For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday August 7, 2011

Pastor’s Corner. . .

As the summer moves on, and preparations continue for the repainting of the church interior from October through March, take a moment to look around the magnificent and awesome building that is our Basilica. The church interior is wide open, lofty, graceful and filled with light, and it is a remarkable creation by one of our early parishioners, John Ennis. The original architects and contractors had planned to build the entire church in stone. But, by 1876, not only had the project run out of money, with only the basement church and the walls completed to the height of the lower windows, but the architect and contractor refused to continue the planned construction, fearing that the proposed dimensions of the church too large to remain standing if actually built. So, work stopped, and the church was enclosed by a flat roof, rising just above the top of the arches of the lower windows along the aisles.

Just then, John Ennis and his family moved to Stamford from Illinois, where he had designed and built theaters. Coming upon the scene of a half completed, very stunted looking building that was supposed to be a church, he proposed returning to the original plans, but building the upper walls and ceiling in wood and plaster instead of stone, and the pastor, Father William H. Rogers, agreed. The result is magnificent, if with some irregularities in its arched vaulting. Nevertheless, at the 1886 church dedication, the press marveled at the beauty of the then largest stone church in the state—right here in Stamford: “The church plans have been modified, especially as to the interior finish by Mr. John Ennis, who deserves the credit of what is really the finest architectural feature of the building, and that is the symmetrical and noble gothic finish of the interior” [The Stamford Advocate, June 1, 1886].
The Gothic style of architecture developed first in France. It embodies the notion that beauty is at the service of God, and helps lead us beyond ourselves toward the Divine, so that our lives might be filled with moral virtue, which is our participation in God’s perfection. The Gothic, while having its roots in earlier church architectural experiments, can first be seen in the construction of the Benedictine Abbey church of Saint-Denis in Paris, France. Its superior, Abbot Suger [1080-1151 A.D.], was a brilliant churchman, adviser to popes and kings of France, was a diplomat, and served as Regent of France, himself. In his spare time, the Abbot Suger personally commissioned and directed the entire design and construction of the new Church of Saint Denis, which is regarded as the first truly Gothic church. He was of peasant stock, possessed of immense energy and imagination, with some radical ideas. The story is told that his workmen judged his designs for the new church to be unrealistic: the planned church was too wide, said they, especially since no tree could possibly be found large enough to be used for the roof rafters. Suger led them into the local forest, recalling that “they smiled, and would have laughed if they had dared”. He showed them twelve trees measuring the exact size required: they never dared laugh at him again.
Suger believed that we should offer the best and most beautiful we have to God, and he created a beautiful church building because he loved God: “The dull mind rises to Divine truth through that which is material and beautiful”, he wrote. His architectural ideas may have been influenced by travelers from the Holy Land, who had seen Islamic buildings with their light arches. But, it was Suger who first perfected the Gothic pointed arch and painted stained glass windows in Europe. Light is the essence of the Gothic: “Bright”, he wrote, “is the noble edifice that is pervaded by new light” [Suger, Scriptum consecrationis, xxviii]. St. John the Evangelist, our patron, wrote of the Divine Light of the Eternal Son: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness” [John 1: 3-5]. The pointed arches lead the eye and mind heavenward, to the light of God. Suger’s wrote that we should use the church’s architectural beauty “to illuminate the mind so that it might travel through this world’s lights to the True Light, where Christ is the true Door to the Heavenly Jerusalem,” of which the church building is only an image [Suger, Scriptum consecrationis, xxvii].
Our church was built according to the same inspirations. Possibly, John Ennis never heard of the Abbot Suger, but I doubt that, since he, was a man of great culture, faith and immense energy. And because his design of St. John’s shows the universality of that which inspired both men: all that is true, good and beautiful leads us to God.
Our project will offer what many rarely experience, and without cost—Beauty. Pray for the success of our painting project, that the renovated beauty of our church interior, may lead many to God. — Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Billy Therriault, Sandra Maysied,Vincent Sharkey, Sr., Sr. Ellen Mary Doherty, C.S.J., Louise Morello, Vera Benna, Lily Ann O’Connell, Ed Nemcheck, Jo Darling, Thomas Mahala, Titina Tarantino, Richard Ridge, Mario Stano, Mark Ferris, Marie Maddox, Barbara Schueger, Terry Cooke, Stacey, Kathleen Nichols, Millie Maida, Joseph Hlavaty, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Morris Smith, Sr. Elizabeth Hart, R.S.M., Margaret Mary Cycon, Mildred J. Fiore, Tana Sibilio, Dr. Bela Szele, Audrey Reda, Helen Pataky, William Kilcoyne, Jr., Matilda “Tillie” Sisca, Giuseppina Docimo, Adelaide Velanzano, Aura Piedra, Jeanne & Andy Robustelli, Mary Ferrara, Genoveffa Melchionno, Cynthia Callahan, Teresa Angelini, Natale Sposato, Joseph George Terenzio.

