For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for September 9, 2012

Pastor’s Corner:
Once on television recently about Islam, a gentleman asked a question he claimed was a basic Islamic criticism of Christianity: Why does God need a son? It’s a good question, but it starts from the wrong place. The question looks at God as if He were just like us, alone and in need of offspring. God doesn’t “need” anything, since He is quite self-sufficient and perfect. And, He is not “alone”, as if isolated and lonely, since the very Essence of God, His inner self revealed by Jesus, is a community of Persons, whom we call Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There was never a time when the Father was “alone”, or when the Son or Holy Spirit did not exist. Each eternal Divine Person of the Trinity shares the same Divine Nature: they are “part”, if you will, of the One and Only and Eternal God. Saint Joseph of Cupertino [1603-1663], a humble Franciscan brother and mystic, once explained the Trinity in the simplest of terms: The Trinity can be compared to one blanket folded twice, forming three parts: each part is the same “stuff” or essence as the whole blanket, yet each fold is distinct from the other folds. So, too, the essence of God: each Divine Person—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is of the same “stuff” or essence—each is God, yet each is distinct from the other as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three Persons of the One Trinity.

The great revelation of Our Lord is the inner reality of God—one God, yet three Divine Persons—and the deep love each Person has for the Others, which flows over to us: created in God’s image and likeness, so we could become lovable to God. The extent and depth of that love is seen in God’s work to save us all from Satan and from Satan’s tools, sin and death. God does this in the Incarnation: the Father loves us so much that He sent His only Son to become a man, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The entire Trinity is involved in getting you to Heaven. As Saint Ignatius of Antioch once wrote: “God became a man so that man[kind] could become God”. That’s the “why” God has a Son who became a man; the means by which He accomplishes our becoming more like God, is the Cross. God became a man simply so He could die on the Cross to pay for human sin. So great and powerful is human sin, Satan and death, that the death of God in the flesh is the only antidote, the only medicine powerful enough to save us. So, the reason God has a Son is not that He was lonely, or decided one day to act as do the false gods of Greek and Roman mythology; the reason God has a Son is that is Who God is: One God in Three Divine Persons, so in love with us that God gets involved personally with each of us, to raise us to share His eternal life. The eternal Son became a man at a certain time to pay for our sins, thereby becoming more like God.

Saint Paul writes of God’s work to save all mankind, both Jews and non-Jews [Gentiles] alike, in his Letter to the Ephesians: “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near through the blood of Christ. It is He who is our peace, and who made the two of us one by breaking down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart. In his own flesh, He abolished the Law with its commands and precepts, to create in Himself one new man from us who had been two and to make peace, reconciling both of us to God in one body through His Cross, which put that enmity to death” [Eph. 2:13-16]. Likewise, Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross restored peace between humankind and God. And since He is also God from all eternity, Jesus’ human obedience has eternal effects for all of us.

The One God who worked miracles and wonders as narrated in the Old Testament is the same God working now. The only difference is the manner of God’s wonder-working. As Pope Saint Leo the Great described it, “The swiftly writing hand of the Word [the Son of God] promulgated the precepts of the new covenant, not from the veiling clouds nor amid thunder and lightning that drive the people away in terror, but in calm speech, with his hearers gathered around Him. Thus the harsh aspects of the Old Law in the Old Testament would vanish under the soothing influence of grace, and His spirit of adoption of us would dispel all servile fear” [Sermon 95 On the Beatitudes]. The essence of God is love, not vengeance, as seen in the relationship of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, manifested to us.

