For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for January 22, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . January 26th is commonly a frigid, sometimes uneventful, grey winter’s day along Long Island Sound. In 1851, that day may have been a cold one, but it filled the hearts of Stamford Catholics with great joy and pride. For on that Sunday, after scrimping and saving; after having been maligned by neighbors, politicians and the press as enemies of the United States, loyal to a foreign prince, Pope Pius IX, our Catholic ancestors—founders of our parish—joined Bishop Bernard O’Reilly as he consecrated the first Catholic church of Saint John the Evangelist in Stamford. It was a very small building, compared to today’s Basilica, a one storey wood framed, clapboarded building measuring 40 X 60 feet. But it was ours. And it was in that first, tiny St. John’s where Stamford’s Catholics could be married, baptize their babies and watch them as they grew in the faith to receive their first Holy Communion and Confirmation; it was there the growing Catholic community could worship God as Our Lord commanded His Apostles: by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, “Do this in memory of me”; and, where they could visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; it was there they could bury their family members, and pray for those they loved; it was there they could ask assistance and guidance, and where they gave thanks for God’s daily blessings. It was Saint John’s. And, today as in 1851, our principal duty is to worship God. Before January 26th, the only nearby Catholic churches could be found in New York City, Bridgeport and New Haven. The end of January added two more churches to that list: St. John’s in Stamford, on January 26th, and St. Mary’s in Norwalk, on January 28th. The pastor of both places was Father John C. Brady, with a small residence on Cove Road. A “Letter to the Editor” appeared in The Boston Pilot a few days after the dedication in 1851: “A few years ago there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant coming from New York to New Haven, but now the emblem of salvation may be seen in every little village.”

To put this in perspective, in 1851, a Connecticut day laborer made about $1.50 per week, working 14-16 hour days. A donation to build the church was a huge act of faith and generosity on the part of the St. John’s parishioners, and they did it as their way to thank God for having brought them to Connecticut, to benefit their own families, and for those Catholics who would come after them in Stamford. And, as a tangible means to say to their antagonistic non-Catholic neighbors: Catholics make very good Americans, and we’re not going away.

As you can see in the original lithograph above, and in the 1867 map next to it, the church was located right next to the New Haven Railroad tracks, which ran on the road at that time. This was the only property the Catholics could afford, and upon which city officials would permit the building of a Catholic church, in an unhealthy area next to the tracks and near the old canal, known as “Little Dublin.” The church and original St. John’s Cemetery was on Meadow Street, and served as our parish church until we moved to Atlantic Street, and completed the lower church [today, Msgr. Nagle Hall] in 1875, and the present upper basilica in 1886.

On June 19, 1828, a Catholic gentleman in Ireland wrote his immigrant son Michael Walsh, living on Roxbury Road, “Mind your duty to God and your Master, which is the only way to forward you, here and hereafter”. The early Catholics in Stamford, as if the letter had been sent to each of them, did “mind their duty to God”, and built the first Saint John the Evangelist Church in Stamford. On January 26th, let’s say a prayer for those early Catholics, our fellow parishioners, who gave their all to God, because we, too, benefit from their faith and generosity that built our parish on January 26, 1851. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Marie Boursiquot, Bridget Sheehy, Herman Schneider, Chris Seely, Frank Monaghan, Eva Grace Kelly, John Murray, Billy Therriault, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Mary D’Arco, Anthony Sansone, Tessie Mulhern, Gary Everett, Margie Joyce, Tonin Gjepaj, Sandra Mayfield, Lily Ann O’Connell, Titina Tarantino, Richard Ridge, Mario Stano, Mark Ferris, Marie Maddox, Stacey, Kathleen Nichols, Rev. Carlos Antonio Mesa, Corrie Evans, Shirly Mailhot, Roledonne Samedi.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Felicia Stramandinoli, Duverney Caporal, Terrence Cooke, Charles Harman, Bill Wiles, Carmen Candelaria, Gregory E. Mazza, 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.

Church in Latin America Collection . . . Please drop your special Church in Latin America envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

Monday Evening Holy Hour . . . Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the Nagle Hall. Next Holy Hour:, January 23rd at 7:30 p.m. Monday downstairs in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . Wednesdays at 7:30 pm in the rectory. Our guest lecturer for January is Father Michael Novajoski, offering lectures and readings by Origen, one of the most influential 3rd century theologians. All are welcome: just walk in the rectory front door. All the readings are in English translation.

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

New Study Group. . . Some 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. As always, there is no charge for these courses.