Air Conditioning Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Air Conditioning collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Repainting the Church. . . Currently we have $564,405.00 pledged towards a goal of $629,000.00. I ask everyone’s help. 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. Please lend us a hand.

Church Saints. . . The Canning design for repainting the church interior includes the painting pictures of eight saints in shades of gray and white, in imitation of the marble statues in the sanctuary. The eight saints will go on the upper walls of the transepts: two on either side of each of the two large windows. The saints chosen are: Saints Joachim and Anne [the oldest devotional society in the parish]; Blessed Pope Pius IX [pope when the parish began in 1847]; Saint Patrick; Saint Augustine; Saint Monica; Saint Philip Neri; Saint Michael the Archangel.

Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Hour: Monday, August 8th at 7 p.m.

Saint Peter Votive Lights Memorial. . .The left votive is in memory of Dominick Fiorenza req. Annette Fiorenza and Family.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light Memorial. . . Prayers for vocations to the priesthood req. Vera Viola.

Banns of Marriage:
Banns II:
David Smith and Abigail Ramsey
Anthony D. Northern and Valerie LaGuerre
Banns III:
Kerline Guillaume and Luca Boursiquot

Brides in 2012. . . The church interior will be covered in scaffolding beginning October 10th: the sanctuary to the aisle crossing until Christmas 2011; from the aisle crossing to the front door through late March, 2012. All should be completed by Holy Week. Please plan accordingly.

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; and 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 August 8th:
Mondays-Fridays, 9:00 am. until 4:30 pm: just ring the bell;
Saturdays and Sundays BY appointment:
Please call the rectory (324-1553, ext 11 or 21). There is no charge.

Sunday July 31, 2011 $ 12,637.41
Sunday August 1, 2010 $ 11,104.12

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

August 14th Sunday Readings: Is 56:1, 6-7; Rom 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt 15:21-28.

Latin Mass. . . Fr. Cyprian LaPastina offers the Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. here at Saint John’s; The next Mass is Tuesday, August 9th.

Memorial Votive Lights . . . The votive lights at the shrine of Saint Peter, St. Joseph, and at 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. Please call Cindy at 203-324-1553, ext. 21.

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 the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

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:

Job Seekers . . . Meets the 4th Monday monthly in the rectory at 7:30pm: all are welcome. There’s no charge for these services. The group is led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: or call her at 203-866-1606.Next meeting: Monday August 29th.

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).

Saint Joseph Parenting Center Seeks Volunteers. . .The Saint Joseph Parenting Center (SJPC) is a non profit parent education center located at St Mary Parish on Elm Street in Stamford. We provide free parenting classes to adults in Fairfield County who are at risk of abusing and/or neglecting their children. SJPC is currently seeking compassionate and committed volunteers to assist in our office with reception and light clerical work on either Monday mornings or Wednesday evenings. For more information about volunteering at SJPC, please call (203)588-1934 or email . , or see our website at We are now up and running on Facebook. Please join us. (Note: Our offices will be closing for a 3 week summer break. We’ll be back August 15th.)

Heart of Mary New York Homeschooling. . . If you are interested, come to the Immaculate Heart of Mary New York Homeschool and Parent Conference at the DoubleTee Hotel at 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY, Friday, August 5th: 2-8 pm and Saturday, August 6th: 9-4pm for information. Free Admission. For more This meeting is restricted to parents with teens, children and nursing babies.

