For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 17, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: Lent is much more than a time of increased piety or resolutions designed to break bad habits or to lose weight. Lent is the Church’s annual season of struggle against Satan. That struggle began at the beginning of time when we turned our backs on God in disobedience in Eden. The final struggle began over 2,000 years ago when the eternal Son of God, creator of the universe, took on human flesh of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. The Creator became a creature to free the only creature made in His image and likeness-US-from the power of Satan and from the sway of his most potent weapon, death. As one of the prayers for Christmas Mass reads: “Hasten, Lord our God, do not delay, and free us by Your power from the devil’s fury.” What is “the devil’s fury”? Moviegoers might imagine a scene from The Exorcist, or some other cinematographic special effects. The devil’s fury is subtler and more boringly mundane than anything Hollywood might imagine. The devil’s fury is daily temptation, which Satan ratchets up as we seek to fight it off by the practice of virtue. By falling into sin, Satan wins, and his hatred of God bears fruit in the eternal damnation of God’s image and likeness—US.

Lent is the Church’s great annual spiritual exercise with its focal point on the mystery of Christ’s redemptive mercy, foretold in the Old Testament, realized in the earthly life of Jesus, especially in His Passion, death, resurrection and ascension; and which is realized in us by our worthy and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, and then in prayer, fasting, acts of mercy, spiritual reading, and a more intense practice of the Christian virtues in our daily lives. In other words, we open ourselves more readily to Christ’s transforming grace by living a more intense Christian life. Lent is the time to begin anew to live that more intensely Christian life. According to Saint Peter Chrysologus, “Three things sustain faith, devotion, and virtue,”. . . “prayer, fasting, and mercy to others. Prayer knocks at God’s door, fasting wins us what we need, and mercy is the hand cupped to receive . . . Let him who prays also fast; let him who fasts have pity on others; let him who wishes to be heard hear those who ask his help, for such a person alone has God’s ear whose own ear is not closed to the needs of others.” [Sermon 43]

How to begin? Don’t make crazy resolutions that you’ll never keep. Decide to set sin aside, instead, and to open your heart to doing God’s will as the most important guide for all you do in your daily life. First: go to Confession and use this first week of Lent to meditate on the Passion of Christ: look at His sufferings for what they are—Jesus suffering to save you from Satan and eternal death. Another of Christ’s saints describes it in these words: “There is no greater stimulus to love our enemies [in which fraternal charity finds its perfect form] than the contemplation of the marvelous patience of Him who . . . offered His face to be spat upon and endured the other torments of His Passion . . . Did anyone hear those sweet and loving words of Christ from the Cross: ‘Father forgive them. . ?” Blessed Abbot Aelred continues, “If you are to love yourself correctly, you must not yield to carnal pleasure, by which is meant self-centeredness. If you do not to yield to carnal pleasure, center your affections on the loving person of the Lord.” [The Mirror of Charity, 3]. Start your first week of Lent by reading and meditating on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels. Read some each day, and think about them, and pray for a few minutes daily in gratitude to God for thinking so highly of you, personally, that He sent Christ to die for you. Express that gratitude in acts of charity, fasting, prayer and penance.

Avoiding and ignoring God isolates us, making us turn inward. In the Inferno, the first section of his masterpiece the Divine Comedy, Dante proposes that the lowest circle of Hell is a frozen wasteland—perpetual February—with Satan at the very lowest point of Hell, frozen in solid ice, forever. He’s entirely paralyzed by ice; isolated from everything and everyone, his mind seethes with frustration over his defeat by God and his eternal punishment. Having refused to serve God in Heaven, Satan rules in a Hell which is its own punishment—his perpetual hatred and frustration producing only a repulsive bloody froth, seeping from his tear ducts and mouth for all eternity. Sin isolates us from God and from one another, because by using others in sin, we strike at God.

My suggestion to avoid this fate—turning in on yourself, seething in frustration, isolated from everyone because of the ice and frigid temperatures of your heart and soul, during these 40 days of Lent–is to do a few things:

–Practice charity: get out of your house and help someone: a relative or neighbor who needs a little assistance. Or, you might even volunteer at the Stamford Senior Center on Summer Street: Give them a call at 324-6584. You don’t need any training or specialized skills. Please identify yourself as a parishioner of St. John’s and that I asked you to call;

–Volunteer at the New Covenant House of Hospitality, 90 Fairfield Avenue, behind the Yerwood Center at 964-8228. This “soup kitchen”, run by the Diocese of Bridgeport, is always looking for those who want to help.

–Read a little Scripture: try the Gospel of Luke and Saint Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians. Both great reads that should inspire gratitude to God for His generosity.

