For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday January 29, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, also known as Candlemas. The celebration recalls the historical event when, in obedience to the precepts of the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:1-3; Leviticus 12:1-8) the Blessed Mother presented her first born son in the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after His birth. It also recalls the mystical fact that Christ is the final sacrifice who brings about the salvation of the world, and that He comes to us daily in every Catholic Church where Mass is celebrated and the Eucharist received.

The earliest record of this celebration comes from the 5th century, as recorded by a Spanish lady named Egedia in her Diary of a “Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” The Mass celebrated in Jerusalem recalled the historical presentation of Jesus in the Temple, while the procession with lighted candles, referred to the mystical reality of who this Child is, and what His life and death would mean for the history and salvation of the world. By the 5th century it was already a very developed ceremony, as described by Egeria, which suggests that the ceremony was already an ancient one in Jerusalem by the time of Egeria’s visit. It is an ancient celebration by the early Church because the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple—Candlemas—speaks of the deepest reality of Christ, which is the basis of our ancient Catholic Faith and His Church.

Throughout the Old Testament, all the prophets spoke of the coming of the Savior. And as Jesus was presented in the Temple, as recounted in the Gospel of Luke 2: 21-40, two further prophecies are fulfilled: that of Simeon, who had been promised by God not to see death until he had first seen the Savior; and that of Anna, the prophetess, who recognized the Savior as the incarnation of the generous God. The Blessed Mother presented Her Son, not simply to observe the Old Law of Moses, but to prefigure the work of Jesus by joining Jesus’ sacrifice to the prophetic words and sacrifices of the Old Law of Israel. She presents Jesus to the Eternal Father, who will accept the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross to pay for human sin. This feast day is the link between Christmas—God becoming man in the flesh—and Good Friday/Easter—the Son of God dying in the flesh as the ultimate payment for human sin, to rescue us from death. The reason why the Eternal Son, Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, took on human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mother, was in order to offer on the Cross the humanity that was intimately joined to His divinity in the womb of the Virgin Mary as the ultimate sacrifice, to pay for the sins of the world. He took our punishment for our wrongs. And He could do this because Jesus is both God and man. If Christ had not taught anything, had He not healed or fed anyone, if He had done nothing other than offer Himself on the Cross, then His work would have been perfect. Yet, in the generosity of the Father, Christ’s work also included His deeper revelation of the identity of God, and how we should respond to Him in our daily lives.

On February 2nd, then, the Church blesses candles in honor of this historical and mystical event and reality. All candles used during the year in church are blessed on February 2nd, as well as candles for the faithful to bring home. Each candle represents Christ, whose light illumines the world with the Truth about God and about mankind. The candle is also a sign of our faith in Christ, shining in the darkness and sin of the world. We are to imitate Christ in His obedience and love for the Father, and imitate Our Lady in her humility, obeying the Law of God by co-operating with the loving plan of God by which she conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, and then further expressed her obedience to God’s will by presenting Her Son in the Temple: the sacrifice God Himself provided for our salvation. We are to imitate Mary and Her son in our lives of virtue. Our Lord told His Apostles, “You are the light of the world.” The candles blessed today represent Christ in our daily lives. We should let Christ shine to the world by means of our lives of virtue and holiness; especially by our charity and mutual forgiveness, striving to please God by our daily deeds.

The custom has arisen through the centuries of blessing throats on Saint Blaise day on February 3rd. St. Blaise, a Catholic bishop, saved a child from choking while both were imprisoned because of their Catholic faith, during a persecution in the 4th century. He is the saint to pray for healing of ailments of the throat. We bless throats using two candles blessed on February 2nd–they represent Christ–and the candles are held to form a Cross, and placed on the throat of the person being blessed. The prayer recited by the priest is “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may you be delivered from all diseases of the throat and from every other evil, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It is the power of Christ and His Cross, by the intercession of Saint Blaise, that is invoked to heal us from the evil of illness on February 3rd. But, Saint Blaise does exactly what all the saints do: they pray for us daily in Heaven before the throne of God, for both they and we are members of the One Church founded by Our Lord, called Catholic since the end of the 1st century. There is something so very good that we share with the Saints, the Blessed Mother: it begins with a shared faith and shared sacraments, and matures to a shared love for God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—who share their lives with us through the Church.
—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.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Ann Rich, Lena Chiappetta, Rosina Raiteri, 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.

