For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 25, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . God became man at Christmas so He could offer Himself—human body, soul, mind and heart—in obedience to the Father on Good Friday, and so free us from sin and death. Below are two beautiful reflections on the mystery of why and how deeply God loves each of us as manifest in the Father’s sending of the Son and the Son’s loving obedience to the Father, for our sake:

“God, the Word of the Father, did not abandon human nature to corruption, but canceled the death our [human] nature had incurred by offering his own body, corrected our neglect by his teaching, and restored mankind’s estate by his acts of power.

“If you read the Scriptures, you will find all this confirmed by those men of God, the Savior’s Apostles: ‘The love of God drives us on, for we believe that if one man died for all, then all have died; and if he died for all, then we must no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and rose for us, our Lord Jesus Christ.’ This and other passages show that mankind was rescued from death only by the Word of God [the Eternal Son] who had created them in the beginning.

“The reason why the Word took flesh himself was that he might make of himself a Victim for others. ‘The children all are men of flesh and blood; he became one of them in order to destroy by his death the lord of death, that is, the devil, and to free those whom fear of death had everywhere made slaves.’ By sacrificing his own body he abrogated the law against us and renewed the springs of life in us by giving us the hope of the resurrection.

“Men and women had given death power over them. It was fitting, then, that God the Word became a man in order to destroy death and restore life. Listen to St. Paul, a man filled with Christ: ‘As death came through one man’s doing, so did the resurrection from the dead. As all die in Adam, so all will be restored to life in Christ.’ Henceforth we do not die forever as men and women condemned; instead as men and women who are to be raised from the dead, we await the general resurrection which God will effect in due time” (St. Athanasius, Discourse 10: On the Incarnation of the Word).

Another patristic writer expressed Our Lord’s work in this way:

“God is angered at the soul that sins, and he hands it over to the enemy (Satan) who seduced and malformed it.

“A house whose owner is absent becomes darkened and filled with dust and filth. So the soul whose Lord no longer holds festival in her with his angels is filled with the darkness of sin, with base desires and affections, and with every kind of degradation.

“Woe to the path on which no one walks and no human voice is heard! It becomes the lair of beasts. Woe to the soul in which the Lord does not walk and scatter with his voice the beasts of spiritual evil! Woe to the ship if the pilot abandons it, for it shall be tossed by waves and storms and be wrecked! Woe to the soul if it does not have the Lord for its Pilot, for it shall be battered by the dark and bitter sea, by its turbulent affections, and by the evil spirits, and must perish at last!

“Woe to the earth if no farmer tills it! Woe to the soul if Christ does not cultivate it and enable it to yield the good fruits of the Spirit! Once abandoned, it will be filled with thorns and thistles, and its yield will be fit for naught but burning! Woe to the heart in which Christ its Lord does not dwell! Once abandoned, it will overflow with evil attachments and become the prey of every vice.

“As a farmer takes suitable tools with him when he goes out to till the soil, so Christ, the heavenly King and true Farmer, took a body and a Cross as his tools when he came to desolate mankind in order to till the soil of souls. He cleared it of the thorns of evil affections and the weeds of sin. When he had tilled it with the ploughshare of the Cross, he planted in it the beautiful gardens of the Holy Spirit, which would produce sweet fruits of every kind for God its Lord forever” (St. Macarius, Sermon 28).

In preparation for Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, April 1st, you might consider reading the Passion and Resurrection narratives in the four Gospels: (They begin in Matt. 26; in Mark 14; in Luke 22; in John 13): —a few brief chapters each night until Easter would be very rewarding for all.—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Gale Browne, Titina, Corrie Evans, Mercedes Huertas, Peter Boltrek, Billy Therriault, Dave Brandel, Raymond Eagan, Gary Everett, Erin Wiggin, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Corrine Mattson, Marie Michele Louis, Herman Schneider, Eva Grace Kelly, John Murray, Mary D’Arco, Anthony Sansone, Tessie Mulhern, Margie Joyce, Tonin Gjepaj, Sandra Mayfield.

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.

CONGRATULATIONS. . . To Archbishop-elect Lori, who, the day after his 11th anniversary as the Bishop of Bridgeport, was named by the Holy Father to the Premier Archepiscopal See of Baltimore. He will be formally installed on May 16th in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. Please pray for him as he begins his new ministry.

