For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday September 23, 2012

Pastor’s Corner: By the Consecration of ourselves and our parish, we return to the foot of the Cross with Mary—to the very source of our redemption—as Jesus’ Sacred Heart is opened to save the world. As Blessed Pope John Paul II said, “The power of the Redemption is infinitely superior to the whole range of evil in man and of the world” [Consecration Homily, May 13, 1981], and it flows through Christ’s humanity on the Cross. And we join ourselves to Christ at Calvary by our consecration, by acknowledging God who became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary in order to sacrifice Himself for us. We acknowledge our need of Mary’s help, and we accept that help, whose source is her Son, Our Lord. One of the most beautiful prayers is the Memorare, which begins, “Remember O Most Sweet Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided.”

The most famous consecrations were those by Pope Pius XII of the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, and of Communist Russia in 1948, by Pope Paul VI in 1964, by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1984, and by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

For our Basilica Parish, there is another reason for our consecration: our prayers that God may open the Cause for Canonization of Cardinal Kung. In 1952, in the face of growing Communist persecution of the Catholic Church in China, the young Bishop Kung, the first native-son Bishop of Shanghai, led Catholic families in the Act of Consecration as a means to prepare spiritually for the inevitable imprisonment and martyrdom of thousands of laypersons, priests, religious sisters and bishops. He, among them, spent 33 years in prison rather than deny his Catholic Faith and Communion with the Successor of Saint Peter. He set himself a daily practice of prayer, transforming the tedium of his imprisonment into daily opportunities for holiness; so should we. He was forbidden any books, even the Bible; forbidden to have a Rosary or religious medals; forbidden to offer Mass; forbidden to pray: once he was punished because a fellow prisoner who reported that Bishop Kung was moving his lips as he prayed silently. So, he prayed the Rosary throughout each day, using his fingers to keep count of the prayers; using his mind, meditating on each Mystery of the Rosary, picturing the event of Our Lord’s life commemorated in those Mysteries—The Annunciation to Mary; Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem; His Crucifixion; His Resurrection. The Act of Consecration invites us to imitate Cardinal Kung: consecrating each hour and praying each day.

I frequently hear people comment that they would like to find a daily schedule of prayer and Christian life. Well, here it is: the Act of Consecration imposes some daily duties on each of us and our families:
–we will daily avoid and renounce sin and actively practice the Christian virtues daily, imitating Mary;
–we will daily recite a Rosary with our family: you might try beginning with one decade, and then each month add one more. We have free Rosaries and pamphlets with instructions on how to pray the Rosary: they have pictures of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which help children [and adults!] understand each of the saving actions of Christ’s life and of His Mother’s work, which are the Mysteries of the Rosary. These pictures helped me when I was a child to learn the Rosary, and, when I pray my daily Rosary now, these pictures come to mind as I meditate on those Mysteries;
–we will attend Mass and receive Holy Communion each first Saturday of each month,
whenever possible. Of course, we are faithful each weekend to Sunday Mass.
Our Parish will prepare for the Act of Consecration by two evenings of recollection:
Thursday, October 11th and
Friday, October 12th: 7:30-8:30 pm for Benediction and the Rosary, with a homily and Confessions offered.
On Saturday, October 13th, the anniversary of the final apparition at Fatima, the parish will host an outdoor Marian procession and Living Rosary following the 12:10 pm Mass, and the Act of Consecration will be made during the 4:00 pm Mass: Everyone is welcome. Our devotions should lead to a renewal of the spiritual life in our families, in our parish, and in our society. Please join us. —Mgsr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Richard Lauture, 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.

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 24th .

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.

Francis & Claire: High School Youth Group kick-off on Sunday, October 28th after the 5pm Mass. Students interested in being part of the Teen Leadership Group. E-mail Deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com to get involved.

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 THIS 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.

RCIA Classes…..for those persons who would like to become Catholic as well as for those Catholics who have not yet received the Sacrament of Conformation will begin Tues, Sept. 25th at 7 pm in the Rectory.

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 16, 2012 $ 12,533.78
Sunday September 18, 2011 $ 10,798.12
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

September 30th Sunday Readings: Nm 11:25-29; Jas 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48.

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.

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!

