For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday April 8, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . Happy Easter! Our Lord’s love for each us is so extraordinary that no one is left out: He wished to save those alive and even those who had died before Him.

This is a third century homily for Holy Saturday, a meditation on Christ’s descent into Hell: God had become man to redeem all aspects of human existence, even the eternal effects of mankind’s abandonment of God through sin—Hell, in which were all the dead since Adam. Christ, “who knew no sin, became sin”, as St. Paul wrote, took on the guilt of all human sin, and experienced even that final abandonment—allowing Himself to become repugnant to the Father, as the means to pay for mankind’s abandonment of God. His descent into Hell extended the power of the Cross to the dead—on Satan’s home court, granting them a share in His triumph over death by His bodily Resurrection:

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence and stillness, a silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and had fallen still, for God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping in death from the ages. God is dead in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled. Truly, He goes to seek our first parent like a lost sheep. He wills to visit those who sit in the dark shadows of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his wife Eve from their grievous captivity, He who is God, and Adam’s son.”

“The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, the Cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees Him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping Adam’s hand raises him up, saying: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

“I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison [Hades, cf I Pet 3:19]: Come forth, and to those in darkness: have light, and to those who sleep: Rise.”

“I command you: Awake, sleeper! I did not create you to lie bound in Hell. Arise from the dead, for I am life to those who have died. Rise up, work of my hands, my likeness, made in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.”

“For your sake I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form, that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden [Eden], I was handed over from the garden [of Olives] and crucified in a garden [Golgotha].”

“See the spittle on my face—it was for you, that you might have the breath of life again. See my cheeks reddened by the blows—it was for you, that you might be remade in my image. See my torn back—it was for you, that I might take the load of sin from your shoulders. See the nail-marks in my hands—it was for you, because you once put your hand to the fruit of the forbidden tree.”

“I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep of death in Hades; my sword has checked the sword [of the angel guarding Eden] which was turned against you.”

“Arise, let us go hence. Satan, the enemy, brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but I have a heavenly throne prepared for you. I denied you the tree of life, which was only a symbol, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life itself. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now, the cherubim shall bow down before you” [Patrologia Greca, 43: 439].

As we celebrate with our families today, let us remember why we celebrate: Because God, who created us in His image and likeness, humbled Himself to become a creature—one of us, in order to raise us up to share His Divine Life in the flesh. Our Lord died on the Cross to destroy the power of sin; He rises in His body to free all humankind from eternal death, all because He loves us so very much.

The Lord is risen; He is truly risen! Happy Easter!
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Joan Duffy, Gale Browne, Titina Tarantino, Corrie Evans, Mercedes Huertas, Peter Boltrek, Billy Therriault, 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. . . David Brandel, 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.

Easter Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Easter collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Easter Duty. . . Each Catholic is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once yearly, during the Easter Season (Easter—Pentecost, June12). One should also go to Confession at least once yearly, as well, in order to worthily receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

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 9th .

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. . .Sunday April 15th. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed as part of our annual Eucharistic Holy Hour: 1:30-2:30p.m., ending in Benediction. Please join us.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . Will next meet on 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. . . $612,700.00 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.

Upper Church. . . With the scaffolding down and all but a few details completed, all daily and weekend Masses and devotions will be offered in the upper Basilica. Please accept our thanks for your patience during these past months of work.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR. . . For Two great parish events:
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.

Sunday June 10th: 5:30-9:00 pm: 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 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 our way to thank everyone in the parish for having contributed to the repainting of our basilica. The procession begins on Atlantic Street at the Basilica front door; the Parish Block Party in the parish parking lot. Please join us!

Weekly Sunday collection:
April 1, 2012 $ 12,428.25
April 3, 2011 $ 13,601.54

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

April 15th Sunday Readings: Acts 4:32-35; 1 Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31.

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. . . The Amish are exempt from the entire federal health care reform mandate because they do not believe in insurance. Members of Medi-Share, a Christian Care Ministry, are also exempt. Yet the Catholic Church is not exempt, even though President Obaman’s mandate forces the Catholic Church to pay for immoral medical services, such as abortion. Why can the government dictate which religious beliefs it respects and which it does not? Mr. Obama’s plan tramples upon the first amendment rights of Catholics; it is an offense against Freedom of Religion. 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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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.

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.

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.

Tony Melendez in Concert. . . St. Theresa Church, Trumbull, CT, Friday, May 4th, 2012 @ 7:30PM.
Purchase tickets at http://sttheresatrumbull.org. Please call 203-261-3145 with any questions. “My wish to you, is to continue giving this hope to all the people.” Pope John Paul II, Papal Visit 1987.

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
HOLY SATURDAY, April 7
NO 4:00pm Mass
8:00PM Easter Vigil: People of the Parish
Easter Sunday, April 8
7:30 +William Thomas
8:30 +Deceased members of Reichardt and Eimer Families
10:00 +Regina Rocco Sudell req. John Kramer
12:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Yvonne St. Preuve
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, April 9
8:00 +Ms. Felicita Vargas req. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Buckman
12:10 +John and Angelina Pascale req. John and Laura Pascale
Tuesday, April 10
8:00 +Rose Robotti Corbo req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Joanne Vespa req. Cristina and C.J. Fioravanti
Wednesday, April 11
8:00 In Honor to the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Fabiola C.
12:10 Special Intentions Lilian Ramos req. Josephine Languedoc
Thursday, April 12
8:00 Diane Strain – God’s Blessings req. Marion Morris and Family
12:10 +Rosemarie and Vito Longo Wedding Anniversary req. daughter Millie
Friday, April 13
8:00 +Tin Nguyen req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 Special Intentions Diane Strain Birthday req. Josephine Languedoc
Saturday, April 14
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.

