For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 24, 2013

Pastor’s Corner:  “Simon , son of John. . . You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” [Mt 13:16-19]

When Our Lord spoke these words to Simon Peter, son of John in the presence of the other Apostles, He did not single out a particular friend, or grant to this fisherman a mere personal concession of authority. Jesus would never have chosen Peter: He first observed wonder that Simon, of all the Twelve, was the only one who answered His question correctly: “Who do you say I am?” Not being the brightest of the Apostolic lot, his answer pointed out to Our Lord that the Heavenly Father had chosen Simon, and provided him with the answer, in order to clarify to Jesus who should head up the Church. Next, Our Lord changed Simon’s name: whenever God changed the name of anyone in the Old Testament, as He did with Abram to Abraham, it meant that God was changing the very reason for that person’s existence. Abram became Abraham in order to be the Father of the Chosen People whose “descendants would be more numerous than  the stars” [Gen 17] He changes Simon’s name to Peter, since Peter would bring that promise to fulfillment through the Church—the New Israel. Why did Jesus choose the name “Peter”? Why not George or Reginald? Because Peter means Rock in Aramaic, the language spoken by Our Lord and in which the Gospel of Matthew was written: the word for rock is Kephas, or Cephas in the English transliteration, which is repeated in the Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul [4 times in Galatians; 4 times in I Corinthians]. In English, this play on words doesn’t work: Peter doesn’t look anything like Rock; the closest in a modern language is the French word Pierre or Italian, Pietro—which suggest a link between both Rock and Peter.

Our Lord next told Simon that “You are Peter [Rock], and on  this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The Church isn’t built on an idea, or a social movement or ideology: it was established by the Divine Person of Our Lord, obedient to another Divine Person, the Eternal Father, and enlivened by the Third Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, guiding the Church to teach only the truth so that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” And, the Church’s visible head is another person: Peter. But that dignity was not merely a personal gift to that one man. Jesus was establishing a permanent Church, which would last until the end of the world, and reach to the ends of the world, offering truth, grace and salvation to everyone. The symbol of that authority ?—the Keys of Heaven: Jesus just about quotes Isaiah 22:22, which is about the king giving authority in the form of keys of the palace to his chief steward. That chief steward was given the keys of authority only for a while, and then they were passed to his successor. So too with Peter and the Church. Jesus does not make Peter the absolute and only Head of the Church: that is Jesus. But the visible head of the Church is Peter, and his successors, the Bishops of Rome, where Peter taught and ministered as the head of the believing community, and died a martyr, with Saint Paul.

St Peter

Our Lord knew that Peter was imperfect; He would scold Peter soon after, when Peter objected that Jesus should not suffer and die. Likewise, Peter would deny Christ three times on the evening of Jesus’ arrest; abandoning Him the day He died on the Cross. Yet, Our Lord did not withdraw His grant of authority from this weak and flawed Rock. After the Resurrection, Jesus asked three times, “Do you love me?” —offering Peter three opportunities to redress his triple denial of Jesus. Peter‘s triple reply, “Yes Lord, you know I love you” [Jn 21:15-19]. Peter grew into his job as the Rock upon which the Church of Christ is built: he had to understand that the only way to exercise authority in the Church was first to be so in love with Jesus that he wanted to imitate Him entirely, even to the point of martyrdom. Faith must lead to love of God, and we can all get there.

On February 28th at 8 pm Rome time [2 pm Stamford time], the present Successor of Saint Peter will resign as the Bishop of Rome. Cardinals from around the world will gather in Conclave to elect a Successor of Saint Peter, who will be granted the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. As a Basilica—the Pope’s church in Fairfield County—we all have a responsibility to pray for the Cardinals as they gather in Conclave. Beginning on March 1st, let us pray daily one “Hail Mary” for them, that they might head the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And, I’d ask you to offer a second “Hail Mary” each day for Cardinal Burke—who was to have visited us to be our keynote speaker on April 6th.

