For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 3, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, also known as Candlemas. The celebration recalls the historical event when, in obedience to the precepts of the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:1-3; Leviticus 12:1-8) the Blessed Mother presented her first born son in the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after His birth. It also recalls the mystical fact that Christ is the final sacrifice who brings about the salvation of the world, and that He comes to us daily in every Catholic Church where Mass is celebrated and the Eucharist received.

The earliest record of this celebration comes from the 4th century, as recorded by a Spanish lady named Egedia in her Diary of a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Mass celebrated in Jerusalem recalled the historical presentation of Jesus in the Temple, while the procession with lighted candles referred to the mystical reality of who this Child is, and what His life and death would mean for the history and salvation of the world. By the time Egeria witnessed it, Candlemas was already an ancient celebration in Jerusalem. It speaks of the deepest reality of Christ, which is the basis of our ancient Catholic Faith and His Church.

Throughout the Old Testament, all the prophets spoke of the coming of the Savior. And as Jesus was presented in the Temple, as recounted in the Gospel of Luke 2: 21-40, two further prophecies are fulfilled: that of Simeon, who had been promised by God not to see death until he had first seen the Savior; and that of Anna, the prophetess, who recognized the Savior as the Incarnation of the generous God. The Blessed Mother presented Her Son, not simply to observe the Old Law of Moses, but to prefigure the work of Jesus by joining Jesus’ sacrifice to the prophetic words and sacrifices of the Old Law of Israel. She presents Jesus to the Eternal Father, who will accept the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross to pay for human sin. This feast day is the link between Christmas—God becoming man in the flesh—and Good Friday/Easter—God who became man dying in the flesh to rescue us from eternal death. The reason why the Eternal Son, Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, took on human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mother, was in order to offer on the Cross the humanity that was intimately joined to His divinity in the womb of the Virgin Mary as the ultimate sacrifice, to pay for the sins of the world. He took our punishment for our wrongs. And He could do this because Jesus is both God and man. If Christ had not taught anything, had He not healed or fed anyone, if He had worked no miracles and done nothing other than offer Himself on the Cross, then His work would still have been perfect. Yet, in the generosity of the Father, Christ’s work also included His deeper revelation of the identity of God, and how we should respond to Him in our daily lives.

On February 2nd, then, the Church blesses candles in honor of this historic, mystical event and reality. All candles used during the year in church are blessed on February 2nd, as well as candles for the faithful to bring home. Each candle represents Christ, whose light illumines the world with the Truth about God and about mankind. The candle is also a sign of our faith in Christ, shining in the darkness and sin of the world. We are to imitate Christ in His obedience and love for the Father, and imitate Our Lady in her humility, obeying the Law of God by co-operating with the loving plan of God by which she conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, and then further expressed her obedience to God’s will by presenting Her Son in the Temple: the sacrifice God Himself provided for our salvation. We are to imitate Mary and Her son in our lives of virtue. Our Lord told His Apostles, “You are the light of the world.” The candles blessed represent Christ in our daily lives. We should let Christ shine to the world by means of our lives of virtue and holiness; especially by our charity and mutual forgiveness, striving to please God by our daily deeds in our imitation of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph: desiring to do the will of God to please Him first.
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Catherine Olnek, Margaret Kelly, Gerard Phillippe, Robert Ruddy, 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, Betsabe Chung, Edna Campbell, Julia Oliveira, Chuck Woodin.

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.

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 February 4th.

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.

Head’s Up: Lent begins soon: Ash Wednesday is February 13th. Now’s the time to start planning your spiritual program of prayer, penance and charity for this Lent.

CONGRATULATIONS!: Two of our parishioners are recipients of this year’s St. Thomas Aquinas Award for academic and athletic excellence, granted by the Diocese of Bridgeport: Marissa Carpanzano is a Senior at Trinity Catholic High School; Victoria Morgan is a 5th grader at Saint Cecelia’s School. Congratulations to you both! You make our parish proud.

