For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday May 13, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . The Catholic Church has always employed the arts as vehicles for spreading the Gospel. Why? Because beauty offers easier access to the deepest realities of God than do words. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, or so the saying goes, and it is true.

For instance, one of the earliest images of Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, first seen in the Christian early catacombs in Rome, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. But the image was not limited to funereal art. Tertullian wrote that as early as 210 a.d., the Good Shepherd was one of the most popular images found on chalices used at Mass [De pud. 7. 1; 10.12] . The image is based on the words of Our Lord, who described Himself saying, “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me” [John 10]. While He referred to Himself as a shepherd, he was not one by profession. Yet, He employed the image as a way to describe His concern for us, His “sheep”, His followers. So, for the past 1,800 years, anyone seeing a picture of the Good Shepherd knows that it is an image of Jesus, even if there is no identifying sign nearby.

Another image Jesus used of Himself is the vine: “I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neighbor can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing” [John 15: 1; 6-9] .

If you look around our basilica, you will see golden grape vines with broad leaves and bunches of grapes, along much of the decorative woodwork: in the sanctuary, above the wood paneling. Nearby, lower down the wood paneling, you will find dark wooden arches, which are carved to look like branches with thorns

on them. Both the grape vines and the thorns travel around the walls of the basilica: on top of the confessionals, along the choir loft wall and the glass and wood partition wall beneath, leading to the front door.

These are an image of how we become and remain united with Christ as branches united to Christ the Vine: through the shedding of His Blood—on the Cross, suggested by the thorns that formed His Crown. We share in the Body and Blood of Christ Crucified and Risen from the Dead, every time we receive Holy Communion. Our union with Christ comes not by mere registration in the parish; nor by sharing ideas about Jesus, nor even by sharing Faith. Those are all basic starting points for a deeper relationship with Our Lord. The real relationship with Him comes by sharing His Divine Life through the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism, but coming to its fullness in the Eucharist. We are united with Christ by eating His Body and drinking His Blood—by taking the Resurrected Jesus into ourselves, literally.

That is why He used another image of Himself: “I am the bread of life”. The entire 6th chapter of John’s Gospel is about Jesus as the Bread of Life: those who didn’t like the idea of eating His Body and drinking His Blood, left and went away. And Jesus let them leave, and turned on His Apostles to ask if what He had said was too much for them to accept. He did not back down; He did not water down what He said by suggesting He had been speaking only symbolically. Jesus doesn’t fool around with our salvation! Some images He used are symbolic; most are not, including those by which He identified Himself as the Vine and the Bread of Life, the Shepherd and the Sheep gate. And all are part of Catholic art.

Spend some time looking around the basilica: the artwork is not there for prettiness: everything, from the colors chosen, to the images in the stained glass, and the plaster work, woodwork and carved marble work, all have meaning about Jesus and His plan for our salvation.

Salvation is too important and serious a work to speak only in symbols: and the best way we can describe that mysterious and loving actions by God for our benefit is by the use of beauty in music, poetry, painting and sculpture, because these media speak directly to the heart and soul about the deepest mysteries of God.

Please pray for the sick. . . Gene Gavin, Maureen Casner, Stephen Casner, Marcy Stano, Mary-Jane Rice, Joan Duffy, Gale Browne, Titina Tarantino, Corrie Evans, Mercedes Huertas, Peter Boltrek, Billy Therriault, 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. . . Frank D’Amico, Don Curry, Raymond Eagan, Anthony Russo, Violet Roddy, 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.

Happy Mothers’ Day to the moms of the parish!!

***Ascension Thursday…May 17th is a holy day of obligation. Masses: 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16th and at 8:00 a.m., 12:10 p.m.; 5:15. p.m. on May 17th .

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: May 14th .

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.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . Will NOT meet in May. See you in September!!

Latin Reading Group. . .Wednesdays: 6:15 pm in the Rectory (reading ability required).

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

Repainting the Church. . . $624,945.00 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.

