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

St PatrickPastor’s Corner: Much of the information about St. Patrick comes to us from his personal memoir, entitled his Confessions, which he wrote at the end of his life. He began: “I, Patrick, the sinner, the most illiterate and the least of all the faithful, and contemptible in the eyes of very many, had for a father Calpornius,..who belonged to the village of Bannavem Taberniae. Now he had a small farm hard by, and there I was taken captive. I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God; and I went into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of persons . . .”

Born in Britain, he was captured by Irish slavers and brought to Ireland, where he endured six years as a slave, shepherding his master’s flocks. While born a Christian, he was actually a baptized non-believer, living a worldly life with no thought of God, until his capture. During his years of servitude he had a true conversion. In his Confessions, he tells the reader that while a slave he heard the voice of Christ in a dream, escaped his master by trudging the entire length of Ireland, took passage on a pirate ship, and landed in south-western Gaul [France]. There he sought priestly ordination, and dreamt that the Irish people were calling him back to the isle of his captivity to save them through Christ and His Catholic Church. He was taught by the saintly theologian St. Germain of Auxerre, who instructed the young Patrick in the basics of Catholicism and the monastic rule of the recently established Order of Saint Benedict. Despite his late start and incomplete education, Patrick was ordained a priest, then went to Rome seeking the Pope, because the young priest had no doubts about his mission: Ireland.

For many in Rome, the 5th century was about surviving the barbarians, and did not appear a propitious time for sending missionaries north to save them. The Roman Empire was weakened by repeated barbarian invasions. Indeed, Rome fell in 476 AD when the last Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by Odoacer, the first non-Italian ruler in Italy, who sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople with a note stating that scepters and crowns were no longer needed in Rome. Ireland was seen to be just one more northern territory inhabited by untamed barbarians, and all in Rome feared them. Despite the cowardly worldview of many clerics and statesmen in the Eternal City, the Pope, Celestine I, saw no need to tremble, and sent St. Palladius in 431 A.D. to preach the Gospel and to establish the Roman Church in Ireland. Prior to his mission, there was a vague mix of Christianity and local mythology, vying with the wild cult of the Druids for the loyalty of the tribes and clans. Following St. Palladius, all others steadfastly refused to go to continue the saint’s work —except Patrick, whose uniquely forceful insistence that he be permitted to preach in the pagan wilds of Ireland brought him to the attention of the Pope. Pope Celestine listened the Patrick’s request, ordained him a bishop and sent him to pick up where St. Palladius left off, to make the Irish Roman Christians.

Patrick began to work in the northwest of the Emerald Isle, where no one had yet preached the Gospel. Since there were no towns or fortresses on the Roman pattern, Patrick established Benedictine monasteries for men and for women as centers of religious life and evangelization, directly subject to him as bishop. These became the heart of local Catholic culture in the wilds of Ireland. These monastic centers of Catholic culture, and the disciplined Benedictine life of prayer, hard work, study, charity and penance, formed the backbone of Patrick’s mission in Ireland. Patrick’s principal home base of operations was Armagh, from which he wandered preaching and teaching the faith of Peter and Paul, establishing the Church of Christ. From there he propagated monastic life, brought clergy from Europe, taught Latin and theology to his younger priests, and formed local minds, hearts and culture on the Gospel, offering a share in the Divine Life of the Trinity through the Sacraments. By this means, the Irish monks re-Christianized Europe in the subsequent centuries, preserving the Catholic faith and the classical Latin literature of western culture when all had been lost as the Dark Ages descended upon Europe. Irish Benedictine monasticism forged a common learned language [Latin] and Catholic culture among peoples who otherwise would have had no common ground. Christ’s Church was at its heart.

St. Patrick’s influence on the development of the Church and of the culture of Ireland and Europe was immense, the effects of which continue to this day, nearly 1,600 after his death. Let us pray for a dose of his love for the Church and his devotion to Our Lord that led him to forgive his persecutors, and in heroic charity, to return to the place of his suffering in order to bring salvation to those who had once enslaved him. St. Patrick, pray for us. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!! –Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Mario Stano, Yvette Constant, Sheila Beirne, Thomas Beirne, 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, 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: Virginia Raiteri, Myrtle Rocco, Frank Pironto, Betsabe Chung, Dorothy Konopka, Patricia Lee Thiesfeldt, Nancy Claire O’Shea, 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.

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.

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 18th.

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) 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. Please feel free to call 203-324-1553.

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 for 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. Available now in the parish bookstore, or on Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.com, or Trafford Book Store.com in hardcover, paperback and E-book.

CONNECTIONS! Ministry for Catholic Singles 35 and older: invites you to a Lenten “Evening of Reflection” with Fr. Peter Cipriani. Monday, March 18, 7pm at Notre Dame High School 220 Jefferson Street, Fairfield. Mass at 7pm in the school chapel followed by Father’s talk. Light refreshments will be served. This is open to all singles 35 and older. RSVP/questions, contact Fr. Norm Guilbert at 203-336-1835.

Saint Gabriel Church in Stamford: will celebrate a Solemn High Latin Mass for the Feast of Saint Joseph on Tuesday March 19, 2013 at 7:30 PM in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal). Refreshments in the Parish Meeting Room. Please join us!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 10, 2013 $ 11,303.00
Sunday March 11, 2012  $ 10,834.19

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

March 24th, Sunday Readings: Lk 19:28-40; Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14—23:56.

