For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 10, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: What do you want from your life? That is the basis of another question: What is your goal this Lent? This isn’t so arcane as you might think, because, where you fit God into your life determines not just the “what” you want from life, but the “how” by which you achieve what you want from life. Each year we go through these Lenten 40 days; but why? The goal is to turn our minds and hearts—our desires and our will—in a direction that is profitable. By profitable, I mean, towards that which will make us happy. Usually, when one thinks of “desire” for something that will make us happy, we imagine the immediate satisfying of some urge or need. We push God out of the way, even in our thoughts, and misconstrue the immediate satisfaction of our bodily urges or ambitions for happiness. Our true happiness comes when we do that which we were designed to do: to please God and by doing that which pleases the God who loves us, rather than by merely and temporarily satisfying our every desire. St. Paul reminds us of our real status as slaves to our sins [Rom 6:15 ff]. And all the time you thought you were the boss of your own life. Silly Rabbit. . . as the cereal advert once ran. Christ offers liberation from the tyranny of ego, sin and death, and, as an extra bonus of His love, eternal life as His co-heirs of eternity. All that, just for trying to please Him now, not merely in thought, but in deed. Continuing to sin is like insisting that you love your wife, while you continue to go out with your old girl friend; you can’t insist that you love God, while continuing to sin, acting as if He doesn’t exist [I John 2:3-4].

One the Church’s greatest sinners, who became one of Her greatest saints, Saint Augustine, was an expert at this. He sought to “scratch every itch”, as the saying goes. For him, running after women and seeking fame and fortune were the most important things in life, because he believed he was the most important person in his life and, so, he determined what he’d do to be happy. He believed in God, but God was not real enough for Augustine to change the way he lived, since God was an idea and not as real as Augustine’s personal urges and ambitions. That was Augustine’s primary error: if we don’t first treat God as God, then we treat ourselves as God, and so we tend to treat others as things, so we can use anyone, hurt anyone, cheat everyone, simply because we want whatever we want in life, and that justifies whatever we do. We are first, and everyone else is second, because God really doesn’t exist in our lives, at least not enough to affect how we live. Or, we’ve created an idea of God, and worship that idea instead of the true God. Here’s Saint Augustine:

“The whole life of a believing Christian is, after all, a holy desire. What you desire, you do not yet see, but your desire enables you to be filled with seeing when the time for seeing comes. A comparison: If you want to fill a bag with something very big, you stretch the mouth of it; the object is big and the mouth small, but by stretching the mouth you make it bigger. In like manner, God expands our desire by deferring fulfillment; through desire He stretches the soul and makes it able to hold more. . . What, then, are we to do in this life where we do not yet lay hold of what we desire? St. Paul wrote, ‘I forget what is behind and stretch out to what is ahead, intent on the goal of heavenly calling,’ This is our life’s purpose: to practice desire. But we can cultivate holy desire only to the extent that we detach our desire from the world. You are to be filled with good things from God; you must first empty yourself of evil. Suppose God wanted to fill you with honey, but you were already filled with vinegar! You must empty yourself of vinegar, be cleansed, even with laborious scrubbing, so that you may be fit to be filled with something better” [Commentary on the First Letter of John, Treatise 4]. What do you desire in life? Use Lent to learn to desire to please the God who loves you, and, thereby, desire to be with Him forever in Heaven.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great put it this way: “Some people are so simple that they do not know what is right. But true simplicity is marked by genuine innocence, and the non-virtuous do not have it. Simplicity is a passionate enthusiasm for what is good. . . Some people are not simple in their actions, for they seek external satisfaction rather than inner spiritual rewards. We cannot go down two roads at the same time: when we outwardly do what God commands, but harbor worldly desires. A person fully avoids evil and sin when he begins, out of love for God, to sin no more. As long as he does good only out of fear, however, he does not fully avoid evil; for we sin by the very fact that we would like to sin if we could do so without punishment” [Moralia in Job, Book 1].