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, May 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. . . After the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall. All are welcome.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

155 years ago, or so:
The NEW YORK FREEMAN’S JOURNAL AND CATHOLIC REGISTER:
May 14, 1859: Diocese of Hartford. “The collections in this diocese on Easter Sunday were for the Seminary fund. The following sums have been received from the churches: St. John’s Stamford, $120.”

130 years ago, or so:
THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
April 16, 1881: Stamford. “A grand musical treat is in store for St. John’s congregation, Easter Sunday. The following is the programme for High Mass and Vespers: High Mass, Farmer’s entire Mass in B flat, with Offertory piece “Ave Mariae.” (Gonoude). Vespers: Lejeal’s “violin Obligato.” “Regina Caeli” by Werner, Peter’s “Magnificat,” Rossini’s “Tantum Ergo.” Prof. Smith will be assisted by Prof. Meller.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
April 22, 1881: “In the Roman Catholic church Easter is always a high day. The music last Sunday was specially good in the evening, at vespers. The choir was assisted on this occasion by Mr. Griswold, Mr. Parker and Mr. E. Carey. The soprano of the regular choir, Miss Annie Weed, was in splendid voice for the evening programme, and sang her solos to the evident pleasure of the vast congregation, who listened with intense delight to the music throughout, It was quite apparent that Mr. Chas. W. Smith, the accomplished organist, had taken great pains in preparing the programme and drilling the choir, for the result was very satisfactory. His own part was rendered in a masterly way, and the new organ of the church with its beautiful variety of stops, which he knows so well how to combine, was made to speak forth in pleasing tones, as can alone be done by one familiar with the instrument.”

100 years ago, or so:
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
April 8, 1912: EASTER IN CHURCHES. “The weather forecaster who predicted “April showers” for Easter Day was, if anything, modest. No more delightful weather could have been desired, however, than that of Easter morning. It was like a morning in May, and encouraged the wearing of spring finery. However, this is never very much in evidence in Stamford on Easter Sunday. People have learned by experience that Easter and spring don’t always come hand in hand. In St. John’s Catholic Church, there were Masses at 6:30 a.m. in the lower chapel; at 7:25 a.m., 9 a.m. in the lower chapel for the children; and a High Mass at 10:30 a.m..”

Christ our Light
– Fr. Terry Walsh
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10)

My first year of Theology in Major Seminary was the Jubilee Year, 2000. Naturally, the Church offered many special graces for the faithful throughout the world. One of those graces was the chance to view the Shroud of Turin, the burial garment of our Lord. On our first free weekend, 15 of my classmates and I took the overnight train from Rome to Turin so that we might have a glimpse of the Holy Shroud. It was an amazing experience, a grace filled moment. One of the most startling things I learned about the Shroud was that the Image left upon the cloth was the result of a “Radiant Light” characteristic of a Nuclear Blast. It was the immediate image left at the moment of His Resurrection. He has Risen! He is God! And he has come to rescue his sheep and to put His enemies beneath His feet. The Light will not be extinguished. He has triumphed over death and offers life to all who follow Him.

Light shines on the darkness and reveals the Truth. Darkness, on the other hand, reminds us of falsehood, of sin, and ultimately of death. In John’s Gospel we hear these words: “In Him [the Word, Jesus Christ] was life, and the life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. The True Light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” Consider Jesus miraculous birth in the Stable. Indeed, throughout His public Ministry, he enlightened all his witnesses by miracle after miracle, teaching after teaching, enlightening all who followed Him. At His Transfiguration, His glory was revealed once again in blinding light. How is it then that so many remained in the dark? As Jesus “Hour” approached, the true intentions of the hearts of all were made manifest. Many preferred the “cozy cave of ignorance” rather than the “Light of Christ.” In order to receive the Light, the human heart must be willing to let go of false teachings that may seem “comfortable” and instead freely choose to walk in the Light – even when that walk requires some extra effort. To leave what is comfortable can be difficult. Contemplating Jesus words requires humility and a desire for Truth. Putting those words into action requires some work, perhaps even some manner of purification, which would naturally involve some measure of suffering. In the end, it becomes a decision to love. There is no love without sacrifice.

Sadly, many looked upon Jesus as one who simply drew attention to Himself for some selfish reason. They accused Him of bringing division to the so-called “community.” Their hearts were in the dark and their lack of humility revealed their own selfish desires. Their refusal to be transformed by the Light ultimately led to shouts of “Crucify Him!” They sought to extinguish the Light. They missed the point entirely. Jesus came to give life. But they “had not the love of God within them” (John 5:42). As they mocked him while he suffered His frightful agony upon the Cross, their pride punctuated a false victory over He who exposed their deceit, their contempt for God. Opening His side with the lance, the final blow of hate, would instead reveal the Light of Truth. The Blood and Water that flowed from His Wounded Sacred Heart became the very Light of divine grace that would wash away the darkness. In His Glorified Body, streams of Healing Light beam from His Merciful Heart and all who seek Him with humility and love are filled with this Light. “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will have the Light of Life” (John 8:12). “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We receive this Light most abundantly through the Sacraments. It is precisely sacramental grace that transforms our souls making us holy; sacrament grace imparts wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude, as well as awe and wonder. As we grow in grace, we walk more and more in the Light. It’s that simple. It is the “well lit path” that leads to Heaven. When we walk in the Light we will not fall into the snags and potholes of falsehoods, lies, deceits, and spiritual laziness that try to derail us from union with God. We just need to take that 1st step – that act of faith in our heart. Open the door just a crack and let the Radiant Light of Christ lead you from the darkness into the warmth and peace and joy and happiness of life IN HIM. He has Risen! He has come to give life…
HAPPY EASTER