The unhappy eleventh anniversary we celebrate on September 11th is a reminder of the horrors wrought by those who deny the incarnate mercy of God in Jesus of Nazareth. For those who flew the planes, and for those who supported them, their god is one only of vengeance and death. The True God, who humbled Himself to raise all humankind up by submitting Himself to such evil men as those who slaughtered Americans on 9/11, comforts all even today, even as He did two millennia ago, when He died, “making the two of us one by breaking down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart”, as Paul wrote. We commemorate the mercy of the True God on September 14th, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Let us pray for those who lost their lives on 9/11, those in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, and for their families; for those public servants and generous citizens who rushed to the aid of the victims, who exemplified the generosity of God Himself in actions of charity and self-sacrifice, and not merely in words. And let us pray for those who support such acts of horror, that they may one day learn that the true God is merciful, and asks that we show mercy in imitation of Him, so that might be saved for a better life with Him in Heaven. —Mgsr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Raymond Jean-Rene, Marie Byrnes, Betsabe Chung, Linda DeMott, Billy Therriault, Edna Campbell, Julia Oliveira, Chuck Woodin, Gary Everett, Nancy O’Shea, Mary Jane Peterson, Rev. Patrick J. O’Connell, Valerie Romanello, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Father Guglielmo, Kathleen Moger, Flint and Helen Moger, Paul Cavalli, Mario Stano, Kevin O’Byrne, Clemese & Faramon Lochard, Jean Midi, David Morgan, Gene Gavin, Mary-Jane Rice, Joan Duffy, Gale Browne, Mercedes Huertas, Peter Boltrek, Erin Wiggin, Corrine Mattson, Marie Michele Louis, Herman Schneider.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Jutland R. Jean-Rene, Jennifer Gallagher, Larry P. Evaristo, Thaddeus O’Connor, Kathleen O’Connor, Grace Fusco, Marie Conetta, Frank Ardise, 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, Virginia Toussaint, George Muro, Ann Rich, Lena Chiappetta, Rosina Raiteri, Felicia Stramandinoli, Duverney Caporal, Terrence Cooke, Charles Harman, Bill Wiles, Carmen Candelaria.

Special Annual Collection . . .The second collection today will be the Special Annual 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 Basilica. Next Holy Hour: Monday, September 10th .

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light Memorial. . . + Marlina Gheringhelli req. Joan and John Kronk.

Banns of Marriage:
Bann III Zachary Flynn and Kelly Fontneau

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: As part of our parish efforts that a cause for canonization of Ignatius Cardinal Kung be opened soon after the appointment of a new bishop, three days of prayer will be celebrated at the Basilica: October 11, 12 and 13, ending with the 4 p.m. Mass on October 13th with the consecration of the parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Bishop Kung’s first work was to consecrate his Diocese of Shanghai to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our following his lead for the intention of his cause for canonization will be a blessing for our parish. Please mark your calendars and look for details.

MASS SCHEDULE CHANGE: Beginning THIS Sunday, September 9th: the 12 noon Solemn Choir Mass will be changed to 11:30 a.m. The schedule for all other weekend Masses remains the same.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: We begin again on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:30 pm in the Rectory. Fr. Michael Novajosky will be our moderator as we study Saint Irenaeus of Lyons’ Proofs of the Apostolic Preaching. All are welcome. 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: An intermediate grammar and reading class: Some basic grammatical knowledge of Biblical Greek is required. If interested, call: 324-1553, ext 11.

Votive Hearts: The parish office has votive offerings for sale: 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 Salvation of the People of Rome, in the back of the side aisle.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: $87,682.00 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. 

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. . .BEGINS SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd—8:30 to 9:45 Registration is OPEN. Registration and payment can be made on our website, or in the office during the week.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday September 2, 2012 $ 13,391.98
Sunday September 4, 2011 $ 13,530.20

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

September 16th Sunday Readings: Is 50:5-9a; Jas 2:14-18; Mk 8:27-35.

Home Schooling Families: A group for home schooling families meets monthly on Tuesday in the Nagle Hall. All ages are welcome. Please contact Bridget Bethray at bridget.bethray@gmail.com, or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301, jmlancaster@optonline.net.

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.

Birthright of Greater Stamford is seeking volunteers: to help support women with unplanned pregnancies to bring their babies to term. Volunteers provide pregnancy tests, listen to client concerns, and connect women with medical, financial, legal and other needed resources. Ability to commit 3 hours per week in the office is desirable. Schedules are flexible, and training is provided. Birthright is located at 388 Summer St., Stamford. Please call the office at 348-4355 if interested. See www.birthright.org for more information.

LIFE CHAIN: Stamford, Sunday, October 7th: 1pm-3pm. Please join us on Atlantic Street in front of the Basilica for the annual Life Chain: a peaceful witness of Americans praying for the end of legalized abortion. Participants display signs urging passers-by to support the pre-born, reminding them of the sanctity of human life and join in prayer. For details, call Frank 203-975-8833, x 3004.

Holy Land Pilgrimage: November 9-19, 2012: The Sisters of Saint Birgitta Convent of Darien will sponsor a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Cost: $2,900 per person, including roundtrip airfare from New York, room and two meals daily, as well as transportation to all the sites.

