For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday May 29, 2011
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Pastor’s Corner. . . Bishop McFarland of Hartford, assisted by 12 priests from neighboring towns and states, and in the presence of a crowd of more than 3,000 people gathered in front of the foundation of St. John’s on the morning of June 23rd in 1872. A full account can be had in this bulletin’s Saint John’s in the Advocate historical section. Two weeks ago, a considerably smaller group gathered at the same location, on the corner of Bell and Atlantic Streets: the Parrochial Vicar, Fr. Walsh; the parish trustees, Dr. Joseph McAleer and Michael Guarnieri; the parish lawyer, John F.X. Leydon, Jr.; the parish business manager, Tom Cycon; the parish historian, Lawrence Bolanowski,; our parish custodian, Tony Colon; the owner of Fairfield Memorials, Don Foley; the gentlemen who did the hard work, “Charlie”, the stonemason, and I.
That May 4th morning broke a brilliantly sunny day, as had that June morning in 1872 on which the cornerstone was blessed and fixed in place to support the new church on Atlantic Street. Then, the ceremony began with a procession: leaving the old wooden St. John’s Church on Meadow Street, led by the Howe Band of Bridgeport, one bishop and 12 priests and 3,000 persons, including the faithful of Saint John’s, moved across town to the new building site, where a platform had been erected at the foundation for the bell tower. To date, it was the largest event and largest gathering of people in Stamford’s history.
Part of the ceremony included the placing of an “inclosure (sic) in the cavity of the stone”. This was a container made of wood, metal, sufficiently durable to preserve the collection of objects placed inside: it was a type of time capsule containing various objects, giving a snapshot of life in 1872 Connecticut, which the bishop sealed into the hollow corner stone using silver trowel, mallet and mortar. The Stamford Advocate had given a list of the contents of the sealed metal box :
“The parchment with a proper inscription in Latin; the different U.S. coins, bills, currency,
&c silver medals, and old Roman coins; Copies of the Stamford Advocate,
New York Freeman’s Journal, and the Hartford Daily Times”
(The Stamford Advocate, June 28, 1872).
I decided to re-open the cornerstone, because on May 30th we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the completion and dedication of our Basilica, which was an immense and costly work, begun on that sunny June day in 1872, when Bishop McFarland blessed and sealed the cornerstone. So, on the morning of this last May 4th, we gathered at 8:00 a.m. By 8:30, following a brief discussion and preparations, and with concrete saw in hand, Charlie proceeded slowly, methodically and carefully to cut out a section of the cornerstone to reveal its contents, while the assembled few struggled to get the first glimpse of the interior, dodging flying granite dust and fragments thrown up by the whirring power saw. One by one, as the morning began melting away, so did our group, each member of our illustrious team disappearing to go to work. After two hours of toil: NOTHING! Just one large solid granite block. So, we called it a day, to be resumed at a later date and time, with much less ceremony.
That was today, Tuesday, May 24th: again, at 8:30 a.m., but under overcast skies, the master mason began his work anew. Last week, Tony Colon, the parish handyman, drilled into another part of the cornerstone, searching for the allusive box: 8 inches into the granite, the drill gave way and shot into something “soft”. This is where the heavy machinery now cut, and, after only ten minutes, the box was located. After another 45 minutes, we could see it: a rectangular metallic box, badly misshapen, with a soldered lid. Another 15 additional minutes, the box was in my hands. It was very damp, encrusted with muddy mortar. We cut the lead front off, and revealed—WATER!! Sometime during the past 139 years, the box had been sitting in a bathtub of water, seeping in through the stones, ebbing and flowing, depending upon the outside weather. Inside were lumps of sodden papers, a broken glass bottle, a few scraps of wet American paper money, various American copper coins, two American silver half dollar pieces, dating 1827 and 1854, a silver Irish bank token from 1806, and two tiny religious medals, one a silver Miraculous Medal: preserved untarnished inside a glass bead, the other, a smaller, copper Miraculous Medal. Some small copper coins may be ancient Roman coins, but are not yet discernible. So far, I’ve been able to separate a few shreds of paper: the Stamford Advocate. While the print is clear, and the paper remarkably durable, no piece is larger than a few inches across.