Trinity Catholic High School: Trinity Catholic High School is having their Open House on Thursday, October 11, 2012, at 7:00 p.m.  All middle school students and their parents are invited.  Current high school students looking to make a change are also welcome.  Meet Mr. Tony Pavia, our Principal, take a tour of the school and meet with department chairs. All are welcome!  Trinity Catholic High School  926 Newfield Avenue  Stamford CT  06905   203-322-3401 x 13 or e-mail: admissions@trinitycatholic.org.

Feast of the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux: On Wednesday October 3, 2012  Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford will celebrate a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux 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!

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: This Monday, September 24th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, September 22, 2012
4:00 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
Sunday, September 23, 2012
7:30 +Bruno Cos, Jr. req. Marchetti Family
8:30 +Laszlo Biza req. Marie Bartolutti
10:00 In Honor of Saint Padre Pio 44th Anniversary req. Marion Morris & Family
11:30 +Bill Morris 3rd Anniversary req. Marion, Bill, Ricky Morris, Michelle, Jimmy Sagdati and grandchildren
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, September 24, 2012
8:00 Father Juan Pineda Birthday req. Maria
12:10 +Carmen Trivino req. Maria
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
8:00 +Margaret Curtis req. Mary Maloney
12:10 Sp. Int. Barbara Schuerger req. Lilian & Alvina Ramos
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
8:00 All Souls in Purgatory req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Josephine D’Amico req. her son Frank
Thursday, September 27, 2012
8:00 Barbara Schuerger req. Maria
12:10 +Barbara Freund req. Bill Christiaanse
Friday, September 28, 2012
8:00 +Antoinette DiProperzio req. Jeff, Andi and Pomeroy children
12:10 +Daniel Gallagher req. Mary Ann & Richard Lawlor
Saturday, September 29, 2012
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 In Honor of St. Michael the Archangel 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. 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.

Francis & Clare: High School Group kick-off on Sunday, Oct. 28th after the 5pm Mass. Email Deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com.

St. Dominic Savio Society: For the spiritual formation of young men, 7th-8th grades(High Schoolers welcome). Call Ferry, 203-324-1553 x22.

St. Maria Goretti Society: For the spiritual formation of young ladies, 7th-8th grades(High Schoolers welcome). Call Beth at 203-975-0074. Next Meeting:Oct 7th, after the 10am Mass.

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

John’s in THE ADVOCATE:
145 years ago, or so:
September 25, 1868: FUNERAL OF FATHER O’NEIL. “The funeral of Father O’Neil took place on Tuesday, at the Roman Catholic chapel, and was attended by a very large concourse of his late parishioners and friends. The funeral services, which were very impressive, were conducted by the Rt. Rev. F. P. McFarland, of Hartford, assisted by a large number of Catholic clergymen from different parishes of the State and elsewhere. Father O’Neil has been in charge of the Roman Catholic congregation in Stamford for ten years previous to his death.”

100 years ago, or so:
September 30, 1913: THE HARVEST FESTIVAL. “A harvest festival in aid of St. John’s Catholic Church, given by the societies of the church, under direction of a large general committee, begins on Friday evening, in the school assembly hall and continues through Oct. 10. There will be some form of entertainment each evening and dancing will be indulged in every evening, beginning at 8:30. Kearney’s and Smith’s orchestras will alternate in playing. Aside from the entertainment, there will be many other attractions. Articles will be sold and refreshments will be served.”

80 years ago, or so:
September 27, 1932: EAGLE SCOUT RANK IS CONFERRED ON THREE. “ At the September Court of Honor of the Stamford Council, Boy Scout Headquarters, Assistant Scoutmaster John R. Forbes of Troop 16, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and Robert Herrgen and Donald Reyen, Troop 22, St. John’s R.C. Church, qualified for advancement to Eagle Scout Rank. Scouts Robert Thayer, Troop 22 and Alfred P. Cummings of Glenbrook, Troop 1, have qualified for advancement to Star Scout rank.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Scouts Herrgen and Reyen were the 7th and 8th Eagle Scouts from Troop 22. Robert Herrgen would later go on to resurrect the Troop in 1951 as Scoutmaster, after the troop went dormant for almost ten years.)

70 years ago, or so:
September 25, 1942: “ In commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the first Mass celebrated in Stamford, there will be a Solemn High Mass in St. John’s Catholic Church at 11 a.m. on Sunday. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The first Mass ever celebrated in Stamford was in September 1842 by Rev. James Smyth at the private residence of Patrick Drew. Patrick Drew’s was one of three Catholic families in Stamford in 1842.)

