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

Pastor’s Corner. . . July 4th, the celebration of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, was always marked well in Stamford. This was particularly true following the American Civil War, when the sacrifice on the battlefields of so many thousands of Stamford’s young men was still a fresh and painful memory; and among the fallen were many Catholics from Saint John’s. Just ten years earlier, in 1855, a Stamford lawyer, William T. Minor was elected Connecticut’s governor, and the platform of his Know-Nothing Party was “to resist the insidious policy of the Church of Rome, and all other foreign influences against the institution of our country, by placing in all offices in the gift of the People, whether by election or appointment, none but native-born Protestant citizens.” The War provided a testing ground for much in America, including the popular Connecticut Yankee notion that would have willingly deprived Catholics of our rights granted by the U.S. Constitution. But the service of tens of thousands of Catholics on the battlefield, proved this false.

For American newspapers, all Catholics were Irish, no matter if born in America or elsewhere . After the War, the articles bore a much friendlier tone than prior to 1865. The Advocate’s July 2, 1869 number ran a long article about the unofficial yet first noticeable post-War celebration, in which “. . . our Roman Catholic friends appear to be determined to do their part in making the Fourth what it ought to be—a day of popular enjoyment.” A week later, The Advocate reported what had happened on July 4th: church bells were rung, fire works exploded, citizens went to Shippan Point and Mianus Harbor to view the regatta. The paper observed, “The most exciting and interesting feature of the observances of the day is due to the public spirit and enterprise of our Irish-American [Catholics of Saint John’s ] citizens who celebrated the Fourth by a grand excursion and pic-nic in Woodside Park. Before proceeding to the park, a procession was formed which moved through the principal streets.” Parish priests, religious sisters, municipal dignitaries, along with the police and members of “the hook-and-ladder and hose company” joined with the throngs of Catholics marching through the city according to the various parish societies, accompanied by marching bands. “Last but not least, was a wagon drawn by four horses on which were grouped a number of young girls dressed in white, with red and blue favors, representing the several States in the Union.” Once arrived, refreshments, entertainments, games and dancing were provided until 7:00 p.m.

Those earlier Independence Day celebrations right after the Civil War were of exceptional importance, as a means of paying tribute to the fallen heroes and to those living veterans who had endured the unimaginable horrors of the battlefield to preserve the Union. Liberty in America was deemed precious, and the rights of all, even of slaves, sufficient cause for war. And Catholics were considered neighbors worthy to be called Americans, because so many had fought valiantly and died courageously on the battlefield to destroy slavery, and to preserve the Union and the Constitution.

On our own 4th of July, let us not forget that our liberties and freedoms are still precious. They are threatened anew, not by foreign plots or armies, but now by Mr. Obama’s administration, threatening the Religious Freedom of Catholics, by forcing the Catholic Church to act against its moral teachings, threatening enormous financial fines and closure of Catholic institutions if we do not comply. Even our earliest immigrant members of St. John’s Parish, who endured anti-Catholic prejudice, knew that such suffering was worthwhile, both because it was the lot of the true Christian to suffer for the Faith, in imitation of the Lord, and because being in the United States was worth suffering any hardship that might be required. The sense that the fight was worthwhile was understood by Catholics because of the nation’s Constitution, whose recognition of natural rights, including that of the First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, eventually won the day, allowing the Catholic Church to flourish and to establish the greatest non-government school system, medical and charitable services and universities open to everyone in the country. Today, these institutions are threatened by the United States government: all Catholic institutions must comply to the government mandate about health services, even though contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, or pay enormous fines which would force their closure. Exemptions to other religious groups have been granted, but not to the Catholic Church. The result will be more than the closure of Catholic institutions; it will mean depriving millions of Catholics and non-Catholics of the Church’s educational, medical and charitable services, from schools to hospitals to soup kitchens, all could be closed, as has happened already in Boston.

Pray for our country on the 4th, for our President, our Congress and, especially, for our troops. The U.S.A. is still the greatest nation on the planet; that’s why so many people still make their way to our shores– and many even make it to Stamford, the greatest city in Connecticut, and to Saint John’s! Happy 4th of July!
—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick. . . Linda DeMott, Harrie Humphreys, Linda DeMott, Clemese & Faramon Lochard, Jean Midi, Stan Zebroski, David Morgan, Gene Gavin, Maureen Casner, Stephen Casner, Marcy Stano, Mary-Jane Rice, Joan Duffy, Gale Browne, 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. . . Robert Pergola, Joseph Perna, James McManus, Regina Ngodie, Corrie Evans, Ernesto F. Scafidi, 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.

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

Annual Bishop’s Appeal. . . $81,867 has been pledged to the diocese towards the parish goal of $100,000. I am very grateful for all who have contributed to the diocesan appeal, and ask others to consider assisting by your own generous gift.

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: Monday, July 2nd .

Banns of Marriage:
Banns I: Sabine Auguste and Christopher Januski
Banns III: Nadege Jean-Rene & Michael Sternovais Baptiste

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. . . See you in September!!

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

Biblical Greek Grammar. . . A beginner grammar class:If interested, call: 324-1553, ext 11.

