For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 11, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . During Lent, the Old Testament readings used at Mass are those pointing to the saving work of Christ in the New Testament. For instance, those from the Book of Exodus, outline those historic actions of God who sent Moses to lead His people from slavery in Egypt to the promised land. Moses is an image of Christ. Just as Moses received the Ten Commandments from God and gave them to the people as the sign of their unique relationship with God, so too, Christ the new Lawgiver, who is sent by the Eternal Father to give us a new commandment: charity in imitation of Himself. Moses came to free Israel from slavery to pharaoh; Christ came to free all humankind from slavery to Satan, sin and death. Moses led his people to safety in the promised land through the waters of the Red Sea; Christ leads us to safety in Heaven through the waters of Baptism in His Catholic Church, the New Israel.

Throughout the Book of Exodus there are numerous signs and symbols of Christ and His saving work for us. I would like to consider one: the sacrificial or paschal lamb. That sacrificed in the Book of Exodus, whose blood saved Israel from the angel of death, is a pre-figurement of the final sacrificial lamb: Jesus, whose blood frees us from eternal death.

After failed attempts to secure Israel’s freedom from slavery to pharaoh, Moses threatened a final punishment if liberty were again withheld: God would kill every first born throughout Egypt. To protect the children of Israel, God instructed Moses that each household should sacrifice an unblemished one-year old lamb or goat, and to roast it whole. The lamb’s blood was to mark the door posts and lintels of the houses of the Jewish slaves: that blood of the lamb would be the sign protecting the Israelites from the angel of death who would pass over those blood-marked homes. The Israelites were to eat the roasted flesh of the lamb with bitter herbs, signs of their suffering and slavery, and with unleavened bread: for there was no time for the dough to be leavened or to rise, since everything would happen very quickly, and Israel would soon escape from Egypt. The angel of death killed the first born of man and beast in those houses not marked with the blood of the lamb. Even pharaoh’s son was not spared—the final calamity that urged him to free Israel. Pharoah, a real historic person, becomes a symbol of Satan, holding mankind in slavery to sin.

That original Passover night became essential to the identity of Israel; and the saving work of God who freed Israel from slavery to pharaoh and death by the blood of the lamb, was to be celebrated annually. Even to this day, each spring, Passover is celebrated throughout the world in Jewish homes in remembrance of God’s mighty deeds of freedom.

When Our Lord entered into Jerusalem, which we will commemorate on Palm Sunday, he was coming to the Holy City in order to celebrate the Passover, and the city was jammed with thousands of pious pilgrims come for the same purpose. For ancient Israel, their liberation and deliverance from slavery by God was paramount to their identity. This is reflected in the Old Testament books, especially in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, in the repeated insistence that Israel remember God’s works by annually repeating the Passover festival, and in the proscriptions against breaking God’s commandments or harming foreigner workers in Israel, “. . . For you were once slaves in Egypt. . .”

The Last Supper of Our Lord was no mere daily meal. It was the Passover, so the evening and the supper were packed with symbolism and meaning, recalling God’s earlier works to free Israel from slavery to Pharaoh. Our Lord, therefore, chose that festival and that supper to begin the final and essential works of salvation: He linked the Passover of Israel and the annual sacrifice of the Passover lambs with this, His Last Supper, and with His sacrifice on the Cross. The Last Supper was popularly represented in many of the Roman catacombs: Our Lord at the center, surrounded by the Apostles. But, in the serving dish in front of Jesus, instead of the Passover lamb, there is a fish: an ancient sign of Jesus: “Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior”: the first letters of each word formed the Greek word for fish. And this portrays the essence of that last Passover meal in Jesus’ Last Supper: God’s saving power would no longer come by means of a sacrificial animal, but from the new Lamb of God: Jesus, who is the Eternal Son of God in the flesh, whose blood now saves all mankind from slavery to Satan, sin and death. The whole of the old ritual law of the Old Testament is fulfilled and completed in Christ. So, it is of no value any longer, having been replaced by the final and most important of all sacrifices: God in the flesh, obedient to the Father, paying for the sins of all mankind on the Cross.

In the Book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem is built around and illumined by the Lamb of God: Jesus, Incarnate, Crucified, Risen from the dead in His flesh, who lay atop the book of judgment sealed with seven seals until the end of time. You can see that image in the front lower panel of the high altar in the sanctuary: the Lamb of God atop the book, holding across his shoulder a flag or sign of His Resurrection from the dead. His sacrifice on the Cross is repeated each day in the Catholic churches throughout the world, whenever Mass is offered. For it is the Mass that Jesus gave us at the Last Supper, along with the priesthood and the Eucharist: the ritual Jewish Passover meal of liberation from slavery, now becomes the essential ritual meal during which Christ is offered anew daily, in an unbloody way, to free us from sin and death. And we share in that sacrifice by sharing in His Body and Blood in Holy Communion: that small wafer of unleavened bread, now actually transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the risen Body and Blood of the God-made-man, who was Crucified and Raised from the dead for us.