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 26th .

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: 21st, 28th, at 7:30 pm in the rectory: to continue reading 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. . . $610,450.00 is pledged towards our goal of $641,000.00. The Canning Studio artisans will complete their work this week; the scaffolding may be entirely down by Tuesday! PLEASE, if you have not completed your pledge payments, or haven’t made a donation to the church repainting, please do so now. Thanks.

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!

Weekly Sunday collection:
March 18, 2012 $ 13,834.84
March 20, 2011 $ 13,784.15

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

April 1st Sunday Readings: Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Mk 14:1-15:47.

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. For more information please contact Gene Dagostino, 203-530-1908, gdag@optonline.net.
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Defending Our Religious Liberty. . . By not adhering to the health care insurance mandate, religiouis institutions will be subjected to exorbitant fines, which could force them into bankruptcy. Have you and your family considered how this country would be impacted without Catholics hospitals, which make up one-sixth of the hospital work force, and nearly 7,000 Catholic elementary schools and high schools that educate our children? The ramifications of Mr. Obama’s health mandate are devastating to the Catholic Church and to other religious institutions. Help get this mandate rescinded. Please contact the offices of your Congressional Representatives and U.S. Senators to express your opposition to the 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 24, 2012
4:00 +Esther Backman req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 25, 2012
7:30 +Margaret Mary Cycon req. Millie Terenzio
8:30 +Frank Tartell req. Michael Tartell
10:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
12:00 +William Borkowski req. Michael and Ann Borkowski
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, March 26, 2012
8:00 +Mr. and Mrs. Maissance Jean-Guillaume & Family req. grandchildren
12:10 +James Corbett and James Heneghan req. the Kazazes Family
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
8:00 +Miss Lina and Xavier Fountain & Family req. friends
12:10 +Florine K. Wellman req. Danny Rainho
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
8:00 +Frank Janesch req. Cycon Family
12:10 +Audrey Reda req. Sharon Gannon
Thursday, March 29, 2012
8:00 +Vincent Gallagher req. the Parker Family
12:10 +Raymond Simon req. Anne Jean-Rene
Friday, March 30, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Leena Elangiyil req. George Pallivathucal
12:10 Special Intentions Roger J. Fox Family req. the Hosinski Family
Saturday, March 31, 2012
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 +Mary Collins req. Patricia O’Hara Taylor

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 NEWS:

90 years ago, or so:
The STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
March 27, 1920: To Sing “Stabat Mater.” “In St. John’s Catholic Church, tomorrow night, the church choir, augmented, will sing Rossini’s “Stabat Mater.” The chorus will number 40 voices and the soloists will be Mrs. W. R. Troy, soprano; Miss Elizabeth Gwynee, contralto; John P. Reilly and Charles Gillcare, tenor; James Murray, bass. Solemn vespers will be sung, commencing at 7:30. Then will follow the singing of “Stabat Mater,” and Benediction. The chorus will sing as a recessional “Unfold Ye Portals Everlasting.” Miss Annette Kenna, organist, will play the organ.”

60 years ago, or so:
March 30, 1953: Stamford’s St. John’s Win New England CYO Grammar School Basketball Crown. “Stamford’s CYO Grammar School division champions, the St. John’s, captured all three games to win the New England CYO title in its class at Providence over the week-end. St. Catherine’s of Boston, the Massachusetts champion, was defeated, 50-37, while St. Patrick’s of Portsmouth, the New Hampshire King, went down in the nightcap, 38-28. Both games were played Saturday afternoon at the St. Patrick’s School Gym. Play shifted to LaSalle Academy for the finals Sunday and the Johnnies romped to an easy victory over St. Patrick’s of Providence, 36-10.”