Votive Hearts. . .An ancient and venerable Catholic practice is to place a small heart or decoration at a shrine of the Blessed Mother or patron saint, as a symbolic personal offering as a symbol of a prayer, or as a personal sign of thanksgiving for a favor granted. You can see some in front of the Icon of Our Lady. The parish office now has hand made votive plaques for sale, to be placed near the Icon of Our Lady. There are two sizes: small copper hearts: $10.00 each; larger copper flowers: $50.00 each. You may purchase them by visiting or phoning the office [Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.], and they will be hung at the Icon of Our Lady soon after purchase, remaining as a constant sign of your prayer: like a candle, but lasting longer.

Fortnight for Religious Liberty. . . June 22-July 4th: Throughout the country, Catholics will be urged to pray these days, especially for the protection of our Freedom of Religion, especially in light of the recent Obama Administration assaults on the Catholic Church, forcing the Church to provide and pay for that which the Church holds immoral. Beginning June 22 [the Feast of Saint John Fisher, martyred in the 16th century defending the Catholic Church’s rights against King Henry VIII] through July 4th [our Independence Day], here at Saint John’s the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for one hour, following the 12 noon Mass. We ask that every parishioner try to visit the church once each day to pray for the protection of our Religious Liberty.

St. John’s School Reunion: Class of 1970: Will be held on August 4th: For information, please call Ramona Spinelli: 203-685-9508: We are looking not only for graduates from the Class of 1970, but anyone who attended Saint John’s School with our class, but left prior to graduation.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday June 24, 2012 $ 12,183.28
Sunday June 26, 2011 $ 10,985.17

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

July 8th Sunday Readings: Ez 2:2-5; 2 Cor 12:7-10; Mk 6:1-6.

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.

Project Rachel Ministry. . . offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God who is love and mercy.
For more information: (203) 416-1619 or projectrachel@diobpt.org.

Francis & Clare High School Youth Group. . . Will not meet during the summer.

St. John’s 20’s and 30’s: The Flock…Will not meet during the summer.

Voluntary Services for the Blind. . . Bring sunshine to someone’s life. Volunteers are needed to be drivers, readers, friendly visitors, shoppers and clerical assistants for legally blind persons. For information, call 203-324-6611, ext 2.

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, July 23rd.

Our Lady of Guadalupe. . .The Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will visit our Basilica of St. John the Evangelist from Friday, July 13 to Sunday, July 15. This is a full sized image of Our Lady, photographed by NASA from the original tilma of St. Juan Diego. Please plan to make a pilgrimage to the Basilica, and spend some time in prayer for your family and friends, entrusting your greatest cares to Our Lady’s loving heart, and thank her for her visit.
 
 

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the Basilica. . . Monday, July 16th is the 3rd anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s generous granting of the dignity of Minor Basilica to our parish. A Plenary Indulgence is offered that day to anyone who visits the Basilica, prays the Creed, one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the Holy Father, goes to Confession and receives Holy Communion sometime within that week after July 16th. A simple ceremony will be held on July 16th following the 8:00 a.m. Mass: On the front steps of the Basilica, we will bless a new time capsule, and new bronze and red granite plaques to seal up the cornerstone opened last year. Following the brief ceremony, coffee will be served in the parish rectory for all who attend. Please join us for the 8:00 a.m Mass and our brief ceremony on July 16th. The bronze and granite plaques are the work of Don Foley at Fairfield Monuments in Darien across from Saint John’s Cemetery.

Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel at St. Gabriel Church. . .On Monday, July 16th Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford will celebrate a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at 7:30 PM.  Mass will be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  (In Latin according to the 1962 Missal) Music by Victoria, Morales and Gregorian Chant.  A light reception will follow in the Parish Meeting Room.  Please mark your calendar and join us!

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, June 30, 2012
4:00 +Veronica and John Buckheit req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, July 1, 2012
7:30 +Rocco and Angelina req. DeFelice Family
8:30 +Giovanni Battista Bertuca req. Domenico Piria
10:00 In Honor of Immaculate Conception req. Elia Pochette
12:00 In Honor of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord req. Marion Morris
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, July 2, 2012
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Charles Pascale req. John and Laura Pascale
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Melvin and Lillian Cole req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions Annie and Dan Schreck req. the Gentile Family
12:10 +Anthony Ramos req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
Thursday, July 5, 2012
8:00 Gavin Samedi Birthday req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +James Henson req. John and Laura Pascale
Friday, July 6, 2012
8:00 Faithful Departed
12:10 +Patsy Cappiello req. Duffy Family
Saturday, July 7, 2012
8:00 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.
12:10 Intentions of Margaret Terese Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung

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:

