For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday September 16, 2012

Pastor’s Corner: Fatima is a small village about one hour’s drive from Lisbon, Portugal; not very pretty. Despite its lack of natural beauty, events there in 1917 changed the world. From May 13 through October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children: Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. They said they saw a Lady “brighter than the sun” standing on a cloud in a tree. While all three saw the Lady, only the girls heard Her speak, and she requested that they return to the same place on the 13th of each month, through October. The unpopular and virulently anti-Catholic local and Portuguese governments tried to stop such antics by three unlettered peasant children. The local government officials kidnapped the children and kept them sequestered for two days. They verbally harassed the children, threatening them and their families, trying to intimidate them to retract their claims. But the Lady appeared to the children again on July 19th, promising a miracle on October 13th. The government was particularly alarmed when the number of spectators grew as word of the apparitions spread: On June 13th, 50 people came with the children; on July 13th, 1,000; on August 13th, 18,000; on September 13th, 30,000; and on October 13th, 70,000 persons from around the country and Europe converged on the tiny village.

The day was dismally grey and heavy rains fell. Yet, more than 70,000 people came to the miserable little spot outside the village to pray with the three shepherd children. The Lady’s message to them that day was simple: She was Our Lady of the Rosary, and she called for penance and the amendment of people’s lives. The accompanying miracle is known as the “Miracle of the Sun”, for the sun appeared through the dense rain clouds, and seemed to dance and rotate violently above the crowd, and then returned to its usual state. The tens of thousands who stood in the crowd, drenched by the day-long downpour, found their clothes perfectly dry. Even the anti-clerical newspaper, O Seculo, whose reporter had mocked the goings on in Fatima, reflected in his article of October 15th that something had happened that even changed his atheistic life, as he stood in the pouring rain and saw the sun move.

While the “Miracle of the Sun” stunned the crowds, impressing even the cynic and atheist, it was the message of Our Lady that proved more important and long lasting: repent and re-dedicate yourself to Christ. While an essential part of the Fatima revelations concerned praying for the conversion of Communist Russia [which prayers by millions since 1917 are credited as precipitating to dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989], it is the personal Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that has endured and still inspires millions. This is the reason why we will consecrate the Basilica Parish, and each family of the Parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday October 13th at the end of the 4 pm Mass, on the anniversary of the final 1917 apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.

Why should this be important? During the next few issues of the Pastor’s Corner in the weekend bulletins, I will explain more about it. But let’s begin now at the beginning: the doctrinal basis of our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Why should we do anything special for Mary, since it is Jesus to whom we should be devoted? The reason is simple: Mary is the Mother of God. And, in the present dispensation of Grace, no one comes to Jesus alone, nor is our relationship with Him simply private or isolated. We belong to the Mystical Body of Christ, His Catholic Church, and through our Communion with Him, we are united with every other Christian, including the Saints. They pray in Heaven, daily interceding for us, as their acts of charity. One of those interceding for us is the Blessed Virgin Mary: our Mother, who gave us her Son as our eldest Brother in the Family of Faith we call the Church.

It all begins when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she had been chosen and prepared by God for a special task, asking if she would cooperate with God’s plan to save humanity. When she agreed, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary offered the best humanity had to offer; she gave to the Eternal Son of God her flesh and blood, a human mind, heart and soul. God became man so that mankind could become God. But her role in our salvation is not over with the birth of Our Lord at Bethlehem on Christmas. She is present throughout Our Lord’s life and ministry: just page through the Gospels and you’ll see. And, her role working for our salvation did not end at Bethlehem, either; She began a new chapter in her role beneath the Cross as the Mother of the Church, and the spiritual Mother of each of us.
More next week. —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: Andrew Joseph Hoenig, 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.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Monday Evening Holy Hour: Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the Basilica. Next Holy Hour: Monday, September 17th .

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: The 12 noon Solemn Choir Mass has been changed to 11:30 a.m. The schedule for all other weekend Masses remains the same.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Began on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:30 pm in the Rectory. Fr. Michael Novajosky is this month’s 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.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: BEGINS NEXT 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.

Our Lady of Grace School: October 27th, will celebrate its Golden Jubilee with a Dinner Dance and Car Raffle at the Italian Center. The Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts have educated more than 5,000 children in their school, and taught hundreds of our children in the parish religious education program. Tickets will be sold outside the Basilica: please generously support the sisters, and come celebrate with them on Oct. 27th.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday September 9, 2012 $ 11,673.12
Sunday September 11, 2011 $ 14,228.47

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

September 23rd Sunday Readings: Wis 2:12, 17-20; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37.

