For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday April 1, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . I have heard it commented that God is cruel, since He permitted, even required, His Son to suffer. That is a comment made by individuals who know little about God, and less about the reality of God’s love for us. Jesus died, not because a cruel God required the suffering; God became a man and suffered in the flesh because mankind’s sins are so enormous; our own outrages so cruelly astounding, that they could be paid for and their effects overcome only by the suffering of the Eternal Son: the Creator of the universe, humbled to become a creature, in order to suffer to raise us up from our own self-inflicted corruption, and to repay our crimes–with eternity in the flesh. Here are two of the clearest narratives of Jesus’ divine generosity in our regard on the first Good Friday, which led to His and our triumph over death: nailed to a Cross in the flesh taken in the womb of the Virgin, buried in a borrowed grave and raised in the Easter Resurrection of God in the flesh: all done for us. Be grateful! Use these as for Holy Week; join us on Holy Thursday, Friday and Holy Saturday.

“Jesus freely goes forth to the sufferings foretold for him; indeed he had himself foretold them to his disciples and had been forced to upbraid Peter, who took the prediction badly. The salvation of the world was to hang upon this suffering. Jesus therefore declared himself to those who were searching for him: ‘I am the one you seek.’ When accused, he did not answer; when he could have hidden, he would not, even though he evaded attack on several other occasions.

“Moreover, he weeps for Jerusalem, which by its unbelief was its own downfall, and he condemns the glorious temple to total ruin. He bears patiently a blow to the head from a man who was twice over a slave. He is slapped, spat upon, insulted, tortured, whipped, and finally nailed to the Cross with two thieves to share his suffering. He is numbered among murderers and felons, drinks the bitter sap of an evil vine, is crowned with thorns instead of palm-sprigs and grape-clusters; he is pierced with a lance and finally buried.

“All this he suffered for our salvation. Those who were slaves to sin were also subject to the penalty of sin; he was sinless and the wholly just Man, but he bore the punishment for our sins and by his death on the Cross lifted the ancient curse [of Adam]. He took on himself the bitter sorrows of mortal, suffering man; he made human deformity his own and restored man to his lofty estate.

“The purple garb of mockery pointed to the true King, the reed on his head to the weakness of Satan’s power; the slaps he received were the pledge of our freedom. Thus he bore the insults and afflictions that were our due.

“His side, like Adam’s was pierced, but from it came, not a woman whose mistake brought death, but a fountain of life to enliven the world. A twofold stream flows from the fountain; it give us rebirth in the baptistery and feeds us as children at God’s altar and table [at Mass]. (Saint Theodoret of Cyrrhus, On the Incarnation of the Lord ).

Here is another work, observing the love of God made visible in the flesh:

“The true worshiper of the Lord in his Passion should look upon the crucified Jesus with the eyes of the heart and recognize in Jesus’ flesh your own. For there is no one so weak that the victory of the Cross fails you, no one whom Christ’s prayer cannot help. If Christ did good to his enemies who raged against him, how much more to you when you turn to him? He has pierced through our ignorance and strengthened us in our weakness. . .

“Let us, then not be so arrogantly and anxiously immersed in the business of our present life that we do not strive wholeheartedly to follow the example of our Redeemer and to become like him. Everything he did and endured was for our salvation so that the power inherent in Jesus, the Head, might enter into us, the members of His Body, as well.

“When God took our mortal substance unto himself and ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,’ what person . . . was excluded from his merciful embrace? Can you not recognize your own weakness in Christ’s? Who cannot see that in his nature as our fellow-servant, Christ who ate and slept, was sad and wept in his loving concern for us?

“Our nature was to be healed of its ancient wounds and purified of the infection of sin. Therefore, the Only-begotten of God became on of the sons of men that he might have not only the fullness of divinity but an authentic manhood as well. It was for our sake that he lay lifeless in the tomb and rose on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father’s majesty.” (Pope Saint Leo the Great, Sermon 15, On the Lord’s Passion).
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Gale Browne, Titina Tarantino, 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.

