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

Pastor’s Corner. . . Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas. As with the daily preparations for the holiday, such as buying a good looking tree, figuring out the Christmas dinner menu, looking for the right Christmas gifts for everyone, we should include our own, personal preparation: not alone, but with the entire Church. As members of the Church, we are, after all, spiritually linked with every Catholic who has ever lived, as well as with the angels, saints and Our Lord, Himself, who is the “Head of the Church”, which is His Body, as Saint Paul tells us.

The gift we prepare for the Lord is not purchased in the Mall; it is an interior gift of the heart, based first and foremost on our love for Him. If we love someone, we first consider how to please that person we love, lest we do something to hurt or offend the person we claim to love. Prepare yourself to please Our Lord in everything you do. That’s your gift: get yourself into the habit of asking yourself before you do something, “Will this please God?” Pleasing to God, by which we mean that the action contemplated could show that you love God above everything else, and second, that the action contemplated will not harm anyone or take advantage of anyone, or use anyone. Only after answering those two questions should one proceed to action or to rejection of the doing of that which is contemplated.

Such a program of disciplining your actions by asking such questions is in accord with Our Lord’s boiling down of the 10 Commandments to two: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole mind, and heart and strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Putting God in the forefront of your mind before you do anything each day is a good habit to get into for the 4 weeks of Advent.

There are other small acts of piety and charity you might do during Advent, as a way to prepare to celebrate Christmas. How about visiting a Catholic church each day. If convenient, stop by the Basilica before or after work, or during your lunch hour. You don’t have to do anything dramatic: just pop in, light a candle and say a prayer for your family; or ask him to help you find a job; or ask God’s blessing on a project you’re working on; or thank Him for the blessings you have received. This could be a daily pilgrimage: if not to the Basilica, to any other Catholic church that might be close by your work or home. Our Lord is always there, in the tabernacle, waiting for you to stop by. Or, how about going to Confession? This sacrament is the normative means Our Lord gave us for the forgiveness of sins. We hear confessions every day of the week at St. John’s.

How about a simple act of charity? You know those Salvation Army Santas standing around everywhere ringing bells: drop you loose change in the bucket to help those they help. Or, send a gift to the local Catholic soup kitchen; The New Covenant House of Hospitality at 90 Fairfield Avenue, behind the Yerwood Center, here in Stamford. Or, better yet, drop in and ask if you can volunteer to help serve meals to the needy during Advent. Another simple act of charity: clean out your closet, and bring your unused clothing to Goodwill to help those in need.

At this point, you might be asking, “Has the pastor lost his mind, or hasn’t he anything to write this weekend in this bulletin column??” I am rarely at a loss for words, as you know. Since we’ve all gone through a million Advents and a million Christmases, what does one do that’s “new” and “original”? You don’t. Well, how about the basics?? And trying to please God in our daily actions is about as basic as one can get.

The older I get, the more I realize that the basics are the most important things in life. Love God. Love your family; what my parents taught me—to respect others and help those in need; urging kids to get a good education; fostering curiosity; enjoying beautiful music; the thrill of beauty in nature, art and architecture; thanking God for His many, and usually unexpected and undeserved blessings. So, as I get older, the question returns that once cluttered my younger mind: what should I do? And the answer is the same: try to please God. Not too dramatic; not very glitzy; not too original; but quite the basics of life in one phrase: please God.

So, there is my suggestion for Advent: get into the daily habit of pleasing God in everything you do, whether in your relations with family and friends; whether in business or sports or leisure, please God by not hurting or using others or abusing yourself, because that is pleasing to God. You might also consider joining us for our Advent mission: Monday, December 5th, Tuesday, December 6th and Wednesday, December 7th, from 7:30 p.m.– 8:30 p.m., or even for a part of that hour, for a spiritual conference, Confessions, Adoration and Prayer. Make an effort and go out of your way for God. Especially, since He has gone out of His way for you—that’s what we celebrate at Christmas: God coming from Heaven to rescue us from ourselves, our sins and death. Let’s please God in everything, and we’ll be happier here and forever in Heaven.
—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . John Murray, Billy Therriault, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Mary D’Arco, Anthony Sansone, Tessie Mulhern, Gary Everett, Margie Joyce, Tonin Gjepaj, Monica Dewey, Sandra Mayfield, Sr. Ellen Mary Doherty, C.S.J., Lily Ann O’Connell, Thomas Mahala, Titina Tarantino, Richard Ridge, Mario Stano, Mark Ferris, Marie Maddox, Terry Cooke, Stacey, Kathleen Nichols, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Vincent Sharkey, Sr., Madre Perpetua, Madeleine Charlotin, Louis Servideo, Gladys Brzoska, David Squires, Tom Potts, William Shanley, Jimmy O’Connor, Andrea Pavia, Rocco Buzzio, Vera Benna, Brian Bill, Olga Rich, 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., Giuseppina Docimo, Adelaide Velanzano, Aura Piedra, Jeanne & Andy Robustelli, Mary Ferrara, Genoveffa Melchionno, Cynthia Callahan, Teresa Angelini, Natale Sposato, Joseph George Terenzio.