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

40 Hours Devotion Friday: June 8th at 7:30 pm. The Blessed Sacrament will remain exposed and the Basilica open throughout that weekend, until Sunday, June 10th at 5:30 pm, when we will begin our outdoor Eucharistic Procession:

Feast of Corpus Christi & Parish Block Party: Sunday June 10th: 5:30-9:00pm:

—Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Stamford beginning at 5:30pm
AND
—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. Join us!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday May 6, 2012 $ 13,293.29
Sunday May 8, 2011 $ 14,107.74

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

May 20th Sunday Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26; 1 Jn 4:11-16; Jn 17:11b-19.

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: Thursday June 14th in the Rectory

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.

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. We have collected to date: $50,091.

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.

The St. Francis Youth Group. . . is proud to sponsor “Catch the Spirit” a Christian Contemporary music concert on Friday June 8th @7:30pm. The concert will be held at Crystal Theater in Norwalk Connecticut and will feature a live band accompanying 20 talented teen singers from across Fairfield County. Tickets may be purchased through http://catchthespirit.eventbrite.com/ Ticket cost is $10.00. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Abolition International -a non profit organization founded by Natalie Grant. Abolition International is dedicated to the eradication of human exploitation. A small portion of the proceeds will be used to purchase new song books for the St. Francis Teen Mass Singers. People who are unable to attend the concert may make a donation through the ticket website.

MALTA HOUSE 15th SPRING GALA. . . May 17th at the Stamford Yacht Club.  6:30pm cocktails, dinner stations & silent auction; 8:00pm tribute to honorees Lynn Friedberg & William (Mele) Orendord; 8:30pm Live auction & dessert. Cigar Bar open 6:30-9:30.  Tickets may be purchased online at:  www.maltahouse.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, June 4th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, May 12, 2012
4:00 +Members DeRosa, Capobianco and Kronk Families and Edwin Clark req. Joan and John Kronk
Sunday, May 13, 2012
7:30 +Lina DeVivo 53rd Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo families
8:30 +Guglielmo Labrosciano req. Domenico Piria
10:00 +Antonio Pugliese req. Pugliese Family
12:00 +Joseph and Effie Ramos req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, May 14, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Mr. and Mrs. Buckman 17th Anniversary
12:10 +Sarah and Joseph Brennan
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
8:00 +Charles Delayo req. Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Bolanowski
12:10 +Michel and Chenet Jean-Guillaume and Family req. brothers and sisters
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
8:00 +Clercy Millien req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Ulysses Solis req. Golda and Edgar Reyes and Family
5:15 +Elizabeth and Thomas Daly req. Leon Taricani
Thursday, May 17, 2012
8:00 +Mary and Thomas O’Brien req. Barbara O’Brien
12:10 +Natale Sposato req. the Mossa Family
5:15 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, May 18, 2012
8:00 +Genoveffa Melchionno req. Giannitti Family
12:10 May McAndrews
Saturday, May 19, 2012
8:00 +J. George Terenzio 1st Anniversary req. Millie & Children
12:10 +Jayson Jarrett req. Norma Jarrett

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. 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, September 5th.

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. . . Starts again in September.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:
165 years ago, or so:
May 15, 1849: “To all People to whom these Presents shall come: Greeting. Know Ye That I, Alexander M Holly of Stamford in the County of Fairfield and the State of Connecticut For the consideration of one hundred and fifty dollars, Received to my full satisfaction of the Right Rev. William Tyler, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church of Providence, R.I., Do give, grant, bargain, sell and confirm unto the said William Tyler and his successors as such Bishop, one certain tract of land lying in said Stamford in quantity about one acre and bounded Northerly by my own land, East six rods on near same so called South Easterly two and a half rods by the New York and New Haven Rail Road, Southerly fifteen and a half rods by land of Sarah Haxtren and West by my own land, the North line of said tract being parallel with the line of Mrs. Haxtren’s land 21 rods in length.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: the above is the text of the hand-written deed to the land on which the original St. John’s church on Meadow Street was built.)