140 years ago, or so:
July 1, 1870: Blessing the Cross. “Sunday afternoon last, large numbers of the Catholics of Stamford, and others, proceeded to the new Catholic cemetery at Springdale for the purpose of witnessing and participating in a solemn and interesting ceremony. On a rising mound near the entry of the cemetery, a large wooden cross has been erected, and the formal dedication of this cross was the occasion which drew so large a number of people together. Rev. John Fagan, the pastor, directed the ceremonies and delivered a very eloquent address appropriate to the occasion in which he adverted to the aid received from many of other faiths, as well as the untiring zeal of his own parishioners in beautifying the grounds. Rev. Eugene Gaffney assisted in the ceremonies. Contributions for further beautifying the grounds were deposited in a basket near the foot of the cross. The Society has been very fortunate in the choice of this locality. Probably a spot more favorable for the purposes of a cemetery could not be chosen if the surrounding land for half a dozen miles was at their disposal. The natural topography of the place is such that it is capable of being beautified at comparatively small expense and it is sufficiently secluded without being too remote from the village. The New Canaan railroad runs close by, and this, of course, is another important advantage. A good deal of work has been already done in laying out carriage and foot paths, planting trees, shrubbery etc. When fully completed according to the present plans, it will be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the state.”

55 years ago, or so:
July 6, 1959: Stamford Priest Head Of Growing Baghdad College. “When Iraq celebrates the first anniversary of its Revolution next Tuesday, at least one Stamford native will be a witness to some of the events. He is the Rev. Robert J. Sullivan, S.J., principal of Baghdad College. Several alumni of the college, which is conducted by Jesuits from the New England Province, are preparing a float for the anniversary parade. The college, situated on the banks of the Tigris, had its 24th commencement on June 17, graduating the largest class in its history. An estimated crowd of 1,700 saw 77 students receive diplomas. Sometime next month, Al-Hikma University, a development of Baghdad College, will complete its building program and will move to Zafaraniya at the opposite end of the city. Work has been completed so far on the engineering building, the business building, and the cafeteria. By the first of the year the faculty building will be ready of occupancy. There are approximately 45 American Jesuits currently stationed in Baghdad.” (Editor’s Note: Father Sullivan was a graduate of St. John’s School.)

The Trials of Life in Christ
-Fr. Terry Walsh

Our “Spiritual Journey” from the moment of our being “grafted” onto the Body of Jesus Christ at Baptism is shrouded in love. The Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, states: “For man would not exist were he not created by God’s love and constantly preserved by it; and he cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator”(GS19). Each moment of our lives is an opportunity to grow in our devotion to God in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Our Lord is present in us (see John 14). He also walks beside us. He walks with us every step of the Way – in joy and in sorrow – through abundant consolations as well as overwhelming desolations. He walks with us, if we let Him. We are His children.

How do we understand hardship and suffering? How do we reconcile the “trials of life” with our understanding of God who is Love? What role does suffering play in the lives of God’s children? When we look through the eyes of faith, we are able to understand that there are actually two stages of life. It is critically important that we have a clear perspective of this truth. The first stage is our very brief life here on earth. The Kingdom of God truly resides in the souls of all who are born of water and the Spirit and become branches on the Vine, that is, branches of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Yet, we are nonetheless subject to all sorts of trials in this 1st stage of life. Our Lord allows us to experience some measure of suffering and trial in order that we may prove our love, our fidelity, and our desire for God, who IS love. The 2nd stage, we hope, will be upon the Holy Mountain, the Heavenly Jerusalem, where all the trials of life will be over and the joy of complete union with God will fill us with a peace that is simply not of this world. Indeed, we may have that peace even now, in this 1st stage of life, which sustains us in the knowledge of His love. We hear this promise at every Holy Mass: “My peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (once again, see John chapter 14). St Paul reminds us: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”(Rm 8). We simply need to look to the Cross. There we see the Innocent Victim who suffered for us. Suffering is not a Good, it is clearly an Evil. Yet, God is able to draw good out of evil. Consider our Lord’s own suffering; His Passion and His Death. Jesus demonstrated His love for us when He became Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He showed the depth of His love for us through His One Perfect Sacrifice. And the good? The Resurrection – the forgiveness of sins – everlasting Light, Happiness, and Peace. Salvation comes to us through the Cross. And yet, how often we run from the Cross rather than sit at the foot of it in prayer and ask for the graces we need – the grace to forgive or seek forgiveness; the grace to have the courage to bear up under the difficulties of this life; the grace of understanding with regard to various relationships we have; the grace to grow in wisdom and knowledge and piety so that we can become more and more like Christ.

The Cross is the Narrow Gate. Our Lord will help us carry it if we ask Him. We encounter the Cross in a 100 different forms each day. Some are little Crosses – others simply seem to crush us ‘like grapes in the winepress.’ Carry the little ones with love and see your spiritual strength, that is, the Power of God within you, grow more vibrant and spiritually mature. Then you will embrace the heavier Cross for love of Him who bore it for you. Every “trial” becomes an opportunity; every “yes, I will carry my Cross, with love” enables our “branches” to grow ever stronger and produce even more abundant fruit. And what is our “fruit”? The fruits of the Holy Spirit are borne through our cooperation with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that flow into our hearts most abundantly through the sacraments. In other words, when we cooperate with our Lord through our daily prayer, our faithfully receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, we will produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, indeed every virtue. Our Lord Himself encourages us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing”(Jn 15). May we open our hearts and minds to the nearness of the Beloved and come to understand that even in the ‘trials of life’ we are actually bearing abundant fruits.