Walkway Construction. . .As you may have noticed, the walkway between the church and the rectory is torn up. PLEASE, DO NOT CROSS THE WORK LINES AND BARRIERS, OR ELSE YOU MAY BE SERIOUSLY HURT BY FALLING. The rectory side entrance to the church will remain closed for the next two weeks. Please use the elevator, the front door or the Bell Street door to enter the church. For religious education classes and choir practice in the Monsignor Nagle Hall, please use the Bell Street door as well. For religious education classes held in the rectory, or to access the parish offices in the rectory, please use the Atlantic Street gates, which will be open. Please excuse the inconvenience.

Religious Education… We will have class on Dec 4th.

Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the church. Next Holy Hour: Monday, November 28th at 7 p.m.

Saint Peter Votive Lights Memorial. . . The two votive lights are in memory of Robert Lockhart and Sheila Lockhart req. Harriet Lockhart.

St. Joseph Votive Memorial . . . Special intentions Ann and Jo.

Memorial Votive Lights . . . The votive lights at the shrine of Saint Peter, Our Lady, St. Joseph, or at the icon of Mary Protectress of the Roman People, may be memorialized each week for the intention or in memory of a loved one, for a donation of $20.00 per candle, per week. Please call Cindy at 203-324-1553, ext. 21.

Latin Reading Group: Wednesdays: 6:15 pm in the Rectory (reading ability required).

New Study Group. . . Many people have asked that we again offer basic courses in Church Latin Grammar and Biblical Greek Grammar. So, let’s try it again!! Anyone interested, please call Cindy in the parish office [203-324-1553, ext 21] and leave your name, phone, email, and we’ll see if we can organize new groups to begin in January. As always, there is no charge for these courses, other than the purchase of books.

Biblical Greek Study Group: Thursdays: 6:30 pm in the Rectory (reading ability required).

Repainting the Church. . . $596,460.00 is pledged towards our goal of $629,000.00. I ask everyone’s help. Each parish priest is donating $1,000.00. If each individual or household contributes $1,000, payable over 10 months, we’ll have it: that’s $100. per month, or $25. per week, or $3.57 per day for 10 months. Please, help.

Saint Monica Patristic Institute. . . Will next meet on the Wednesdays of January: 4th, 11th, 18th, 25, starting at 7:30 pm in the rectory. Our topic in January will be the theology of Origen, led by Father Michael Novajoski, parochial vicar of St. Jude Parish, Monroe. There is no charge; classes are 1 hour, and all the texts are in English translations. You’ll love this stuff! Everyone is welcome.

Sunday November 20, 2011 $ 10,314.75
Sunday November 21, 2010 $ 12,508.94
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

December 4th Sunday Readings: Is 40:1-5, 9-11; 2 Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8.

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 Latin Mass is Tuesday, November 29th.

Children’s Choir. . . Anmarie and Tom Galgano are our new music directors for the 10 a.m. Mass and Children’s Choir this year. Any parent whose child or children might be interested in joining the Children’s Choir to sing during each Sunday 10 a.m. Mass, please call the rectory, and leave your name, your child’s name, age and your phone number with Cindy: 203-324-1553, ext. 21.

Home Schooling Families. . . A group for home schooling families meets monthly on Tuesday in the rectory. 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.

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 ). Next meeting: TBA

Advent Parish Retreat. . . Monday, December 5th, Tuesday, Dec. 6th, Wednesday, Dec. 7th: 7:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m.: Spiritual Conference, adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary and Benediction. Confessions will be heard each evening for the entire hour. All are welcome—including your children. Come prepare for Christmas by joining the parish in prayer & adoration, and by going to Confession.

