For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 12, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . A few weeks ago, the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services announced the decision by the Obama administration that all institutions in the country, including Catholic institutions, must provide employee health care providing artificial birth control, including those that induce abortion, and sterilization. This caught all Catholics off guard, many of whom had voted for Mr. Obama.

This is not about the government disagreeing about the Church’s moral teachings. This concerns the Federal Government’s mandating that the Church must comply, even if such compliance is contrary to the Church’s teachings. It is a violation of religious liberty, and, as seen below, led to the violation of free speech in the military.

For the Church, this is about fundamental realities, not abstractions or ideology. At the basis of all Church moral teachings, even those about artificial contraception, abortion and sterilization, is the reality of the dignity of the human person: we are the image and likeness of God. An action is evil or sinful if it degrades, damages or destroys that innate dignity of the human person: the use of artificial contraception and abortion are evil because they debase the human person, reducing human beings to the level of things to be used, that serve some immediate purpose, or that can be eliminated or disposed of for any reason.

No, the mandate by the Obama administration is not merely clashing with the Church and its sexual or medical ethics. It is about religious liberty. The Church has been told that it must comply with the Obama government’s mandate by providing health insurance to employees that pay for artificial contraceptives, including those that result in abortions, and sterilization. The Church has been told that it must comply with the mandate, even if compliance is contrary to the Church’s moral teachings. This is a government assault on the religious liberty of the Catholic Church and other religious groups holding similar views.

Likewise, two weekends ago, Catholic priests around the country mounted their pulpits and read letters from their bishops about this Obama government assault, all ending with the phrase, “we will not comply.” The United States Army prohibited the reading of the letter to American Catholic Army troops by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for Military Services, whose responsibility is the pastoral care of U.S. Troops, their families and dependants. This is an Obama government affront against free speech: the government telling Catholic priests what they can and cannot say from Catholic pulpits.

This is BIG GOVERNMENT, writ large: the Obama government freely trouncing our nation’s most cherished freedoms: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This controversy has moved beyond questions about artificial contraception or abortion in America. The Catholic Church in this country is the largest provider of social services, second only to the Federal Government. When one considers that the Catholic Church in the United States is the largest private provider of free services to the poor such as soup kitchens and emergency food banks; counseling; AIDS housing; affordable housing services; emergency medical services; educational subsidies, and care of the elderly, to mention only a few of the services through Catholic Charities, Catholic health care and educational facilities, one can only question the logic—or the political maneuvering—that led the Obama administration to pursue this course of action, which would effectively shut down all these social, educational and health services of the Catholic Church if the Church refuses to comply. Those Catholic services that help the poorest of the poor, regardless of religious affiliation, would be closed by the government. One might suggest this would never happen in America. It already has: in Massachusetts, for example, where a similar measure was passed about gay marriage, forcing the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to close its adoption services, the largest in the state.

What to do? Bishop Lori asked the Knights and Dames of Malta to provide cards for Catholics to sign: you can find them on tables after Mass: they are addressed to our elected officials, asking them to stop this Obama administration mandate from taking effect. Postage and handling will be taken care of by us and paid for by the parish and the Knights and Dames of Malta: all you need do is read the cards and, if you agree, please sign them. Please help.

If Mr. Obama and his administration walk over our basic freedom of speech and our freedom of religion and conscience, then he and his administration may take aim at your other freedoms guaranteed by the foundational documents of our nation—unless we speak out, employing our right to free speech. Please stop by the tables after Mass and sign the cards, your means of standing up to protect our freedom.
—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Gary Everett, Erin Wiggin, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Marie Michele Louis, Marie Boursiquot, Herman Schneider, Chris Seely, Frank Monaghan, Eva Grace Kelly, John Murray, Billy Therriault, Mary D’Arco, Anthony Sansone, Tessie Mulhern, Margie Joyce, Tonin Gjepaj, Sandra Mayfield, Lily Ann O’Connell.

Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Bridget Sheehy, Norma Johnson, Viergina Toussaint, George Muro, 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.

Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

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: February 13th at 7:00 p.m.- 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.

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. The Beginner Latin class meets every Wednesday: 6:30-7:30 pm; The Beginner Greek class meets every Thursday: 6:30-7:30 pm, both meet in the rectory. As always, there is no charge for these courses.

Repainting the Church. . . $589,125.00 is pledged towards our goal of $629,000.00. We still need everyone’s help to complete the painting project. For those who have donated and completed their pledges, and to those still paying their pledges, please accept my thanks. For those who have not yet donated, please do so today. Just a bit more from everyone, and we’ll complete this project. The artwork made possible by your generosity will last for decades, and inspire Catholics of Stamford well after each of us is gone. So, please lend a charitable hand today.

