his shoulder a flag or sign of His Resurrection from the dead. His sacrifice on the Cross is repeated each day in the Catholic churches throughout the world, whenever Mass is offered. For it is the Mass that Jesus gave us at the Last Supper, along with the priesthood and the Eucharist: the ritual Jewish Passover meal of liberation from slavery, now become the essential ritual meal during which Christ is offered anew daily, in an unbloody way, to free us from sin and death. And we share in that sacrifice by sharing in His Body and Blood in Holy Communion: that small wafer of unleavened bread, now actually transformed into the risen Body and Blood of the God-made-man and Crucified and Risen for us.
Next week: the symbol of the Unleavened Bread. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Terry Cooke, 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. . . Theodore Brutus, E. Gaynor Brennan, Jr., Mother Lillian Cairo, 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.

Protectress of Rome Icon Votive Light Memorial . . .In memory of Mother Lillian Cairo, P.O.S.C. req. Ann and Michael Borkowski.

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 28th at 7 p.m.

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.

Electronic Giving – Offertory Donations Made Easy. . . Consider using your credit card to make your weekly or monthly donation to St. John’s. Easier for you, and less costly for the parish than the printing and mailing of weekly envelopes, credit card giving automatically sends your weekly offering to the Basilica of St. John’s. Please call Cindy, 203-324-1553, ext. 21, 9am-1:30pm.

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 $19,590 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.

Lenten Fast & Abstinence. . .On all Fridays during Lent, all Catholics age 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat as a sign of penance on the day of Christ’s saving death.

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.

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.

Sunday March 20, 2011 $ 13,408.15
Sunday March 21, 2010 $ 14,046.13

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

April 3rd Sunday Readings: 1 Sm 16:1b, 10-13a; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41.

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 29th.

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].

Change of Schedule. . Because of my injury and long recuperation, I have been unable to organize the planned May 7th Kentucky Derby fundraising event. We’ll postpone this until the fall.

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 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! Here’s a new way to offer your prayer and fasting this Lent: on behalf of vulnerable human life by participating in the 40 Days for Life Campaign Visit http://40daysforlife.com/bridgeport or contact Christine Murphy: cmurphy1224@comcast.net, ph. (203) 438-4866, or Gene D’Agostino at 203-530-1908 or gdag@optonline.net.

St. John’s 20’s and 30’s “The Flock”….our new young adult group, will meet monthly in the Rectory (adding to the Social and Service aspects of the group). Our 1st Monthly meeting will be on 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).

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: Reading ability required.

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

Support Trinity Catholic High School. . . by purchasing a ticket for their “Cash Raffle’.  The tickets are $50.00 each and the first prize is $5,000.00 cash, second prize is $2,500.00 cash and third prize is $1,000.00 cash.  Only 800 tickets will be sold.  The drawing date is set for Saturday, April 2nd at the Knights of Columbus.  For more information please contact Betsy at 203-274-7941, or email tchsraffle11@aol.com.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 26
4:00 +Larry Schmidt req. Mary Jean DalMolin
Sunday, March 27
7:30 +Julius and Jane Shoztic, Barbara Schettino req. Richard and Elaine Shoztic
8:30 +Lucie Morisseau Charles req. Anne Marie Samedi
10:00 +William Borkowski req. Michael and Ann Borkowski
12:00 +Rina Coville req. Josephine and Anthony Marena
5:00 +Ali, Jean Florestal req. Jean Florestal
6:00 Special Intentions Ferry Galbert req. office
Monday, March 28
8:00 +Walter Lester req. Lucille Ballentine
12:10 +Pat Nennig req. Marya Reynolds
Tuesday, March 29
8:00 +Frances Mullin req. Edward Grady
12:10 +Maron Karam req. Christine Bellarosa
Wednesday, March 30
8:00 +Michael and Anna Zvonkovik req. the Bosilevas family
12:10 +Gary and Evelyne Mars req. Rosemarie Laurol
Thursday, March 31
8:00 +Maria DeSibio req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
12:10 Special Intentions Stephen Piatt
Friday, April 1
8:00 +Achille Lamontagne req. daughter
12:10 +Mary P. Moriarty req. Maryanne Koller
Saturday, April 2
8:00 +Robert A. Graves req. Gabriel and Silvia Natarelli
12:10 All the Souls in Purgatory req. 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.

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:
April 1, 1870: IMPROVEMENTS. “Mr. A. J. Bell has opened a new street (which should be called ‘Bell Street’) from Atlantic to South street, through his property near the Congregational church. He has already built a model blacksmith shop for W. A. Lockwood, and intends to build large additions on the south row of houses, and make them front on the new street. In time he will probably put up a block of stores on the corner of the new street and Atlantic, immediately opposite to the lot owned by the Roman Catholic Society, on which, it is said, an elegant stone church is to be built.”