Project Rachel Ministry. . . offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. We invite you to come back to God who is love and mercy. Info. (203) 416-1619 or projectrachel@diobpt.org.

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: www.redinc.biz or call her at 203-866-1606. Next meeting: Monday, November 28th.

St. Gabriel Church—First Saturday Devotions. . . Saint Gabriel Parish will celebrate the First Saturday Devotions in Honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  On the First Saturday of each month Confessions will be heard from 9:30 to 10 AM, followed by Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, silent prayer, Rosary and Benediction.  All are welcome.

Christmas Bake Sale. . .The weekend of December 3rd-4th in the Msgr. Nagle Parish Hall after all the Masses. Our Parish Ladies will be baking up a storm of delicious baked treats for your holiday sweet tooth. All proceeds will go to the Basilica. Come join us!

Bakers. . .mark your calendars for the first weekend in December and set your ovens to 350 degrees! This year we will be hosting a Christmas Bake Sale at Monsignor Nagle Hall on Saturday, December 3rd before and after the 4PM mass and on Sunday, December 4th after all the masses, concluding after the noon mass. We will be looking to sell your cakes, cookies, pies, brownies and breads and hope to see a few babkas, stollens and maybe even a Buche de Noel. We are also hoping to offer a Candy Corner with chocolate crack up, fudge, truffles and bark. Please bring your festively wrapped goodies down to Monsignor Nagle Hall by Saturday afternoon [Dec 3rd] before 4PM mass. Remember, if you wrap it well, it will sell! And please feel free to include a list of ingredients or even a recipe! We will also be looking for help selling after all masses. Please call Tracy Banahan for questions: 203-834-0284 or email her at southold6@optonline.net

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, November 26, 2011
4:00 +John Maloney req. wife Mary
Sunday, November 27, 2011
7:30 +Vincenzo Giannitti req. Giannitti Family
10:00 +Members DeRosa, Kronk, Capobianco Families & Edwin Clark req. Joan and John Kronk
12:00 +Sith and Van Dereedt Family req. daughter
5:00 +Louise and Arthur Thiel
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, November 28, 2011
8:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Montanise Paulemon
12:10 +Mildred Hutcheon req. Agetina Rakaj-Duarte
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
8:00 In Honor of St. Peter req. Marie J. Mathias
12:10 Pope Benedict XVI req. Josephine Languedoc
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
8:00 Special Intention
12:10 +Tomas D. Rosete req. Rosita A. Domdom
Thursday, December 1, 2011
8:00 Cecelia Anne Labrosciano Birthday req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Timothy Bell req. Kat Bell
Friday, December 2, 2011
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. John Marciano
12:10 +Joseph Cerniglia req. Carpanzano Family
Saturday, December 3, 2011
8:00 In thanksgiving to Saint Teadoro req. Genovessa Melchionno
12:10 +Millien and Paulemon Families, Poor Souls req. Montanise Paulemon

Weddings. . . Couples must contact and begin meeting with one of the parish priests for at least 6 months before a hoped for wedding date at Saint John’s. Please call the parish secretary, Cindy, or one of the priests for an initial discussion.

Baptisms. . . Are celebrated every day of the week, according to the schedule of the parish priests and the families. Baptisms at St. John’s are one-family only ceremonies: never groups. Please call Cindy (203-324-1553, ext 21).

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

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

Holy Hour. . . on Monday Nights, 7pm—8 pm. Adoration, Holy Rosary, and Benediction. All are welcome!

The Legion of Mary. . . . Meets Wednesday Evenings at 7:30 pm ’till 9:00 pm in the rectory. All are welcome.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . .Wednesdays, 7:30 pm in the rectory: Next meeting, November 2nd.

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.

Coffee Hour. . . After the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall. All are welcome.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:
The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
135 years ago, or so:
December 1, 1876: “A more than ordinary degree of religious activity is apparent in St. John’s R.C. Church just at present. The local clergy are assisted by a number of missionary priests, who are laboring to stimulate the congregation to a more earnest performance of duty, and especially to exert such an influence upon the careless ones as to bring them into a close fellowship. The work of these missionaries is analogous to what is called “revival work” in other communions, and that it is very successful is shown, in part, by the very large congregations that assemble at the three daily services now held—5:30 and 9 AM and at 7:30 in the evening.”

The FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
20 years ago, or so:
December, 1991: Graduates of former St. John Parochial School, Stamford, have unique reunion. “Class reunions are always fun. The one held at St. John’s Parish in Stamford in October drew alumni representing classes from 1919 to 1971 who crowded the Stamford Italian Community Center for a dinner-dance that brought back a flood of memories to the more than 550 graduates who had come from various parts of the United States to renew acquaintances and revive old friendships. To commemorate the occasion, the Mayor of the City of Stamford, Thom Serrani, a former graduate of St. John’s School, proclaimed the weekend of October 18th, 19th and 20th as “St. John Roman Catholic School Reunion Weekend.” Bishop Edward M. Egan celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. John’s Church and delivered the homily. The church was filled to overflowing with graduates, their families and friends. St. John’s original school was started in 1860 by the Rev. James H. O’Neil, pastor of St. John’s Parish, who, recognizing the importance of a religious education for Catholic Children, hired two lay teachers to teach the children of the parish. In 1876 the Sisters of Mercy took over the teaching duties, and a new school was built on Bell Street in 1906. The Rev. James C. O’Brien, who was then pastor, recorded an enrollment of 463 pupils. Although the school lacked electricity and little heat was available in winter, it continued to grow. Dr. Mary M. Savage, class of 1952, headed the large reunion committee and welcomed returning class members from many cities and states. “It was an intergenerational affair,” she said. “We welcomed graduates from all classes from 1919 to 1971. It was a very special weekend”.”

KYRIE ELEISON
(Revisited)
-Fr. Terry Walsh

Advent evokes many spiritual aspirations. It causes us to stop what we’re doing and turn our gaze heavenward – to simply marvel at the gift of life and the call to love. Advent is about Mercy. It was out of sheer Mercy that God the Father sent His Only Begotten Son into the world to make Salvation possible. For Mercy’s sake the veil was pierced so that the Holy Spirit could be poured into the hearts of those who humbly seek to dwell in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Kyrie Eleison: Lord, have mercy.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation, instituted and ministered by our Lord, both heals and sanctifies the penitent. Any attempt to climb the Holy Mountain of God begins at the door of Confession. Our humble plea for mercy and forgiveness are found only through this door. Humility is required. Humility perfects the heart and leads us to a faithful examination of conscience and a willingness to do Penance. We meet Christ Himself in Confession and through that holy encounter; He absolves us and strengthens us with an infusion of grace. Through Sacramental Confession, Jesus prepares our souls to receive Him worthily in the Eucharist, where He forms us into ever more faithful images of Himself.

I am tremendously edified by the witness this parish gives for its desire to receive this Sacrament so frequently – everyday before each Mass people come to be reconciled to God. As a priest, I must say that the moment I encounter a sorrowful penitent I am deeply humbled. Even the simplest confession is at the same time a profound experience for me as a priest – simply because of the Presence of Christ in our midst. Every sacramental confession, of course, is an encounter with God. As a priest, I am well aware that our Lord is pouring out His graces through me. He made that act of mercy possible on the day of my ordination. Isn’t that simply amazing? That through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, God mysteriously configures the soul of a man in such a way that He may continue His Mission of Redemption through His priest and so answer our cries for help – Kyrie Eleison. Kyrie Eleison Kyrie Eleison. When I hear confessions before the 12 Noon Sunday Mass, often times the confessions run well into the Mass. Then, as if from Heaven, I hear the most beautiful prayer rising up to Heaven from the Choir. They have entered into the Kyrie, that first part of the Mass, when we ask for mercy. It’s as if the angels have surrounded the confessional and are rejoicing in the Mercy pouring down from Heaven through the hands of the priest into the soul of the penitent. Of course, the choir is expressing our plea for mercy, and while the whole congregation is rejoicing in that mercy during the Penitential Rite in the Mass, there is, at the same time, sacramental grace flowing in the confessional – the “Mercy Seat” as my old spiritual director use to call it. Lord have Mercy! What sweet words our Lord hears when the penitent kneels down to confess: “Bless me Father, I have sinned…” What sweet words of love the penitent hears in return: “I absolve you…go in peace…” Through our humble cooperation, God Himself removes the debris, the worldly obstacles, the slings and arrows, all the stuff that hinders spiritual growth – He wipes it away and clears the path, as it were, so that we might walk more faithfully with Him. He wants so much to fill us with this grace but he doesn’t force us to receive it. He will not hinder our freedom – no – we have to freely come to him – and humbly ask for it: “Lord, have Mercy….” Kyrie Eleison….

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” –Isaiah 1:18