Parish Finance Council: Will meet on Thursday, February 7th at 7:30 P.M. in the Rectory.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Will meet again during March: 6, 13, 20 & 27. Our moderator will be Father Michael Novajoaky, who will lead us in our reading and study of the Life of Moses, a spiritual classic by Saint Gregory of Nyssa. This is a perfect selection of spiritual reading for Lent: Our Lord is the Second Moses, leading God’s Chosen People through Baptism to eternity. 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.

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 27, 2013 $ 11,378.80
Sunday January 29, 2012 $ 12,701.47

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

February 10th, Sunday Readings: Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11 or 15:3-8, 11; Lk 5:1-11.

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.

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.

Birthright of Greater Stamford is seeking volunteers: to help support women with unplanned pregnancies to bring their babies to term. Volunteers provide pregnancy tests, listen to client concerns, and connect women with medical, financial, legal and other needed resources. Ability to commit 3 hours per week in the office is desirable. Schedules are flexible, and training is provided. Birthright is located at 388 Summer St., Stamford. Please call the office at 348-4355 if interested. See www.birthright.org for more information.

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 host 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!

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, February 25th.

Marian Devotions at St Gabriel in Stamford. . .Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes with Rosary, sung Litany of the Blessed Virgin and Eucharistic Procession on Monday, Feb 11th at 7:30 PM.  All are welcome to join us as we honor Our Lady on this world day of prayer for the sick.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 2, 2013
4:00 +Vito Melfi req. Joseph Melfi
Sunday, February 3, 2013
7:30 +Alexander F. Munro 35th Anniversary req. Munro & DeVivo Families
8:30 +Nancy Holst req. Diane Strain
10:00 Mary Coffey req. Tom Cycon
11:30 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Jean Guillaume Family
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 4, 2013
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Marie Culmone req. Danny Rainho
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Mary Bardelli req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Ellen and Johnny Sheridan req. Vincent and Dolores Fanning
Thursday, February 7, 2013
8:00 +Corrie Evans req. Marchetti Family
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Andreene Paulemon
Friday, February 8, 2013
8:00 +Anita Slamin req. Sally and Vito Ferrante
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
8:00 Special Intentions Antonetta Uva req. Gina Uva
12:10 Thanksgiving to God req. Andreenne Paulemon

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 Potluck dinner and speaker that meets 4 times a year….next date to be announced

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, March 6th.

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 6, 1869: The Catholic Fair. “The following list comprises some of the most prominent prizes drawn at the Fair held by the ladies of St. John’s Catholic Church, with the names of those who were entitled to them: …picture of Father O’Neil, by H. T. Smith, of New Hartford, Conn.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father James O’Neil was Pastor of St. John’s from 1858 to 1868. Henry T. Smith was a layman friend of Father John Fagan who purchased the Atlantic Street property, on which the church now stands, from Andrew Jackson Bell in 1869 and, in turn, sold it to Father Fagan. Doctor James J. Smith, great-grandson of Henry T. Smith, permitted the picture of Father O’Neil to be returned to St. John’s in 1983. It is the only know photograph of Father O’Neil and it now hangs on a wall in St. John’s rectory.)

100 years ago, or so:
February 3, 1912: BLESSING THE THROATS. “The feast of St. Blaise was observed throughout the Catholic world yesterday. According to the traditions of the church, St. Blaise was the Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the Fourth Century. St. Blaise, according to the legends, was a physician, as well as a churchman. One story is told of his relieving a lad who was choking to death with a fish bone caught in his throat. Throats were blessed in St. John’s at the Mass at 8 a.m.”

75 years ago, or so:
February 8, 1938: Children of Mary, St. John’s Church, To Meet in Groups. “A reorganization meeting of the Children of Mary Society of St. John’s Church was held Sunday afternoon. It was decided that the girls be divided into senior and junior sodalities. This reorganization was commended by both groups to facilitate cooperation and individuality of interests. The senior division consists of girls in the senior year of High School and over that age. The Junior or Immaculate Conception group will include girls from the eighth grade to junior year high school.”