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,, or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301,

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, August 6, 2011
4:00 +Peter and Ziriyana Mangeni req. Scholastica Nabwire
Sunday, August 7, 2011
7:30 +William Morris req. Domenico Piria
8:30 +Cosimo Bertuca req. Domenico Piria
10:00 In thanks to the Eternal Father for His love & giving us His son Jesus req. Josephine
12:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
5:00 +Carmen Vega req. Evelyn Flaharty
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, August 8, 2011
8:00 +Marcellus Uhrich req. Maude and Paul Hughes and Family
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Yvonne Saint Preuve
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
8:00 +Stuart Olds req. Lori and Jim Rubino
12:10 +Anna Williams req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
8:00 Tessie Mulhern req. grandchildren
12:10 For the intentions of the Rego Family req. The Latin Translation Group
Thursday, August 11, 2011
8:00 +Lucia and Antonio Tana req. Leon Taricani
12:10 +Angel Sanchez req. mother
Friday, August 12, 2011
8:00 +Luchi Ruigomez req. Ana and Charles Paternina
12:10 Catherine and Jay Olnek 50th Wedding Anniversary
Saturday, August 13, 2011
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 +Members DeRosa, Kronk, Capobianco Families & Edwin Clark req. Joan & John Kronk

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. Ferry at 203-324-1553 ext. 22.

St. Maria Goretti Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young ladies, 8th-12th grades. Beth at 203-975-0074.

Holy Hour……Come join us for Holy Hour on Monday Nights from 7pm—8 pm. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Rosary, and Benediction. All are welcome!

The Legion of Mary. . . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 7:30 pm in members’ homes. 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. . . After the Sunday 10 a.m. Mass is ended for the summer. Will start again in September.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:
130 years ago, or so:
August 10, 1883: Stamford. “Next Thursday, August 16th, the annual excursion of St. John’s R.C. church, already announced, comes off. Judging from the success of these entertainments in previous years, the capacious barge “Steven Warren” will be none too large to accommodate the throng of people who will not miss this opportunity for a pleasant holiday, especially since the net proceeds go to help finish the new church.”

120 years ago, or so:
August 12, 1893: Stamford. “William Stankard died at his home on the Meadow street on Tuesday. The funeral took place from his late residence Thursday afternoon at two o’clock. Interment was at Springdale cemetery. Mr. Stankard was one of the best known Irish American residents of Stamford.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: William Stankard was the donor of a stained glass window in the church: rectory side, second from front.)

80 years ago, or so:
August 19, 1930 : RAYMOND FARRELL QUALIFIED FOR EAGLE SCOUT RANK. “Raymond Farrell, junior assistant Scoutmaster of Stamford Troop 22, qualified for advancement to Eagle Scout, the highest Scout rank, at the Court of Honor held at Camp Toquam on Aug. 2. Satisfactory evidence was presented that he had continued to put into practice the ideas and principles of the Scout Oath and Law, the motto, “Be Prepared” and the “Daily Good Turn,” that he had maintained an active service relationship to Scouting since becoming a First Class Scout, and had made an effort to develop and demonstrate leadership ability; in addition to qualifying for twenty-one merit badges.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Raymond Farrell was St. John’s First Eagle Scout since the troop was organized in 1926.)

50 years ago, or so:
August 25, 1964: “The will of the late Mrs. Margaret A. Horne of Strawberry Hill was admitted for probate today by Judge John P. Keating. Mrs. Horne, widow of the late Joseph A. Horne, former executive of Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company, died on June 25. The will bequeaths $5,000 each to St. Maurice Roman Catholic Church Corporation, St. John’s Roman Catholic Church Corporation and the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.”