St John’s Flock (20’s and 30’s Young Adult Ministry): See you soon! Come join the Flock for monthly Faith Formation meetings on the 2nd Thursday of the month and other social/service events. For more information, please go to stjohnsflock.com or email core-team@stjohnsflock.com.

VOLUNTEER CHOIR SEEKING SINGERS. . . The Basilica is pleased to announce that we are re-starting our volunteer parish choir, to sing at the 4pm Vigil Mass on Saturday afternoons, and we are looking for men and women in all voice parts.  If you are interested in joining us, please contact Christopher Mueller, our Organist and Choirmaster, for more details.  He can be reached by phone at (203) 324-1553 x18, or via email, at info@benesonarium.com.  We look forward to a new season of beautiful music!

Feast of the Triumph of the Cross at St. Gabriel Church. . .On Friday September 14th  Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford will celebrate a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross  at 7:30 PM.  Mass will be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  (In Latin according to the 1962 Missal) Refreshments to follow in the Parish Meeting Room.  Please mark your calendar and join us!

The Holy Name Society. . .is holding it’s 2nd annual Pasta Dinner on Thursday Oct 4th in Monsignor Nagle Hall 6:00pm-9:00pm. The proceeds will go to their non-profit charity which assists the Sisters Of Life in their work with pregnant women in need. There will be food, wine and beer and the musical stylings of our own Choir Master Chris Mueller tickling the ivories. Tickets are $50.00 per person, checks should be made out to Co-workers Of Life Stamford and can be purchased at the Rectory or contact Gene D’Agostino at 203-530-1908 or Frank Carpanzano – 203-975-8833 ext.3004.

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, September 24th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, September 8, 2012
4:00 +Helen Carr Birthday Remembrance req. Marie Carr
Sunday, September 9, 2012
7:30 +Jenny Tomasello req. Terenzio Family
8:30 In Honor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal req. Linda Zachariadis
10:00 Special Intention of The DeLeo Family req. The Kazazes Family
11:30 Special Intention of Lilian and Alvina Ramos req. Scholastica Nabwire
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, September 10, 2012
8:00 +Frank Janesch req. Cycon Family
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Fabiola C.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
8:00 +Karl and Louise Wilk req. Sue Kremheller
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Yvonne St. Preuve
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
8:00 +Osner, Ena, Ashley Lubin req. Marie C. Joseph
12:10 +Robert Malkin req. Margaret Fitzpatrick
Thursday, September 13, 2012
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Special Intention of Norma Jarrett
Friday, September 14, 2012
8:00 +Monique Benjamin req. Ewa Czytowska
12:10 +Susse Carroll req. Hannah Sexton Young
Saturday, September 15, 2012
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. The McAleer Family
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.

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. Next Meeting is Sunday, SEPTEMBER 30th.

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; Call Ferry, 203-324-1553 x22.

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 on Wednesday Evenings, 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 Sunday, Sept. 23rd, after the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
150 years ago, or so:
Sept. 11, 1863: “On Saturday last, the schools connected with the Roman Catholic Church, made an excursion to Jones Wood, New York. There were several hundreds-men, women and children-and as they marched to the depot, preceded by a fine band of music, we never saw a neater or more orderly procession. A special train of 13 cars was filled with the excursionists. The day was remarkably fine, and no accident occurred to mar their enjoyment.”

135 years ago, or so:
Sept. 15, 1876: “Work on the interior of the new Catholic church is progressing, and will be so far completed this fall that the annual fair of the church will be held therein. The final completion, including the altar, organ, etc., is not expected short of two or three years yet. In the meanwhile, the spacious basement furnishes ample accommodation for the congregation and Sunday school.”

130 years ago, or so:
Sept. 14, 1883: “Work on the interior of the new Catholic church is progressing steadily; many of the ceiling moldings and some on the arcade arches are already completed by the plasterers that some idea of the style of finish can be obtained by a glance at the work. The moveable scaffold and other labor saving devices of Mr. John Ennis, the contractor, are proving their value every hour. This great work will probably occupy the whole of the coming winter and spring.”

THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
130 years ago, or so:
Sept. 12, 1885: “A portion of the marble to be used in the construction of the altar of our church has arrived, and work is being done upon the foundation. The builders of the foundation are Messrs. Theis and Trueg of 42nd street, New York City and by the plans, it can be seen that the altar, when completed, will be second to none in New England.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
50 years ago, or so:
Sept. 14, 1962: “The Rev. Joseph D. Potter, formerly an assistant at St. John’s Church, has been named assistant diocesan director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, according to the Bridgeport diocesan office. Since 1955, he has been in charge of the apostolate to the deaf in the diocese.”

