For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday October 14, 2012

Pastor’s Corner:
This is the final section of Bishop Kung’s Pastoral Letter of 1951 on the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

But, what is the deeper meaning of this consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

First, it signifies that the members of each family have an interior spirit of veneration for the immense charity of Mary, and for her perfect purity symbolized by her most pure heart. Mary’s heart burns with two great flames of love, for God and for mankind. Naturally, of these two flames, the more brilliant is that which burns for God. Mary loved God, not solely as her Creator, her Lord and her Father, as did all the saints, but also with the tenderness of a very holy Mother for her infinitely perfect Son. This love for God was the source of her innocence. There was a total enmity between Her and Satan, of which God predicted: “She will strike at your head, and you will strike at her heal” [Gen. 3:15]. By a special privilege she was conceived without [Adam’s] Original Sin. Mary never did even the slightest actual fault, but found her joy in obeying the slightest manifestation of the divine will with an entire loyalty.

Her love for humankind was also a maternal love. For her, the words of Christ on the Cross, “Woman, behold your son” [John 19:26] were like another Annunciation, the beginning of a second maternity, by which she gave rebirth to all mankind in Christ. The history of the Church is that of each individual Christian filled with the favors granted through the intercession of Mary: the graces of purity and of victory over temptations are those which she likes most to obtain for us. Desiring then to honor her charity and her purity, families, by this Act of Consecration, choose her as their Queen and their Mother. When they address her, they echo the words of Pope Leo XIII in the formula of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “We exist for You, and we want to be with You. And to be more surely united with You, see that each of us is freely consecrated today to Your most pure Heart.”

Second: By this consecration the family declares its intention to live that type of life that Mary our Mother desires. This personal act of consecration should produce a permanent effect: the state of consecration sets the family apart because each family is now specially owned by Mary. Consequently, within a family consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the holy laws of marriage are observed; families are as if newly baptized; families will teach their children their prayers, the truths of the Catholic faith and the practice of Christian virtues. If there be prodigal children, they will return to the loving arms of Jesus their Savior. The pagan neighbors will be attracted to the truth and goodness of the Christian life by good example and words of encouragement. The dying will be prepared to depart with a purified and peaceful conscience for their eternal rest, with the hope to see the family reunited again one day in the company of Jesus and Mary. If there are any obstacles to this consecrated way of life, these will be swept away from before the path of the person making the act of consecration.

Third: Other then the general obligations, the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary implies three other more particular obligations: 1) the daily recitation of the five decade Rosary by the family; 2) a daily act of renunciation or of contrition offered in reparation for sins against the love of God; 3) attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion in honor of Mary on the first Saturday of each month, whenever possible. That Mary desires to see these devotions practiced by families consecrated to her is clear from her words pronounced at Fatima, and from the commentaries of Pope Pius XII about devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Family Rosary should be recited not only for the spiritual and temporal needs of the family itself, but also for the dear intentions of the entire Church. In the name of these intentions, the graces and strength for suffering souls are provided: for the light of truth against error and ignorance; courage and fidelity for souls exposed to grave temptations; repentance and forgiveness for souls who have fallen into sin. We should pray for our nation that we might enjoy prosperity, that justice and charity relieve the miseries of those who are exposed to poverty, and provide all with a decent standard of living. Above all, when reciting the Rosary, the family makes the words of Pope Saint Pius X their own: “Grant, Lord, peace in our days—peace for our souls, peace for our families, peace for our country, peace among nations. May the rainbow of peace and reconciliation extend its serene light over the earth, sanctified by the life and Passion of Your Divine Son.”

Through this daily exercise of faith, grace and the diligent practice of prayer, Catholic families will become a strong interior unity. All families of our parish can become one in spirit through the truths they learn, and one in heart through the intentions they recommend to God, strengthening their union more and more among themselves and with their priests. Rising to Heaven, the voices of the parish will form one voice, clearly praising God and Mary, powerful in its request for favors and graces to us whose needs are so urgent and our desire so intense.

May this renewal of religious life and devotion to Mary in each family release an abundance of spiritual and temporal graces for you, through the hands of our mother and mediator, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Bishop Ignatius Kung
Pastoral Letter of April 22, 1951.

Please pray for the sick: Rosino Zezima, 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.

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, October 15th.

Banns of Marriage: Bann III Luwig Rene and Josiane Gabriel

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
Chinese Banners: On either side of the high altar bear the words in Chinese characters composed and written by Bishop Kung in 1954 to his beleaguered Catholics during the Communist persecution of the Church in China: “Neither Fire nor Sword can take away my faith in God.” Let Bishop Kung’s words be our motto as we approach our parish consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this weekend.

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: The next study group will meet beginning November 7th: led by Dr. Lois Gandt, we will read the Life of St. Augustine by Possidius. All are welcome.