Our Lord promised to remain with His Church until the end of time. That was not hyperbole, or poetic talk, but reality: He remains with us because we are in union with Him through the Sacraments, and because He is the Head and we are the members of His Mystical Body, which is the Catholic Church. Let us pray that the Cardinals will respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as they gather to elect a new visible Head of the Church: a new Successor of Saint Peter, through whom Peter will continue to guide the Church, as he has for 2,000 years. —-Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Msgr. Peter Dora, Gary Everett, Connie Ward, Helen & Flint Moger, Kathleen Moger, Catherine Olnek, Margaret Kelly, 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: Gerard Phillippe, Naida Cognetta, 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.

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.

Abstinence during Lent: As a simple act of penance for sins, all Catholics 14 years and older are required to abstain from eating any meat on Fridays during Lent, unless the person is in ill health or suffering from a medical condition.

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 25th.

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 Novajosky, 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 17, 2013 $ 10,941.00
Sunday February 19, 2012 $ 10,445.05
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

March 3rd, Sunday Readings: Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15; 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12; Lk 13:1-9.

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.

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: This Monday, February 25th.

SYMPOSIUM: The April 6/7 symposium is Cancelled. With a Consistory to elect a new pope now scheduled for late March, three of our four speakers may be unable to deliver their lectures at Saint John’s. His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, our keynote speaker, will be busy electing a pope; Professors Liz Lev and George Weigel are bound by contract with NBC to work as commentators in Rome. All three are in the Eternal City now, and most likely will not be returned to the States until after the election and installation of a new pope, after Easter. I am grateful to them all for having agreed to be part of our symposium, and saddened that we must cancel. Please keep His Eminence in your prayers as he enters the Conclave to elect a new Successor of Saint Peter. We are contacting those who have purchased tickets, and reimbursing them. If you have not yet been contacted, please call the parish office and speak with Cindy: 203-324-1553, ext. 21. Thanks to all who helped prepare for the symposium, and for those who have purchased tickets and supported this effort. We’ll try again!

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 23, 2013
4:00 +Mildred, JoAnn and Felix Fiore req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, February 24, 2013
7:30 +Deceased members of Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
8:30 +Feroze Aslam req. Anthony and Josephine Marena
10:00 +Thomas J. Meehan req. John Paul and Angela Marchetti
11:30 +Frank Ardisse req. Marion and Rich Morris
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 25, 2013
8:00 In Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Monastic Profession of Sister Ursula Butler, O.S.B. req. Juanita
12:10 +Kim Davis req. Ann Brown
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
8:00 Special Intentions George Paulemon req. Mother
12:10 Special Intentions Margaret Terese Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
8:00 In Honor of St. Joseph req. Linda Zachariadis
12:10 +Viola and Eugenio Guarnieri req. John Paul and Angela Marchetti
Thursday, February 28, 2013
8:00 In Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Monastic Profession of Sister Marcia Lammerding, O.S.B. req. Juanita
12:10 +Mary Daniele req. Mossa Family
Friday, March 1, 2013
8:00 Faithful Departed
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
8:00 +Titina Tarantino req. Carpanzano Family
12:10 +Andrew Joseph Hoenig req. Virginia and Paul Gerardi

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:
135 years ago, or so:
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
February 25, 1876: “Rev. Father Galberry, the recently appointed Bishop of the R.C. Diocese of Connecticut [sic], remained in town over Tuesday night, the guest of Rev. Father Tierney.”

130 years ago, or so:
THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
February 28, 1885: Stamford. “The many friends of Miss Sarah Kearns, were pleased to learn of her admission last week, into the order of the Sisters of Mercy, who takes in religion the name of Sister Mary Thomasina. Our Rt. Rev. Bishop has appointed Rev. Peter M. Skelly, who was formerly of Meriden, to act as assistant pastor in our parish. On last Sunday the people had an opportunity for the first time to see our new curate, and every one felt well pleased with the appointment.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
120 years ago, or So:
March 2, 1893: “Rev. T. J. Keena preached an eloquent sermon to a large congregation in St. John’s R.C. church last evening. His discourse was listened to with much interest. Father Walsh officiated at the benediction.”