While none of these items is of great monetary value, to the Basilica they are priceless treasures; enshrined nearly 139 years ago by our fellow priests and fellow Catholics of Saint John’s—who are separated from us only by years, yet sharing the same Catholic Faith—and still united with us through the Eucharist. Each time we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and receive Holy Communion, each member of Saint John’s who was at that 1872 cornerstone blessing ceremony, watching the enshrining of this lead box of mementoes—each person there that day is right beside us today at our altar. For us this is more of an occasion to remember our good fellow parishioners who left us these pieces of their lives, as signs of the Catholic Faith they share with their fellow parishioners 139 later. These artifacts are on display in the rectory through July 31st as part of our historic exposition: The Civil War: Reconstruction and Construction. Please consult the next page of the bulletin for details, and come visit: see more of the history we share with an earlier generation of our brother and sister Catholics of Saint John’s. —-Monsignor DiGiovanni
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Please pray for the sick. . . Andrew Robustelli, Titina Tarantino, Richard Ridge, Mario Stano, Genoeffa Melchionno, Mark Ferris, Marie Maddox, Barbara Schueger, Bernadette Jachimczyk, Terry Cooke, Christina Wright, Stacey, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Tana Sibilio, Kathleen Nichols, Millie Maida, Joseph Hlavaty, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.
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Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Cynthia Callahan, Teresa Angelini, Natale Sposato, Joseph George Terenzio, Elizabeth Gross, Natalie Ryan, Soreida Mendez, Dr. Elaine Parliman, Jack Mahan, Pat Civitillo, Dr. Erlman, Robert Monahan, Jeanne Dora Robustelli, Asst. Police Chief Francis Cronin, Babe Ruggiero, Mrs. Schuyler-Jones, 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.
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Easter Duty. . . Each Catholic is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once yearly, during the Easter Season (Easter, April 24—Pentecost, June12). One should also go to Confession at least once yearly, as well, to worthily receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
Ascension of the Lord. . .Thursday, June 2nd, is a Holy Day of Obligation. The Mass schedule: Wednesday, June 1st—vigil Mass at 5:15 pm; On Thursday, June 2nd: 8 am, 12:10pm and 5:15 pm.
Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Hour: May 23rd at 7 p.m.
The Civil War, Reconstruction and Construction: St. John’s, 1861-1886: This parish historic exhibit traces the contribution of Saint John’s parishioners during the Civil War, displaying Civil War artifacts from both the Stamford Historical Society and the parish archives; the development of Catholic life in Stamford following the War; then outlines the work of one of our parishioners, John Ennis, Union Army veteran, architect and builder of the upper church dedicated on May 30, 1886. This exhibit will be offered in the Rectory through the summer,
beginning the weekend of
May 28th and continuing through July 31st:
Mondays-Fridays, 9:00 am. until 4:30 pm;
Saturdays and Sundays by appointment: please call the rectory (324-1553, ext 11 or 21). School groups, seniors’ groups and all are welcome. There is no charge.
Repainting the Church. . . Final bids are being gathered to repaint our church’s interior. Currently we have $519,245.00 pledged. I ask everyone’s help in this. The three parish priests are donating $1,000.00 each. If each individual or household would contribute $1,000, payable over 10 months, we’ll have it. 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.
Annual Bishop’s Appeal. . . Our parish goal to support the charitable and educational works of the diocese is $87,000. Currently we have $49,777.00 collected. Please help our Bishop.
Latin Reading Group. . .Wednesdays: 6:15 pm in the Rectory (reading ability required).
Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . Will not meet during the summer. See you in September.
Hebrew Beginners’ Grammar Class. . .Thursdays: 5:30 pm in the Rectory.
Biblical Greek Study Group. . .Thursdays: 6:30 pm in the Rectory (reading ability required).
Sunday May 22, 2011 $ 13,759.28
Sunday May 23, 2010 $ 10,305.83
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
June 5th Sunday Readings: Acts 1:12-14; 1 Pt 4:13-16; Jn 17:1-11a.
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, May 31st.
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.
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. Call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).
Papal Blessings. . . The Basilica now can provide papal blessings for parishioners. Please call the parish office for further information and speak with Cindy (203-324-1553, ext. 21).
Memorial Votive Lights . . . The two votive lights at the shrine of Saint Peter, and the one before the icon of Mary Protectress of the Roman People, 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 203-324-1553, ext. 21.