These are a few ideas to get you out of yourself during these last bleak weeks of winter during Lent. Forget the groundhog, and concentrate on doing what you were designed to do: act more like God in charity and be grateful to Our Lord for his generosity. So, buck up your spirits: despite the weather, God has done a lot of hard work to make sure you don’t end up in that perpetual February freeze of Hell. Bring some warmth into someone else’s life by volunteering, and some warmth into your own by reading about God’s love for you in Scripture and praying daily.
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Gary Everett, Connie Ward, 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, 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: Cheryl Wolven, 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.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

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 18th.

Sunday Sung Evening Prayer [Vespers] & Benediction: In the Basilica every Sunday: 4:15pm-4:45pm. 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.

Saint Gabriel Church – Solemn High Mass for the Feast of The Chair of Saint Peter. . .On Friday, February 22, 2013, at 7:30 PM, Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford will celebrate a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal) for the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. Refreshments to follow in the Parish Meeting Room. Please join us!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday February 10, 2013 $ 8,932.00 (Blizzard)
Sunday February 12, 2012 $ 10,499.30
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

February 24th, Sunday Readings: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17—4:1; Lk 9:28b-36.

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.

Saint Mary Church in Greenwich . . . will be holding a Lenten Mission on February 18, 19, and 20 at 7 p.m. each evening in the Church.  The speaker will be The Very Reverend Dennis Corrado, C.O.  He is the Founder/Provincial Superior of the Oratorian Fathers and Brothers of St. Philip Neri, Brooklyn N.Y.  He has preached in 17 states and foreign countries.  The title of the Mission talk is Forgiveness leads to Wellness and Joy. All are welcome to attend the Mission.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 16, 2013
4:00 +Lucia and Antonio Tana req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, February 17, 2013
7:30 +Anthony Lepore req. Rose Lepore
8:30 +Jutland Jean-Rene req. Anne R. Jean-Rene
10:00 +Marie Conetta req. Vincent and Delores Fanning
11:30 +Frank Ardisse req. Bill, Brooke Morris and Lindsey and John Giglar
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 18, 2013
8:00 +Jean Nowlan req. Nicolas and Therese Troilo
12:10 +Natale Sposato req. the Mossa Family
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
8:00 +Monica Hogan req. Ann Lepore
12:10 +Vincent and Theresa Yao-Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
8:00 In Honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary req. Linda Zachariadis
12:10 +Julia Schmidt req. Victoria Gomez
Thursday, February 21, 2013
8:00 +Deceased members of the Cardillo Family req. Josephine Perrino
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, February 22, 2013 8:00 Special Intentions Blanche Ann Raschella req. Armelle Penta
12:10 +George Terenzio Birthday req. Millie
Saturday, February 23, 2013
8:00 +Dominick Fiorenza req. Annette Fiorenza and Family
12:10 +John and Rose Gaine req. Mary Gaine

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 ADVOCATE:

140 years ago, or so:
February 23, 1869: Volunteers at Work. “On any of the pleasant days of this past week, there might have been seen-to be more specific, there was seen-a small army of stalwart men actively at work building stone walls around the new Catholic burying ground. A casual observer seeing the steady and persistent labor of so many men, and witnessing their extraordinary exertions, would at once surmise that for some reason it was necessary that the herculean task should be accomplished within a limited time, and that the men were paid double wages in order to encourage them to even greater exertions. But, no, these were all Catholic volunteers and their enthusiastic and energetic labors were given without money and without price.”

110 years ago, or so:
February 17, 1906: CHURCH SELLS REAL ESTATE—USED BY PARISH 57 YEARS. “The property of St. John’s R.C. Church in Hawthorn Street and State Street, was sold, this week, for an aggregate sum of $8,800, and after July 1 next, to which time the church has the use of the property, it will be transformed for commercial purposes, after a church career of 57 years. In 1849, this property, which consists of a couple of acres, was bought by the parish, which then consisted of a sparse 200 communicants. The pastor was Rev. John Brady. July 4, 1849, ground was broken for a small frame church. The church remained as the place of worship for Stamford Catholics until Thanksgiving Day, 1875, when the present church on Atlantic Street was completed. Then the old church was made over into a school. For the past few years only a few grades have been taught there, the principal grades meeting in the schoolhouse on Bell Street.”

50 years ago, or so:
February 19, 1964: Catholic Library Presents Awards To Junior Aides. “Junior volunteer workers of the Stamford Catholic Library received certificates of merit at the library’s annual award meeting held at the Knights of Columbus auditorium. The three degrees of honor awards were based on length of service, regularity of attendance, initiative, and sense of responsibility. Awards were made to the following: Second honors: Betty Jane Romano and Mary Ellen Shaub of St. John’s School. Third honors: Maureen Costello and Kathleen Farrell of St. John’s School. Speaker at the meeting was the Rev. James P. Cotter, S.J., editor of the magazine, Jesuit Missions. His subject was ‘World Without Walls,’ in which he traced the history of various forms of communications and their effect on the thinking of people.”