What’s Most Important to You? – Fr Terry Walsh
“Wake up and recognize the dignity of your nature! Remember that you were made in the image of God—which, although it was corrupted in Adam, was still re-molded in Christ.” – St. Leo the Great
Have you ever wondered what life would be like today in 2011 if there had been television in, say, the year 1500? Would there have been a Renaissance? Would Michelangelo have painted the Sistine Chapel? Would Bernini have carved his many beautiful statues? Would we have seen the likes of the great Saints of that time who helped to build up the Church in holiness in the wake of the sadness of division? Or would they have been busy watching annoying sitcoms that dull the senses at best and lead to moral and spiritual decay at worst? Would they have found themselves fighting the same battle we face today? It’s so easy to sit down after a long day and plug into the bizarre world of television: hour after hour, day after day, year after year. According to the Nielsen report, Americans watch an average of 153 hours of TV each month (that’s over 5 hours a day!) and 29 hours of Internet video each month as well. Could this be good? Well, I suppose one would have to consider the content. It seems there’s been an abundance of talk shows with people constantly interrupting one another, leaving the viewer—and themselves—a bit agitated. Then there are the endless (so-called) self-help shows, the No money down shows, and the ancient re-runs from TV land! We have the news shows that seem to contradict one another (even though they are supposedly reporting “facts” without opinion), leaving the viewer dizzy. And, finally, what about the moral content of the mainstream line up? If we were to run the programs through the demands of our faith as St. Paul teaches in his many Letters in the New Testament, what would be left? Has the so-called mainstream lost sight of the dignity of the human person that we believe as Catholics is actually and truly been “re-molded” in Christ, as St. Leo the Great would say. Do you really and truly believe that God, the Creator of the Universe, The Holy Trinity, He who is Truth, dwells in you by virtue of your baptism? Paul teaches us, “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father! It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him”(Romans 8:15-17). Heirs of God! What are we doing with the precious time we have been given to prove our love for God? How much time do we spend praying each day? Obviously there are different demands of prayer for different vocations in life, but all are called to that daily conversation. St. Francis De Sales wrote beautifully on this topic.
Still, all are called to pray; all are called to understand that God is the very cause of our existence and therefore the very center of our lives. Do our daily allotments of time for the various activities of our day reflect what is expected of us? Prayer is a grace, a conversation with God, a means of offering thanks and praise, a means of receiving wonderful graces that unlock the gifts our Lord has given each one of us, a means of nourishing those gifts for the good of others. Prayer enables us to grow closer to God and in so doing, discover the beauty he has begun in our very own souls! Prayer enables us to receive a greater measure of grace when we approach the Altar to receive the Eucharist or taking part in the healing of Confession or live out our marital bond with true attentiveness and a renewed desire to build up our spousal relationship. Yet, has the TV somehow eclipsed that primary relationship? Has TV become the new “Adoration” as I heard one priest put it recently? I thought he had made a very interesting observation, really. It’s a fair question. Actually, a rather scary comment if you think about it. TV sells itself on make believe. It appears real (not withstanding real events reported in the news, etc). On the other hand, many do not believe in the Real Presence of the Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and so He is neglected. And yet, He is real. The joys, the consolations, and the answers to life’s difficult questions and troublesome worries await us—in the Tabernacle—not on the Flatscreen. Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, in the Tabernacle. He’s simply waiting to have a heart to heart with each one of us. Why not stop by for just a quick visit—5 or 10 minutes. Seriously—5, 6 hours of TV each day? Add to that an hour or 2 more of the Internet—each day? Why not come visit God for a little while and begin to experience His transforming love in the very depths of your soul? There are many created goods that enrich our souls, to be sure — gifts from God. And yet, it certainly seems prudent to discern well what those things are. It also seems prudent to consider the effects of the influence we allow others (TV, Internet, etc) to have upon our understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. St. Leo the Great , writing in the 5th century (long before TV) encouraged us to look up at the stars and marvel at God’s Creation—and give thanks. More importantly, he encouraged us to look deep within our hearts, through prayerful meditation, and recognize the very Indwelling of God in our souls. He said: “And so, dear friends, I don’t tell you or advise you to despise God’s works, or to think there is anything against your faith in what the good God has made good. But use every kind of creature, and everything this world is equipped with, reasonably and moderately. For as the Apostle (Paul) says, ‘the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.’ So because we are born for the present and reborn for the future, let us not give ourself up to transient goods, but to eternal ones”(St. Leo the Great, Sermon 27, 6).
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him or knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you”(Gospel of John, chapter 14: 15-17).