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

Christ's Passion
Pastor’s Corner: I have heard it commented that God is cruel, since He permitted, even required, His Son to suffer. That is a comment made by individuals who know little about God, and less about the reality of God’s love for us. Jesus died, not because a cruel God required the suffering; God became a man and suffered in the flesh because mankind’s sins are so enormous; our own outrages so cruelly astounding, that they could be paid for and their effects overcome only by the suffering of the Eternal Son: the Creator of the universe, humbled to become a creature, in order to suffer to raise us up from our own self-inflicted corruption, and to repay us for our crimes–with eternal life in the flesh. Here are two of the clearest narratives of Jesus’ divine generosity in our regard on the first Good Friday, which led to His and our triumph over death: nailed to a Cross in the flesh taken in the womb of the Virgin, buried in a borrowed grave and raised in the Easter Resurrection of God in the flesh: all done for us. Be grateful! Use these as mediations for Holy Week; join us on Holy Thursday, Friday and Holy Saturday as we accompany Our Lord.

“Jesus freely goes forth to the sufferings foretold for him; indeed he had himself foretold them to his disciples and had been forced to upbraid Peter, who took the prediction badly. The salvation of the world was to hang upon this suffering. Jesus therefore declared himself to those who were searching for him: ‘I am the one you seek.’ When accused, he did not answer; when he could have hidden, he would not, even though he evaded attack on several other occasions.

“Moreover, he weeps for Jerusalem, which by its unbelief was its own downfall, and he condemns the glorious temple to total ruin. He bears patiently a blow to the head from a man who was twice over a slave. He is slapped, spat upon, insulted, tortured, whipped, and finally nailed to the Cross with two thieves to share his suffering. He is numbered among murderers and felons, drinks the bitter sap of an evil vine, is crowned with thorns instead of palm-sprigs and grape-clusters; he is pierced with a lance and finally buried.

“All this he suffered for our salvation. Those who were slaves to sin were also subject to the penalty of sin; he was sinless and the wholly just Man, but he bore the punishment for our sins and by his death on the Cross lifted the ancient curse [of Adam]. He took on himself the bitter sorrows of mortal, suffering man; he made human deformity his own and restored man to his lofty estate.

“The [royal] purple garb of mockery pointed to the true King, the reed on his head to the weakness of Satan’s power; the slaps he received were the pledge of our freedom. Thus he bore the insults and afflictions that were our due.

“His side, like Adam’s was pierced, but from it came, not a woman whose mistake brought death, but a fountain of life to enliven the world. A twofold stream flows from the fountain; it give us rebirth in the baptistery and feeds us as children at God’s altar and table [at Mass]” (Saint Theodoret of Cyrrhus, On the Incarnation of the Lord ).

Here is another work, observing the love of God made visible in the flesh:

“The true worshiper of the Lord in his Passion should look upon the crucified Jesus with the eyes of the heart and recognize in Jesus’ flesh your own. For there is no one so weak that the victory of the Cross fails you, no one whom Christ’s prayer cannot help. If Christ did good to his enemies who raged against him, how much more to you when you turn to him? He has pierced through our ignorance and strengthened us in our weakness. . .

“Let us, then not be so arrogantly and anxiously immersed in the business of our present life that we do not strive wholeheartedly to follow the example of our Redeemer and to become like him. Everything he did and endured was for our salvation so that the power inherent in Jesus, the Head, might enter into us, the members of His Body [The Church], as well.

“When God took our mortal substance unto himself and ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,’ what person . . . was excluded from his merciful embrace? Can you not recognize your own weakness in Christ’s? Who cannot see that in his nature as our fellow-servant, Christ who ate and slept, was sad and wept in his loving concern for us?

“Our nature was to be healed of its ancient wounds and purified of the infection of sin. Therefore, the Only-begotten of God became one of the sons of men that he might have not only the fullness of divinity but an authentic manhood as well. It was for our sake that he lay lifeless in the tomb and rose on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father’s majesty.” (Pope Saint Leo the Great, Sermon 15, On the Lord’s Passion).
-Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Peter Baccaro, 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: Brian M. Murray, Caroline Pavia, 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.