Lent is the annual season during which we strive to turn our desires from satisfying ourselves in sinful pursuits and desire, and work for true happiness that comes from loving God here and now. After we stop doing evil actions, then we can move on to stop desiring to do evil. For sin is not just doing evil actions; a sin is knowing the doing of something is evil, and nevertheless desiring to do it, and then actually doing it. This is a question of real life actions and the real life exercise of your free will for avoiding evil and doing good. The first thing we should all do is to go to Confession, to repent of our past sins, turn our hearts from sin, and receive God’s forgiveness. This is the “scrubbing” out of ourselves of the bitter residue of sin [vinegar, as Augustine says], so that God may fill us with honey, His very life. Try it this year: you’ll be much happier by Easter, having rid yourself of bad and sinful desires and habits, and learned to want to do good, because you love God, and because you desire to please Him in everything you do and above everything you want. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Helen & Flint Moger, Kathleen Moger, Catherine Olnek, Margaret Kelly, Gerard Phillippe, Robert Ruddy, Michael Bauer, 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, Raymond Jean-Rene, Betsabe Chung, Edna Campbell, Julia Oliveira.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Richard Lauture, Mauril Lauture, 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.

Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

ASH WEDNESDAY: February 13th is the beginning of Lent. The usual Mass schedule will be followed: 8 am Mass and 12:10 pm Mass. Ashes will be offered beginning at 7 a.m. for those who cannot attend Mass, during both Masses, and at the Basilica office door all day until 7:30 pm. Ash Wednesday IS NOT A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. The rules of fasting and abstinence apply on Ash Wednesday: those aged 14-60 years old, unless ill or suffering from a medical condition. No meat is to be eaten, and only one full meal, and NO snacking between meals. This is a simple way to begin actually doing penance for our past sins.

Confessions During Lent: Besides the usual daily schedule, Confessions will also be heard each Tuesday during Lent: 7pm– 9pm in the Basilica.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4:00pm in English, in the Basilica.

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 11th.

Sunday Sung Evening Prayer [Vespers] & Benediction: In the Basilica every Sunday: 4pm-4:30pm. All are welcome; come with the family, pray together, and stay for the 5pm Mass.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Will meet again in the Rectory on the Wednesdays in 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. Great for Lent!

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. Meets Thursdays at 6:30 pm in the Rectory. 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 February 3, 2013 $ 13,100.00
Sunday February 5, 2012 $ 14,015.91
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

February 17th, Sunday Readings: Dt 26:4-10; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13.

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.

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. at UCONN Stamford. 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 UCONN, Stamford on Saturday, April 6th: For lecture tickets [$50. per person]: 203-324-1553, ext. 21. A Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be offered by Cardinal Burke on Sunday, April 7th at 2 pm in the Basilica.

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 on Newfield Avenue will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes with Rosary, sung Litany of the Blessed Virgin and Eucharistic Procession this Monday, Feb 11th at 7:30pm.  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 9, 2013
4:00 +William Longo req. Virginia and Paul Gerardi
Sunday, February 10, 2013
7:30 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
8:30 Thanksgiving to Saint Rita for Answered Prayers req. Diane Strain
10:00 Special Intentions Katie Holmes and Suri
11:30 Thanksgiving and intentions of John Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 11, 2013
8:00 +Natale Sposato req. the Mossa Family
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
8:00 +Michael and Santina Aucello req. Dr. and Mrs. John Centonze
12:10 +Vito Longo Birthday req. daughter Millie
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
8:00 +Jutland Jean-Rene req. Anne R. Jean-Rene
12:10 +Peter O’Connor req. Mr. and Mrs. Ingram
Thursday, February 14, 2013
8:00 +Mary and Thomas O’Brien req. Barbara O’Brien
12:10 In Honor of Infant Jesus req. Gina Uva
Friday, February 15, 2013
8:00 +Hien Do req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +David Studley req. Ed Nemchek Sr.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 +Aniello Preziosi Birthday Remembrance req. your children, grandchildren & great grandchildren

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).

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.

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 Family Society: A Potluck dinner and speaker for families: 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.

Intermediate Studies in Biblical Greek: Intermediate 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 NEWS:

130 years ago, or so:
THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
February 14, 1885: Stamford. “The Lenten exercises will commence on Ash Wednesday morning, when Mass will be said. The blessed ashes will be distributed in the morning and evening. There will be the usual observations in the church during Lent, as in former years. On Wednesday evenings the Rosary will be recited followed by a sermon, and on Friday evenings the devotion of the cross will take place.”