10 years ago, or so:
FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
April 2000: We celebrate the victory of Cardinal Kung. “The world descended on downtown Stamford last month to honor the life of Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei, who died on March 12 at the age of 98. Cardinal Kung, Bishop of Shanghai, China, and Apostolic Administrator of Souchou and Nanking, had lived in the Diocese of Bridgeport since 1988. Cardinal Kung was the oldest member of the Roman College of Cardinals. A survivor of thirty years of imprisonment by the Communist Chinese government, Cardinal Kung remains a symbol of fidelity to God, the Catholic Church and the Holy See, and a beacon of hope to the underground Catholic Church in China today. Cardinal Kung’s body was received into St. John the Evangelist Church in downtown Stamford on March 17, to lie in state prior to the funeral Mass the following day. Approximately 1,000 people and several members of the Catholic hierarchy from around the world gathered at St. John’s the next day, March 18, for the funeral Mass. The Mass was celebrated by James Francis Cardinal Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome.”

The Annunciation
And the Word was made Flesh…. (John 1)
“It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus” – St. Louis De Montfort

– Fr. Terry Walsh

What magnificent love! Even after the disobedience of man, God extended His love to us; indeed, He took on our Flesh and so made it Holy once again. All who are baptized into His Body, His “Flesh” thereby become holy and are made worthy to stand before His Heavenly Throne. All, that is, who remain faithful to their baptismal promises and keep His Commandments. Our Lord says quite plainly: “If you love Me you will keep My Commandments.” Consider the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa: “Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?” The Church teaches: “The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.’ ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’ On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: ‘Listen to him!’ Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the New Law: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example”(ccc459).

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Incarnation of our Lord, which we normally celebrate on March 25th each year, 9 months before His birth on Christmas Day, happens to fall on a Sunday and therefore is moved to Monday, March 26th. The wonderful spiritual classic, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, by St. Louis de Montfort, teaches us about the relationship we share with our Blessed Mother by virtue of her relationship with the Holy Trinity: She is the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. By virtue of our Incorporation into the Body of her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, we become Children of Mary, all made possible by the Great Mystery of the Annunciation: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us!” Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, will lead us along the best path to the Heart of Her Son, who became man for our sake. De Montfort writes: “The Incarnation is the first mystery of Jesus Christ; it is the most hidden, and it is the most exalted and the least known. ….It was in this mystery that Jesus anticipated all subsequent mysteries of his life by his willing acceptance of them. Consequently, this mystery is a summary of all his mysteries since it contains the intention and grace of them all”(True Devotion, number 248). The Church teaches in the Catechism: “Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: ‘By this you shall know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.’ Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings ‘the mystery of our religion’: ‘He was manifested in the flesh’”(ccc463). Mary leads her children to Jesus. While our devotion to her is necessary by virtue of the Fourth Commandment (Honor your Father and Mother), it is quite simply prudent. Indeed, St. Louis de Montfort explains in his Treatise, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that the best path to Jesus is through Mary. He writes:

“One reason so few souls come to the fullness of the age of Jesus is that Mary who is still as much as ever his Mother and the fruitful spouse of the Holy Spirit is not formed well enough in their hearts. If we desire a ripe and perfectly formed fruit, we must possess the tree that bears it. If we desire the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, we must possess the tree of life which is Mary. If we desire to have the Holy Spirit working within us, we must possess his faithful and inseparable spouse, Mary, whom he can make fruitful. Rest assured that the more you turn to Mary in your prayers, meditations, actions, and sufferings, seeing Her if not perhaps clearly and distinctly, at least in a general and indistinct way, the more surely will you discover Jesus. For He is always greater, more powerful, more active and more mysterious when acting through Mary than He is in any other creature in the universe, or even in heaven (164)…and…God the Holy Spirit, who does not produce any divine person, became fruitful through Mary whom he espoused. It was with her, in her, and of her that he produced his masterpiece, God-made-man, and that he produces every day until the end of the world the members of the body of this adorable Head. For this reason the more he finds Mary, his dear and inseparable Spouse, in a soul the more powerful and effective he becomes in producing Jesus Christ in that soul and that soul in Jesus Christ…This does not mean that the Blessed Virgin confers on the Holy Spirit a fruitfulness which he does not already possess. Being God, he has the ability to produce just like the Father and the Son….it does mean that the Holy Spirit chose to make use of our Blessed Lady, although he had no absolute need of her, in order to become actively fruitful in producing Jesus Christ and his members in her and by her(20)…She is his mystic channel, his aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly(24).

St. Peter teaches us that Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”(2 Peter 1:4) and St. Athanasius said: “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”