For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday January 13, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: The Church celebrates the last of three events of great importance in this Christmas season: Last week, we remembered the veneration of the Christ Child by the Three Kings; this weekend the Baptism of Our Lord by John the Baptist and the miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Each of these events is important, because each explains precisely who this child is and why He was born in Bethlehem.

The Three Kings followed a star rising in the east. In reality, they saw a rare eclipse of Jupiter by the moon. The movement of Jupiter, the “king” of planets, was interpreted in the ancient world as a portent of a royal birth. The Three Kings, or Magi, observed this, and understood that the baby they found in Bethlehem was no mere child, but a king; but they did not know the child was greater than any earthly monarch. Following the then common understanding of the stars and planets, the Three Kings believed that such a birth had been the result of the movements of heavenly bodies. How many today follow astrology in the same way? St. Augustine made this observation to clarify why the Kings followed the star to the birth of Christ:
“. . . that star which the Magi saw did not have power over Christ, the New-Born according to the flesh, but rather, the star obeyed Him as witness to His birth. If we must speak of fate, then rather let us say, not that the star was Christ’s destiny, but that Christ was the destiny of the star, since He caused it to exist and rise in the east for the Three Kings.” [Contra Faustinum, II, 5]

Their gifts bore witness to the reality of Jesus’ identity: gold for a king; frankincense for God; and myrrh, both a medicine and a burial herb in the ancient world, for one who was to cure humanity of sin and death by his own saving death on the Cross. The wood of the manger is already pointing to the wood of the Cross.

St. John Chrysostom described it this way: “The Son of God, Who is the God of all things, is born a Man in a human body. He permits Himself to be placed in a crib, Who holds the heavens in His Hand. He is confined in a Manger whom the world cannot contain; He is heard in the voice of a wailing Infant, at Whose voice in the hour of His passion on the Cross the whole earth trembled. The Magi, beholding a Child, profess that this is the Lord of Glory, the Lord of Majesty” [Sermon for the Epiphany].

The Baptism of Our Lord, which feast we celebrate this weekend, signifies who this man Jesus is: the voice from Heaven tells us “This is my beloved Son, on whom my favor rests; listen to him.” The baptism Jesus received at the hands of Saint John the Baptist was a preparatory penitential rite: it could not forgive sins;. As John the Baptist would say, his work only prepared for the greater work of the Greater One who would follow him: only that Baptism Jesus would institute as a sacrament could forgive sins. Jesus submits to John’s ritual as a sign to all sinful mankind that we must submit to the will of the Father to receive forgiveness through Christ.

And, finally, the Wedding Feast at Cana: the first of Jesus’ public miracles as he began his ministry. At the prompting of His Mother, Jesus came to the aid of a newly-married couple. Sparing them the embarrassment of having no wine for their guests, He changed hundreds of gallons of water into the best wine anyone had ever tasted. An act of miraculous charity, by a man obeyed even by one of the elements of nature—water.

Who is this? These three events tell us: Jesus is the Creator of the universe, whose word created everything from nothing, and is obeyed even by the basic elements of nature. The child born in the manger is no mere child: He is the only God, eternally existing, through whom everything was created in the universe; who, for love of mankind whom He created in His image and likeness, humbled Himself to be born in the image and likeness of sinful man. Taking on human flesh of the Virgin Mary; He entered His creation to recreate everything by His presence and by His sacrifice on the Cross. He especially came to recreate every human being, wounded by the sin of Adam and subject to death, whom He frees by His life-giving death on the Cross. In these three celebrations, we are told that The Creator of the world became a man so that humankind could become more like God: but only through the Cross. The wood of the manger points to the wood of the Cross, the new Tree of Life. This is He, born in Bethlehem, revealed at the Jordan at His baptism, manifested in his power at Cana: God become man, because He loves us and wants us with Him forever in Heaven.
-Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Ann DiGiovanni, Rita Timon, Barbara Castle, Monsignor William Nagle, Megan Bobroske, Connie Ward, Billy Therriault, 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, Edna Campbell, Julia Oliveira, Chuck Woodin, Gary Everett, Nancy O’Shea, Mary Jane Peterson, Rev. Patrick J. O’Connell, Valerie Romanello, 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: Eduardo Aquiles, Celia Perdigon, Marge Sabia, 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.

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 January 14th.

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: Meets each Wednesday during January, at 7:30pm in the rectory. Our moderator will be Fr. Samuel Kachuba and we will be reading and discussing Saint Augustine’s essay, On True Religion. Everyone is welcome, and you’ll find it interesting.

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 began last TUESDAY JANUARY 8th 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.

Catholic Fitness! Moms/Dads and kids – homeschoolers or tots – join us for gym and field time at Chelsea Piers Stamford. Fridays from 11-12 noon. Basketball, soccer, calisthenics, and more. Sign up now for January 11 ten-week session. Contact Lisa Kotasek at 203-253-3499 or homeplacemoms@gmail.com.

KENTUCKY DERBY: Save the Date!! May 4th: our annual parish fundraising event: the simulcast of the Derby in the Monsignor Nagle Hall, 4-7pm: will include outstanding food and drink, raffles, a live auction, and great fun. Come join us for the Kentucky Derby at St. John’s. All proceeds will go to the repainting and repair of the rectory.

Knights of Columbus Council 5833 will sponsor a Basketball Free Throw Shooting Contest for boys and girls ages 10-14 at Trinity Catholic High School on January 26th: Registration at 9 a.m. A parent or guardian must be present; you must have proof of age. Join us for fun and win a trophy!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday December 30, 2012 $ 16,340.00
Sunday January 1, 2012 $ 10,817.93

Sunday January 6, 2013 $ 12,683.50
Sunday January 8, 2012 $ 12,393.09

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

January 20th, Sunday Readings: Is 62:1-5; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11.

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.

March for Life: Will be on Friday, January 25th. The Diocese is providing buses for anyone interested: They will leave St. John’s parking lot at 6 a.m. for Washington, D.C., and return to depart to return for Connecticut at 4 p.m. Cost: $75. per person. If you are interested call Maureen Ciardiello at 203-416-1445 or email: respectlife@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!

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 12, 2013
4:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
Sunday, January 13, 2013
7:30 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
8:30 +Christina Byrne req. Ann Rafter Lepore
10:00 +Corrie M. Evans req. Mary Jean DalMolin
11:30 +Harold Frost req. Kim Frost, daughter
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, January 14, 2013
8:00 +Corrie Evans req. Legion of Mary
12:10 +Karl and Louise Wilk req. Sue Kremheller
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
8:00 +Corrie Evans req. Melanie Szlucha
12:10 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
8:00 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
12:10 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
Thursday, January 17, 2013
8:00 Thanksgiving req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Louis Fecci 1st Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families
Friday, January 18, 2013
8:00 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
12:10 +Rev. Frank J. Sanfelippo req. Louise Munro
Saturday, January 19, 2013
8:00 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
12:10 +Catherine Morris 29th Anniversary req. your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren

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 16th.

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:

145 years ago, or so:
January 15, 1869: “A Catholic Fair and Festival will be held in Seely’s Hall, commencing next Tuesday and continuing through the week. A large assortment of fancy articles will be distributed to the fortunate winners. Among these are a splendid worked chair, a fine chamber set, china sets, ladies’ watches, fancy clocks, a gold mounted revolver, a fifty dollar greenback, a marble top table, furniture, etc. Good music will be in attendance, and refreshments served to all who desire.”

85 years ago, or so:
January 16, 1928: STAMFORD MOURNS DEATH OF PASTOR OF SAINT JOHN’S. “News of the death of the Rev. James C. O’Brien was received with sorrow about town. Although it had been known that Father O’Brien was in comparatively feeble health, there was no thought that death was so near. The high regard in which he was held may be gleaned from expressions of opinion from people in official and semi-official life who knew him and respected the priest.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Rev. James C. O’Brien was Pastor from 1900 to 1928.)

75 years ago, or so:
January 18, 1939: Spiritual Retreat For Catholic Youth Of Stamford Planned “The first annual mid-year spiritual retreat for boys and girls of high school age will be held in St. John’s Catholic church, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27, 28 and 29, it was announced today by the Inter-parish Council of the Stamford Catholic Youth Organization. The retreat exercises will be directed by Rev. Robert X. Sheridan, S.J., a member of the faculty of Boston College High School, who has had considerable experience with high school students retreats in New England. The exercises of the retreat will formally open Friday night, Jan. 27, at 7:30, with devotions, sermon and benediction. The retreat will close Sunday morning, at the 8 a.m. Mass at which time all those making the retreat will receive Holy Communion.”

50 years ago, or so:
January 19, 1960: Stamford Native To Be Received In Priesthood. “The Rev. Mr. Charles Francis Richter of 60 Grant Ave., son of the late Mrs. Regina Nurney Richter, will be ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood at St. John’s Church, Stamford, at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday February 2. The ordination ceremonies, believed to be the first ever held in a Roman Catholic Church in Stamford, will be conducted by the Most Rev. Lawrence J. Sheehan, D. D., Bishop of Bridgeport, who will administer the Sacrament of Holy Orders to the Rev. Mr. Richter and to the Rev. Mr. John B. Giuliani of Greenwich.”