85 years ago, or so:
THE HARTFORD COURANT:
February 10, 1928: Stamford Priest Leaves Most of Estate to Churches. “Preliminary inventory of the estate of the late Rev. James C. O’Brien, pastor of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church here for 25 years and a priest in the Hartford diocese for 50 years, was made and the will was admitted to probate today. To St. John’s, the will leaves $7,000. Other requests were: St. Anne’s Society, at St. John’s Church, $2,000.”

75 years ago, or so:
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
February 10, 1938: Church Appeals Grant of Permit For Gas Station. “An appeal from the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals in granting permission to Karl Wolfe to operate a gasoline station on the south side of Bell St. was taken to the Superior Court, today, by St. John’s Catholic Church. The Rev. N. P. Coleman, pastor of St. John’s Church, appeared at a hearing on the Wolfe application two weeks ago, and protested against the establishment of the station, which he claimed, would add to traffic hazards already existing for pupils of St. John’s Parochial School on Bell St. Supporting Father Coleman’s protest was that submitted by the Retail Gasoline Dealers’ Association through Attorney Daniel E. Ryan, who claimed that the zoning regulations bar gasoline stations within 200 feet of a church or school..”

65 years ago, or so:
THE BLUE AND GOLD:
February 1950: Seventh Grade Makes Trip To The Stars. “One Friday morning in December the seventh grade boarded a chartered bus at 10 o’clock and headed for the Stamford Museum. As they entered the room they saw over their heads a large round dome on which the stars were to appear. After waiting for a short time the lights grew very dim until the whole place was like midnight in the Winter. Soon stars came out. The directress pointed out planets such as Jupiter, Mercury, the Three Fish Stars and others.”

St. Bernadette and the Miracle of Lourdes
-Fr. Terry Walsh

“On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Marie Bernarde Soubirous, a 14 year old girl, at Lourdes, France, at the little grotto of Massabielle close to the River Gave, not far from the humble dwelling where she lived. Marie Bernarde, affectionately known as Bernardette, witnessed several apparitions of Our Lady through July. Bernardette said that “the Lady” spoke to her and said: “Please do me the favor of coming here for a fortnight. I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other.” On another occasion, Mary said to her: “Penance! Penance! You will pray for sinners. Go and kiss the ground for the conversion of sinners. Go and drink at the spring and wash yourself in it. You will eat a herb that grows there.” Bernardette had to humbly get down on the ground and dig in the spot that Mary pointed out to her; soon after, water came gushing forth (and continues to well up today and is said to have healing, purifying properties for those who have faith!). Mary said: “Go and tell the priests that people should come here in procession and build a chapel here.” Finally, on March 25, when Bernardette asked the Lady who she was, Mary responded: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed by Pope Pius the IX on December 8, 1854, four years before the apparition of our Lady to Bernardette. Yet, even from the 7th century the Church has held this belief. Pope Pius IX’s pronouncement of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception states that it is “a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, was, by a unique grace and privilege of Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

Mary’s words to Bernadette confirmed what God had revealed. She is our model of purity and beckons us to be pure and holy. “Penance!” She cried to Bernadette. Examination of conscience, sacramental confession, and reception of Holy Eucharist purify and nourish the soul. Penance requires sacrifice and can be challenging at times, but it leads to true and lasting happiness: the soul becomes pure and ready for eternal happiness . Our Lady is there to help us.

Recall the beautiful words of another French Saint, Louis de Montfort, who likewise spoke of the supreme holiness of our Lady: “Mary is the supreme masterpiece of Almighty God and he has reserved the knowledge and possession of her for himself. She is the glorious Mother of God the Son who chose humble and conceal her during her lifetime in order to foster her humility….Mary 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” (True Devotion, no. 5).

I recommend adding the Song of Bernadette to your movie collection at home. Jennifer Jones plays the part of St. Bernadette in the 1940’s classic and it is an inspiring story of a courageous woman who endured enormous sufferings—all for love of God and Mary. What a wonderful way to celebrate the Memorial of St. Bernadette and the Miracle of Lourdes! Feast Day: February 11th.