For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday March 18, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . Another symbol used at Mass, whose origin is the Book of Exodus as a pre-figuration of Christ and His Church, is unleavened bread. In the Book of Exodus, as the Israelites prepared to flee from slavery in Egypt, on the night before their departure, they had been instructed to roast a lamb, mark their door posts with the blood of the lamb, and to eat the roasted lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The bread would have been made of flour and water with no leaven, baked quickly on hot coals. This is the bread still used each year by observant Jews celebrating Passover —Matzo (Ex 13: 30)
At the Last Supper, having been the Passover meal, Our Lord and the Apostles ate the first century version of matzo: unleavened bread. The essential elements of this First Mass, the new bloodless sacrifice of Christ’s New Covenant, were grape wine and unleavened bread made of only wheat flour and water; the Passover Lamb was replaced by Christ—the Lamb of God— the final and perfect sacrifice: God in the flesh, whose blood saves us from death.
Our Lord used leaven as a symbol of the moral corruption of the Pharisees (Mk 8:15; Lk 12:1). St. Paul repeated the symbolism of leaven as moral corruption of people in general, when he wrote: “Your boasting is unseemly. Do you not know that a little leaven ferments the whole lump of dough? Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new dough, as you really are without leaven” (I Cor 5: 6-8). The Church in the West used both unleavened and leavened bread for Mass until sometime in the 7th century, when unleavened bread became the norm, as is used today. The Eastern Church continues to use leavened bread for Mass.
The use of unleavened bread harkens back to the original Passover from Egypt. It was known in the ancient Jewish world as the bread of affliction and servitude. It’s use at the first Passover meal, and its essential use at every annual Passover meal since the Exodus, recalls both the servitude of slavery and the great power and generosity of God who took such pains to free Israel from slavery to pharaoh in Egypt.
Our Lord’s Last Supper at Passover tied His sacrificial death on the Cross to the original work of God centuries earlier during the Exodus, and with the Mass offered by His Catholic Church, the New Israel. God’s powerful deeds at the Red Sea in favor of Israel, and the protection of Israel from death by the blood of the lamb, was recalled by Christ—the new and final bloody sacrifice, the Lamb of God, whose blood takes away all sin, and frees us all from slavery to sin and death. Unleavened bread symbolically recalls God’s earlier actions for our salvation and links them to Christ’s and to us. But even more, this unleavened bread of affliction is now transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit during each Mass into the true resurrected Body of Christ; and the wine into His true Blood: the pledge of eternal life. Each time we approach the altar in Holy Communion, we take our place with the first Israelites, freed from slavery on the first Passover evening; and with the Apostles at the final Passover meal at the Last Supper; and with all the Saints, nourished through the centuries by the Body and Blood of the Lamb of God, Christ the Lord. We too become sharers in the very life of God, who slowly transforms us through the Eucharist to be more like Himself. God does not perform a political action of freeing us from slavery; nor a mere juridical action by which he pardons our offenses. He who pardons also transforms us to share His very life, beginning now through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
The Eucharist actually does something, since it is no mere symbol of God but IS the Real Presence of Christ in His resurrected Body, Blood, human soul and divinity, as the Council of Florence (1445) defined: “What material food and drink do for the life of the body—sustaining and strengthening it, restoring it to health and giving pleasure—this the sacrament of the Eucharist does for the life of the soul” (Denziger, 1322).
The Mass is a true Sacrifice, in that we offer Christ to the Father in a bloodless way: Jesus does not die again. The reality is that everyone present offers the sacrifice of themselves joined to the Sacrifice of Christ. The sacrifice we offer to God is not merely bread and wine: these are the fruit of human labor, and as food they represent life itself. Since these are actually transformed (transubstantiated) by God during the Mass, becoming the resurrected Body and Blood of a real Person, Jesus, the Son of God, and the Second Adam, we become participants in God’s saving actions whose beginnings are recalled by the simple use of unleavened bread and wine centuries earlier in the first Passover: God who began His saving work by freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt, and brought it to its fullness in the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross—the Lamb of God—the final sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin; He continues to work among us every time the Mass is offered, feeding us with Himself, so that we become transformed, and united as members of His Mystical Body, the Church He established. The Mass becomes meaningful for us only when we actively join in with Christ: we offer ourselves to God, and reap the benefits of His saving work in eternal life. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Mercedes Huertas Peter Boltrek, Billy Therriault, Dave Brandel, 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, 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. . . Blanche Kulowiec, 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.

American Bishops’ Overseas Appeal Collection . . . Please drop your special 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: March 19th .

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 the 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 treatise, On the Incarnation by St. Theodoret of Cyr. All the readings are in English translation. A great meditation for Lent.

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. . . $609,784.00 is pledged towards our goal of $641,000.00. We need everyone’s help to. Just a bit more from everyone, and we’ll complete this project. Please help us!

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.

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 11, 2012 $ 10,834.19
March 13, 2011 $ 10,995.87

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

March 25th Sunday Readings: Jer 31:31-34; Heb 5:7-9; Jn 12:20-33.

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 Catholic Church is the largest private provider of health care for women and their children in the country. The Obama Administration would have you believe otherwise. The President’s health insurance mandate is against Church’s 1st amendment right: he will force the Church to provide services contrary to the Church’s moral teachings. The Church strongly opposes the Administration’s mandate. This is a question of Freedom of Religion, and nothing else. The President’s mandate will result in the USA government shut down of Catholic churches, hospitals, clinics, and all charitable institutions, which serve the poor and needy, because the Church will not pay for services like abortion or sterilization in our medical insurance. 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 26th.

Mass Intentions+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 17, 2012
4:00 +James Meehan and Kevin Keary req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 18, 2012
7:30 +Margaret Mary Cycon req. Lisa D’Acunto
8:30 +Shirley Towsley req. the Lancaster Family
10:00 +Marie Poulos
12:00 Thanksgiving and intention of Francis Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, March 19, 2012
8:00 Ana Ucero Birthday req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Paul Donahue req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Zef Gelaj req. Hana
12:10 +Gregory and Sean Rullman req. the Rullman Family
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
8:00 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Raymond Simon req. Anne Jean-Rene
Thursday, March 22, 2012
8:00 +Sister Elizabeth Hart R.S.M. req. Esther Hart & Family
12:10 +Sylvester Pascale req. John and Laura Pascale
Friday, March 23, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Leena Elangiyil req. George Pallivathucal
12:10 +Patrick Dandry req. Laura and John Pascale
Saturday, March 24, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Paul Gelaj req. Hana
12:10 +Robert Marciano req. Susie Viggiano

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:
140 years ago, or so:
March 24, 1871: “A large and enthusiastic meeting was held in the Roman Catholic church Sunday afternoon last, in response to the request of the Bishop of the diocese, for the purpose of taking an expression of the sense of the Catholics of this vicinity regarding the recent occupation of Rome by King Victor Emmanuel. Rev. Father Fagan presided, and Rev. Father Gaffney acted as secretary. The meeting was addressed by Dennis Riordan, Patrick Reilly, P. Kavanaugh, John Burke and others. A series of resolutions were unanimously passed asserting the rights of the Sovereign Pontiff, and denouncing the action of the Italian King and his supporters.”

110 years ago, or so:
March 24, 1900: FATHER RYLE DEAD. “Rev. James Ryle, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church at Westport, died at his residence in that town last night. Father Ryle was about 55 years old. He was born in Ireland. He took a course in St. John’s College at Villanova, Pa., and at St. Charles College, Baltimore. His theological studies were pursued at the Catholic seminary. Father Ryle was ordained to the priesthood eighteen years ago. His first pastorate was at Montville. Father Ryle was a brother of Jeremiah Ryle, John Ryle, Bartley Ryle, William Ryle, Patrick Ryle, Mrs. Hugh McClean and Mrs. Mary Walsh of this city.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. James Patrick Ryle was the first vocation to the Priesthood from St. John’s Parish. He was ordained December 23, 1882. He was 47 years of age as opposed to 55 as quoted in The Advocate.)