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 & Clare: 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: Has begun. 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 Confirmation will next meet, Tues., Oct. 16th, at 7 pm in the Rectory.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: April 6-7, 2013: The Basilica will sponsor a symposium on the work of the Catholic Church to form culture on the Gospel since Constantine’s legalization of the Church in 313 a.d. The speakers will be:
Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Signatura;
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Ordinary of the Military Archdiocese of the United States;
Professor Elizabeth Lev, Professor at the University of St. Thomas, Rome;
Professor George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow and Chair of Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C. Lectures will be delivered in the Monsignor Nagle Hall on Saturday, April 6th; A Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be offered by Cardinal Burke on Sunday, April 7th. All are welcome. It should be an exciting weekend at St. John’s!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday October 7, 2012 $ 12,900.62
Sunday October 9, 2011 $ 11,538.99

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

October 21st Sunday Readings: Is 53:10-11; Heb 4:14-16; Mk 10:35-45.

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.

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): 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!

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, October 29th.

Sanctuary Work: By early November some work will be seen in the sanctuary. The marble steps and altar railing are cracked and broken in various places. This is due to the fact that the support work under the steps is inadequate to support the weight of the heavy marble railing, and the shifting weight of the thousands of people kneeling against the railing over the years. The repair work would be astronomical in cost, since many of the broken arches would have to be carved new in marble. So, a new altar rail and altar steps are being made according to the original plan, as seen at left: solid oak stairs, pillars, arches and railing will extend the entire length of the sanctuary and side altars: an exact replica of the 1886 work. It will all be completed and installed before Thanksgiving. Eventually, the 65 broken marble tiles in the sanctuary floor will be replaced, the floor leveled and cleaned, and the three marble altars re-pointed, repaired and cleaned as well.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, October 13, 2012
4:00 +George Terenzio
Sunday, October 14, 2012
7:30 +Anthony Garcia req. Santiago Family
8:30 +Sydney Machado req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
10:00 +Bishop Walter Curtis, Bishop of Bridgeport req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
11:30 In Honor of the Eternal Father req. Ferry G.
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, October 15, 2012
8:00 +Maureen Smith req. the Parker Family
12:10 +Monsignor John Horgan-Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
8:00 Thanksgiving to God req. Marie Ange Francois
12:10 +Janina Sieminska req. Ewa Czytowska
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
8:00 +Deceased members of Vincent and Theresa Kung’s Family req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
12:10 +John R. Chidsey req. John J. Chidsey
Thursday, October 18, 2012
8:00 +Pepe Blanco DeMergelina req. Charles and Ana Paternina
12:10 +Selina Brocklebank req. Louise Munro
Friday, October 19, 2012
8:00 +Jeannette Murphy req. Dorothy Keyes and Family
12:10 +Regina Grabowski req. Duffy Family
Saturday, October 20, 2012
8:00 +Sister Ann Loyola McNamara req. Nancy Finlay
12:10 +Paul Rittman req. Pam Rittman

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.

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.

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, November 7.

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: After the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall. All are welcome!

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:
135 years ago, or so:
Oct. 15, 1875: The Catholic Fair. “The fair held by the ladies of St. John’s R.C. church opened last evening in the basement of the new church with great éclat. It will last about a week and no doubt will present a very animated spectacle each evening. A large quantity of useful and fancy articles are offered for sale, and the Catholics of the village and vicinity will no doubt do their part toward making the fair a success financially. Work upon the new church is progressing rapidly.”

120 years ago, or so:
Oct. 20, 1892: IN THE CHURCHES. How the 250th Anniversary Was Inaugurated. “The first day of the celebration of Stamford’s 250th anniversary was devoted to religious services which thoroughly entered into the spirit of the occasion, and drew from the civil and ecclesiastical history of the town, lessons which will be remembered long after the anniversary has passed by. At. St. John’s R.C. Church, High Mass was celebrated by Father Keena at 10:30 a.m. The music of the Mass was composed by Prof. J. F. O’Brien, choirmaster of the church. Rev. W. H. Rogers began his sermon by referring to Columbus and his discoveries, of his strong belief in Catholicity and of the difficulties and dangers he encountered in his efforts to convert the people to the Catholic religion after planning the cross on San Salvador. The efforts of his followers through the ages since, who, by their zeal and courage and strong belief in their faith, have surmounted many difficulties and sacrificed lives and fortunes, is a lesson for the members of the Catholic Church to recall, and to be proud that their faith is established in every civilized part of the world.”