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.

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.

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!

PASTA SUPPER: St. John’s Holy Name Society will hosts it’s 2nd annual Pasta Dinner on Thursday Oct 4th in Monsignor Nagle Hall 6:00pm-9:00pm., to help the Sisters of Life. Food, wine, beer and soft drinks and jazz piano by Chris Mueller. 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. Beginning at 4:30: a Holy Hour with Benediction and Evening Prayer with the Sisters in the Basilica, ending in time for the Pasta Supper. Please join us

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 15, 2012
4:00 +Dorothy and Fred Wahlstrom req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, September 16, 2012
7:30 +Mary Ellen and Joseph Santoro req. Marie Carr
8:30 Rev. Jean Rony Phillippe req. Ferry G.
10:00 +Richard Wargo Birthday Remembrance req . Arthur J. Wargo
11:30 +Randolph Samedi req. Anne Marie Samedi
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, September 17, 2012
8:00 Rosemary Reid req. Maria
12:10 Sp. Int. The Gallagher Family req. Noel and Maryse Smith
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
8:00 +Thomas Villanueva req. Villanueva Family
12:10 Sp. Int. The Gallagher Family req. The Parker Family
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
8:00 +Antoinette DiProperzio req. Sally and Vito Ferrante
12:10 Sp. Int. Lilian Ramos req. Maria
Thursday, September 20, 2012
8:00 Micheal Muwanguzi and Dad Peter Mangeru req. Scholastica and Andrew Mbabaali
12:10 In Honor of Saint John the Evangelist req. Celia Joseph
Friday, September 21, 2012
8:00 Sp. Int. Tarleton Family
12:10 +William Morris req. Jo Mitchell
Saturday, September 22, 2012
8:00 +John Joseph Ferguson Jr. req. Ferguson and McGrath Families
12:10 In thanksgiving to St. Padre Pio req. Giannitti 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. Pizza and Pasta in the Church Hall. Next Meeting is Sunday, SEPTEMBER 30th: The Sisters of Life will give a talk on The Culture of Life.

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 NEW YORK FREEMAN’S JOUIRNAL AND CATHOLIC REGISTER:
155 years ago, or so:
Sept. 23, 1857: NEW CHURCH IN STAMFORD, CONN. “To the Editor of the New York Freeman’s Journal: On the 6th inst., the Catholics of Stamford had the pleasure of witnessing the dedication of their neatly finished church, by Very Rev. William O’Reilly, Vicar General and Administrator of the Diocese of Hartford. A large congregation attended, and were well pleased with the sermons of Rev. Mr. Hart, of New Haven, and Very Rev. James Hughes of Hartford. The piety manifested showed that the people fully appreciated what had been done in their behalf, and many prepared themselves for the solemn occasion by approaching the sacred tribunal of confession and the Holy Table. The day will be long remembered by the inhabitants of this place; and those who heretofore have been careless for the beauty of God’s temple, felt a new impulse of religious pride in the decoration our fine church. Rev. Father Cooney is our pastor, and to his zeal and efforts the new church is due. /s/ CATHOLICUS.” (Editor’s note: the referenced church was the then newly expanded Meadow Street Church.)

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
90 years ago, or so:
Sept. 20, 1920: HOLY NAME RALLY OF 13 PARISHES. “A meeting of representatives of the Holy Name societies in 13 Catholic parishes, from Westport on the east to East Port Chester on the west, was held in St. John’s school hall here, last night, to discuss the details of the Holy Name rally to be held here on Sunday, Oct. 10. On the morning of Oct. 10, the members of each Holy Name Society will receive Holy Communion in a body, in their respective churches. Starting at 3 p.m., that day, there will be a parade with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the open air. The Holy Name Societies will march in a body to the Knights of Columbus clubhouse ground, where the ceremony of Benediction will take place. Chief of Police William H. Brennan, a member of the Holy Name Society of St. John’s Church of Stamford, presided at last night’s meeting, after the Rev. N. P. Coleman of Riverside had called the meeting to order and explained its purpose. William H. Troy of St. John’s was made secretary. It was voted that Chief Brennan be marshal of the parade, and that each society appoint its own aide. There will be a meeting of the members of St. John’s Holy Name Society in the school hall, next Sunday, at 8 p.m., to arrange the details of its participation in the rally. St. John’s has one of the largest Holy Name societies in the diocese and every member is expected to take part in the ceremonies.”

