For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 30, 2012

Pastor’s Corner: There are very many people I must thank for their expertise and generosity in preparing for Christmas here at Saint John’s. As you know, Saint John’s is quite a splendid little parish, if I do say so myself. It’s had a few decades of practice, but it also has a vast crowd of people, both employees and volunteers, who make it work. I’ve always thought that many people think that after Sunday Mass we shut off the lights until the following Sunday. Not so: Just look at the parish bulletin for the usual weekly schedule of activities for some idea that the place stays open daily, late into the night. Or, drop by any day in church between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and see the hundreds of people who stop by to make a visit to Our Lord. The priests stay occupied with hospital calls, with the celebration of the sacraments, with preparing couples for marriage, teaching, preparing homilies and lectures, and with personal counseling, and the salaried staff remains constantly busy making the place run, in the office, keeping the rectory trim and clean, and repairing everything that breaks with regularity in both rectory and church, and the paid choir who make such beautiful music for God at the 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass.

Besides the paid staff, there is a battalion of volunteers who work hundreds of hours behind-the-scenes to make St. John’s the best parish in Fairfield County, and without whom not much would really function so well and efficiently. I want to express my thanks to everyone who has helped make this past year so splendid. Without naming names, because they’d put a hit out on my life if I did, here is a small list of some of those unseen-yet-essential volunteers and their duties: the lady who opens the church weekdays at 6:30 a.m.-originally from Stamford, she now drives from Monroe each morning; the ladies who maintain the sanctuary, clean and polish the altar, statues and sacred Mass vessels, arrange the flowers, clean and iron the altar linens, maintain the church supplies, and keep the church in running order—they arrive Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays, 9: 00 a.m., and spend most of their days at church—on Fridays they arrive at 2:00 p.m. and leave by 9:00 p.m. And all they do is clean, polish, and pick up after all of us, priests and parishioners. Christmas, Holy Week and Easter require dozens more hours daily, and another lovely lady who directs the flower arranging; the lady who repairs the Mass vestments, altar linens and ornaments, and robes for Our Lady’s altar; various tradesmen and professionals who donate their time and efforts in parish repair and construction projects; the numerous lectors and altar servers who serve at the altar daily at Mass; our ushers, who maintain order, keeping an eye out for any characters in the church, and take the weekly collection; those who sort and count the collection; the lady who volunteers as our librarian for the parish’s extensive sheet music library, helping Chris and the choir; the volunteer choir who sing so beautifully at the 4:00 p.m. and Vespers; then there are the religious education teachers and their assistants who teach our children the Catholic faith weekly; volunteers who organize our parish societies; the men and women who volunteer to make all our social and fundraising events happen; the bookstore volunteers, and those who prepare coffee and refreshments each week after the 10:00 a.m. Mass; the gentleman who drives from New Jersey to research Saint John’s parish history, organize and augment the extensive parish archives he has created; and the young lady who volunteers as his secretary, maintaining computer files of St. John’s history for us and for the Stamford Historical Society; the members of our parish Finance Council and Parish Council; our parish Trustees and legal counsel, who do there best to restrain the pastor from doing too many dumb things. That’s a lot of people!! And too often, their efforts and dedicated service to Saint John’s go unmentioned, unnoticed or unappreciated by us all. So, this weekend, I would like to thank them all for their generous and continued hard work, which is such a sign of their love for our parish and for Our Lord, and one reason why St. John’s does work so well.

I am very grateful to everyone who has done so much for our parish during this past year. Especially, those who have donated so much to repaint the interior of our Basilica, who donated to give us the new restrooms in the church vestibule, the Padre Pio statue and shrine, and the new altar rail and steps in the sanctuary. Your generosity and love for our parish is most appreciated. To all, May Our Lord and His Blessed Mother bless you and your families with good health during this New Year.
God bless you!! —-Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Barbara Castle, Monsignor William Nagle, Vincenza Rosa Parisi, Patricia Moriarty, Maureen Ferguson, Margaret Pia Perry, Michael Payes, Ed Koplos, Elaine Mellace, Heidi M. Fernandez, Kenneth Bell, Dr. Ben T. Williams, Hugh Gibney, Joevil Basulgan Dela Cruz, Bill Rottman, Richard Lauture, Raymond Jean-Rene, Marie Byrnes, Betsabe Chung, 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, Kathleen Moger, Flint and Helen Moger, Paul Cavalli, Mario Stano, Kevin O’Byrne, Clemese & Faramon Lochard, Jean Midi, David Morgan, Mary-Jane Rice, Joan Duffy, Gale Browne, Mercedes Huertas, Peter Boltrek.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Pat Orzo, Carlos Magan, John Lyons, Louise Sebastian, Louise LiVolsi, Federico Garcia, Francesca Lampariello, Titina Tarantino, Barbara Jones, Rosino Zezima, Mary Loglisci, 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, Anthony Russo, Violet Roddy, David Brandel, Blanche Kulowiec, Thomas Pavia, Cassandra Eloy, Anilia Firmin, Joseph Danilauskas, Bridget Sheehy, Virginia Toussaint, George Muro, Ann Rich.