Religious Education Begins September 23rd:The Well-Nourished Tree
…a few more thoughts…
-Fr. Terry Walsh

The Religious Education program here at the Basilica provides the environment to help our young people in their dialogue with one another by offering additional programs that enable them to work and pray together in their common goal of discipleship. We begin instruction with the “pre-Holy Communion” 1st grade class. In 2nd grade, the children prepare to receive the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. In the Springtime, there will be a “Morning of Reflection” on a Saturday morning (TBA) that is attended by the First Holy Communion Candidates and their parents. It will involve a brief talk, a time for questions, and a bit of practice for the candidates and will help facilitate a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Gift of the Sacraments. Throughout the school year, we encourage families to attend the 10 am Family Mass together. Of course, you may elect to choose a different Mass time if you prefer. Mass attendance is of course is expected every Sunday (and Holy Days of Obligation) throughout the entire year. Indeed, each year of our program is specially designed to lead the children into a deeper appreciation for their Catholic faith. Our Confirmation program has expanded to a three year program beginning in the 7th grade with Fr. Audet. His class emphasizes the Liturgy of the Word in Holy Mass and the primary text is the Bible. Each week, the Readings for the Mass are examined and an explanation of their significance is discussed, particularly in light of the Liturgical Season. The 8th Grade class likewise focuses on a deeper knowledge of all of Sacred Scripture in a seminar environment using the Bible Timeline Series as the primary resource. And finally, the 9th grade class will return to an emphasis on the Catechism concerning the teachings of the Church in faith and morals, in particular, the Sacraments. This year, the Confirmation Class will have a new aspect to their formation: the Francis and Clare Youth Group. One class each month will be used for the Francis and Clare group which will meet after the 5:00 pm Sunday Mass. There will be a second Francis and Clare meeting each month that the students will be encouraged to attend as well. In the Spring, our Confirmation class will hold their Retreat Day here at the Parish. The day includes Mass, Holy Hour, Discussions, as well as fun activities. Prior to receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in May, the priests will meet with each student and their parents to discuss the student’s knowledge of the faith as well as their desire to be Confirmed to be sure that each student is properly prepared. These meetings over the last few years have proved to be quite fruitful and have demonstrated a wonderful affirmation of the sound teaching our young people are receiving at home as well as here at the parish. All of our 7th and 8th grade students participate in the Maria Goretti (girls) and Dominic Savio (boys) Societies. These groups meet once a month and are required. If there is a scheduling difficulty with family activities, alternative programs are available. Simply let the teachers know and we will accommodate you. While High School students (Grade 9-12) are welcome to attend the Maria Goretti and Dominic Savio groups, they are not required. They are however required to attend the New Youth Group for High School students called the Francis and Clare Youth Group (7th and 8th grades are NOT permitted to attend this group). Once a month, each group meets on a Sunday for prayer, service, and fellowship. In addition, we offer optional field trips throughout the school year. Recent field trips have included trips to The Cloisters Museum in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Natural Museum of History, and the Statue of Liberty. (NOTE: The Francis and Clare Youth Group for High School students will meet twice a month, but the students are only required to meet once each month – details will be presented to them in class.) St. John’s is truly blessed to have such dedicated and generous teachers in our program. Year after year they return to share their knowledge with such heartfelt enthusiasm and at the same time find new ways to improve our program. For instance, our “tour of the Church” class explores the Church interior and explains the significance of everything from the Windows to the Tabernacle Candle. We cover the Sacristy to the Sanctuary and answers questions that pop up along the way. The students learn about vestments and vessels as well as the movements that take place through the Liturgy. In addition, we teach them the meaning, the beauty, and the efficacy of Devotions, such as the Holy Rosary, and then we pray together. They learn about the lives of the Saints and the special role the Saints play in our lives. In short, our hope is to complement the life of faith and prayer they are receiving at home. Finally, our year will end with the St. Anne’s Society hosting our Annual “Celebration of the Sacraments” in May. The evening will begin in the Church with the 5:00 pm Mass followed by an awards dinner in the Church Hall. We look forward to a wonderful year together. Welcome back!