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 for more info.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR. . . Saturday, May 5th, 4:00-7:30 pm: Kentucky Derby: This will be our primary fundraising event of the season, and all are invited to enjoy a live television feed of the Derby, post time at 6:24 pm. Betting & prizes, live auction, live jazz band, superb food provided some of the best local restaurants, including Columbus Park Trattoria, and excellent local food shops, including mountains of fresh lobster, crab, oysters, clams and shrimp from Grade A ShopRite, wines, mint juleps and soft drinks as well. Come join us for a great evening. All proceeds remain here at the Basilica.

February 5, 2012 $ 14,015.91
February 6, 2011 $ 11,516.65

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

February 19th Sunday Readings: Is 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25; 2 Cor 1:18-22; Mk 2:1-12.

Reminder: ASH WEDNESDAY: February 22nd is the beginning of Lent. The usual Mass schedule will be followed: 8 am Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Hall; 12:10 pm Mass IN THE BASILICA. Ashes will be offered beginning at 7 a.m. for those who cannot attend Mass, during both Masses, and at the Basilica office door all day until 7:30 pm. Ash Wednesday IS NOT A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. The rules of fasting and abstinence both apply on Ash Wednesday: those aged 14-60 years old, unless ill, suffering from a medical condition, no meat is to be eaten, and only one full meal, and NO snacking between meals. This is a simple way to begin actually doing penance for our sins, to make a small sacrifice in what we eat.

Lenten Confessions. . . Each Tuesday evening during Lent, 7:00-9:00 pm in the parish hall.

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

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: ). Next meeting: March 8th 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

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.

40 Days For Life. . . You are invited to join other Christians from throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport to take part in the international 40 Days for Life effort from February 22nd through April 1st. In addition to 40 days of peaceful prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, please consider volunteering for one or more hours during the 40 days, and help to spread the word to others about this important life-saving effort. Our parish day of vigil is: Friday, March 16th. For more information please contact Gene Dagostino, 203-530-1908,

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.

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, February 27th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 11, 2012
4:00 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
Sunday, February 12, 2012
7:30 +Margaret Mary Cycon req. Ferry G.
8:30 +Tomas D. Rosete req. Rosita A. Domdom
10:00 UPPER CHURCH +Jeannette Murphy req. Sue Kremheller
10:00 NAGLE HALL +Kevin Johnson req. Priests of the Parish
12:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, February 13, 2012
8:00 +Mary Jo Burriesci req. Ann and William Dee
12:10 +Elionise Simon req. Anne Jean-Rene
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Margaret Terese Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
12:10 +Joseph Fidelbus req. Terenzio and Longo Family
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
8:00 +John Baptist Do req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Jack and Evelyn Mahan req. Maude and Paul Hughes
Thursday, February 16, 2012
8:00 +Harold John Frost req. daughter Kim Frost
12:10 Lori Longo Legierse Birthday req. Millie
Friday, February 17, 2012
8:00 +James and Adele Henson req. John and Laura Pascale
12:10 +Louise Bashaw req. Mary Beth Malone
Saturday, February 18, 2012
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Patsy and Helen Cappiello req. Duffy 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:
150 years ago, or so:
February 18, 1860: Diocese of Hartford. “The regulations for Lent in this Diocese continue the same as formerly, viz.: All the week days of Lent are fasting days of obligation on one meal only; custom, however, has authorized the use of a slight collation in the evening, and a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Though the fast also implies abstinence, yet, by dispensation, the use of flesh meat is allowed at all times on Sundays, and at the principal meal on the Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays of Lent. Lard in cooking, eggs, butter and cheese are permitted, provided that the laws of quantity are observed; flesh and fish, however, are not allowed at the same meal.”

125 years ago, or so:

February 13, 1886: Stamford. “Rev. J. B. Cotter on Wednesday evening of last week delivered his temperance lecture in the Town Hall, Rev. Father Rogers presiding. The three local temperance societies, St. Patrick’s, Father Mathew’s and St. Joseph’s Young Men’s, marched to the hall in a body headed by St. John’s band. There were about 200 members in line. The Rev. lecturer spoke for over two hours to a very large attendance considering the severity of the weather that night, and was listened to with the closest attention. About 190 in all took the pledge that night, which speaks volumes for the success of the work performed here by Father Cotter. All who attended were well pleased with the able lecturer and felt well paid for their visit to the hall on that occasion.”