January 1st, 2013, New Years — The Solemnity of Mary
IS A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. The schedule is:

New Year’s Eve, Monday December 31st: 5:15 pm.

New Year’s Day, Tuesday: 8:00 a.m., 12:10 pm, 5:15 pm.

NEW YEAR’S CONFESSION SCHEDULE:
January 1st: 7:30 am-7:50 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

A Plenary Indulgence is offered on December 31st: for those who visit a church and recite the hymn, Te Deum, in gratitude for the blessings of 2012. One must also be in the state of grace, or go to confession, and receive Holy Communion on December 31st for the Indulgence.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light Memorial. . . + Families of Newtown Victims req. Joan and John Kronk

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 December 31th.

Sunday Sung Evening Prayer [Vespers] & Benediction: Here in the Basilica every Sunday : 4 P.M.-4:45 P.M. All are welcome, so come with the family and pray together. Evening Prayer will conclude in time for the 5 P.M. Mass.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: We next meet on Wednesday January 2nd, at 7:30p m in the rectory. Our moderator will be Fr. Samuel Kachuba.

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.

RCIA Classes: (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) Session 2 begins on TUESDAY JANUARY 8 2013 in the Rectory at 7:00 pm. Anyone interested in becoming Catholic is welcome to attend. Anyone who has not yet received the Sacrament of CONFIRMATION is encouraged to attend. Any questions, please feel free to call the Office at 203 324 1553 and ask for Fr Walsh.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday December 23, 2012 $14,601.00
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

January 6th, Sunday Readings: Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12.

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.

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.

Francis & Clare: Our High School Youth Group. Students interested in being part of the Teen Leadership Group. E-mail Deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com to get involved.

Job Seekers: Meets the 4th Monday monthly in the rectory at 7:30pm: There’s no charge for these services. Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606: Next meeting: Monday, January 28th.

Please pray that the Cause of Canonization for Ignatius Cardinal Kung will be opened soon.

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:
His Eminence 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!

Harvest Now is a statewide food growing project to help the poor of our neighborhood. We need volunteers who grow vegetable gardens at home. We all grow more vegetables during the summer than we can eat. So, possibly, you could donate some of your vegetables to the food pantry of your choice. Please contact Monsignor at the church office if you are interested. This year Harvest Now fed 8,200 people. 400,000 people in CT use food banks in Connecticut over the course of a year. This number increases 6% every year. If you have a vegetable garden during the summer months, perhaps you can donate a portion of your produce to your local food bank/soup kitchen.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 29, 2012
4:00 +Stella Fauci Mobilio req. Sally Mobilio
Sunday, December 30, 2012
7:30 Special Intentions Joevil Delacruz req. The Legion of Mary
8:30 +William Borkowski req. Michael and Ann Borkowski
10:00 +Lucille DiBitetto req. Dr. Joe McAleer
11:30 Tessie Mulhern req. grandchildren
5:00 +Marie Wenthen
6:00 +Sonia Lauture req. Legion of Mary
Monday, December 31, 2012
8:00 +Anne Augustine Penta req. Armelle Penta
12:10 +Deceased members of the D’Amico, Schepis and Fazio families req. Frank D’Amico
5:15 +Ernesto Scafidi req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
8:00 +Charles Cycon req. Tom Cycon
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Ferry G.
5:15 +Joseph Petruzzellis req. Lavonne Petruzzellis
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
8:00 +Carmella Truglio req. Frank and Beth Carpanzano
12:10 +Robert J. Petruzzellis req. Lavonne Petruzzellis
Thursday, January 3, 2013
8:00 +Viliony Nyclass and Sr. Andree Marie req. Bernadette Mahotiere
12:10 +Robert J. Petruzzellis req. Lavonne Petruzzellis
Friday, January 4, 2013
8:00 Faithful Departed
12:10 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Anne Marie Samedi
Saturday, January 5, 2013
8:00 +Corrie M. Evans req. Father Terrence P. Walsh
12:10 +Eddie and Anna Curtin req. Mary Gaine

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.

Francis & Clare: Co-Ed High School Youth Group. Email Deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com.

Pray to end Legalized Abortion: Wednesdays, 7-10:30a.m., Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St.

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

St. Maria Goretti Society: For the spiritual formation of young ladies,7th-8th grades(High Schoolers welcome).Beth 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, January 2nd.

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: No Coffee Hour Sunday this Sunday December 30th. It will resume Sunday Jan. 6th.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
150 years ago, or so:
Dec. 30, 1864: “The Roman Catholic Church was handsomely dressed with evergreens. Early Mass was said and the usual Christmas services celebrated.”

THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
125 years ago, or so:
Jan. 3, 1885: Stamford. “An event took place at 9 o’clock on last Sunday, which was most appropriate for the feast that was celebrated by the Church. It was the receiving of Holy Communion for the first time by at least 125 of the children of the parish who were preparing during the past week for a worthy reception of our Blessed Lord. These little children who heard related during the Mass by Father Walsh a few fitting remarks, how the innocent children at the birth of Christ were killed by King Herod, should continue in the path of virtue and innocence by keeping the good resolutions already made.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
105 years ago, or so:
Jan. 2, 1907: New Parochial School Opens. “St. John’s parochial school took up its quarters in its new building this morning. There were about 500 children present. They attended Mass in the church at 9 a.m. and then went over to their new school. There was some inconvenience in getting the session under way, because all the work on the interior was not entirely completed. By Monday, everything will be done, it is expected, and from that time on things will move along smoothly.”

THE HARTFORD COURANT:
85 years ago, or so:
Dec. 29, 1926: Tower Adds Beauty to St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. “With the completion of the new tower of the St. John’s R.C. Church, of this city, the edifice becomes one of the finest pieces of architecture and one of the handsomest church buildings in the state. The tower is the result of years of planning by Rev. James C. O’Brien, pastor of the church.”

FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
15 years ago, or so:
Jan., 1997: Papal honors given to 17 priests. “The following priests were named Chaplain of His Holiness: Rev. William A. Nagle, pastor of St. John Parish in Stamford. Rev. Stephen M. DiGiovanni, founding rector of the St. John Fisher Seminary Residence, where he still serves.”

Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God
-Fr. Terry Walsh
Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.
—Hymn (Night Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours)

This beautiful hymn sung by priests and religious after the final Hour of the day, “Night Prayer” reflects on the sheer wonder of God’s plan for our salvation. After all, Jesus, who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, actually created Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the woman who would become His Mother -in time. And so, as St. Paul writes, “in the fullness of time” when God chose to become incarnate for the benefit of all humanity, he was conceived in the Immaculate Womb of one he specially created, Mary. St. Louis De Montfort writes, “Mary is the supreme masterpiece of Almighty God and he reserved the knowledge and possession of her for himself. She is the glorious Mother of God the Son who chose to humble and conceal her during her lifetime in order to foster her humility…Mari is the sealed fountain (Song of Songs 4:12) and the faithful spouse of the Holy Spirit where only he may enter. She is the sanctuary and resting-place of the Blessed Trinity where God dwells in greater and more divine splendor than anywhere else in the universe, not excluding his dwelling above the cherubim and seraphim…I declare with the saints: Mary is the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ the new Adam, where he became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish in her wonders beyond our understanding.”(True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, articles 5, 6). Incidentally, de Montfort’s classic treatise is available in our bookstore.

It is, after all, Mary’s consent, Her “Yes” to God, “Let it be done to me according to your word” that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity leaves His throne of Glory and humbles Himself to become man (although remaining a Divine Person of course, but now, having 2 Natures: Human and Divine). St. Paul speaks eloquently about the “Self-Emptying” of Christ in his Letter to the Philippians, “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! Because of this, God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above every other name, So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!”(chapter 2: 6-11). Once Mary said “yes” I will be His Mother (and later, consent to his immolation on the Cross—for us), God took upon Himself our lowly nature—and once again made it Holy. Mary is His Mother.

St. Irenaeus (3rd Century Saint) encourages us to honor God by honoring His Mother: “Those who suppose that Christ took nothing from the Virgin are badly mistaken. In order to cast away the inheritance of the flesh, they also reject the analogy between Christ and Adam. And his descent into Mary would also be superfluous in this case. Why did he come down into her if he were to take nothing of her? Still further, if he had taken nothing of Mary, he would never have made use of those kinds of food that come from the earth, by which the body that has been taken from the earth is nourished. Nor would he have hungered, fasting those 40 days, like Moses and Elijah, unless his body was craving after its own proper nourishment; nor again, would John, his disciple, have said, when writing of Him, ‘Jesus, wearied as he was with the journey, sat down beside the well’(John 4:6) nor would David have proclaimed of him beforehand, ‘They have added to the grief of my wounds’; nor would he have declared, ‘My soul is very sorrowful’(Matthew 26:38), nor, when his side was pierced, would there have come forth blood and water. All these things are tokens of the flesh that had been derived from the earth, which he had recapitulated in Himself, bringing salvation to his own handiwork”(Against Heresies, 3.22.1).

Mary is truly the Mother of God because she is the Mother of Jesus who is a Divine Person. She gives Him His humanity. And so, the graces we need to be made holy and so to be saved actually come to us through her “Yes, I will do it.” Again, De Montfort captures the essence of Her extraordinary role in our lives as our Spiritual Mother when he writes: (Mary) is (Jesus’) mystic channel, His aqueduct, through which He causes His mercies to flow gently and abundantly”(True Devotion, article 24).
BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER