For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday January 20, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: Sex and Money! They sell! And anyone with a television, computer, IPhone, IPad, or who might still peruse a newspaper or magazine, is bombarded with sex and money daily. Not only is sex savvy marketing, it is publicly touted that everyone must have sexual relations with some one or something on a regular basis—just like regularly brushing your teeth. Those whose lives lack regular sexual activity are judged strange, and sexual abstinence and virginity, definitely antiquated, valued only by the socially non-adroit, or by the garden variety religious fanatic. In our world, sex has been degraded; people have been debased, and, both people and sex are now simply tools to be used, to get what we want or to sell what we have. Anyone can be used for anything you want: people are only things, at least in the common wisdom of the marketplace. Many may never verbally state that as true, but many state that as true by their actions—People exist to be used as things, especially if money is involved.

All the more reason to highlight an upcoming Feast day on the calendar of the Catholic Church. On January 21st the Church commemorates the martyrdom of a young girl, Saint Agnes, who died during the last persecution of the Church by the Roman Empire, under the Emperor Diocletian, in 303 A.D.

Agnes was 12 years old [marrying age in 4th century Rome], the beautiful daughter of wealthy noble parents. While “her beauty and riches excited the young noblemen of the first families in Rome”, as Dom Alban Butler put it, Agnes responded repeatedly that she had one spouse already: Christ, to whom she had vowed her virginity. Frustrated in their pursuit of the girl’s wealth and beauty, these young, wealthy, socially advanced and adept young men, angered that Agnes was unwilling to satisfy their lusts for power, money or sex, reported to the governor that she was a Christian, an enemy of Rome. Her suitors and the governor, knowing the family and the girl, thought that the mere suggestion of a trial and torture would be sufficient to wear Agnes down, so she would relent and marry herself and her fortune to one of them. Yet, to the consternation of all, neither pleasant words, nor threats nor even the sight of instruments of torture could weaken her resolve to be faithful to her Heavenly spouse: “you may”, she said, “stain your sword with my blood, but will never be able to profane my body consecrated to Christ.”

There was more going on here than simply a young girl protecting her virtue for Christ. Like today, sex and money are all too often closely linked. The Emperor Diocletian put a new spin on his persecution of Catholics: Now, if a nobleman or official of the Imperial Court was found a practicing Christian, his fortune, lands and all possessions could be confiscated by the state, unless he publicly disavowed Christ. In Agnes’ case, that meant that her personal fortune could be confiscated by—the local Imperial officials, unless she broke her vow of virginity to Christ and denied her faith in public. If her suitors could not succeed in depriving her of virtue or fortune, the state officials could. It was now financially worthwhile to kill Christians.

Saint Ambrose continues the story,

“Was her little body really large enough to receive the sword’s thrust? She was hardly big enough to be struck, yet was great enough to overcome—and then at an age when little girls cannot bear a mother’s stern look and think a needle’s jab a mortal wound.

“Agnes did not tremble when in the executioner’s bloody hand nor cringe at the harsh sound of chains. She did not know yet how to die, but was ready. Dragged to the pagan altar, she extended her hands to Christ in the flames of the pagan sacrifice, and turned the sacrilegious fire into a victor’s banner. She offered her neck and hands to the fetters, but they were too big for her tiny limbs.” [On Virgins, Book 1]

Finally, Agnes was led outside the City and beheaded: she courageously bent her head, praying for her persecutors, while the executioner, terrified and trembling, dispatched her with one stroke. From the moment of her burial, her tomb became a site of pilgrimage, embellished after the Peace of the Church in 313 by the Emperor Constantine, who built a small basilica over her tomb on the Via Nomentana.

For centuries since, there, each January 21st the pope would send an archbishop as his special emissary to bless two white lambs: each crowned with red and white roses, carried into the church by twelve young girls, likewise crowned with red and white roses. Hundreds of people crowd the small church built above Agnes’ tomb, and join in the prayers of blessing, after which the lambs are taken away [in a Vatican Mercedes!!], to the convent of Saint Cecilia across the Tiber, where, once grown, their fleece is shorn, and is woven into a number of pallia: liturgical stoles of white wool with black crosses, which are placed within the Tomb of Saint Peter in the Vatican. The Holy Father gives these to newly named archbishops on June 29th, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, as a sign that their authority comes from Peter through his successor the Pope, and that apostolic authority to preach and teach is linked with the virtue of purity of personal life, both symbolized by the wool of the lambs blessed at the tomb of Saint Agnes. Virtue and Faith: essentially linked. Saint John, our parish patron, relates how highly virginity for Christ was held in the early Church: in the Book of Revelation, virgins are the companions of the Lamb of God, following Him wherever He goes [Rev xiv, 1-5].