Our Lady of Sorrows
-Fr. Terry Walsh
“And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” – Lk 2:35

Our sojourn in this life is comprised of many joys and many sorrows. It is ultimately an encounter with the Cross and an opportunity to love the One who made us and calls us to share in a life of everlasting peace. Our path to the ‘Pearly Gates’ is effectively walked through the formation of the heart. We might ask ourselves, “What is the disposition of my heart?” The pathway to the heart is peppered with many tests of faith and challenges of charity. Will we allow the Holy Spirit to mould our hearts into true likenesses of Christ or will we give way to fear and mediocrity and so scurry away from the Light because it is too bright? Are we willing to pick up our Cross, or to stand by those who are suffering in their hour of need? As we seek a deeper understanding of the nature of God and of the unique relationship He desires with each one of us, we will, quite naturally, be drawn to him in the Sacraments. It is there that we encounter him in the most intimate way and allow Him to form our hearts and fill us with His supernatural strength, thereby deepening our capacity to love. To witness the suffering of a loved one is a heavy Cross and indeed requires special grace. You might find yourself saying: “Ah, if I could only take some of their pain away! If I could just take their place.” And yet, our faith teaches us that we actually have a great power, if only we turn to our Lord. It is the power of prayer. It is the presence of mind to recognize in those terrible moments the necessity of the sacraments and encouraging the suffering soul to make a good and holy confession; to receive the spiritual strength of the anointing of the sick; and to be fortified by receiving the Eucharist.

We have the power to surround the person with love through our devotions and ask our Lord to heal and protect the soul of our loved one. We may indeed share in their suffering in our hearts and so bring grace and consolation in an otherwise helpless situation. In this way, we become an extension of the loving hands of Mary, who shared in the suffering of her son. Anyone who has guarded the bedside of a loved one enduring the pain of cancer or any terrible illness certainly understands this grief. Certainly Mary experienced this as she witnessed the Passion of Her Son. In Her spiritual martyrdom, Mary shared in the Passion of Jesus. St. Basil remarked: “As the sun surpasses all the stars in luster, so the sorrows of Mary surpass all the tortures of the martyrs.” St. Alphonsus put it this way: “Two hung upon one Cross” – in other words, Mary suffered the Passion of Her Son, spiritually. Imagine the sufferings Jesus endured throughout His Passion knowing the utter torment it caused in His Mother’s heart. And yet, through Her spiritual union with Jesus in His suffering, She would be united with Him in His mission of Redemption. What suffering She endured through the bitter attacks of hate and apathy against Her innocent Son. The Prophet Simeon had spoken of this terrible “Sword of Sorrow” that would pierce Her heart when he met them in the Temple thirty three years earlier.

Throughout the centuries, prayers, devotions, feast days, even mystical experiences by various Saints, and the Foundation of a Religious Order concerning our Lady’s Sorrows have helped the Church deepen its understanding of the role of Mary in our own spiritual journey to God. Each year, on September 15th, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on a feast known as Our Lady of Sorrows. It follows the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14th – so closely united are the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The contemplations of the Sorrows of our Lady led to great devotion to her sacrifice and suffering. There are several devotions and prayers concerning the Sorrows and Tears of Mary. The Devotion known as The Seven Sorrows of Mary has been prayed from at least the early 1300’s. The Seven Sorrows include: 1. The Prophecy of Simeon; 2. The Flight into Egypt; 3. Losing the Child Jesus in the Temple for three days when he was 12 years old; 4. Mary meets Jesus was He carried the Cross; 5. Jesus dies on the Cross; 6. Taking the Body of Jesus down from the Cross and laying Him in the arms of Mary; and 7. Jesus is placed in the Tomb. There is a meditative prayer for each sorrow followed by the Hail Mary. Another devotion is known as The Rosary of the Seven (Dolors) Sorrows.

There is a special Rosary made with seven medals – one for each Sorrow – followed by seven beads. The Our Father is prayed on the medal followed by seven Hail Marys for each Sorrow. The Devotion concludes with 3 Hail Marys in honor of our Lady’s tears. Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother by Tan Publishing (available in our bookstore) is recommended for a fuller explanation of the various prayers and devotions, as well as the Seven Promises given to St. Bridget by our Lady for those who pray this devotion. Our Blessed Mother revealed to the mystic, St. Bridget (d.1373, founder of the Brigittines) “No matter how numerous a person’s sins may be, if he turns to me with a sincere purpose of amendment, I am prepared forthwith to receive him graciously, for I do not regard the number of sins he has committed, but look only upon the dispositions with which he comes to me; for I feel no aversion in healing his wounds, because I am called and am in truth the Mother of Mercy.”