“Keep Holy the Sabbath”
– Fr. Terry Walsh
“Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.” – Psalm 8:5

Spring is just around the corner, even though we may have a bit more snow before the buds come out. How wonderful it will be see green again! Indeed, the fields will once again be bursting with activity as new hopes and dreams of athletic greatness dance about in the hearts and minds of millions. From dawn till dusk people everywhere will put themselves to the test – running faster, jumping higher, and developing skills in a variety of activities that are meant to strengthen character and confidence – especially in the young. The “language” of sports translates across borders and builds bridges among cultures. What joy the achievements of human excellence bring – the fruit of much labor. And in the high-tech age, sports provide a wholesome alternative to gadgets galore. In addition, sports teach important lessons about character. Very often, people gain great consolations by reaching new heights or pushing through difficult barriers through steadfast determination. What reasonable sacrifices am I willing to make to reach my best performance? Perhaps the best lesson of all is found in discovering our limits and humbly recognizing what we can not attain. That takes courage. It’s particularly fruitful when that discovery prompts us to turn our gaze away from ourselves and instead begin to contemplate the One who knows no limits – the Infinite One who emptied Himself completely in order to share His Divine Life. Team sports add the component of working together to accomplish a community goal. Clearly, each individual effort affects every other member of the team and since responsibility to the community takes precedence over personal achievement, individual accomplishments may need to be sacrificed in order for the team to be victorious. Moreover, am I willing to offer constructive criticism to teammates even when it’s difficult? Applied to the spiritual life, these lessons lead to a deeper understanding of love. St. Paul refers to this when he writes about the Mystical Body of Christ. He reminds us that as each member grows in holiness – “faith working through love” – the entire Body grows in holiness. Yet, if one member falls, the ill effect is felt by the whole Body. As members of the Body, we are obligated to grow in holiness and to help others in their pursuit of a holy life as well and sports can make a wholesome contribution. Ah, there are a million stories. One Christmas Day during World War I, American and German soldiers crawled out of their bloody trenches and met each other in the middle – for a game of soccer. After their game, they simply couldn’t go back to shooting each other. Consider too the most renowned athletic stage – the Olympics. At the opening ceremonies in Vancouver athletes from Israel walked in procession with athletes from Iran, offering a bit of hope for people everywhere. And how about the 1924 Summer Games? Do you remember Eric Liddell? He was considered to be the world’s fasted human. Yet, he refused to compete in 3 of the 4 events he qualified to run because they took place on Sunday. Liddell would not compromise the integrity of his faith. His heroic witness captured the attention of the entire world. Instead, he ran the 400 meters and set a new world record with his victory. What place do sports hold in the heart of man today? Is it still an activity that builds character and friendships? Or, has it become an “end” in itself – one that governs the daily activity of families even to the exclusion of honoring God? In many respects, Sports have replaced religion. So few attend Church, yet many would not think about missing practice. Few seem to know the Our Father or the Hail Mary, yet many recite the entire history of their favorite sports team. Few seem to know the names of the four Evangelists, the most important books ever written, yet many can rattle off the starting lineups of their favorite team, along with accompanying statistics. Few can list the 10 Commandments, and fewer still the Beatitudes, but most can tell you the rules governing their sport, including obscure nuances for the most ridiculous scenarios. So few know the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but most know the story of Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle. So few seem to engage in a faithful prayer life, but missing a daily workout would be considered ‘a mortal sin.’ As faithful Catholics, our dignity is realized in our relationship with God. The virtue of Religion falls under the Cardinal Virtue of Justice. We fulfill that virtue by keeping the Commandments. “In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakable faithfulness of God’s covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it” (Catechism, 346). Skipping Mass in favor of a sporting event clearly indicates a lack luster desire for God. A faithful prayer life would have prevented the tragedy of turning a wholesome activity into an “end” in itself. We have been made to share in the Divine Life. We are meant to be crowned with glory and honor, in heaven. It is a crown that comes through faith, hope, and love and is the fruit of following the One True God in this life. Sports ought to contribute to the growth and development of the human person rather than serve as a conduit of self-absorption, whose logical end is the exploitation and commoditization of the human person and the loss the true dignity – union with God.

Pastor’s Corner: Per the directives of the Diocese, parishes must regularly publish their financial reports. Below, please find the financial statements for the Second Quarter Ended December 31, 2012. The second fiscal quarter ended with a profit. Offertory collections were up from last year and I am very grateful for your generosity. Expenses were less because the church painting work was finished. The parish has no debt, other than a few current normal bills. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Comparative State Activities 12-31-12 Adj

Comparative State of position 12-31-12 Adj