It is through the Sacraments He gave His Catholic Church, that we share in His life and enter into the deepest possible union with Him and with all Baptized believers, to form His Mystical Body, which is the Church. We do not simply share ideas about Jesus: we share one faith, and because of that we are united in His life through Baptism and especially through the Eucharist: we receive His Body in order to be formed into His Mystical Body, the Church. There is much more to this than meets the eye, or as reported by the press or in politics: and it is God working through His Catholic church leading to eternity with the God who loves us.
—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Raymond Eagan, 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. . . Thomas Pavia, Cassandra Eloy, Anilia Firmin, 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: March 12th .

LENT: Each Friday during Lent: All Catholics 14 and older, eat no meat, unless ill or suffering from a medical condition. On Good Friday, Catholics between 18 and 59 years of age eat no meat and fast, meaning you eat only one full meal, no snacking: These are simple penances, making a small sacrifice as an outward sign that we are sorry for our sins.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4:00pm in English, in the Msgr. Nagle Hall.
Lenten Confessions. . . Every Tuesday during Lent: 7:30-9:00 pm. In Msgr. Nagle Hall.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . On the March Wednesdays: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, beginning at 7:30 pm in the rectory: we’ll 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).

Biblical Greek Grammar. . . A beginner grammar class that meets Thursdays: 6:30 pm in the Rectory.

Repainting the Church. . . $607,629.00 is pledged towards our goal of $629,000.00. We need everyone’s help to. Just a bit more from everyone, and we’ll complete this project.

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.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal. . . Has begun. Many parishioners may have already received a letter from Bishop Lori. Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. The funds collected for the Bishop are used for the numerous charitable and educational works of the Diocese.

St. Patrick’s Parade. . . Begins at 12 noon on Saturday, March 10th. Bring the family downtown for a day of fun, rousing music and Irish pride. Check The Advocate for details.

Mark your calendar. . . Sunday June 10th: the Feast of Corpus Christi and Parish Block Party: The parish will sponsor an outdoor Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Stamford beginning at 5:30 p.m: from the Basilica down Atlantic Street, up Bank Street to Columbus Park, to Washington Blvd, to Bell Street and back to the Basilica, ending by 6:30pm FOLLOWED BY a Parish Block Party: food and non-alcoholic beverages, with the Catholic Band L’Angelus from 6:30-9:00pm: it will be fun and food for the family: and all without charge, as a way for us all to thank everyone in the parish for having contributed to the repainting of our basilica. Please join us!

Trinity Catholic High School . . . Annual cash raffle:  Only 1,200 tickets will be sold; drawing on the evening of March 31st.  First prize: $5,000; Second prize: $2,500; Third prize: $1,000. Tickets are $50. Your   Please contact Betsy Mercede at tchsraffle12@aol.com to purchase a ticket or call (203)274-7941.

Weekly Sunday collection:
March 4, 2012 $ 12,820.28
March 6, 2011 $ 12,916.96

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

March 18th Sunday Readings: 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23; Eph 2:4-10; Jn 3:14-21.

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: April 12th 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.

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.
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Defending Our Religious Liberty. . . The Obama Administration has left many questions unanswered regarding the federal health care insurance mandate. In the so-called “accommodation”, President Obama said that insurance companies will pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraceptives, all of which go against our Catholic moral teachings. But, he has neglected to address the many religious organizations that are self-insured! These include the Diocese of Bridgeport, the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Diocese of Norwich. Under the current mandate, these institutions would still be expected to pay for these controversial and immoral procedures. The administration needs to address this crucial questions and many more, before the elections. Please contact your State Representatives and State Senators to express your opposition to this mandate. For their addresses and phone numbers, visit: www.ctcatholic.org
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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.

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. Wagering & prizes, live auction, live jazz band, superb food provided by 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 All proceeds will be used 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 203-866-1606. Next meeting: Monday, March 27th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 10, 2012
4:00 +Members DeRosa, Capobianco & Kronk Families and Edwin Clark req. John and John Kronk
Sunday, March 11, 2012
7:30 +Dr. Raymond Gabriele req. Dr. Joe McAleer
8:30 +Mary Franceski req. the Lancaster Family
10:00 +Sophia Cavaliero req. the Pinto Family
12:00 Thanksgiving for the ministry of the late Ignatius Cardinal Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, March 12, 2012
8:00 +Kitty Connor req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Raymond Simon req. Anne Jean-Rene
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
8:00 +Stuart Olds req. Lori and Jim Rubino
12:10 Ruth and Richard Boiteau req. Maude and Paul Hughes
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
8:00 +Ambrose Delmazio req. Frank and Beth Carpanzano
12:10 Timothy Boiteau req. Maude and Paul Hughes
Thursday, March 15, 2012
8:00 +John and Valencia Lancaster req. Sue Kremheller
12:10 +Rosario D’Amico req. his brother Frank
Friday, March 16, 2012
8:00 +Sister Elizabeth Hart R.S.M. req. Esther Hart and Family
12:10 +George Terenzio req. Patti and Howie Dufine
Saturday, March 17, 2012
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 +Giuseppe Annetta req. Rose Annetta

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 . . . Basic Grammar: Meets Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in the rectory.