“TRUE DEVOTION to the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY”
– Fr. Terry Walsh

The Saints of the Church have sung the praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the centuries, beginning with the Apostles. They were merely imitating Christ Himself, who honored Mary above all others. St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort (1673 – 1716) likewise sings her praises and challenges us to seek a deeper understanding of our Spiritual Mother through an interior devotion in a little book known as True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Throughout his brief 150 page treatise, he masterfully weaves references to Sacred Scripture, the Dogmas of the Church, and the insights of the Saints, and so helps us understand the magnificence of Mary and the boundless love she holds for each one of her spiritual children. Furthermore, he explains the intimate role she plays in our salvation. It would be sheer foolishness to neglect her. He writes, “The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of his divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear”(TD,157). Throughout the short treatise, DeMontfort explains his devotion by first helping us to understand the one of a kind relationship Mary has with God. Indeed, the Church teaches through the declaration of various Dogmas as well as through the celebration of her feasts and Solemnities in the Liturgy: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship”(Catechism, #971). It’s important to make a distinction between praise and adoration. Adoration is reserved for God alone. We are called to praise Mary, but to adore her Son. We honor her with hymns of praise and heartfelt prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. Indeed, we are compelled to honor her if we are to keep the fourth Commandment. And yet, our relationship with Mary ought to be understood in an infinitely deeper way – through love. “God the Son imparted to his Mother all that he gained by his life and death, namely, his infinite merits and his eminent virtues. He made her the treasurer of all his Father had given him as heritage. Through her he applies his merits to his members and through her he transmits his virtues and distributes his graces…She is His mystic channel, His aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly.” – True Devotion (TD), no. 24.

Mary alone has the unique privilege of being at the same time the daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of the Son. And of course, it was through her that Jesus took upon Himself our human nature so that he could offer Himself to the Father in reparation for our sins. “Mary alone found grace before God without the help of any other creature. All those who have since found grace before God have found it only through her. She was full of grace when she was greeted by the Archangel Gabriel and was filled with grace to overflowing by the Holy Spirit when he so mysteriously overshadowed her…the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can lead them along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life…Jesus is always and everywhere the fruit and Son of Mary and Mary is everywhere the genuine tree that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother who bears that Son”(TD,44). What an extraordinary relationship! What tremendous humility. By virtue of our baptism, our incorporation into the Body of her Son, we share in that relationship, provided we are faithful to our Baptismal promises. Mary will gently lead us into the Heart of Her Son so that we may be healed and so walk in the Light of Truth. She knows the way. “She is not the sun, dazzling our weak sight by the brightness of its rays. Rather, she is fair and gentle as the moon, which receives its light from the sun and softens it and adapts it to our limited perception. She is so full of love that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be. The saints say that it never has been known since the world began that anyone had recourse to our blessed Lady, with trust and perseverance, and was rejected”(TD,85).
How would you describe your relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary? How well do you really know Her? DeMontfort turns to the Scriptures to illustrate the tender and effective love of Mary. Our Lady enables the soul to receive a greater measure of grace thereby forming us into a more perfect likeness of Jesus. “When Mary has taken root in a soul she produces in it wonders of grace which only she can produce; for she alone is the fruitful virgin who never had and never will have her equal in purity and fruitfulness….When the Holy Spirit, her spouse, finds Mary in a soul, he hastens there and enters fully into it. He gives himself generously to that soul according to the place it has given to his spouse”(TD, 35). Mary intercedes on our behalf with her Son, just like at the wedding feast of Cana, asking our Lord to give us the New Wine, that is, the graces won for us through the Paschal Mystery. What hopefulness. Imagine it! She is right beside us helping us to faithfully live in Christ.

DeMontfort’s beautiful treatise on our Lady is filled with spiritual treasures, revealing a clear understanding of the role of Mary in the lives of the faithful. It would certainly prove worthy spiritual reading throughout the Holy Season of Lent. Why not consider reading a few paragraphs of True Devotion each day, especially as we begin the month of October, a Marian month, and reflect upon the spiritual insights that lead to a greater understanding of our baptismal promises. The goal we seek of course is a deeper union with our Lord and our Blessed Mother wants to help us. Our late Holy Father, Blessed Pope John Paul II, praised the writings of DeMontfort calling them an “inexhaustible fountainhead of spirituality” that “teach the meaning of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin.” As we draw close to Mary, may we echo his apostolic motto: “Totus Tuus” – I am totally yours, Blessed Virgin Mary!