Please pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he begins his new ministry as the Successor of Saint Peter and Chief Shepherd of Christ’s Catholic Church.

HOLY WEEK CONFESSION:Monday-Wednesday: 7:30-7:50am & 11:30-11:50am;
Holy Thursday & Good Friday: 11:30-12noon;
Holy Saturday: 11:30-12:30pm;
Easter Sunday: 7:00-7:30am, 9:30-10am., 11:00-11:30am.

HOLY WEEK MASS CANCELLATIONS: Holy Thursday (Mar.28th) & Good Friday (Mar. 29th): NO 8am or 12:10pm Masses; Holy Saturday (Mar. 30th) NO 8am, 12:10 pm or 4pm Masses.

HOLY WEEK MASS SCHEDULE: Monday-Wednesday: 8am & 12:10 pm;
Holy Thursday (Mar. 28th): 8pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper & Adoration until midnight;
Good Friday (Mar. 29th): 3pm: Passion of Our Lord;
Holy Saturday (Mar. 30th): 8pm: Easter Vigil.

Banns of Marriage: Banns I: Alexander Michael Flaig and Martine Frances Delgado

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light Memorial. . . +Edward and Bill Cody req. Cody Family

GOOD FRIDAY FAST & ABSTINENCE: On Good Friday, all Catholics age 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat. Likewise, all Catholics 18 years old to 59 are obliged to fast: take only one full meal and two small meals are to be eaten, with no snacks between meals, as a sign of penance on the day of Christ’s saving death. If one is ill, or weakened because of bad health, these rules do not apply.

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 25th.

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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 17, 2013 $ 12,947.00
Sunday March 18, 2012 $ 13,834.84
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

March 31st, Sunday Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9.

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: 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: $31,762. Please be generous.

Divine Mercy Sunday: Low Sunday, April 7th: A Holy Hour 1:00-2:00 PM with the Holy Rosary, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

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 23, 2013
4:00 +Deceased members of the Curioni Family req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 24, 2013
7:30 +Michelina Cicarelli req. Debbie Sandri and Terry DiGiacomo-Galla
8:30 +Bill Duggan req. Marchetti Family
10:00 +Francis Cronin req. Family
11:30 +William Borkowski req. Ann and Michael Borkowski
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 25, 2013
8:00 Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Conception req. Montanise Paulemon
12:10 +Joseph Davy req. Ann Lepore
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
8:00 +Mary Windsor req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
12:10 Special Intentions Ricardo Rene req. Ferry G.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
8:00 +Patrick Uva req. Frank and Beth Carpanzano
12:10 In Honor of the Blessed Mother and Saint Jude req. Duffy Family
8:00pm Tenebrae Service
TRIDUUM SACRUM
HOLY THURSDAY, March 28 -The church remains open until 12 midnight for Adoration.
NO 8AM or 12:10PM Masses
8:00PM: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: People of the Parish

GOOD FRIDAY, March 29
NO 8AM or 12:10 PM Masses
3:00PM Liturgy of Lord’s Passion

HOLY SATURDAY, March 30
NO 8AM, 12:10PM or 4PM MASSES
8:00PM Easter Vigil: +Brian Murray req. Monsignor DiGiovanni

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-8thgrades-High Schoolers welcome Contact-Ferry203-324-1553 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 27th.

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!

