For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 19, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . Per the directives of the Diocese, parishes must regularly publish their financial reports. Below, please find the financial statements for the first half of this fiscal year. As you can see, the offertory collections are up from last year, and donations are also higher, due to your generous support of the church painting project. Expenses are higher because of the added expenses come from the church painting work done by John Canning Studios. The parish has no debt, other than a few current normal bills. I am very grateful for your generosity, especially during these hard times.
—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. . . Joseph Danilauskas, 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.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection 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 20th at 7:00 p.m.- Nagle Hall.

ASH WEDNESDAY: February 22nd NOT a holy day of obligation:
Ashes will be imposed during the Masses:
Masses: 8:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall;
12:10 pm in BOTH the Basilica and the Parish Hall.
Ashes will be imposed beginning at 7 a.m. in the parish hall for those who cannot attend Mass and at the rectory office door all day until 7:30 pm. The rules of FASTING AND ABSTINENCE both apply on Ash Wednesday: those aged 14-60 years old, unless ill or 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; an outward sign that we are repentant for having offended God. Each Friday during Lent: abstain from eating meat.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4:00pm in English, in the 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).

THEOLOGY At Knight. . . Thursday, February 23rd at 7:30 pm: Knights of Columbus Center at 507 Shippan Avenue. Our opening week will be “Stump the Priests” with questions about the Faith from the audience answered by our 4-priest panel. All are welcome: open bar, food and lots of great discussions about the Faith. Join us.

Repainting the Church. . . $594,175.00 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.

THE UPPER CHURCH WILL BE CLOSED WEEKDAYS, 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.

February 12, 2012 $ 10,499.30
February 13, 2011 $ 10,603.58

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

February 26th Sunday Readings: Gn 9:8-15; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15.

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, juliannedemarco@yahoo.com, or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301, jmlancaster@optonline.net.

St. John’s 20’s and 30’s: The Flock….our 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: March 8th in the Rectory

*NEW* Francis & Clare High School Youth Group. . . Faith. Adventure. Community. That’s what you’ll find at the new post-Confirmation co-ed High School Youth Group. Join us! 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.

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.

40 Days For Life. . . Join other Christians and take part in the international 40 Days for Life effort during Lent: 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. St. John’s parish day of vigil is: Friday, March 16th. For more information please contact Gene Dagostino, 203-530-1908, gdag@optonline.net.

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

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.

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.

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.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 18, 2012
4:00 +Lucia and Antonio Tana req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, February 19, 2012
7:30 In Thanksgiving for the Priests of the Parish req. Shawn Mary McAuliffe
8:30 +Katherine Kohn req. Lloydie and Rebecca Lamontagne
10:00 UPPER CHURCH +George Terenzio req. Donna, Peter and Pat Gerardi
10:00 NAGLE HALL +Joseph Malone req. Kieran Malone
12:00 +Glenn Wolak req. Sharon Gannon
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, February 20, 2012
8:00 +William J. Loughlin req. Jeanne Loughlin
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
8:00 Thanksgiving to St. Joseph req. Marie Hogu
12:10 +Stephanie Mehai req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Michael Kravar Birthday req. Fabiola C. – mom
12:10 +George Terenzio – Birthday Remembrance req. Wife
Thursday, February 23, 2012
8:00 Thanksgiving to St. Michael req. Marie Hogu
12:10 +Raymond Jean-Rene req. Anne Jean-Rene
Friday, February 24, 2012
8:00 +Michael J. Greeley III req. Cristina and C.J. Fioravanti
12:10 +Rosario and Loretta D’Amico req. his brother Frank
Saturday, February 25, 2012
8:00 Angelina Lobiondo req. Lisa Janniello
12:10 +Amy Lancaster req. Sue Kremheller

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:

145 years ago, or so:
The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:

February 23, 1868: Lent. “Next Wednesday will be Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer strictly observed in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches. It is the forty days immediately preceding Easter Sunday, the day kept in memory of the resurrection of our blessed Savior.”

130 years ago, or so:
The CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:

February 26, 18811: STAMFORD. “A correspondent who signs himself “W” finishes an article in praise of the Universalist choir in last week’s issue of The Stamford Advocate, as follows: “So far it seems that the Universalist church alone has been successful to sustain a volunteer choir, while several attempts in other churches have failed.” Nonsense! Mr. “W,” do you not know that St. John’s Roman Catholic church has had, and has now, an excellent volunteer choir? That is, so far as an excellent organ, the best organist in the Eastern states, and excellent well trained singers can make it so. If Mr. “W” has any doubts about the matter he can have them speedily removed by calling at the above mentioned church any Sunday morning at half past ten o’clock, or half past three o’clock in the afternoon. Come, Mr. “W” and be enlightened, surprised and delighted at the same time.”

115 years ago, or so:
The CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:

February 24, 1899: STAMFORD. “On Sunday, at the nine o’clock Mass for children, congregational singing was instituted and was very successful. The Sisters who have had this work in charge cannot get praise enough as the teaching of some three hundred children is no small task. A singing class at which all the children of the Sunday school are expected to attend will be held every Saturday afternoon in the basement of the church. Rev. Frank Mulville of Hartford preached the Lenten sermon in St. John’s church on Wednesday evening. Father Mulville is a preacher of great eloquence and his sermon was listened to with pride and pleasure by the people of St. John’s parish who are proud to speak of Father Mulville as a Stamford boy. At the entertainment and prize speaking contest of the High School last Friday, evening,, our Catholic girls carried off their share of the honors, the prize for the best recitation being awarded to Miss Julia McGinnis, and Miss Annette Conroy meriting special mention for her recitation.”

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 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”(Rm 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.

Lent begins this Wednesday, February 22nd. May we enter into this penitential season with our eyes fixed upon our Lord, who endured the Passion and Cross for love of us and be willing to follow him by loving God and our neighbor.