HOLY WEEK CONFESSION. . . Monday-Wednesday: 7:30-7:50am & 11:30-11:50am; Holy Thursday & Good Friday: 11:30-12noon; Holy Saturday: 11:30-12 noon; 3:00 – 4:00pm.

HOLY WEEK MASS CANCELLATIONS. . .Holy Thursday (Apr.5th) & Good Friday (Apr. 6th): NO 8am or 12:10pm Masses; Holy Saturday (Apr. 7th) NO 8am, 12:10 pm OR 4pm Masses.

HOLY WEEK MASS SCHEDULE. . . Monday-Wednesday: 8am & 12:10 pm;
Holy Thursday (Apr. 5th): 8pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper & Adoration until midnight;
Good Friday (Apr. 6th): 3pm: Passion of Our Lord;
Holy Saturday (Apr. 7th): 8pm: Easter Vigil.

GOOD FRIDAY FAST & ABSTINENCE. . .On Good Friday, all Catholics age 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat. Likewise, all Catholics 18 years old to 59 are obliged to fast: take only one full meal and two smaller meals are to be eaten, with no snacks between meals, as a sign of penance on the day of Christ’s saving death. If one is ill, or weakened because of bad health, these rules do not apply.

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: April 2nd .

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . Will next meet Wednesday evenings in May.

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. . . $610,950.00 is pledged towards our goal of $641,000.00. The Canning Studio artisans have completed their work, and the result is a masterpiece that will last at least 100 years. PLEASE, if you have not completed your pledge payments, or haven’t made a donation to the church repainting, please do so now: what else can you contribute to that will inspire people during the next 100 years? Thanks.

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 25, 2012 $ 11,541.25
March 27, 2011 $ 12,802.50

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

April 8th Sunday Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9.

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.

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Defending Our Religious Liberty. . . A law enacted in 1973 says that no individual is required to take part in “any part of a health service program or research activity funded in whole or in part under a program administered by the Secretary of health and Human Services (HHS), if it is contrary to one’s religious beliefs or moral convictions” (42 USC 300a-7(d). Why, then, does the HHS and the federal government think they can do it in 2012 with the federal health care insurance mandate? 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.

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.

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, April 23rd.

+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 31, 2012
4:00+Deceased members of the Taricani Family req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, April 1, 2012
7:30+Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
8:30 Special Intentions Mr. and Mrs. Sam Geraci
10:00+Deceased members of the Foyle Family req. the Kazazes Family
12:00+Gregory and Sean Rullman req. the Rullman Family
5:00+Marie Wenthen
6:00+Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, April 2, 2012
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10+Helen Cappiello req. Duffy Family
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
8:00+Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10+Toni Iacavacci req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
8:00+Virginia Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10+Gregory and Sean Rullman req. the Rullman Family
TRIDUUM SACRUM
HOLY THURSDAY, April 5-The church remains open until 12 midnight for Adoration.
NO 8AM or 12:10PM Masses
8:00PM: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: People of the Parish
GOOD FRIDAY, April 6
NO 8 AM or 12:10 pm Masses
3:00PM Liturgy of Lord’s Passion
HOLY SATURDAY, April 7
NO 8AM, 12:10 PM or 4 PM MASSES
8:00PM Easter Vigil: People of the Parish

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. . . Will be meeting on Sunday April 1st after the 12:00 p.m. Mass. For more information 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:

125 years ago, or so:
March 30, 1888: “There was a large attendance at the Palm Sunday services in St. John’s R.C. Church.”

110 years ago, or so:
April 6, 1903: PALM SUNDAY MUSIC. “Palm Sunday in St. John’s Roman Catholic Church was marked by a musical service in the evening of unusual excellence. The church was crowded with a congregation who were as appreciative of the work that was rendered as though they could clap their hands and cry “bravo,” as in an Opera-house, and the music was of a high standard. The program included works by such noted composers as Luzzi, Faure, Rossini, Haydn, Dubois and Gounod, whose brilliant compositions fit in splendidly to the ceremony attending Roman Catholic Services. .”

