Cardinal Kung

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

Pastor’s Corner: March 12th will mark the 13th anniversary of the death of Ignatius Cardinal Kung.

The young Bishop Ignatius Kung, Pin-Mei pictured at left, was the first native Chinese Bishop of the new Diocese of Soochow, and, soon after was named the Bishop of the Shanghai, by Pope Pius XII. The times were dangerous for all religions in China, but especially for Catholics. Since the rise to power of Chairman Mao Tse–Tung, the Communist Party had pursued an undeclared war against the Catholic Church in China, as elsewhere in other Communist countries in Eastern Europe. Father Kung was ordained a bishop on October 7, 1949, the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. At the close of his episcopal ordination, Bishop Kung told those gathered that Pope Pius XII’s creation of a new Chinese diocese was heroic, at the very moment the Communists were threatening the Catholic Church throughout the country.
He told those gathered at the Mass:
“I thank the Holy Father above all for his confidence in me. Better than anyone else, he knows our situation [the imminent persecution of the Church by the Communist Chinese government ] Despite this, he has created a new diocese. Is this not a palpable proof of his paternal confidence? Yet, it is he who holds the rudder of this new ship [the Diocese of Soochow], as if repeating Christ’s own order, ‘Put out into the deep’, and I confidently respond [as did Peter], ‘At your word I will lower the nets’.”

The Catholic Church in China had been experiencing a great spiritual renewal, beginning with the defeat and expulsion of the Japanese military forces from China at the end of World War II. Since then, many robust initiatives were made to evangelize the pagan Chinese majority, especially in Shanghai, and to strengthen the spiritual lives of the Catholics there. The establishment of the Catholic Central Bureau provided coordination to the missionary efforts of the Catholic Bishops throughout the country. The growth of lay spiritual movements such as the Legion of Mary and catechetical groups on University campuses were grass roots efforts for lay Catholics to reach out into society to convert their pagan neighbors. The Church, therefore, was on a trajectory for battle with the growing atheistic Communist party and government for the minds and hearts of China.

These were dangerous times. The Communist government worked to co-opt various religious groups. Most protestant groups willingly co-operated early on and accepted “patriotic” government control of their religions. But the Catholic Church was different: it was the largest of all missionary efforts in China, with more than 3,000,000 Chinese Catholics, with the largest number of priests, religious brothers and sisters, both foreign and native born. And, it was international, with headquarters not in China, but in Rome. The government crackdown on the Catholic Church was more virulent than against any other religious institution. As the Communist propaganda machine began working, it painted all non-Chinese influences and organizations as enemies of China. The Communist government quickly began expelling foreign missionaries, especially foreign-born Catholic priests, religious brothers and religious sisters. Any who remained were incarcerated, as were many native clergy. Bishop Kung warned his priests at a retreat, “You must not have any more illusions about our situation. . . You have to face prison and death head on. This is your destiny. It was prepared for you because Almighty God loves you. What is there to be afraid of?” The church banners display his motto: “Neither fire nor sword can break my faith in God.”

The guiding government principle was the same in their relationship with all religions, but the methods varied. Because the Catholic Church was largest and most highly organized of “foreign” religious institutions, and because it was structurally dependent upon a foreign “ruler”, the pope, it was targeted more viciously than any others. Attacks in the press, both in editorials and political cartoons, as well as political speeches and organized public demonstrations against the Church were common throughout the country. Likewise, more and more frequent were the number of arrest of Chinese priests, nuns and Catholic lay persons of all ages.

In 1960, Bishop Kung was tried by a Communist puppet court and sentenced to lifelong imprisonment for his steadfast loyalty to the pope and his refusal to submit the Church to the government. He was released to his nephew’s family, Joseph and Agnes Kung, and lived in Stamford until his death in 2000. His faith and courage are demonstrated by the motto he wrote for the young Catholics in Shanghai, which hangs on the large banners in the front of the sanctuary, written in his own handwriting: “Neither fire nor sword can take away my faith in God.”

On Saturday March 9th, the parish will remember Cardinal Kung in a special Mass at 4:00 pm, followed by a light reception in the Monsignor Nagle Hall. Everyone is welcome. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Frank Puppo, Billy Therriault, Megan Bobroske, Harrie Humphreys, Lena Cocchia, 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, Vincenza Rosa Parisi, Patricia Moriarty, Maureen Ferguson, Julia Oliveira.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Patricia Lee Thiesfeldt, Nancy Claire O’Shea, Patricia Thiesfeldt, Louis Angenola, 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.

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.

Trinity Catholic Honors: Congratulations to Marisa Carpanzano, Cassandra Charles, Rebecka Dorlean, Robert Fabrizio, Sagine Joassin, Daniella Mossa and Natanielle Senoble who made the Honor Roll at Trinity Catholic High. The parish is very proud of you all!!

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 March 4th.

Sunday Sung Evening Prayer [Vespers] & Benediction: In the Basilica every Sunday: 4:15pm-4:45pm. All are welcome: Bring the family to pray and stay for the 5 pm 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.

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: 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.

New Book for Sale: Monsignor DiGiovanni’s most recent book: The Second Founder: Bishop Martin J. O’Connor and the Pontifical North American College, is in the final stages of publication. Orders for paperback and hardcover copies can be placed in the parish bookstore, or on Amazon.com or Trafford Book Store.com hardcover, paperback and E-book.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday February 24, 2013 $ 11,379.00
Sunday February 26, 2012 $ 12,528.25
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

March 10th, Sunday Readings: Jos 5:9a, 10-12; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32.

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: This month will meet on Monday, April 1 at 7:30 PM in the rectory. There is no charge for these services. Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Redinc, LLC, provides job interview coaching, resume writing and job search coaching. More info, see: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606. : Next meeting: Monday, April 1st.

Conclave: The Cardinals will soon gather in Conclave to elect a new Successor to Saint Peter. Since our parish was elevated to a Minor Basilica, we have prayed one “Hail Mary” for the intentions of the Holy Father during each Mass. Beginning March 1st, let us offer one Hail Mary at each Mass for the Cardinals as they enter the Conclave to elect a new Successor of Saint Peter. Likewise, I ask you each to offer a second Hail Mary daily for Cardinal Burke. He generously offered to be part of our symposium, which has been cancelled due to the Conclave. Let us pray for him as he pursues his more important duty of electing a pope.

Papal Relics: During these weeks in preparation for the Conclave, and during the Conclave, Relics of Saint Peter and those of His Successors who are canonized saints, are displayed on the high altar for your veneration.

Pope’s Coat-of-Arms: If you look up at the choir loft, you’ll notice an empty space above the central door: since Benedict XVI has abdicated, we have no Pope, and his coat-of-arms has been taken down, leaving only our Basilica’s coat-of-arms on display.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 2, 2013
4:00 +James Meehan and Kevin Keary req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 3, 2013
7:30 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
8:30 +Mary Loglisci req. Labrosciano Family
10:00 +Dorothy Wargo Birthday Remembrance req. Arthur Wargo
11:30 +Anna Young 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, March 4, 2013
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 Sp. Int. Sister Ellen Mary CSJ – Birthday Remembrance req. Marie Carr
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Andrew Joseph Hoenig req. St. John’s staff
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Rosaria Bruno and Francesco Reale req. John Paul and Angela Marchetti
Thursday, March 7, 2013
8:00 +Achille and Micilia Paulemon req. daughter
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Friday, March 8, 2013
8:00 +Nicole Cuscuna req. Frank and Beth Carpanzano
12:10 +Mary Daniele req. the Mossa Family
Saturday, March 9, 2013
8:00 Donald Samedi Birthday req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 Special Intentions Joseph Kung req. Agnes Kung

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:
March 10, 1871: St. Patrick’s Day. “The programme for the celebration in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, on the 17th of March, is not yet fully decided, but it is thought there will be a procession of the various Catholic societies, or a lecture in Seely’s Hall in the evening or both.”

110 years ago, or so:
March 6, 1902: Fast Day Proclamation. “The annual proclamation for fast day (Good Friday) has just been issued by Gov. McLean. It says: In willing obedience to the custom established in righteousness and revered by the fathers, I hereby appoint Friday, the twenty-eighth day of March, as a day of fasting and prayer. And I recommend that the people of Connecticut observe that day in humble acknowledgment of the greatness and goodness of God, and in their homes and churches turn their thoughts and desires from the things that perish with using to those imperishable treasures that bring to the children of man peace, and honor, and happiness, and a faith that knows no fear.”