Home Schooling Families. . . A group for home schooling families meets monthly on Tuesday. 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.
St. John’s 20’s and 30’s “The Flock”….our new young adult group, offers social and community service activities. Meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month in the rectory. Doors open at 7:00 PM. (More info: Deirdre.Garrahan@gmail.com).
Vatican Choir. . . Is making its first USA tour, and will perform at the Palace Theater on Thursday, June 9th at 8:00 p.m. For tickets and information: 973-520-8951 or WWW.THECHOIR.IT
Handy Man. . . Need a truck for hire, clean-ups or dump runs, and someone to do the work? Call James Pipicelli, a member of the parish Holy Name Society: 203-550-4285.
Job Seekers . . . Meets the 4th Monday of each month in the rectory at 7:30pm: all are welcome. 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 call her at 203-866-1606.
Next meeting: Monday June 27th.
Saint Gabriel Church . . . Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite
(Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal) will be offered at Saint Gabriel Church, on Tuesday, May 31st at 7:30 PM, in celebration of the Queenship of Mary. All are welcome!
Sacred Heart Parish. . . On Schuyler Avenue, will host a parish mission June 2-5: offered by the priests of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Pompeii, Italy, who will bring with them a miraculous picture of the shrine’s world-famous icon of Our Lady. Call the parish for details: 324-9545.
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, May 28
4:00 +Margaret Curtis req. sister Mary
Sunday, May 29
7:30 +Kevin Sutton req. the Carpanzano family
8:30 In Honor of the Agony of Jesus in the Garden req. Josephine Languedoc
10:00 +Clercy Millien req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:00 +Anniello Preziosi 45th Anniversary req. Children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren
5:00 +Michael and Aniela Platek req. Agnes Ostrowski
6:00 +Harvey Litke req. T. Donahoe
Monday, May 30
8:00 Special Intentions Rosemary Reid req. Maria
12:10 Veterans of the Parish req. Priests of the Parish
Tuesday, May 31
8:00 +Margaret Curtis req. sister Mary
12:10 Special Intentions Maiah Rovegno
Wednesday, June 1
8:00 +Bill Cody req. Lisa and Darrell Ingram
12:10 +S.O.R. Teresa Carpio req. Cecilia Carpio
5:15 +Rosa Herrera req. the LeRouzic Family
Thursday, June 2
8:00 +Encarnation Dominguis req. Helen Fernandez
12:10 +Joseph George Terenzio req. St. John’s Staff
5:15 Tessie Mulhern req. her Grandchildren Mulhern
Friday, June 3
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Rue McClanahan req. Gaea DeVito
Saturday, June 4
8:00 Special Intentions Frank and Beth Carpanzano and Family req. friend
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary 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 after the 5pm mass, with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and 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. Info, contact Ferry Galbert 203-324-1553 ext. 22.
St. Maria Goretti Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young ladies, 8th-12th grades. Beth Carpanzano at 203-975-0074.
Bible Study…Has finished until September 2011; stay tuned for details.
The Legion of Mary. . . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 7:30 pm in the parish hall. All are welcome.
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies . . . Will not meet during the summer. See you in September.
The Latin Reading Group. . . Meets Wednesday evenings at 6:15 pm in the rectory: basic reading ability required.
Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . Meets Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in the rectory: basic reading ability required.
Introduction to Hebrew. . . Thursdays at 5:30 pm in the rectory: This is a true beginner’s class in grammar.
Coffee Hour. . . Will start again in September.
Dedication of the cornerstone—1872
The Stamford advocate:
THE NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH. “On Sunday last, June 23rd, the cornerstone for the new Roman Catholic church on Atlantic street, in this village, was laid. The Right Rev. Bishop McFarland was present and performed in person the most important part of the ceremonies. A number of Catholic clergymen from neighboring towns and cities were also present, including Rev. Fathers Hewett of New York, Smith of Norwalk, Cooney of Providence, one of the first pastors on the Stamford mission, Gaffney of Thomastown, Walsh of Meriden, Sheridan of Danbury, Dres of Bridgeport, Sheridan of Collinsville, Dugget of Providence, and Dowling of Port Chester. With these gentlemen, were Col. Healy of New Haven, and Mr. James Murphy of Providence, the architect of the church, besides the local clergy, Rev. Father Fagan and his assistant, Father Healy. The ceremony was impressive, and was witnessed by a large concourse, numbering perhaps three thousand.