Preparation of the Altar and the Offertory
– Fr. Terry Walsh

What thoughts occupy your mind as the liturgy moves from hearing the Word of God to receiving the Word of God in the Eucharist? What happens in that move toward the altar as the priest prepares to receive and offer the gifts? This holy ritual is imbued with profound spiritual significance that anticipates the nourishment of our souls. It is a time of thoughtful interior preparation for both the priest and laity. This transition begins as the Roman Missal is placed upon the altar and the gifts of bread and wine that will be confected into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ are received and placed beside the Chalice. We are naturally drawn into a deep contemplation of the Mystery of the Sacrifice we are about to enter at Calvary. Our eyes are drawn to the Chalice at the center of the altar. The image of a bride meeting her bridegroom comes to mind as the priest draws back the veil which covers the Chalice. After all, the Mass is known as the “wedding feast of the Lamb”- the marriage between Christ and the Church. Jesus, the Bridegroom, has come to unite himself to his bride, each one of the faithful, by offering himself to the Father in payment for the debt of our sins. The Holy Mass is truly a nuptial mystery. Indeed, from the creation of Adam and Eve to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, God reveals his infinite love for us. As the saying goes, “If you knew how much you were loved, you would cry tears of joy!” Throughout the preparation of the altar, we’re afforded the opportunity for thoughtful meditation that we might consider the intimate relationship we are called to share with God. Perhaps our thoughts drift back to that joyful manifestation of Christ’s divinity at the wedding feast at Cana which began his public ministry. Just as Jesus turned water into wine at Cana, He will soon change bread and wine into the Eucharist in this Holy Mass. Are we prepared to enter Calvary and witness his passion with sheer wonder and awe? Indeed, the “New Wine” provided by Christ is the grace poured out from his open side through the sacraments. And so, as we gaze upon the veiled Chalice upon the altar, our hearts lift up to God and we offer him our thanks and praise with sheer awe and wonder.

In a few moments, we’ll be surrounded by the whole Heavenly Court and join them in praising God: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!” Indeed, these moments of preparation of the altar and the offertory are filled with great anticipation and are meant to be savored. What spiritual gift have we brought to the Mass to lay beside the Bread and Wine on the Altar? Have we prepared well? The prophet Isaiah sheds light on the gift that is most pleasing to our Lord. It is humble daily prayer, good deeds done with a generous spirit, and fruitful sacrifices made out of love for one another. These are the gifts that delight our Lord. They are precious because they imitate his generosity and love. Our Lord exhorts us: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool”(Isaiah 1:16-18). Have we taken the time to make a sincere examination of our conscience and be cleansed of sin through the sacrament of confession? Just how pure is the offering we bring to Him each Sunday?

Practically speaking, how can we expect to enter into the great sacrifice and drink the “new wine” if we have not lived according to the demands of our faith – if we have not truly made an effort to grow in love for God and neighbor. Are we praying well each day? Are we truly seeking to grow in holiness, faithfulness, and love? Isaiah is simply reminding us that we need to clear away the debris, the obstacles that hinder our spiritual growth. “If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in”(Isaiah 58: 9b-12). Remember the difference between Cain and Abel. Abel offered to God “firstfruits”, his very best. This was pleasing to God. Cain, on the other hand, did not give to God his best. God gently explained to Cain why his gift was unacceptable and gave him the opportunity to make a better effort, encouraging him to try again, but Cain was filled with pride and jealousy. His heart grew bitter. If we, like Abel, offer our very best, that is, when we seek to grow in love for God and neighbor, our souls will overflow with the graces flowing from the Lamb. Consider the words of St. Ambrose: “Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also. God is not accustomed to refusing a good gift to those who ask for one. Since he is good, and especially to those who are faithful to him, let us hold fast to him with all our soul, our heart, our strength, and so enjoy his light and see his glory and possess the grace of supernatural joy”(St. Ambrose, LOH, vol. II, p.203).

As the priest raises the patent with the host, he gives thanks, asking God to bless all the bread that is upon the corporal to be distributed to the faithful. Then the priest pours wine into the Chalice and mixes water, calling to mind the blood and water that flowed out from his side as he hung upon the Cross and prays: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” After giving thanks for the gift of wine, the priest prays in a low voice, “With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God.” Next, the priest incenses the gifts of bread and wine, then the Cross, and finally the altar. The priest is incensed by the deacon, and then the Deacon incenses the people, who are “Living Temples” by virtue of the gift of Baptism. After the offering of the gifts, the priest washes his hands and seeks interior purity before entering into the Eucharistic Prayer. Finally, the priest offers a prayer over the gifts in preparation for the great Eucharistic Prayer.