50 years ago, or so:
February 8, 1962: Catholic Youth Group Presents Scout Awards. “The 11th annual Ad Altare Dei award presentation sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization of the Diocese of Bridgeport was held Saturday, February 1, at the Holy Name of Jesus Church, Stamford. Those scouts from Dater Council who received the Ad Altare Dei award were: Daniel J. Moriarty, Patrick J. Moriarty, and Daniel E. Shaub, Troop 22, St. John’s Roman Catholic Church.”

The Eucharist
-Fr. Terry Walsh
“The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.” – Catechism, 1407

In the stillness of the Upper Room, in that first Eucharistic Feast at the Last Supper, the Apostles were distraught at the talk of betrayal and the departure of the Lord. Knowing the path that lay before Him, His terrible passion, His suffering and death, Jesus assured the Apostles that he would always remain with them. He consoled them with the most tender words, consecrating them in the truth, reminding them of his love. As they listened to Jesus pray to the Father on their behalf, they heard a plea for unity and love and at the same time, a commission to preach the word and so build up the Body of Christ. “Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one…I do not pray for these only but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me…that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them”(John 17: 11,20-21,26).

The Eucharist unites us to Christ and to one another. We have arrived at the threshold of that “moment” – the moment of the most intimate unity between God and man – we are about to receive the Eucharist. As we eagerly anticipate this utterly profound moment, we joyfully stand to pray to our Heavenly Father in the words our Lord gave us. In our humble petition, we offer praise and thanks and at the same time, we ask: “Give us this day our daily bread” – the Living Bread come down from Heaven to be in us! Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever…he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…abides in me, and I in him”(John 6:51, 54, 56). God is poised in this moment to enter “under our roof” and dwell in our house and nourish and heal our souls, making us ready for Heaven. As we anticipate the inestimable graces that will enable us to produce good fruit throughout our earthly sojourn, graces that will help us turn away from sin and more readily embrace the call to holiness, we gaze upon the Cross and simply contemplate the cost of so great a gift. We are utterly humbled. Amazing! In unison, we pray: “Our Father…” Imagine, we are calling Almighty God, Father! St. Paul explained to the Romans the beauty of this filial bond made possible by the sacrifice of His Only-Begotten Son: “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him”(Romans 8: 15-17). And now, we’re about to receive His Son. Extraordinary! As a unified community, we pray “Our Father…” with faith and hope, and love, celebrating His mercy. We believe He will sustain us in our trials and tribulations, most especially through the graces that flow into us abundantly through the Eucharist! As our thoughts drift back to the Upper Room, we recall our Lord’s invitation: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”(John 14: 23, 27). Our Lord says these same words to us at every Mass.

As the priest “fractures” the Host, breaking it in half, perhaps we contemplate that moment when Blood and Water flowed from the open wound inflicted by the Roman soldier who had thrust a spear into His side. It is this same “Life-giving” Blood that heals our brokenness. Taking a small piece from the Host, the priest places it inside the Chalice and quietly prays these words: “May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” We cry out, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” We might consider the Exodus when the blood of the lamb was placed over the doorposts of the Israelites so that the angel of death would “Passover” them, so that they would live. Now, the Blood of the true Lamb comes to us, sacramentally, in the Eucharist – Jesus, the innocent victim, laying down His life in order to give us everlasting Life. We behold Him, just as the Apostles did, and humbly proclaim: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”. We long to be healed – to be spiritually fortified to fight the good fight – that is to love. But we must first receive that gift. We bow before Him and He lifts us up. At His word, we are healed. The time has finally come to receive Him. St. Paul reminds us: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself”(1Corinthians 11:27-29). Jesus thirsts for our love. He has given us the means to prepare ourselves to receive Him faithfully – Sacramental Confession. Upon receiving Him, we take time to offer a prayer of thanksgiving, mindful of His Real and abiding Presence in us. Now, we are ready to go out into the world to draw others into the Body of Christ. After offering the prayer after Communion, the priest imparts God’s blessing and sends us out to ‘love and serve the Lord.’ And from that very moment, we begin again our faithful preparation for the next Mass we attend.
“Make the Mass your life!”