For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday July 22, 2012

Pastor’s Corner. . .July 26th is the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Our Lady. The celebration of this humble married couple belies the common place notion that religion doesn’t have much affect on real life. Possibly the person who first coined that notion just didn’t have much religion to begin with, so its absence was a greater personal influence. Nevertheless, the homespun lives of Saints Joachim and Anne, while not very Hollywood, did change history, since their daughter participated significantly in the Incarnation, whereby God’s entrance into human history as the God-become-Man, Jesus of Nazareth, transformed all subsequent human history and all creation.

Even though nothing is mentioned in Scripture, the fact that Mary had parents can be taken for granted. But there is a very early document, known as the Protoevangelium of Saint James, written between 170-180 A.D. [For the full document, Google www.newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm] It is one of the most famous apocryphal writings [meaning, not part of the Bible] of the early Church and, despite it not having been included by the Church in its canon of Scriptural books, was one of the most widely read religious works of its age: originally written in Greek, there are early extant Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Arabic and Ethiopic translations or paraphrases. It was a best seller, and was quoted by many of the Church Fathers. The work enjoyed an unparalleled influence on the popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the early Church, as seen by the development of various Marian feast days, such as the Immaculate Conception, the Presentation of the Virgin, and that of Saints Joachim and Anne. By the 6th century there were two massive churches built in honor of Mary’s parents in Jerusalem and Constantinople, and their feast day was celebrated in the east; in Rome by the 8th century, and from there, throughout Europe. While everything in the book cannot be taken as historically true, much of it can. And the lives of Saints Joachim and Anne as presented in this work is the earliest known written version of their story.

Why a devotion to the parents of Mary? First, in an earlier age, no family was considered complete without grandparents. Likewise, the story of a married couple struggling with the seeming impasse of not being able to have children, was so touchingly real that it captured the attention of millions. Here is a story of the complete Holy Family, whose beginning is found in the generosity of God’s blessings on a man and his wife who asked God’s help. Not only is the faith and trust in God of Joachim and Anne repaid by their conceiving Mary, but, they mark the very moment when the Divine intimately enters human history—God intervened in the conception of Mary, the fruit of the very natural and intimate act of human love of Joachim and Anne, and He preserved Mary from the stain of Adam’s Original Sin, in view of Mary’s role as the Mother of the Savior, and in anticipation of Christ’s saving sacrifice.

The parish’s images of Saint Anne are traditional, and can be seen on the pulpit, and in the small statue to the left of the altar, and next to the left hand large window [in the southern transept]: Saint Anne instructing a young Mary from the Scriptures of the Old Testament. The relics of Saints Anne & Joachim are next to the small statue. While the background fabric of the banner at the pulpit is new, its image of Saint Anne and Mary is very old: cardboard figures, embroidered and hand decorated, taken from the original late-19th century parish banner that was used here at Saint John’s. It is an image of a mother teaching her daughter the ways of God. While Mary did play an essential role in our salvation by being the Mother of God, she was not born with a Catholic Encyclopedia in her head. She had to be educated and formed, as do all children, by parents. Saint Anne provided much of that education, especially about God and His love, and how to be a faithful servant of God, according to Jewish law and customs. It was this education, spiritual guidance and human formation of Mary as a young lady by her mother that further prepared Mary for her momentous role as the most important woman in human history—the second Eve, through whom all creation would be recreated by her Son, Jesus—the second Adam. Simple, homespun words, examples of faith, charity, forgiveness, instructions about God as the most important One in their lives, and how to pray: these are some of the commonplace instructions that Saint Anne must have given her daughter; commonplace by nature, yet exceptional in their result: Mary was prepared to be the mother of our salvation in Christ.

Saints Joachim and Anne are the patrons of married couples, who remained faithful to each other and to God, despite rough times in their marriage. Their fidelity and faith strengthened them to remain together, and their love helped to bring about your salvation. Nothing commonplace about their simple lives, daily formed by their love for God and each other. Not bad patrons and examples for real married family life.
—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, 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: Stan Zebroski, 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.

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 23rd .

Banns of Marriage:
Banns II: Erin Elizabeth Carolan and Steven Scholz

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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday July 15, 2012 $ 12,059.13
Sunday July 17 2011 $ 13,266.20
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

July 29th Sunday Readings: 2 Kgs 4:42-44; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15.

