For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday July 15, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . . July 16th is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an important day for Saint John’s, since Pope Benedict XVI raised our parish to the dignity of a minor basilica on July 16, 2009. The date is worth remembering because, as a minor basilica, Saint John’s has a special bond with the Holy Father, and unique spiritual privileges among the churches of the Diocese of Bridgeport, in that we can offer plenary indulgences each year unique to the Basilica.

The Basilica is a formal symbol of the spiritual bonds between all Catholics, as members of Jesus’ Mystical Body, the Church, united visibly with Christ by our communion with the Successor of Saint Peter. We are all connected through Baptism, but also each time we receive Holy Communion—we are in communion with God, but also with each Catholic around the world. This is symbolized at Mass during the Eucharistic Prayer—the long prayer following the Holy, Holy, Holy, when the priest prays specifically for the pope and for the local bishop. Those prayers are symbolic of—our communio—our spiritual unity with the saints in heaven, the souls in Purgatory, and with each Catholic around the world. For by being in communion with the pope, who is the Successor of Saint Peter and the personification of the Church, we share the same faith, and life of the sacraments; by being in communion with the local bishop, the local successor of the apostles, that communion is brought closer to home. No one has just a private relationship with Christ. While there is that private aspect to our faith, there is much more: we belong to one another in Jesus’ Church, and work through our prayers and spiritual sacrifices to help each other gain eternal life with the God who loves us.

The plenary, or full, indulgence that is offered in our Basilica on July 16th is a perfect example of that connectedness between all Baptized people, both living and dead. A plenary indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment for sins, whose guilt is forgiven in sacramental confession”. The Church, as the minister of Christ’s graces, grants these special graces to faithful Catholics who willingly perform a designated public act of devotion: in this case, by visiting the Basilica on July 16th, the anniversary of our being made a basilica, and by doing a specific spiritual action: praying one Our Father and the Creed for the intention of the pope; receiving Holy Communion on the day of the indulgence, and having gone to Confession sometime within a week prior to or following the day the indulgence is sought. One must be free from all attachment to sin in order to receive an indulgence.

In other words, the entire body of the Church is willing to join to perform the penance for your sins: and by administering the merits of Jesus’ suffering and Cross, as well as those of the saints, applying them to those who seek an indulgence. Here, then, the reality of communio is seen: each person in the Body of the Church working to save everyone else: we share the spiritual gifts of Our Lord by being members of His Body, the Church: by sharing our faith, and willingly performing simple acts of faith and charity, we open ourselves to God’s perfecting us, through the graces of His sacraments and blessings in His Catholic Church.

Please take advantage of the Basilica’s special bond with the Holy Father, by visiting on July 16th, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and by piously working for these blessings by praying for the Holy Father. By our actions of faith and charity, we show our hope to become more like Our Lord, whose graces we receive in the sacraments, joined with our charitable actions, transform us. And, these indulgences can be applied to someone we love who has died: a further sign that even our beloved dead are not separated from us, because we are all united in Christ’s Church —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Kathleen Moger, Flint and Helen Moger, Paul Cavalli, Mario Stano, Kevin O’Byrne, Patricia McNamee, Harrie Humphreys, Linda DeMott, Clemese & Faramon Lochard, Jean Midi, Stan Zebroski, David Morgan, Gene Gavin, Maureen Casner, Stephen Casner, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Marcy Stano, Rev. J. Barry Furey, 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.

Co-Operative Mission Collection: Please drop your Co-operative Mission Collection envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory. There will only be one collection today.

Monday Evening Holy Hour: Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the Basilica. Next Holy Hour: Monday, July 16th .

Banns of Marriage:
Banns I: Erin Elizabeth Carolan and Steven Scholz
Banns III: Sabine Auguste and Christopher Januski

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: We begin again on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:30 pm in the Rectory. Fr. Michael Novajoski will lead us reading Saint Irenaeus of Lyons’ Proofs of the Apostolic Preaching. All are welcome, and the texts we read are in good, readable English translations.

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 personal offering symbolic of one’s 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. Please take a look at the beautiful Votive Hearts now hanging under the Icon of Our Lady in the back of the church.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: $85,127.00 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.

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.

Holy Land Pilgrimage: November 9-19, 2012: The Sisters of Saint Birgitta of Darien will sponsor a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Literally following the steps Jesus, Mary and Joseph, you can enter the holy places where the events of Salvation History occurred: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and many other places. Cost: $2,900 per person, including roundtrip airfare from New York, room and two meals daily, as well as transportation to all the sites. More info: call Scott Scaria: 860-289-2606 or visit the website: www.polandmej.com A $200 deposit is due August 17; full payment by September 14, 2012.