110 years ago, or so:
April 3, 1899: Catholic Members of Co. K. Listen to a Patriotic Sermon by Father Rogers. “A showing of the part taken by Roman Catholics in the recent war-which is of much significance in view of the fact that the war was with Spain-was evidenced in this city yesterday morning, when over sixty members of Company K received holy communion at St. John’s Church. There were several Catholic members who found it impossible to attend the services. If all were present, it is said, they would number about seventy-five—a very good percentage indeed, of 106, the number in the entire company. Many of the members who were not Catholics attended the services, and all appeared to be as much at home in the church as they would be in an armory. They wore their uniforms, which looked refreshed after the Savannah dust had been brushed out of them. Communion was administered by Rev. Father McClean, assisted by the pastor, Rev. Father Rogers. An inspiring sight were the soldiers as they marched up to the altar railing, and it was recalled to the minds of more than one that, after all, “Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.”

40 years ago, or so:
March 28, 1973: Rev. Parent Dies At 64; Pastor Here. “The Rev. Bertrand E. Parent, 64, pastor of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church on Atlantic St., died Tuesday in St. Joseph Hospital where he had been a patient for a month. He lived at the church rectory, 279 Atlantic St. Father Parent became pastor at St. John’s in 1963, succeeding the late Right Rev. Monsignor Nicholas P. Coleman. He had been in Stamford from 1954 to 1956 as assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church. He was chaplain of St. Augustine Council of the Knights of Columbus. In World War II Father Parent was a chaplain in the Army in the European and Pacific theaters of war. Father Parent is survived by a sister, Mrs. Irene Mandler of St. Petersburg, Florida; two nieces and a nephew.”

The Fourth Station
Jesus is met by His Blessed Mother
“And a Sword shall pass through your Heart”
-Fr Terry Walsh
Many who have had near death experiences seem to speak of a similar occurrence – that there whole life passed before their eyes in an instant. Could this be what the moment of Judgment might be like? Images of the Vision of Isaiah come to mind (Isaiah, chapter 6). We will, at some moment, find ourselves in the same position as Isaiah did. Each of us will stand before the Throne of God and we’ll be in the Presence of Perfect Holiness, perfect beauty, purity, and truth. We’ll be in the Presence of Love Himself; that is, with the One who emptied Himself of His glory in order to become Incarnate in the Spotless Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the One born into the world He created in order to offer Himself to the Father in reparation for our sins. Long before He was sentenced by Pilate, Jesus knew what sort of death He would endure. He knew. And so did His Blessed Mother, who consented to His sacrifice with incomparable sorrow and with perfect love. Theirs is the most unique of relationships. Mary is so intimately woven in the life of Her Son: She shares in His Glory, She shares in His pain. De Montfort wrote, “The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of His divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear”(157). How well do we honor Her? How well do we pray for Her Motherly Hands of love to guide us along the path that ends in the Heart of Jesus? What heartache She endured to know the rejection Her loving Son would bear: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…(Isaiah 53:3)” He carried our sorrows, indeed, He fell under their weight – 3 times. “Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed….He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth”(Isaiah 53:4). The Son of Mary alone is Holy. Our only entrance into Holiness – into Eternal Beatitude – is through Him. “I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats this Bread, he will live for ever; and the Bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh”(John 6:51). Through His Passion He demonstrated the depth of His love – the spilling of His Precious Blood became ‘the wellspring to all life, all holiness’ and the only means by which our sins may be taken away and our souls made pure. Sacramental Confession affords us the opportunity to “review the reel” of our life and to seek forgiveness for our transgressions before we stand before the Throne of God. We are healed through the Blood of the One who gave Himself up for us. He alone makes us worthy to enter the Perfection of Heaven. Now is the time of mercy. Mercy is the reason for his dwelling among us, for his suffering, his death, and ultimately his Resurrection. “He poured out His soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”(Isaiah 53:12). Mary shared in that suffering, spiritually, and poured out Her love as only She could, at that sorrowful meeting on the Way to Calvary. St. Josemaria Escriva reflected, “Jesus had been waiting for this meeting with His Mother. How many childhood memories! Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, the village of Nazareth. Now again he wants her by His side, on Calvary…Our Lord and His Mother will not abandon us and whenever it is necessary, they will make their presence felt to fill the hearts of their loved ones with security and peace.” As you reflect on your relationship with Jesus and Mary, what images come to mind? What life experiences represent your ‘Bethlehem’ or your ‘flight into Egypt’? In your journey, have you called out to Jesus and Mary through thoughtful reflection on the Mysteries of our Lord’s life, especially through the Scriptures and the Rosary? Have you willingly picked up your Cross and so received the consolation of your Mother’s love and encouragement. She is there, at the 4th Station, waiting for you.