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

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:
150 years ago, or so:
March 18, 1864: “Yesterday was St. Patrick’s day, and, contrary to the general rule, the weather was fine in the morning. Mass was celebrated and a sermon preached by Rev. Father O’Neil in the Roman Catholic Church. A full congregation was in attendance.”

100 years ago, or so:
March 18, 1912: “Rev. James Egan of New Milford is to deliver a lecture in St. John’s R.C. Church this evening. It will be appropriate to St. Patrick’s Day, and will deal with incidents in the history and faith of Ireland. Father Egan is said to be a speaker of rare eloquence, and he is sure to have a large and appreciative audience. The Hibernians and Knights of Columbus are to attend.”

35 years ago, or so:
March 13, 1976: Hibernians to be honored on Saint Patrick’s day. “Two members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will be honored by the Stamford division on Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, when the Irish flag is raised at 9:30 a.m. in Bank Street Park beside Old Town Hall. Mayor Louis A. Clapes and other City officials will attend the annual flag-raising event. Police Capt. Kevin Tobin and Ptl. John Maloney will serve as master of ceremonies and chairman, respectively. The Rev. John J. Walsh, Assistant Pastor of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, will be the speaker at the annual communion breakfast of the Hibernians Sunday morning at Hibernian Hall, Forest St. The breakfast will start following the 9 a.m. Mass at St. John’s Church, Atlantic St.”

5 years ago, or so:
March 18, 2006: Relic adds to Irish celebration Irish-Americans honored at St. Patrick’s Day Mass. “The shrill call of bagpipes resounded off the arches and stained glass at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church as a procession of worshipers clad in green headed down the aisle yesterday morning. Near the altar a small green candle flickered in front of a monstrance containing a tiny bone relic of the 5th century man celebrated as the embodiment of Irish Catholic pride: St. Patrick himself. Along with St. Patrick, the Mass celebrated two local Irish-Americans that the local Ancient Order of Hibernians selected as exemplary models in the spirit of the Emerald Isle’s patron saint: Monsignor William Nagle, retired pastor of St. John’s and chaplain emeritus of the Hibernians; and Phyllis Doonan, a native of Leitrim, Ireland, and a 38-year Stamford resident..”

The Holy Sacrifice
– Fr. Terry Walsh

What is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? What is actually taking place at each Mass celebrated throughout the whole world, ever since the very first Mass?

Well, to begin, through baptism, each of us has been incorporated into the very Body of Christ. We became members of His family, the Catholic Church. We are constantly being nourished and sustained through His grace, that is, His love, which we receive primarily and ordinarily through the Sacraments, most especially the Eucharist.

It’s through His sacrificial offering to the Father in reparation for our sins that we receive Jesus in the gift of the Eucharist. At every Holy Mass, we enter into that One Sacrifice which took place “in time” nearly 2000 years ago. It is not the case that we are crucifying our Lord at each Mass. Rather, we are “participating in” – or “entering into” the One Sacrifice at Calvary.

At every Mass, the whole Church is present giving thanks and praise to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. We come to worship in Spirit and in Truth. What is meant by the ‘whole Church’? Well, the One Church, that is, the Body of Christ, actually has three parts. There is the Church Triumphant, that is, all the Saints in Heaven who have triumphed over sin with the help of God’s grace and are now standing in the presence of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then there is the Church suffering, that is, all those holy souls who died in the state of grace, yet still have some measure of temporal punishment that must be purified before they are able to enter the perfect holiness of Heaven. And finally, there is the Church Militant, that is, all of us here on earth who are battling against sin and temptation. Our weapon is Grace. Jesus has overcome the world through His One Perfect Sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary and the fruits of that One Sacrifice come to us through the Graces of the Sacraments. We grow in holiness most profoundly when we approach the Holy Altar to receive Him in the Eucharist. Of course, we must only receive Holy Eucharist in the state of grace, that is, with a heart made pure through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

All the Church is present at the Mass. If we could see through the “supernatural veil” we would see all the angels and saints bowed down in humble adoration. They are all truly there at the Mass with us. We would see the Blessed Virgin Mary standing beside the Altar just as She stood at the foot of the Cross at Calvary. We would hear the echo of the great “Holy, Holy, Holy” of the whole heavenly court which we join in anticipation of the Consecration of ordinary bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of God Himself – the Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the outpouring of God’s love for each of His children, all made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. May we always approach the Holy Altar in Awe and Wonder and with pure and thankful hearts.