Pentimenti: A show of artists’ works, entitled “Creating a Dream City” will be open to the public July 20 [6pm-8pm] through August 4 [Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays: 12-5pm] at the Loft Artists Association Gallery, 845 Canal Street here in Stamford. All are welcome.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday July 8, 2012 $ 11,449.41
Sunday July 10 2011 $ 12,397.55

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

July 22nd Sunday Readings: Jer 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34.

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: call (203) 416-1619 or projectrachel@diobpt.org.

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 this Sunday, July 15: 7:00 am until 7:30 pm. 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.

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the Basilica: This Monday, July 16th is the 3rd anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s generously raising our parish to the dignity of a Minor Basilica. 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 intentions of 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: This 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, July 14, 2012
4:00 +Members DeRosa, Capobianco & Kronk Families and Edwin Clark req. Joan and John Kronk
Sunday, July 15, 2012
7:30 +Alberta “Berdie” Fox req. Hosinski Family
8:30 +Jean D’Amico req. Frank D’Amico
10:00 +Luc D. Lacrete req. Marie Frantz
12:00 +Jocelyn, Oswald & Kilda Machado req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, July 16, 2012
8:00 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 Thanksgiving to our Blessed Mother and the Saints req. Marie Paul
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
8:00 Andrew Mbabaali’s Birthday req. Mom Scholastica and Michael
12:10 +Helen T. Duffy req. Duffy Family
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
8:00 In Honor of the Infant of Prague req. Gina Uva
12:10 +Gloria Kronk req. Mary Churley
Thursday, July 19, 2012
8:00 +Lucie Charles req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Hildrey Lassiter req. John and Laura Pascale
Friday, July 20, 2012
8:00 +Father Kevin Fitzpatrick req. John J. Chidsey
12:10 Special Intentions Rina Scafidi req. Family
Saturday, July 21, 2012
8:00 +Terrence Cooke req. J. Vincent Collins
12:10 +Margretta DeVivo 5th Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families

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; will resume in September.

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:

100 years ago, or so:
July 21, 1908: New Statuary in Catholic Church. “J. H. Scofield & Son have presented to St. John’s R. C. Church a beautiful baptismal statue, which has been placed on the baptismal font. The principal figure is that of St. John the Baptist, who is shown in the act of baptizing Christ, the whole thus being symbolic of the sacrament of baptism. The statue comes from Carrara, Italy, and is made from a splendid specimen of the marble of that place. It adds greatly to the statuary of the church, and gives a finish to the font, which is probably not equaled by that in any church in the diocese.” (Editor’s Note: the statue presently is in the Baptistery of the Church on the Bell Street side.)

75 years ago, or so:
July 20, 1935: 2 Churches, House Hit By Lightning. “A terrific thunderstorm, breaking here last night shortly after 8, brought temporary relief from the heat but did property damage estimated at upwards of $10,000. There was no loss of life and no personal injuries reported as due to the storm. A spire on the top of St. John’s Catholic Church was shattered and a great hunk of stone from the spire hurtled through the skylight atop of the Frankel shop across the street. The Bethel A.M.E. Church was hit, a house in Myrtle Ave. was set on fire by a bolt; the Gas and Electric Co, Southern New England Co. and New Haven Railroad reported considerable property damage. The intense thunderstorm was followed by a more gentle fall of rain that was beneficial to lawns and gardens. The 20 foot stone spire atop St. John’s R.C. Church was struck by lightning at 8:25, the top of the spire and one side being hurtled to the street 125 feet below. A 200-pound stone torn from the spire was carried through the air across Atlantic St. landing on the skylight of R. Frankel and Sons store at 262 Atlantic St. and crashing down to the ground floor and through a show window in the front of the store. The damage to the church spire was estimated at $5,000 today by representatives of local insurance companies. The damage to the Frankel store will run close to $1,250. The stonework of the church spire, splintered into small and large pieces, was scattered for more than 200 feet along Atlantic St. and Bell St., particles of the stone landing on the roof of the Stamford Department Store building. In the Frankel store the jagged stone entered the building alongside a skylight, crashed through at an angle and followed an abandoned stairwell into the show window, where it crashed through the plate glass window after tearing out electrical fixtures in the window.” (Editor’s Note: the 200-pound stone was brought back to St. John’s and currently is situated adjacent to the front center steps of St. John’s Rectory.)