70 years ago, or so:

February 14, 1942: Curate of St. John’s Church to Discuss “Our Sacrifice-The Mass” Sunday Afternoon. “The Rev. Michael J. Sullivan of St. John’s Catholic Church will be the speaker on the Angelus Hour broadcast Sunday afternoon at 5:30. Father Sullivan’s subject will be “Our Sacrifice-The Mass.” On the program with him will be the Boys’ Sanctuary Choir of St. John’s Church, under the direction of Howard J. Fagan, organist. In keeping with the subject of the day, their musical program will be devoted to parts of the Mass. They will sing selections from Father Rossini’s Mass, “Salve Regina,” and “Ave Maria,” by Arcadelt. The Angelus Hour is a regular Sunday afternoon broadcast under the auspices of the Catholic churches of Stamford and vicinity. It is under the direction of the Rev. Charles E. Hagearty of St. John’s Church.”

Come, Let Us Adore Him
-Fr. Terry Walsh

“Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve’ says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy 6:4-5.” – Catechism 2096

I remember vividly the words of Msgr. Charlie Elmer, spiritual director at the North American College, when he was speaking with my class about Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He said quite simply: “Adoration is the perfect prayer.” While his words were clear and succinct, it was really the way he said them that struck me. The expression on his 80 year old face—the face of a man who had been a priest for 50 years—the face of a man who had landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day – the face of a man who had remained faithful throughout all the turbulent years of the Church. His words hung in the air for a few moments. We 30 seminarians just sort of gazed at him and considered how Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament had formed this faithful priest. As he gazed back at us, his countenance almost suggested that there was nothing else he wanted to say. His elderly gaunt face told the tale. It was as if he were saying to us, without words, that there simply were no words to describe that “Perfect Prayer”. At the same time, it was as if he were giving us a word to the wise: “You men who are to be ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ must stay close to the Master at all times. You must sit with Him. You must stay awake. Allow him to strengthen you, to nourish you, to teach you – simply by placing yourselves in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament.” It was as if he spoke these words with his eyes. Adoration is necessary for all of God’s children, how much more necessary for those called to bring our Lord to His children in the Mass, in Viaticum, in Adoration. Msgr. Elmer really didn’t need to say anymore than he did: “Adoration is the perfect prayer.” After all, he was merely echoing the words of all the Saints who shared his understanding. St. John Vianney (1786-1859), the Patron Saint of Priests, spent hour upon hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament and he encouraged his congregation to do the same. He frequently told the story of one of his parishioners who had come to understand the wisdom of the Saint’s call to the perfect prayer. In speaking about this villager of Ars, St. John Vianney said, “A few years ago there died a man of this parish, who, entering the Church in the morning to pray before setting out for the fields, left his hoe at the door and then became wholly lost in God. A neighbor who worked not far from him, and thus used to see him in the fields, wondered at his absence. On his way home he bethought himself of looking into the Church, thinking that the man might be there. As a matter of fact, he did find him in the Church. ‘What are you doing here all this time? He asked. And the other man replied, ‘I look at the good God, and he looks at me’. Whenever St. John Vianney told this anecdote—and he did so frequently and never without tears—the Cure’ used to add: ‘He looked at the good God, and the good God looked at him. Everything is in that, my children”(The Cure’ D’Ars, St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, by Abbe’ Francis Trochu, p.184).

Msgr. Charlie Elmer was essentially saying the same thing to us that evening at the seminary: “Everything is in that, my children.” He knew – he knew because he spent a lifetime practicing that perfect prayer. Do you come to Adore our Lord? Do you enter into that ‘perfect prayer’? Come, join us. You will see the likes of that anonymous villager from Ars right here at St. John’s on Friday mornings at the Holy Name Society for men (7am every Friday in our parish rectory); you will see him at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Society (Saturday mornings 9:30 in our parish Rectory) as well as the Moms and Tots meetings; you will see him at our Dominic Savior and Maria Goretti Society meetings, and the new Youth Group, Frances and Clare. You will see him on Friday mornings in the Basilica between the 8:00 am and the 12:10 pm Masses. That villager will be there – in the pew – with you – entering into that perfect prayer of adoring our Lord. Come, join us. When we come to Adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we are making a great act of faith and love. We are being spiritually enriched in a Mysterious way. And while we are offering our prayer – the “Perfect Prayer” – we are actually “receiving” – we have come to give thanks and praise, yet, in His infinite generosity, we are actually receiving grace upon grace! We are fulfilling the words of our Lord who beckons us to union with him in a living faith: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).