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 30th at 7:30 p.m. Monday downstairs in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . Will next meet on the Wednesday in March: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, to read the works of St. Theodoret of Cyr. All the readings are in English translation; all welcome.

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).

NEW Choir Master & Organist. . . We welcome Chris Mueller to the Basilica, who will begin on February 5th. Chris has been choir director at Notre Dame Parish in Manhattan for the previous 14 years. Please welcome Chris and his family during the next weeks.

Repainting the Church. . . $613,128.00 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, lend a hand.

St. Maria Goretti Society. . . Next meeting is this 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

*NEW* Francis & Clare High School Youth Group…..Faith. Adventure. Community. That’s what you’ll find at the new post-Confirmation coed High School Youth Group. Join us for our kick-off event Sunday Jan 29th 6-8pm! Meetings on the 2nd and 4th Sunday each month. Find the group “Francis and Clare Youth Group” on Facebook or email deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com for more info.

January 22, 2012 $ 12,124.80
January 23, 2011 $ 11,886.86

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

February 5th Sunday Readings: Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39.

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

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: Monday, February 27th.

Trinity Catholic Middle School. . . is holding an Open House this 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 this 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!

Sunday, 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, Mr. John Allen [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.

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. . . February 11th: World Day of Prayer for the Sick: a special Mass and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be hosted by the Knights of Malta at Saint Aloysius Church in New Canaan at 3:00 pm. All are welcome to join us.
For information: Please contact:
Betty Flynn: 203-966-1959 or ebtgf@optonline.net or
Hope Carter: 203-966-5186 or granny1@ix.netcom.com

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, January 28, 2012
4:00 +James M. Duffy req. Duffy Family
Sunday, January 29, 2012
7:30 +Vincent DeVivo 54th Anniversary req. Munro-DeVivo Familes
8:30 Special Intentions Josephine Languedoc req. Diane Strain
10:00 +Jeanette Murphy req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
12:00 +Mother Lillian Cairo, P.O.S.C. req. the Marchetti Family
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, January 30, 2012
8:00 +Mr. and Mrs. Beaublun req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Valerie Sylander Birthday Remembrance req. Alison Tosches
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
8:00 +Elionise Simon req. Anne Jean-Rene
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Netta Mecca req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
Thursday, February 2, 2012
8:00 Lillian Janesch req. Cycon Family
12:10 +Jack Mahan req. Maude and Paul Hughes
Friday, February 3, 2012
8:00 Mary Coffey req. Cycon Family
12:10 +Arthur Thiel req. McAleer Family
Saturday, February 4, 2012
8:00 +Carmine Veneziano req. Judith Altmann
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.

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 ADVOCATE:
100 years ago, or so:
February 3, 1912: BLESSING THE THROATS. “The feast of St. Blaise was observed throughout the Catholic world today. In the local Catholic Churches it was marked by the special ceremony of the blessing of the throats of the faithful, in keeping with traditions of the early years of the Catholic Church. One story is told of St. Blaise relieving a lad who was choking to death with a fish bone caught in his throat. This is the most familiar, while there are many other legends depicting the prisoner as a humane and able practitioner. He was beheaded. The Catholic church in the east celebrates the feast at a later date than the Roman Catholic church, which has set apart Feb. 3 as the particular date for the feast of St. Blaise.”

50 years ago, or so:
February 2, 1962: Four Teams Out Of CYO Tourney In Initial Round. “Four teams were eliminated from the second-half single elimination tournament in the High School Division of the CYO Basketball League. First-half champion St. John’s of Noroton trounced St. Mary’s 68-28, as Mike Galaba tossed in 28 points and John Brosnan added 16. Runner-up St. Leo eliminated St. Clement’s, 42-20, as Larry O’Connell chalked up 15 tallies. St. John’s of Stamford advanced by whipping Sacred Heart in a 41-23 contest. Charlie Bittman hit 14 for the winners, while Dan DiVito netted the same for Sacred Heart.”