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: Please 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.

Electronic Giving – Offertory Donations Made Easy…Consider using your credit card to make your weekly or monthly donation to St. John’s. Easier for you, and less costly for the parish than the printing and mailing of weekly envelopes, credit card giving automatically sends your weekly offering to the Basilica of St. John’s. Call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

Lost & Found . . . Please check the Lost & Found in the Rectory for any items you may have left in the church. Feel free to call Cindy at the rectory, M-F, 9AM—1:30PM, 203-324-1553 x21.

Monday, August 6th—No 12:10Mass:…The Sisters of Life will celebrate their annual profession of solemn vows here at Saint John’s at 10:00 a.m. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, will be the celebrant of the Mass. Because this special Mass will be offered on Monday, August 6th, there will be NO 12:10 PM MASS THAT DAY.

LOURDES PETITIONS. . .One of our Maria Goretti participants will be making a pilgrimage to Lourdes to assist the infirm who make the Pilgrimage to Lourdes to visit the Holy Shrine of our Blessed Mother. She has graciously volunteered to bring our petitions to the Grotto. Anyone who would like to send a petition to our Lady at Lourdes, please write it out and put it on an envelope and drop it off at the parish before JULY 25th and it will be delivered to the Shrine on your behalf. (They will not be read.)

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.

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: This Monday, July 23rd.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, July 21, 2012
4:00 +John Marini and Bob Bell req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, July 22, 2012
7:30 +Gerard Albert req. DeFelice Family
8:30 Rev. Terrence P. Walsh req. Ferry G.
10:00 +Madeline Sabia req. Camille Coniglio
12:00 Dody Green and Family req. Shawn Mary McAuliffe
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, July 23, 2012
8:00 +Deceased members of the DeSoye Family
12:10 +Martha Marron req. Tom Kolenberg
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
8:00 +Deceased members of the MacTiernan Family req. Mr. and Mrs. DeSoye
12:10 +Wayne Malloy req. Carpanzano Family
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
8:00 +Joseph Jenislawski req. Frances Dewey
12:10 +Bridget Cebulski req. Duffy Family
Thursday, July 26, 2012
8:00 +Doris Curley req. Tom Farrell
12:10 +Anthony and Derrick Ramos req. Lilian & Alvina Ramos
Friday, July 27, 2012
8:00 +Anna Do req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Patrick Dandry req. Laura and John Pascale
Saturday, July 28, 2012
8:00 Special Intentions req. Sue Viggiano
12:10 +Helen Cappiello req. Duffy Family

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: Will not meet during the summer. In September, we’ll begin meeting every Wednesday Evenings t 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:
115 years ago, or so:
July 29, 1897: Wanted-A Crosswalk or a Ferry. “Few crosswalks in the city are used by more people than the one on Atlantic Street, near Bell. Thousands of people walk over it to attend services in the Roman Catholic Church, to say nothing of the thousands who use it in passing to and from the Advocate Building. The crosswalk-and it is only a poor excuse for one-has long been in a bad condition. In rainy weather a big pool of water collects in the middle of the street and a merchant has to send a man with a shovel to remove the lake. A new walk is needed here, and the street should be repaired at once.”

July 26, 1898: STATIONS OF THE CROSS. “St. John’s R.C. Church is being enriched, and its interior greatly improved, by the erection of fourteen groups of statuary representing the stations of the cross, and used in services which occur on Fridays in Lent and at other times. The stations are works of art, and the color-blending and general effect are very pleasing. They are the gift of a Stamford lady, a member of the congregation, whose name will probably be announced by the pastor, Rev. Father Rogers, after the blessing ceremony, which is to occur August 14, the vigil of the Festival of the Assumption. The stations were imported from Munich just in time to escape duty under the new tariff law. Each has a stucco frame in the shape of a gothic arch, which harmonizes with the architecture of the church. John Ennis is erecting them in place. The rather bare appearance of the white walls is greatly relieved by the rich colors of the scenes representing the closing events in Christ’s life on earth.”

120 years ago, or so:
July 25, 1891: “The delegation headed by Rev. Father Keena to the shrine of St. Anne Toronto, Canada, arrived home last Friday. All seemed deeply impressed with the pilgrimage and claim they are much benefited by the journey. Some miraculous cures have often taken place at this shrine.” (Editor’s Note: The following year, 1892, Father Keena organized the St. Anne’s Society at St. John’s. It is now the oldest society in the parish.)