10 years ago, or so:
April 9, 2001: “Area Christians joined those worldwide yesterday to observe Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. The week culminated with Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At St. John the Evangelist Church on Atlantic Street in Stamford, hundreds of Catholics held blessed palm fronds during noon Mass. The palms signify when Jesus entered Jerusalem, days before his arrest and crucifixion . His followers, who believed Jesus to be the true savior, strewed palm branches in his path to honor Him. Palms are a tradition among Catholics and other Christian faiths, said Monsignor Stephen DiGiovanni of St. John’s But around the world, the tradition varies, he said. In some countries, olive branches are used because of their availability. The palm “reminds us to be devoted to the Lord all through the year,” DiGiovanni said. Many people twist the long green palms into the shape of a cross, then place it behind a crucifix in their home. Others affix them over a doorway or behind a religious portrait. Each year, new palms replace those from the year before. But because the palms have been blessed, they are not thrown away. Parishioners burn them or bring them to church to be burned. The ashes are used on Ash Wednesday, DiGiovanni said. Before the start of Mass yesterday, parishioners lined up at a table with a pile of palms on it. About 300 bundles of palms from Mexico had been blessed with holy water and incense.”

The Fourth Station
Jesus is met by His Blessed Mother
“And a Sword shall pass through your Heart”
-Fr Terry Walsh

Many who have had near death experiences seem to speak of a similar occurrence – that there whole life passed before their eyes in an instant. Could this be what the moment of Judgment might be like? Images of the Vision of Isaiah come to mind (Isaiah, chapter 6). We will, at some moment, find ourselves in the same position as Isaiah did. Each of us will stand before the Throne of God and we’ll be in the Presence of Perfect Holiness, perfect beauty, purity, and truth. We’ll be in the Presence of Love Himself; that is, with the One who emptied Himself of His glory in order to become Incarnate in the Spotless Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the One born into the world He created in order to offer Himself to the Father in reparation for our sins. Long before He was sentenced by Pilate, Jesus knew what sort of death He would endure. He knew. And so did His Blessed Mother, who consented to His sacrifice with incomparable sorrow and with perfect love. Theirs is the most unique of relationships. Mary is so intimately woven in the life of Her Son: She shares in His Glory, She shares in His pain. De Montfort wrote, “The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of His divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear”(no.157).

How well do we honor Her? How well do we pray for Her Motherly Hands of love to guide us along the path that ends in the Heart of Jesus? What heartache She endured to know the rejection Her loving Son would bear: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…(Isaiah 53:3)” He carried our sorrows, indeed, He fell under their weight – 3 times. “Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed….He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth”(Isaiah 53:4). The Son of Mary alone is Holy. Our only entrance into Holiness – into Eternal Beatitude – is through Him. “I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats this Bread, he will live for ever; and the Bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh”(John 6:51). Through His Passion He demonstrated the depth of His love – the spilling of His Precious Blood became ‘the wellspring to all life, all holiness’ and the only means by which our sins may be taken away and our souls made pure.

Sacramental Confession affords us the opportunity to “review the reel” of our life and to seek forgiveness for our transgressions before we stand before the Throne of God. We are healed through the Blood of the One who gave Himself up for us. He alone makes us worthy to enter the Perfection of Heaven. Now is the time of mercy. Mercy is the reason for his dwelling among us, for his suffering, his death, and ultimately his Resurrection. “He poured out His soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”(Isaiah 53:12). Mary shared in that suffering, spiritually, and poured out Her love as only She could, at that sorrowful meeting on the Way to Calvary. St. Josemaria Escriva reflected, “Jesus had been waiting for this meeting with His Mother. How many childhood memories! Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, the village of Nazareth. Now again he wants her by His side, on Calvary…Our Lord and His Mother will not abandon us and whenever it is necessary, they will make their presence felt to fill the hearts of their loved ones with security and peace.” As you reflect on your relationship with Jesus and Mary, what images come to mind? What life experiences represent your ‘Bethlehem’ or your ‘flight into Egypt’? In your journey, have you called out to Jesus and Mary through thoughtful reflection on the Mysteries of our Lord’s life, especially through the Scriptures and the Rosary? Have you willingly picked up your Cross and so received the consolation of your Mother’s love and encouragement. She is there, at the 4th Station, waiting for you.