10 years ago, or so:
January 28, 2001: Naming of new bishop lifts spirits.
“When Bishop William E. Lori settles in as the new leader of the Diocese of Bridgeport, he will face a growing pile of work and a host of expectations. Lori, 49, an auxiliary bishop in Washington, D.C., was named to the post Tuesday, seven months after Edward M. Egan left to become arch-bishop of New York. Local Roman Catholic leaders and parishioners greeted Lori’s nomination with enthusiasm and anticipation. Monsignor Laurence Bronkiewicz has overseen the Bridgeport diocese since Egan left, but many church chores had to wait for the next bishop to arrive. It’s been sort of a drag since there are lots of things we want to begin,” said Monsignor Stephen DiGiovanni, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Stamford. “We can’t start any initiatives until the new boss comes. He’s going to have a lot of stuff waiting for him.” Lori will be the fourth bishop to oversee the more than 360,000 Catholics in the diocese.”

The Trials of Life in Christ
-Fr. Terry Walsh

Our “Spiritual Journey” from the moment of our being “grafted” onto the Body of Jesus Christ at Baptism is shrouded in love. The Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, states: “For man would not exist were he not created by God’s love and constantly preserved by it; and he cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator”(GS19). Each moment of our lives is an opportunity to grow in our devotion to God in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Our Lord is present IN us (see John 14). He also walks BESIDE us. He walks with us every step of the Way – in joy and in sorrow – through abundant consolations as well as overwhelming desolations. He walks with us, if we let Him. We are His children.

How do we understand hardship and suffering? How do we reconcile the “trials of life” with our understanding of God who is Love? What role does suffering play in the lives of God’s children? When we look through the eyes of faith, we are able to understand that there are actually TWO stages of life. It is critically important that we have a clear perspective of this truth. The first stage is our very brief life here on earth. The Kingdom of God truly resides in the souls of all who are born of water and the Spirit and become branches on the Vine, that is, branches of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Yet, we are nonetheless subject to all sorts of trials in this 1st stage of life. Our Lord allows us to experience some measure of suffering and trial in order that we may prove our love, our fidelity, and our desire for God, who IS love. The 2nd stage, we hope, will be upon the Holy Mountain, the Heavenly Jerusalem, where all the trials of life will be over and the joy of complete union with God will fill us with a peace that is simply not of this world. Indeed, we may have that peace even now, in this 1st stage of life, which sustains us in the knowledge of His love. We hear this promise at every Holy Mass: “My peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (once again, see Gospel of John chapter 14). St Paul reminds us: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”(Romans, chapter 8).

We simply need to look to the Cross. There we see the Innocent Victim who suffered FOR us. Suffering is not a Good, it is clearly an Evil. Yet, God is able to draw good out of evil. Consider our Lord’s own suffering; His Passion and His Death. Jesus demonstrated His love for us when He became Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He showed the depth of His love for us through His One Perfect Sacrifice. And the good? The Resurrection – the forgiveness of sins – everlasting Light, Happiness, and Peace. Salvation comes to us through the Cross. And yet, how often we run from the Cross rather than sit at the foot of it in prayer and ask for the graces we need – the grace to forgive or seek forgiveness; the grace to have the courage to bear up under the difficulties of this life; the grace of understanding with regard to various relationships we have; the grace to grow in wisdom and knowledge and piety so that we can become more and more like Christ.

The Cross is the Narrow Gate. Our Lord will help us carry it if we ask Him. We encounter the Cross in a 100 different forms each day. Some are little Crosses – others simply seem to crush us ‘like grapes in the winepress.’ Carry the little ones with love and see your spiritual strength, that is, the Power of God within you, grow more vibrant and spiritually mature. Then you will embrace the heavier Cross for love of Him who bore it for you. Every “trial” becomes an opportunity; every “yes, I will carry my Cross, with love” enables our “branches” to grow ever stronger and produce even more abundant fruit. And what is our “fruit”? The fruits of the Holy Spirit are borne through our cooperation with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that flow into our hearts most abundantly through the sacraments. In other words, when we cooperate with our Lord through our daily prayer, our faithfully receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, we will produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, indeed every virtue. Our Lord Himself encourages us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing”(Jn 15). May we open our hearts and minds to the nearness of the Beloved and come to understand that even in the ‘trials of life’ we are actually bearing abundant fruits.

“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation…” – Psalm 27