55 years ago, or so:
March 10, 1959: Scouts Honored At Annual Court. “Four Eagle Scouts and 175 other Scouts were honored Monday during the largest recognition ceremony ever conducted here by the Alfred W. Dater Council, Boy Scouts of America. The mothers of the four Eagle Scouts pinned on their son’s badges, during the annual Court of Honor held at Darien High School. Receiving Badges. Eagle Scouts: Joseph P. Connolly, Jr., Troop 22, Mrs. Joseph P. Connolly.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Doctor Joseph Connolly, Jr. is now retired but still residing in Connecticut. He was instrumental in the writing of our parish history published last year.)

15 years ago, or so:
March 10, 2000: St. Patrick’s Day parades through Stamford. “The wail of bagpipes and thump of drums will fill downtown Stamford tomorrow as the city’s fifth St. Patrick’s Day parade winds it way through the streets. The Irish community in Stamford dates more than 150 years. Early immigrants helped build railroads and canals, then manned the woolen and iron mills along the Mill River, according to Stamford Historical Society records. The stone used to build St. John’s Church, the city’s first Irish Catholic parish, was carted by immigrants from a quarry in Greenwich, said Monsignor Stephen M. DiGiovanni, pastor of St. John’s. The parade is a big part of saying who the Irish are and claiming their rightful place in Stamford’s history, DiGiovanni said.”

Spiritual Blindness
-Fr Terry Walsh

“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness….Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” – Saint Paul

Lent is a season of Conversion: “Repent, and Believe in the Gospel.” It is a season of opportunity. Our Lord is calling us to a deeper, more faithful relationship with Him. But, saying yes to God means turning away from worldliness which very often blind us to our true end, fellowship with God. The world tempts us to look away from God and place attention selfishly on ourselves. Consequently, the efficacy and even the mystery of the Sacraments can be lost. It takes effort to sit still for a few moments and silently reflect on how God is working in our souls; that is, how He mysteriously anoints us and administers supernatural graces that revive us and enable our spiritual eyes grow stronger. We become more adept at discerning truth and purity and holiness through a deeper prayer life and a more faithful reception of the sacraments. In order to bear fruit, we have to put these “gifts of the Holy Spirit” to work, and, in the quiet of our souls, become docile to the path God calls us to travel. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we’ll begin to see as God sees. We won’t be tempted to see as man sees: man who so often judges on appearances as if he possessed perfect knowledge and understanding. Pride blinds us. It darkens the eyes of our soul and constantly chips away at our true identity as “Children of the Light.”

In the Gospel of John (chapter 9) we hear the story of the man born blind. Our Lord uses the occasion to teach that He alone is the True Light. Through Him, we are able to see all that is True. Humility is the key. The Pharisees were the leaders of God’s Holy People, but they had lost their way. They were angry men. Why? Well, they were envious of this Jesus. Could it be that they allowed themselves to be caught up in the imagination of their minds? Had they become ‘little kings’ unto themselves? Could it be that they preferred the appearance of being wise and learned and deserving of respect rather than humbly bowing down before God? Had the Pharisees truly been wise, they would have been men of deep prayer and their prayer would have led them to spiritual purity. They would have recognized Who it was that walked in their midst. They would have witnessed through the eyes of love and mercy the manifestation of the divinity of this Jesus, humbly healing the man born blind – relieving his life-long suffering. They would have rejoiced with hearts overflowing in awe and wonder – not only because of his merciful healing, but even more because they would have clearly recognized that the time of their own spiritual captivity would have been over. The great Healer was staring right at them! How could they possibly have missed Him? They were looking right at Him! How could they have missed the very One they claimed to be waiting for – the Messiah! How? Well, perhaps they weren’t really looking for Him after all. Perhaps they were really only concerned about satisfying their own worldly desires. Perhaps they allowed their conscience to be formed by the world – and not by God. They weren’t really interested in spiritual purity. They were more interested in filling their greedy hearts with worldly stuff. The man born blind, on the other hand, possessed a great gift, even before Jesus restored his sight. The man born blind was filled with humility. It was his humility that allowed the Holy Spirit to rush upon him. It was his humility that that enabled him to forget himself so that he could focus his attention upon the Anointed One. In the midst of the angry mob, that humble soul overflowed with love and gratitude, declaring unequivocally, “I do believe in the Son of Man!” What could his foes do to harm his radiant soul? They could beat him. Perhaps even kill him. It really didn’t matter – the Son of Man, the Messiah, knew his name – loved him – healed him and “led him beside restful waters and refreshed his soul.” Those arrogant Pharisees couldn’t harm his soul. It was protected. That poor humble man knew well his own identity – he was a soul loved by God – and he in turn offered him thanks and praise!