John’s in THE ADVOCATE:
110 years ago, or so:
April 3, 1903: PALM SUNDAY MUSIC. “A musical program of unusual interest has been arranged for the evening service in St. John’s R.C. Church next Sunday, which is Palm Sunday. The soloists will be Miss Cora Marian Purviance, Mrs. Robert Hurd, Miss May Foley, John A. O’Neil and Joseph Greeney. Elmer T. Joyce is organist and choir director. The program follows:
Introduction and soprano solo, from “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” Dubois, Miss Cora Marian Purviance.
Baritone solo and chorus, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Deus est mortis, Joseph Greeney and chorus.
Contralto solo, “Ave Maria,” luzzi, Mrs. Robert Hurd.
Tenor solo, “The Palms,” Faure, John O’Neill.
Soprano solo, “O Divine Redeemer,” Gounod, Miss Purviance.
Chorus, “Adoremus te Christi,” Dubois.
Selections from Rossini’s “Stabat Mater.”
“Quis est homo,” duet, Miss Purviance and Mrs. Hard.
“Fae ut portem,” contralto solo, Mrs. Hard.
“Infiaterutus,” soprano solo and chorus, Miss Pruviance and full choir.
Benediction-”O Salutaris,” soprano solo, Miss May Foley.
“Tantum Ergo,” solo and chorus.
“Laudate Dominum,” Haydn.”

100 years ago, or so:
March, 1913: Catholic News Notes. “Next Sunday evening, the choir of St. John’s Church will render the usual Palm Sunday musical program. Two years ago, “The Seven Last Words” was sung, and last year “Bethany” was given. This year selections from the well-known sacred works will be sung, instead of a single oratorio.”

10 years ago, or so:
April 9, 2001: “Area Christians joined those worldwide yesterday to observe Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. The week culminates with Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At. St. John the Evangelist Church on Atlantic Street in Stamford, hundreds of Catholics held blessed palm fronds during noon Mass. The palms signify when Jesus entered Jerusalem, days before his arrest and crucifixion. Palms are a tradition among Catholics and other Christian faiths, said Monsignor Stephen DiGiovanni of St. John’s. But around the world, the tradition varies, he said. In some countries, olive branches are used because of their availability.”

The Battle of Prayer
-Fr. Terry Walsh

St. Therese offered a wonderful image of our relationship with God the Father in The Story of a Soul. Picture the Father standing at the top of a staircase looking with love upon the little child trying to climb up to Him. The child is simply too small to lift its leg over that first step in order to climb up to the next step. Yet, the Father beckons it to keep on trying, knowing full well that the child simply can’t succeed on its own. After a short time, the Father extends a helping hand down to the child and helps lift it up to the second step and the whole exchange begins again and again, all the way to the top. It’s the child’s desire for God that prompts the Father to respond. Likewise, when we persist in our effort to climb the stairs in our relationship with God, He provides all the grace necessary to reach Him. Persistence and humility are the keys, motivated by love.

St. John Vianney, patron Saint for parish priests, said: “Prayer is nothing else but union with God. When one has a heart that is pure and united with God, he is given a kind of sweetness that makes him ecstatic, a light surrounds him with marvelous brightness. In this intimate union, God and the soul are fused together like two bits of wax that no one can ever pull apart. This union of God with a tiny creature is a lovely thing. It is a happiness beyond understanding.” Each of us is that “tiny creature” searching for that clear path to intimate communication with God. The world tries to corrupt our understanding of this relationship by convincing us that if we consider ourselves “little” we are weak and of no importance; that we must accumulate lots of “stuff” to demonstrate our “worth”- the “stuff” taking on a variety of forms – material stuff, wrong-headed ideas stuff, and so on. And yet, the Saints teach us just the opposite. St. Paul tells us that “when I am weak, that is when I am strong.” One can only comprehend what he means by that if one practices the virtue of humility and so grows in the grace of understanding.

St. Therese developed an entire theology on “littleness” – the “little way” and St. John Vianney tells us in so many words that it is the only path. While the world makes all sorts of noise and tempts us with a wide variety of distractions, seeking to draw our gaze away from the Father’s encouraging voice from the top of the steps, we nonetheless must persist in our reach for the Father. Vianney writes, “My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the soul and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” What a faith-filled image that great Saint paints for us. Aren’t the Saints great? They teach us even from heaven. They help us climb the stairs. They are the real heroes, having climbed one stair at a time themselves. They rejoiced in each step, recognizing that it was only possible with the Father’s help, and they were filled with love for Him simply knowing that they were loved by Him. Vianney concluded, “I often think that when we come to adore the Lord, we would receive everything we ask for, if we would just ask with a living faith and a pure heart.” And the noise would simply drift away…..