75 years ago, or so:
October 19, 1939: Fathers and Sons Enjoy Program of St. John’s Brigade. “Fathers and sons of St. John’s Catholic Church joined, last night, for an informal program at St. John’s School Hall, when members of the St. John’s Boys Brigade exhibited their skill in boxing, dancing and singing. Rev. Michael Sullivan, leader of the work among boys of the parish, introduced men who, were aiding the boys in their athletics and drills: John White, Henry James and Arthur Kelly, Edward Leonard and Frank Salvino. Mr. White, coach of the football team, announced the team will play Saturday morning, at Woodside Park. Members of the Brigade will meet in the school yard at 9, to go to the field in a body. Father Sullivan announced that members of the Brigade will receive Holy Communion at the 8 a.m. Mass, Sunday. The boys will form in the school yard at 7:45.”

THE HEART
– Fr. Terry Walsh

What heart! So often we hear that cry when a truly extraordinary effort takes place – one that simply leaves us awestruck and instills in us an exuberant joy. Man proves time and again that he is capable of reaching new heights through a deep interior commitment to excel. Such amazing stories capture our hearts and prompt us to peer into our own soul and ask simple, yet profound questions: ‘What have I done with the gifts that God has given me? What have I done to celebrate the blessings he has poured into my heart?’ Consider the contrasting stories of two very different experiences of Olympic Marathon runners, yet one common attribute: a never say die spirit. In the 1960 Rome Olympics, Ethiopian Abebe Bikila was a late substitution in the marathon for an injured teammate. Bikila didn’t have a pair of running shoes so he ran the 26 mile race barefoot and won the grueling marathon in record time. Eight years later, the Tanzanian, John Stephen Akhwari, suffered an injury while competing in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic marathon. Yet, determined to finish the race, Akhwari finally entered the sparsely populated Stadium long after the winner had broken the tape. As the safety motorcycle followed close behind him, he slowly made his way to the finish line. Those people who still remained in the stadium began to realize the extraordinary effort of this lone runner still running. Why? Akhwari would finish dead last. And yet, many other runners who began the race with him did not finish the race at all. Akhwari simply would not quit. When he was asked by a reporter why he didn’t just bow out, his now famous response was: “My country did not send me 10,000 miles to start the race – they sent me 10,000 miles to finish the race.” It is the never say die spirit of the human heart that is so inspiring and no doubt compels each of us to look into our own hearts and examine our interior life, perhaps asking the simple questions: ‘Will I go the distance in my daily life?’ Or, will I pull up and bow out when I am confronted with obstacles? Will I courageously dig deep for the strength to endure, to ‘complete the race’? Imagine if Michelangelo refused to paint the Sistine Chapel? After all, he considered himself to be a sculptor, not a painter. Imagine if Beethoven quenched the flame of his brilliant gift composing symphonies after being struck with the tragedy of losing his hearing? What heart! What “gutsy” effort! We hear in Ezekiel: “ A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

On an even deeper level, of course, we look to the Saints whose unwavering faith serves as an example to inspire us as well as serving as a conduit of grace for us all. St. Paul, for instance, endured shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, slander, scourging, and ultimately death, all for love of God. Every time he was knocked down, he got up and moved on. He explained that each step he took for Christ ultimately served to win him the supernatural graces of the Holy Spirit. Writing to the Romans, he urges us to “fight the good fight” – that is – to seek holiness and so truly become like Christ. “Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God. And this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”(Romans 5: 1-2,5). Despite all the many obstacles, he pressed on. To the Corinthians, St. Paul added, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Throughout Sacred Scripture, there is a constant emphasis on the need for a pure and faithful heart. Indeed the word Heart appears over a thousand times in the Bible and is under intense scrutiny in both the Old and the New Testaments. How often our Lord peers into the hearts of those he encounters throughout the Gospels, challenging them to embrace holiness. “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mt 15:8). Jesus challenges us to ‘go the extra mile’ and to see each experience through the eyes of faith. The world might see failure, but our Lord looks into the heart and if we are truly giving our best effort, asking him to help us, we will have brought joy to Him: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God”(Matthew 5:8). Indeed, throughout the centuries countless men and women have witnessed to their love of God through deep spiritual battles and have been victorious through their humble cooperation with Divine Grace – the Apostles and Martyrs – Mary Magdalene, Augustine, Patrick, and hosts of others. We are afterall battling the effects of a weakened will in the wake of Original Sin. The Saints have taught us how to fight that battle—that is—to seek and receive the graces God wants to give us. Where would we be without their monumental contribution to the faith by their example or their writings? Every day people are fighting the good fight in all the ordinary circumstances of daily life, circumstances that try our patience and test our courage and our love. When the heart is oriented to God, all things are possible. What motivates us? Do we begin the day with an offering at the foot of the Cross and then honor that offering through acts of kindness, mercy, and love? When we allow our Lord to fill our hearts with His grace, especially through attentive prayer, reverent reception of the sacraments, and good deeds, we are allowing him to mold our hearts into more perfect likenesses of his heart.