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

Repainting the Church. . . $612,028.00 is pledged towards our goal of $629,000.00. We 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: $25. per week: $3.57 per day for 10 months. Please, help us.

St. Dominic Savio Society. . . Next meeting is this Sunday, January 22nd after the Noon Mass.

St. Maria Goretti Society. . . Next meeting is next Sunday, January 29th after the 10AM Mass.

DAILY MASSES & CONFESSIONS
Until March 31st
All 8 a.m. & 12:10 p.m. Masses and Confessions Monday—Saturday
will be offered in the downstairs Parish Hall.
THE UPPER CHURCH WILL BE CLOSED ALL WEEK, reopening only for Saturday 3 pm Confessions and 4 pm Mass, and the usual Sunday Masses and Confessions. All Funerals will be in the parish hall until Easter.
Please Use the Rectory Walkway Blue Doors to Enter and Leave the Nagle Hall

January 15, 2012 $ 10,720.84
January 16, 2011 $ 11,181.35

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

January 29th Sunday Readings: Dt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 7:32-35; Mk 1:21-28.

Latin Mass. . . On Tuesdays will be CANCELLED until April due to the church painting.

Children’s Choir. . . Anmarie and Tom Galgano are our 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: February 9th in the Rectory

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

Lost & Found . . . Please check the Lost & Found in the Rectory for any items you may have left in the church. Feel free to call Cindy at the rectory, M-F, 9AM—1:30PM, 203-324-1553 x21.

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.

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: This Monday, January 23rd.

Trinity Catholic Middle School. . . is holding an Open House on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in our building at 948 Newfield Avenue, Stamford. (Snow date is Thursday, February 2) The school is located on the same campus as Trinity Catholic High School. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the Administration and Teachers, tour the facility, learn about the curriculum and have all of your questions answered. Parents and students interested in a challenging academic program in a faith based school are encouraged to attend.

Trinity Catholic High School. . . School Parents are welcome to visit Trinity Catholic High School during Catholic Schools Week. Stop by any time Tuesday morning, January 31st from 8:30 to 10:30. COME TAKE A LOOK TUESDAY. Come see Trinity in action…observe classes in session. Trinity welcomes freshmen as well as transfer students. For information, call 203-322-3401 x 16, or email: admissions@trinitycatholic.org.

Mardi Gras. . .Sacred Heart, Schuyler Ave., Stamford: Saturday Feb 18th: 7-10:30 pm: join us for DJ entertainment, and a great dinner of pasta fagioli, wings, meatballs, sausage & peppers, coffee, dessert, beer & wine. RSVP: by Feb 16th: Barbara Cerulli: 203-348-1268 or Marie Loiseau: 203-355-3711. Join us for fun!

April 29th. . . HOLY ROOTS!, a discussion about the religious foundations of Stamford: 1641-1876, at the Stamford Historical Society: 2-5 pm. Speakers: Msgr. DiGiovanni, Rev Jane Anne Groom [Congregational] and Rev. James Wheeler [Episcopal]. Cost: $15. per person; $5 students, payable to Stamford Historical Society. Please mail check to Stamford Historical Society, 1598 High Ridge Road, Stamford, CT 06903-4107.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 21, 2012
4:00 +Francis Cronin req. Alison Tosches
Sunday, January 22, 2012
7:30 +Adeline Grieco req. Christine Carey
8:30 Special Intentions Marion Morris req. Diane Strain
10:00 +Jeanne Robustelli req. Dick and Chris McRedmond
12:00 +Catherine Morris 28th Anniversary req. her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, January 23, 2012
8:00 +Shirley M. Ebert req. John and Eileen Tarleton
12:10 +Elionise Simon req. Anne Jean-Rene
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
8:00 +Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Betsy Woolf req. Fabiola C.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
8:00 +John Vitti req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
12:10 +Maryann Cohan req. Rizzo Family
Thursday, January 26, 2012
8:00 +Catherine Pascale req. John and Laura Pascale
12:10 +George Terenzio req. Thomas Cycon
Friday, January 27, 2012
8:00 +John Rowland req. Lou Lambiase and Family
12:10 +George Terenzio req. Lisa and Darrell Ingram
Saturday, January 28, 2012
8:00 +Gjin Tushaj req. Pat and Marie Cordon
12:10 +Natale Sposato req. Carpanzano Family

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. . . NO coffee hour until the church painting is completed.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:
160 years ago, or so:

The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
January 28, 1851: The Catholic Church. “This very neat edifice, which has been recently finished, on Meadow Street, in this village, was dedicated on Sunday last, by appropriate ceremonies. The services were conducted by the Right Rev. Bishop O’Riley, of Providence, R. I.”