The clergy, with their attendants and others invited, mounted a platform which had been erected on the massive foundations of the main tower. The platform was shaded by a large American flag, and in its center a stand was erected for the convenience of the speaker.
A basket wreathed with flowers was placed on the corner stone and the people were invited to place their contributions in it. A large number came forward and placed envelopes, bearing their names and containing their contributions in the basket. The solid silver trowel and mallet used on the occasion will be presented to the person having the largest subscription deposited in the basket.
Meanwhile the Bishop, dressed in his official robes and accompanied by priests and acolytes-some of the latter bearing candles, others holy water etc.– walked in procession about the walls. The Bishop sprinkled holy water upon the walls and upon the cross erected where the altar is to stand. Returning to the corner stone, the Bishop, using a silver trowel and mallet, laid the enclosure in the cavity of the stone and covered it with mortar.
The band occupied the platform during the ceremonies and at intervals played the “Russian Hymns,” the “Webster March,” “My Country ‘tis of Thee,” and also the Latin hymn “Venite Adoremus. At the conclusion of the ceremonies the band again headed the procession, which marched back to the Meadow Street church in the same order in which it came.
The following is a list of the articles enclosed in the corner stone: The parchment with a proper inscription in Latin; the different U.S. coins, bills, currency etc. of the circulation of the present day; gold and silver medals, and old Roman coins; copies of the Stamford Advocate, New York Freeman’s Journal and Catholic Register, and the Hartford Daily Times.”
Come, O Most Holy Spirit, Come
-Fr. Terry Walsh
(Pentecost Sunday is June 12th )
The Sacrament of Confirmation
We are in the midst of such a Holy time of the year. After having been lifted up on the Cross for the Life of the world, our Lord rose from the dead, as He said He would, and then lived among the Apostles and Disciples for 40 days. On the Glorious 40th day, He Ascended to the Father in Heaven out of love for us. It is from there that the Father and the Son send the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, Who will lead and guide us to all Truth. Ten days after the Ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost to dwell in the hearts and souls of all who are baptized and live a faithful life in Christ. We receive the fullness, or the “completion” of the graces of Baptism through the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The Church teaches us that “by the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit…they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obligated to spread and defend the faith by word and deed”(ccc1285). Moreover, “this seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in His service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial” (see also Rev. 7:2-3; 9:4 and Ezek 9: 4-6)”(ccc1296).
What are the effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation? Well, clearly, there is an ‘outpouring of the Holy Spirit’ into the soul of the one confirmed. Our souls are indelibly marked with a special ‘character’ just as the Disciples souls were on the day of Pentecost, and we’re all aware of the effect it had on them. Recall that in the Garden of Gethsemane they all ran away at the moment Jesus needed them most. But upon receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were filled with the strength and love of the Holy Spirit and all became great witnesses to Jesus by the shedding of their own blood – martyrdom – save St. John. John was the only Apostle at the foot of the Cross during our Lord’s Crucifixion and death. Tradition holds that there was an attempt to put him to death too – he was actually thrown into a vat of boiling oil – but it had no effect. He was then exiled and suffered “White” Martyrdom through daily persecutions, all for the sake of the Name of Jesus.
We, likewise, receive the graces we need to be faithful witnesses to Christ. The Catechism beautifully describes the effects of Confirmation: “(It) brings and increase and deepening of baptismal grace: it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, ‘Abba! Father!’; it unites us more firmly to Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross”(ccc 1302). And St. Ambrose adds: “Recall that you have received the spiritual seal….Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.” We guard what we have received by “seeking the things that are above” – by faithfully living the Gospel in all that we think and say and do – by praying faithfully – and by receiving the Sacraments worthily and with thanks and praise.
Our Religious Education program moved the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation to the 9th grade, thus offering our young people the benefit of another year of instruction to complement what they are learning at home. It has been a wonderful addition to our program. The 8th grade year has afforded our students to enter into a deeper understanding of Sacred Scripture and at the same time enter into seminar discussions on our faith. Their efforts this year proved very fruitful.