50 years ago, or so:
July 23, 1963: “The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, P.A., V.F., pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church and, at 87, the oldest priest in the Bridgeport Diocese, died Monday in the rectory of St. Raphael’s Church, Bridgeport. Just a little over a year ago Msgr. Coleman had celebrated the 60th anniversary of his own ordination and, on Saturday, completed his 53rd year in Stamford.”

BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER
– Fr Terry Walsh
“God the Father gathered all the seas together and called them the seas or maria. He gathered all his grace together and called it Mary, or Maria… ‘the treasury of the Lord’.”
–St. Louis DeMontfort

Atop the great oak doors of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist rests the Coat of Arms which greets us with the words our Lord uttered from the Cross and leads us to reflect upon the role of Mary in the sanctification of our souls. As he gazes upon the beloved disciple from the Cross, Jesus says: “Behold your Mother.” Indeed, he is saying the same to us. Some moments later, Blood and Water gushed from his Sacred Heart, torn open by the soldier’s lance. Jesus emptied himself in the greatest act of love ever known to man. Contemplating His perfect sacrifice, we approach the Altar and our gaze quite naturally is drawn to Stained glass window above the High Altar: Consummatum Est: It is Finished. There we contemplate the pain and sorrow endured by our Blessed Mother. John, also grieving, comforts Mary. Our Lady consented to the immolation of her Son for our sake, just as she consented to his Incarnation according to the will of God – for our sake.

As we consider the Incarnation, we turn our gaze to the side chapel, and meditate on the magnificent scene of the Annunciation so beautifully depicted in the Window. There we see Mary kneeling in prayer, reflecting upon the word of God. Through her Fiat, her willingness to become the Mother of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary becomes the Mother of Grace. Indeed, the image in the window depicts the Living Waters of sanctifying grace flowing from Mary, going out to water the souls of all who come to believe. Jesus said, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow living water’”(John 7: 37-38). Jesus promised that if we respond to the life giving waters of eternal life and abide in his love, the Holy Trinity would reside in us, that is, “The Kingdom of God is within.” Thus, the living waters necessary for our salvation actually well up from within us to heal and nourish our souls with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Indeed, we receive every gift and blessing necessary for salvation. St. Louis DeMontfort explains, “God the Son imparted to his mother all that he gained by his life and death, namely his infinite merits and his eminent virtues…She is his mystic channel, his aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly”(True Devotion, 24).

The Gospel of John provides such beautiful images and spiritual insights that enable us to see the depth of the love of God. What a wonderful influence Mary would have had upon the beloved disciple throughout the course of years they lived together following the Ascension of our Lord: the conversations they would have had concerning the life of Jesus; the graces John would have received through Mary’s intercession for him. Among the four Evangelists, the Gospel of John is the most spiritual account of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Beautiful images of Light and Water abound and lead to a deeper understanding of the Presence of God in our souls. John recounts the compelling story of conversion of the woman at the well who came to receive the Living Waters and in turn joyfully watered the gardens of her neighbors through her new found faith. Just as Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, so too does he speak to us: “…whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”(John 4:14).

The choice is ours. On the one hand, we may choose to drink from the worldly waters that focus on the self and are attractive to the flesh. These waters bring immediate gratification, but at the cost of spiritual emptiness. Alternatively, we may choose to drink from the life-giving waters emanating from the wounded side of Christ. He pours them out to us every single day. These waters come to us most abundantly through the Sacraments and bring spiritual enrichment, gradually forming us into more perfect likenesses of Christ. These waters enable us to embrace our Cross and to offer the trials of life for the glory of God and the sanctification of our souls. In essence, our Cross becomes an opportunity to prove our love for the One who offered himself up for us. And just as our Lady stood by Jesus, so too does she accompany us. Recall the encouraging words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of the drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit”(Jeremiah 17:7-8). We come to the Basilica to enable the roots of our soul to spread wide and grow deep beside the Living waters of sacramental grace. Each sip moves us closer to Heaven by enabling us to accomplish the mission our Lord has given us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The best path is traveled through our spiritual Mother. “If Mary, the Tree of Life, is well cultivated in our soul….she will in due time bring forth her fruit, which is none other than Jesus”(True Devotion, St. Louis DeMontfort, 218).