The HARTFORD COURANT:
February 8, 1851: RELIGIOUS ITEMS. “The Roman Catholic Church at Norwalk, was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop O’Riley of Hartford, on Tuesday of last week. The Church at Stamford was also consecrated by the same Bishop on Sunday last.”

The BOSTON PILOT:
Feb. 3rd, 1851 : Connecticut, Stamford. “Mr. Editor: From a conviction of the interest which your truly Catholic paper has always taken in communicating through its columns the progress of our holy religion, I take pleasure in informing you of the dedication of our Church in Stamford, on Sunday, January the 26th, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop O’Riley. The morning was beautiful and it would appear that the cross shone with more than usual luster; from an early hour in the morning the hills and valleys were literally covered over with the sons and daughters of the emerald isle, whose hearts and souls were overflowing with joy that the time at length arrived when they had a church to be dedicated to the service of Almighty God. This church has been commenced and completed by the indefatigable zeal of our pious and exemplary pastor, Rev. John C. Brady, with the cooperation of the whole-souled Catholics of Stamford. The Church was dedicated to Almighty God under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist, after which confirmation was conferred on a considerable number, who were duly prepared by their Rev. Pastor; then High Mass was sung by the Pastor, and after the first gospel the Bishop ascended the platform and preached a very eloquent and persuasive sermon on the gospel of the day to a crowded congregation, many of whom were not of our religion, yet they were much delighted by the mild and charitable sermon. In the afternoon at vespers he preached one of the most powerful sermons we ever heard. So now, Mr. Editor, you must think that our holy religion is flourishing rapidly along the Sound. A few years ago there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant coming from New York to New Haven, but now the emblem of salvation may be seen in every little village. Yours truly, J. T. O’R.”

Prayer
-Fr. Terry Walsh

The Catechism (2726) cautions us about the nature of prayer – that it is fundamentally a relationship with God – speaking and listening: “Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures…” At first glance, it might seem that the Church is frowning upon prayers that are by nature, repetitive. Clearly, that is not the case. Rather, the Church cautions us as to the intention we hold in our hearts as we pray. Consider the beautiful devotion of the Holy Rosary. It is a devotion that focuses on 20 Mysteries of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each time we faithfully enter into these mysteries we grow in grace. By allowing the Mysteries to enter into us – into our hearts and minds – we become more aware of the Sacrificial love and the unparalleled humility of our Lord. When we truly enter into the devotion with our hearts lifted up to heaven, we will receive the graces we need to imitate our Lord. We will become like him. In the deeper regions of our hearts, He is there. And He helps us understand the beauty of the Incarnation, the joy of the Visitation, the new life of grace forged through his Nativity. Likewise, he teaches us about the cost of this life: the intensity of his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and the pain of betrayal; the anguish of the Cross. We also meditate on the Glorious Mysteries that we are called to share – if we follow him. Meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary helps us see the path more clearly.

Our prayer life will quite naturally grow in depth and character as we move along the road of spiritual maturity since our awareness of our particular vocation will naturally become clearer to us if we are making an effort to live it authentically and for the love of God. This of course comes about through many forms of prayer. In this example of the Rosary, the “repetitive nature” of the devotion is NOT a thoughtless repetition of the same words; rather, it is a pathway, a contemplative conduit of the words Jesus Himself gave to us – Our Father – and a humble consideration of what those words mean when we contemplate the Annunciation or the Baptism of our Lord, or the Agony of His Passion. It is a thoughtful consideration of the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, throughout His life. And, it’s the realization that we are indeed Her children and as such, are called to a life in imitation of Her Son. Through our Mother’s intercession, we will see the path more clearly. Every prayer we utter from the heart draws us closer to God. That faithful approach to the Rosary (or to the Devotion of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, or the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or any other “repetitive” prayer) – with BOTH Heart and Mind lifted up – is far different than a simple “recitation” of “repetitive” words. In addition, as we grow more spiritually mature, the effects of our prayers will touch us more profoundly and move us to a greater love. We leave behind the simple desire for the “feel good” consolation and move to a deeper understanding of the real and true PRESENCE of God IN us. That’s not to say that we will not receive the “feel good” consolation – but – that it’s not the end nor is it the reason for our prayer. The end is God Himself and the reason is a greater love for Him, a greater understanding of His love for us, and a clearer vision of how we may become more like Him. Put yourself in our Lady’s Hands. She will lead you to Her Son. Recall the words of our Lord: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will”(Mk 11:24).