Our Lady of Mount Carmel
– Fr Terry Walsh

O Virgin Mary, blessed and venerable art thou: who without blemish to thy maidenhood, didst become the Mother of the Saviour. O Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot contain, enclosed Himself within thy womb, and became man.
– Gradual, Liturgy of the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

As I entered the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome for the very first time, I was completely overwhelmed. The Baroque architecture seemed to pull heaven down to earth. Walking through the Basilica became a walk through time as beautifully carved monuments adorned the various side altars and called to mind the lives of great Saints who contributed to our understanding of the union between God and man. There seemed to be a palpable feeling that they lingered still, standing guard, pointing to the Sacrifice. As I approached the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter just beneath the great stained glass image of the Dove, the Holy Spirit, I glanced to the side walls that surrounded the sanctuary and gazed upon the towering statues of Founders of great Religious Orders that were actually built into the Pillars of the Basilica. In effect, these spiritual pillars of the Church formed their Religious Congregations on the Evangelical Counsels of the Gospel: poverty, chastity, and obedience. Ah, yes, St. Francis, St. Benedict, St. Dominic, and, wait a minute, Elijah? Wasn’t he in the Old Testament? How then could he be considered the ‘Founder’ of the Carmelites? After all, the Carmelite Order began nearly 2000 years after the Prophet Elijah. Ah yes, the answer is found in 1st Kings, ch. 18: in a word, purity. It was atop Mt. Carmel that the Prophet Elijah challenged the false prophets who had corrupted the Israelites, leading them into their impurity – infidelity to the Holy Covenant. Indeed, the people had strayed after false gods and had forgotten their unique relationship with the One True God. Elijah challenged their fickle hearts which had grown impure and duplicitous: “How long will you straddle the issue? How long will you go limping with two different opinions?” Elijah challenged the people to choose. Either follow God or go your own way, but do not pretend to love God when you are clearly disobeying His holy will. Elijah demanded purity of intention from the Israelites and to prove that he spoke on the authority of God, he challenged the false prophets to a contest – a sacrifice.

After the utter failure of the false prophets to demonstrate any power whatsoever, Elijah prepared his sacrifice, crying out to God, “Let it be known this day that you are God…Answer me Lord! Answer me, that this people may know that you, Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses.” Immediately, a great fire swept down from heaven like lightening and consumed the entire sacrifice, even the wood and the dust and the water. Elijah’s powerful prayer made from the holy depths of his heart was heard. The sacrifice was completely consumed, demonstrating a certain perfection, a sacrifice that foreshadowed the One Perfect Sacrifice that Jesus would offer to the Father centuries later atop Calvary in order to pay the debt of the sins of repentant souls. Like the great Prophet Elijah, pious Christian souls of the 12th century fled to Mt. Carmel in the hope of entering into that same deep and abiding contemplative prayer demonstrated by the Prophet; a spiritual way of life that yielded oceans of grace and revealed the love of God in a more perfect way. The Carmelite Monks claimed Elijah as their Founder because of his pure and faithful love. Likewise, we hear the echo of the cry of Elijah, who beckons all people to conversion of heart. Indeed, the Carmelites have taken up this cry and have entered into true spiritual warfare through contemplative prayer and a rigorously disciplined way of life. The faithful hermits who found themselves on that same Mountain centuries after Elijah sought the fire of God’s love through the New and Eternal Covenant – the graces that are poured out from that Perfect Sacrifice on Calvary which now flow into the hearts of all believers, purifying us through love. In his Sermons, Saint Augustine wrote: “Elijah prayed and offered sacrifice, and Christ offered himself as a perfect sacrifice for the whole world. Elijah prayed that rain might fall on the earth; Christ (prayed) that divine grace might flow into human hearts. Elijah’s command to his servant: ‘Go up and look out seven times, is a foreshadowing of the seven-fold grace of the Holy Spirit to be given to the Church. And the small cloud rising up out of the sea that the servant saw is a symbol of the Incarnate Christ born in the sea of this world.”

Our Lord became Incarnate in the Virgin Mary. She who is the Immaculate Conception was chosen by the Carmelites to be their Patroness because of her purity, her ardent faith, her undying love. Our Lord comes to us through Mary, the Vessel of Purity, the Virgin Mother of God. Indeed, Our Lady offers us a great gift through the Carmelites. It is the Scapular, revealed through private revelation to St. Simon Stock on Sunday, July 16, 1251. “In answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order, she appeared to him with a scapular in her hand and said: “Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant”(Catholic Encyclopedia). The Church teaches: “The Scapular of Mount Carmel is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer. The Scapular is imposed by a special rite of the Church which describes it as ‘a reminder that in Baptism we have been clothed in Christ, with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, solicitous of our conformation to the Word Incarnate, to the praise of the Trinity, we may come to our heavenly home wearing our nuptial garb”(Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, p.144). The Feast has a very special significance for our parish here at St. John’s. It was on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, written on the Papal Document from the Vatican, that St. John the Evangelist Parish was raised to a Basilica. What a blessing to know that this wonderful grace took place through our Lady’s love and protection, She who gently leads us to her Son. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Pray for us!