Sex and money sell! But sexual relations outside a marriage of a man and a woman lead to disastrous unhappiness: because, we use one another for personal pleasure, and thus debase one another. All we become are things to be used, commodities to be traded, and then tossed away. By doing this, we cheapen ourselves and we cheapen sexual love. For, we are not things to be used: we are the Image of God. It was true then, in the days of St. Agnes, and today. Let us teach our children to value purity and to practice it in daily life: preferring, as did Saint Agnes, to please Christ by loving virtue, and find true happiness, rather than using sexuality for personal gain or pleasure. If we try actively to please God, we will never harm anyone, because we will not use anyone as a thing or object, for all are the Image of God.
–Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Michael Bauer, Heidi M. Fernandez, Rosemarie U. Hoffman, Frank Pironto, Anthony Sansone, 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, 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.

Church in Latin America Collection . . . Please drop your special Church in Latin America envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

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 21st.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light Memorial. . . +A.J. Hoenig req. Longo Family

St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial . . . +Phillip Rappa req. Lori Longo Legierse

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, Tuesdays in the Rectory, 7:00pm-9pm. 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.

Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford. . . will celebrate a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of St. Agnes on Monday January 21, 2013, 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!

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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday January 13, 2013 $ 10,263.74
Sunday January 15, 2012 $ 10,720.84
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

January 27th, Sunday Readings: Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21.

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.

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!

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!

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.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 19, 2013
4:00 +Theresa Yao Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Sunday, January 20, 2013
7:30 +Deceased members of Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
8:30 +Maria Preziosi req. your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
10:00 +Matthew Stotsky req. Juanita Evans
11:30 +Michael J. Holden req. Marchetti Family
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, January 21, 2013
8:00 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
12:10 +Gilbert Aquino req. Rivera Family
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
8:00 Special Intentions Janet Torres req. Legion of Mary
12:10 Father Audette req. Mike Guarnieri
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Helen Nemchek req. Ed Nemchek Sr.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
8:00 +Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +David Chai req. Maryann and Jay Chai
Friday, January 25, 2013
8:00 +Corrie M. Evans req. Dr. Joseph McAleer
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
8:00 +David Chai req. Lucy Espinoza
12:10 +Lina and Xavier Fontaine and Family req. Jean Guillaume Family

Weddings: Couples must contact and begin meeting with one of the parish priests for at least 6 months before a hoped for wedding date at Saint John’s. Please call the parish secretary, Cindy, or one of the priests for an initial discussion.

Baptisms: Are celebrated every day of the week, according to the schedule of the parish priests and the families. Baptisms at St. John’s are one-family only ceremonies: never groups. Please call Cindy (203-324-1553, ext 21).

Holy Name Society: For the men of the parish, meets Fridays in the Rectory, 7-7:50 a.m. for coffee, Eucharistic Adoration & Benediction. All men of the parish are welcome. We finish in time for the 8am Mass.

Moms & Tots: Moms and their kids meets in the Church each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30a.m.

St. Anne’s Society: A family society meeting four times a year on Sundays after the 5pm mass. Pizza and Pasta in the Church Hall.

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: Will be meeting on January 27th in the rectory after the 11:30 am Mass. For spiritual formation of men, 7th-8th grades(High Schoolers welcome).Ferry 203-324-1553 x22.

St. Maria Goretti Society: Will be meeting on January 27th in the rectory after the 10:00 am Mass. 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 23rd.

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 22, 1869: “The Catholic Fair, which commenced in Seely’s Hall on Tuesday evening is, we learn, a decided success so far. The Hall is tastefully decorated with flags, etc. and the various tables are arranged with much neatness. An unusually large number of valuable articles are to be disposed of by lottery, the drawing to take place Saturday evening. Among these are a magnificent clock, gold watches, oil paintings-one worth two hundred dollars-a gold mounted revolver and other articles too numerous to mention. The temperance society visited the Fair in a body on Wednesday afternoon, and the school children yesterday. Last evening the “Stamford Serenaders” contributed to the amusement of those present at the Fair, and this performance is to be repeated Saturday night. From present appearances we have no doubt the Fair will be a success financially and otherwise.”

100 years ago, or so:
January 25, 1911: Priests’ Salaries Increased. “It is noticed in the annual reports of the Roman Catholic Churches, which are read with widespread interest throughout the State, that salaries of the priests appear at $1,000 instead of $800 as formerly.”