140 years ago, or so:
May 19, 1871: CONSECRATION OF THE NEW ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY. “Yesterday will long be a memorable day among the Roman Catholic fraternity of Stamford. The new cemetery was solemnly consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop McFarland. The Bishop was attended by the local Catholic clergy and many other clergymen from various parts of the diocese. An immense concourse of people were present to witness the ceremonies which were of the most imposing character. The remains of the late Rev. Fathers O’Neil and Reynolds were exhumed from their resting place in the churchyard and conveyed to the new cemetery where they were re-interred with ceremonies befitting the occasion. In the forenoon, the Bishop administered the rite of Confirmation in the church, over three hundred and fifty persons being confirmed.”

80 years ago, or so:
May 15, 1938: MOTHERS HONORED IN THE CHURCHES. “Sermons glorifying the old-fashioned mother and the modern one and stressing the part played in history by mothers, were developed along different angles by the ministers of Stamford at the church services yesterday, in observance of Mother’s Day. The general observance of the day included much visiting by children to their mothers, some children even making long trips in order to be with their mothers on the day. Flowers and simple gifts were showered on the mothers. The Rev. Charles A. Corcoran preached at all the Masses at St. John’s R. C. Church.”

FATIMA
– Fr. Terry Walsh

The apparitions of our Lady of Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the miracle in the sky at Fatima, Portugal, was witnessed by 70,000 people. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared 6 times between May and October 1917 to 3 shepherd children, Lucy, Francisco, and Jacinta. At that time, the Church was enduring great persecution in Portugal. In honor of Our Lady of Fatima, all are invited to join the Procession immediately following the 10 am Mass. We will be led by the 1st Holy Communion class of 2012 who received the Eucharist for the very first time on Saturday, May 12th. They will lead us out of the Church and into the Rectory garden where we will pray the Litany to our Lady. It is of course Mother’s Day today and while we honor our natural Mothers on this special day, it is a day to honor most especially our Spiritual Mother, Mary. We became her children at the moment of our baptism and she watches over us in a most unique and holy way every moment of our lives, interceding with her Son for our salvation. Recall the beautiful words of St. Louis De Montfort, “Mary is his mystic channel, his aqueduct, through which He causes His mercies to flow gently and abundantly.”

The Feast Day for our Lady of Fatima is celebrated on May 13th in the Liturgical Calendar each year. Both May and October are known as months of Mary. The apparitions at Fatima at the turn of the century are considered “private revelation” by the Church. They are approved as being authentic and we may believe – and indeed, ought to believe the messages that were given there. It is a great grace that our Lord would send His Mother to help us. As a point of clarification, we are only obligated to believe what is contained in Divine Revelation; that is, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (see The Catechism of the Catholic Church for more details). Private Revelation, when it is approved by the Church, demonstrates the loving Hand of God at work in a particular way for the good of souls. Consider some of the other cases of God blessing us with various visitations of our Blessed Mother in the last 500 years or so: Mexico (Guadalupe, 1531, St. Juan Diego), La Salette (France, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Mathieu, 1846); Rue de Bac (France, St. Catherine Laboure, “The Miraculous Medal” – 18 July 1830); Lourdes, (France, St. Bernadette, 11 Feb 1858 through July 16, 18 apparitions); Knock (Ireland, August 21, 1879); and several others…Fatima was approved by the Church in 1930 and has received millions of pilgrims over the years.

Now, there are many books available that tell the story of Fatima, detailing the 3 prophesies concerning various world events, the Church, and the reality of Hell. At the same time, they tell of our Lady’s call issued to all Her Children to a deep and true ‘conversion of heart,’ repentance from sin, and steadfast prayer, especially with greater devotion through the Immaculate Heart of Mary—most especially through meditation of the Mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Rosary. It was at Fatima that our Lady gave us the prayer we say at the end of each Mystery of the Rosary:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.”