Statues are covered: As the Church enters the holiest time of the year, preparing to commemorate Our Lord’s Holy Week, the statues are covered because not even the saints should distract us from meditating on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Palm Sunday: Next Sunday, March 24th, Palms will be blessed and distributed during all the Weekend Masses: Saturday 4pm Vigil Mass; Sunday 7:30, 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 am, 5:00, 6:00pm Masses.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Has begun. Many parishioners may have already received a letter from Bishop Lori. Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. The funds collected for the Bishop are used for the numerous charitable and educational works of the Diocese. We have collected to date: $15,477. Please be generous.

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: Next meeting is Monday, April 1st. at 7:30 PM in the rectory. 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. There is no charge for these meetings.

Mass Intentions

+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, March 16, 2013
4:00 +Deceased members of the Taricani Family req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 17, 2013
7:30 +Deceased members of Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
8:30 +Joseph W. Callahan req. daughter Maryella Callahan
10:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
11:30 Special Intentions Francis 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, March 18, 2013
8:00 +Nicholas Virgadamo req. Joanna Wesson
12:10 +Anna Iantorno req. Pasquale and Ida Carpanzano
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
8:00 Ana Ucero Birthday req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Harriet Milliot req. Nicolas and Therese Troilo
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
8:00 +Paulemon and Millien Families req. Montanise Paulemon
12:10 +Antina Balletto req. Nicolas and Therese Troilo
Thursday, March 21, 2013
8:00 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Andrew – AJ – Hoenig req. Rose Gesualdi
Friday, March 22, 2013
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Ewa Czytowska
12:10 +John McDonogh req. Ann Lepore
Saturday, March 23, 2013
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 +Maria Therese Abrantes req. Irsa Garcia

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 pa rish 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: Meets this Sunday the 17th in the rectory after the 11:30a.m.Mass.Contact-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 20th.

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:

150 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
March 18, 1864: “Yesterday was St. Patrick’s day, and, contrary to the general rule, the weather was fine in the morning. Mass was celebrated and a sermon preached by Rev. Father O’Neil in the Roman Catholic Church. A full congregation was in attendance.”

120 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
March 25, 1893: STAMFORD. “The glorious 17th of March was a delightful day in Stamford. Not in a number of years have we seen such beautiful weather; there was no street parade on this occasion but a parade of church members who attended a solemn high Mass, celebrated by Rev. Keena. The church was crowded and the green isle was not forgotten by her exiled children as native shamrock and green ribbon was worn in profusion by the congregation. A great many of our people attended to the sight seeing of New York City and the big parade, but Stamford did her duty to St. Patrick in the evening at the first annual banquet given by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Considering that the society is something less than a month old, and this was the first experience of the gentlemen in getting up a commemorative dinner-a form of entertainment which has heretofore been attempted by few organizations in Stamford-the affair was a notable success. The armory was tastefully decorated for the occasion with American and Irish flags. For a couple of hours before midnight the young people enjoyed themselves in dancing. The music was furnished by St. John’s orchestra. The supper was served at midnight. The caterer was Deibler of New Haven. A very attractive bill-of-fare was provided and the tables, at which about 200 persons were seated, were in charge of a corps of skilled waiters. Grace was said by Rev. Father Rogers. The edibles having been disposed of, after-dinner exercises were opened with an address of welcome by the president, Dr. Francis J. Rogers. The doctor’s remarks were brief, but bristling with good honor and witticisms that made the audience good natured. In the course of his speech he said some pleasing things about the Friendly Sons, and expressed the hope that, its future annual gatherings should prove even more successful.”

The Battle of Prayer -Fr. Terry Walsh

Why is prayer a ‘battle’? There are many ‘erroneous notions’ of prayer, as the Catechism calls them, that we must battle. “Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures. Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they ‘don’t have the time.’ Those who seek God by prayer are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone”(ccc2726). Consider meditating on Paul’s letter to the Romans, ch.8 as well as the 4th part of the Catechism (“Christian Prayer” –it helps us understand the nature of prayer as well as how topray in very practical ways).

Often times, prayer involves a battle against distractions or perhaps dryness. But these are overcome by simply turning our hearts to God and asking for His help. When we humbly ask for the grace to pray better, to be consoled, to let go of distractions and to be nourished by divine grace, we will be given all we need and more. That’s not to say we won’t have to struggle from time to time. Yet, even in those periods of difficulty, our Lord is walking with us, helping us to put aside presumption and despair and instead walk the humble path of love and trust. Perhaps you might simply pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, free my heart and mind of all distractions during this Holy Mass, or during this prayer of the Rosary, or during my reading and meditating on the Scriptures.” What a wonderful prayer of trust and fidelity.

We already know that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. He’s already made that abundantly clear in the Allegory of the Vine and the Branches (Jn 15). All good things come from Him and prayer opens our hearts to a greater appreciation of his goodness to us and our complete dependence upon Him. Augustine wrote, “God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.” But are we willing to be transformed and come to desire “the things that are above” – the graces of faith, hope, and love that form us into “new creations” and lead us to a new spiritual strength and wisdom that ‘enables the soul to rule the body’? Consider the words of St. Ambrose, “That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. And because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.” Prayer is indispensable in realizing this spiritual maturity.

Consider a lesson from the Catechism: “The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: Prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in His name. The ‘spiritual battle’ of the Christian’s new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer”(ccc 2725).