85 years ago, or so:
January 25, 1926: GIRL SCOUT TROOP NO. 18 ORGANIZED “Girl Scout Troop No. 18, Stamford’s newest troop recently organized in St. John’s Parochial School, had a very interesting meeting on Friday evening when Girl Scout Commissioner Mrs. William E. Stark was present and presented the captain, Miss Elizabeth Hart and 18 girls, with their tenderfoot pins. Mrs. Stark first spoke to the troop on the significance of the badge, and the world-wide sisterhood of the organization of which they were becoming members. She also spoke of the seriousness of the promise and the importance of the laws to every true Girl Scout.”

70 years ago, or so:
January 27, 1943: St. John’s Gaels Gain Top Spot. “The St. John’s Gaels gained undisputed possession of first place in the Board of Rec. Men’s Intermediate League by registering a 44-33 win over the Sacred Heart CYO Varsity team accounting for their third league victory. This was the Gaels’ 15th win out of 16 starts and their fifth straight contest. Led by Eagen and Beirne shooting under the cords the Kelly Greens captured an 11-6 lead in the opening period. In the final period Johnny Lynch started his left-handed barrage finding the objective five times for a total of ten points.”

“Do this in remembrance of Me.” – 1 Corinthians 11: 24-25
-Fr. Terry Walsh
Part I

“A picture speaks a thousand words!” This old familiar expression is clearly displayed in homes of those who adorn their walls with pictures of family and friends, which constantly serve to remind them of their love for one another. A glance through a family album reveals still more priceless memories. A little deeper reflection on any one of these snapshots in time would certainly evoke a deep and perhaps even mysterious appreciation of the profound impact they actually had on the lives of others; how they helped pave the paths that led to many bountiful graces and blessings. When we carefully consider their loving influence, deeply felt emotions often bubble to the surface of our hearts. Naturally, our appreciation of their influence leads to a greater understanding of the sacrificial nature of love. So often, there is a yearning to cling to those “moments” – to “go back” and “re-live” each precious experience with a new found appreciation of their significance. While the joyful memories effortlessly rush over our hearts, even the painful ones may arouse a deeper gratitude for sacrifices that were not fully understood at the time. If only we could go back and enter into that “life-changing” moment and once again enjoy the graces flowing from that love! Would that we could express our gratitude, even as we continue to receive the gift!

Ah, only in the Mass is this very hope realized where we are, in fact, able to “go back: and “re-live” the most extraordinary act of love and mercy ever known to man: the moment when Jesus laid down his life upon the altar of the Cross so that we could share in his divine life. We contemplate His sacrifice even while we continue to receive its fruits. Truly, it happens at every Mass. In a mysterious and efficacious way, we are there – at the Last Supper – hearing his words – as he says them: “Take and eat…take and drink”. We are truly at the foot of the Cross with our Blessed Mother – she is really and truly present. It’s not a simple picture, as we observe in the beautiful stained glass window, but rather, it is the reality of the Mass.

The Eucharistic prayer paints the picture for us while at the same time makes present the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus, which took place in time, nearly 2000 years ago but that we enter into at every Mass. The Priest calls us to lift up our hearts to the Lord in thoughtful preparation for the Eucharistic Prayer: it is right and just. While we have come to give thanks and praise, we will actually receive the outpouring of grace from the pure, spotless, holy victim, the Lamb of God. The Church teaches that the Anaphora, that is, the Eucharistic Prayer, is “the heart and summit of the celebration of the Mass.” While there are different Eucharistic Prayers, each of them shares certain common attributes: the Preface, the Epiclesis, the Institution narrative, the Anamnesis, and the Intercession. We are remembering what Jesus has done; indeed, we are entering into it. At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the Memorial of his sacrifice, the Eucharist, and conferred upon the Apostles the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the Sacred Priesthood, so that the Memorial of his Passion, Death, and Resurrection would be offered throughout the rest of time – for our salvation. He promised he would remain with us forever and so he does – through his priests.

The Preface introduces us to the mysterious union of heaven and earth as we call to mind various aspects of the mystery of the life of Christ. There are many different Prefaces, each expressing a different aspect of our salvation. For instance, at the Easter Vigil, the Preface sings: “Through him the children of light rise to eternal life and the halls of the heavenly Kingdom are thrown open to the faithful; for his Death is our ransom from death, and in his rising the life of all has risen.” The Preface at the Last Supper, also used on the Feast of Corpus Christi (June 10th this year) sings: “For he is the true and eternal Priest, who instituted the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice and was the first to offer himself as the saving Victim, commanding us to make this offering as his memorial. As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us, we are made strong, and, as we drink his Blood that was poured out for us, we are washed clean.” After calling to mind the particular facet of the salvation won for us by our Lord celebrated in the Preface, we enter into the song of the angels and saints: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!”
Part II—Next Week