90 years ago, or so:
February 26, 1927: CATHOLIC CHURCH TROOP OF SCOUTS GETS ITS CHARTER. “Stamford Troop 22 Boy Scouts of America sponsored by St. John’s Recreational club of St. John’s Catholic Church was formally presented with their troop charter at the installation ceremonies at the indoor track meet at the armory last night. The ceremony included acceptance of office by the troop committee composed of Herman C. Rheaume, the Rev. Henry Callahan, and William J. O’Connell.”

50 years ago, or so:
February 27, 1961: Grammar School CYO Champions. “In massed ranks, the basketball players of St. John’s CYO, Grammar School Division, which won the City CYO championship, assembled for a photograph with the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, V.F, P.A., pastor, and Coach Frank Jerabek The boys are Peter Philipse, Len O’Connell, Peter Romaniello, Bill Smith, Anthony Esposito, Stanley Esposito, Paul Coughden, Richard O’Connor, Chick Clark, Paul Brady, Brien Malloy, Bob Cox, Lou Lausten, Sam Boone and Dan Donahue.”

The Living Temple
-Fr. Terry Walsh

In the Book of Revelation, St. John reveals the Vision of Heaven that he was granted by God for our sake. And during the course of His beautiful description of the Heavenly Jerusalem, John speaks so eloquently about the “living water.” He said, “I saw no Temple in the city, for its Temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb…Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb….also, on either side of the river, the Tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit…”(Rev. 21:22ff).

Jesus, of course, is the Lamb of God – He is the Temple. We become – as it were – “living stones” in Him, called to share in the glory of Divine Life. The “water of life” flowing through the Heavenly City is the love of God: the purpose of our existence is to share in that love! Those who respond to His call and open their hearts to God in this earthly journey receive these living waters Sacramentally in “Spirit and in Truth” and, some day, perpetually in Heaven. This is all made possible through the One Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus upon the Tree of Life, that is, the Cross. St. Paul reminds us of the cost: “We boast in hope of the glory of God…and Hope does not disappoint – because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Prayer is the key. The Psalmist cries out: “Oh that today you would hear His voice, harden not your hearts!” But, are we listening? Or are we so caught up in worldly cares and concerns that are hearts have become attached to this world and have actually become deaf to the whispers of the Holy Spirit? The story about the woman at the well (John, chapter 4) helps illustrate the point. She was lost. She seemed so worn out, even bitter. Perhaps, over time, she had become accustomed to a gradual hardening of the heart. She had lost her true identity and took on a sort of defensive posture – imbued with “the spirit of world.” The garden of her soul had become a barren, dusty patch. And although she stood right next to ‘the well of living water,’ Jesus Christ, she did not recognize Him. How often our Lord stands beside us each day. Have we likewise become spiritually deaf to His beckoning? Do we truly recognize Him? Or, have our spiritual wounds turned off the faucet of grace?

When worldly concerns govern our hearts, our true identity becomes hazy – even to the point where we don’t recognize the call to divine life. Like the Samaritan woman, our Lord thirsts for our return to Him. He waits for our humble prayer, the fruit of a ‘repentant spirit.’ “Lord, give me a drink. Lord, heal me.” Lord, give me the grace to pray better and to see the way of living you expect from me. Water the ‘garden of my soul’ with the living waters gushing from your wounded side. Fill me with your love – that I may worship you ‘in Spirit and in Truth’ and so recognize your Presence in my soul. It all begins at the door of confession. What are we holding on to in our souls? What are we carrying in the Bucket we call our heart? What faults and failings – what sins? Are we, like the Samaritan woman, willing to hand them over to God and leave that worldly bucket at His feet that He may empty it through Sacramental Confession? Then, we’ll be free to take up the New Bucket – the one filled with living water.

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!” The Scriptures caution us: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” – that is – don’t neglect reconciliation with God. Ask for forgiveness. Humbly crack open the hard exterior shell and allow true contrition to flow out – and thus enable the healing balm of the Holy Spirit to water your hearts and so direct your souls into the Living Temple. By opening our hearts to the outpouring of His grace, we will experience His peace, His Strength, and quite naturally grow in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—one step at a time.