100 years ago, or so:
March 19, 1906: NEW PAROCHIAL SCHOOL. “Estimates from contractors are being received for the new Catholic school building, and it is expected that the contracts will be awarded so that work may be commenced the first of April. With the exception of the Glenbrook school, the new building will be easily the most attractive looking school building in town. It is to be on the general plan of Boston schools, which are taken throughout the country as models from an architectural and hygienic point of view. In this latter respect, the new building will surpass any other in town, with the possible exception of the high school. It will also be the largest school, as it will contain 16 classrooms, which will be on the first and second floors, and on the third floor will be an assembly-hall with a seating capacity of 700, which is almost up to the number that Realty Hall will accommodate. There will be a tower for a bell, and above that will be a cross. It will be constructed of brick, with stone trimmings.”

Eclipse of the Soul
-Fr. Terry Walsh
Imagine your soul to be a beautiful round disk, perhaps in the shape of the Sun. Imagine, for the sake of illustration, that your soul (your “disk”) might be the size of a pea, or perhaps a tiny little seed. Throughout the course of your life, as you “choose” life, that is, as you choose to walk in the Light of Christ, seeking His grace (especially through faithful reception of the Sacraments, daily prayer, and ‘living’ the Gospel), that little light, your “soul” – grows brighter and brighter. It is the Light of Christ; He has invited us to share in His Light, the Divine Life – the Life of Grace – which sanctifies us. In His Light, the Scriptures teach us, we “see” Light. We begin to understand with ever-greater clarity what is true and pure and beautiful, and our hearts, which are naturally inclined for the good, the true, the pure, the beautiful, become more firmly intent on adhering to Christ. The “little” light in us begins to sort of pulsate outward – it grows. The Light informs our conscience – we know when we’re on the right path and when we’ve strayed. We know when we’re making an honest effort to grow in the Light and when we’ve settled for a sort of mediocre gait. We know. Now, as the Light grows in us, Jesus draws others into the Light through us. In effect, we are cooperating with Him in the salvation of souls. His graces are without measure. We simply need to expand the capacity of our souls to receive Him (Faithfulness to prayer, Sacraments, and ‘living’ the Gospel). What a life we’re called to share with Him! What a joy it will be when He reveals to us the effects of our prayer and our faithful witness to the Gospel demonstrated through the love with which we carried out the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives. And how critically important it is then to make every effort to allow His Light to emanate brightly.
So what blocks that light? What is it that impedes the gifts He has poured into our hearts from being cultivated and used for the good of others? The short answer of course is sin. How often do we allow pride, anger, or some other shield to eclipse the Light of Christ? He dwells within us and thirsts for our faithful cooperation – our love – to build up the Mystical Body – to understand more clearly the gifts He has given each of us and to develop, nurture, and appreciate those tremendous gifts for the salvation and sanctification of souls, beginning with our own. Humbly ask for the grace to accomplish this task, this mission, which we call Discipleship. Once again, we say, “Lord, heal me of (whatever shield I have – pride, anger, unkindness, etc.) so that you may draw others to yourself – through my cooperation with you – that is, through my love for you – through my thanks for what you have done for me – what you do for me every day. It is a heavy shield Lord – I have put it there through human weakness – but you can remove it through your grace. Give me the grace I need so that I can satisfy your thirst. John Henry Cardinal Newman beautifully prayed:
“Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly, that our lives may be only a radiance of yours. Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus! Stay with us, and then we will begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be ours; it will be you, shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching, not by words but by our example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.”
What a beautiful prayer to offer before receiving Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, in Holy Eucharist.