For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 31, 2013

Christ's Passion

Pastor’s Corner: Happy Easter! Our Lord’s love for each of us is so extraordinary that no one is left out: He wished to save those alive and even those who had died before Him. The 16th century woodcut on the left is by Albrecht Durer. Like our Resurrection window to the right above the high altar, the guards are asleep as Christ rises from the grave: an image of the inattentiveness of humanity to Christ, even as He works to save us from eternal death.

This is a third century homily for Holy Saturday, a meditation on Christ’s descent into Hell: God had become man to redeem all aspects of human existence, even the eternal effects of mankind’s abandonment of God through sin—Hell, in which were all the dead since Adam. Christ, “who knew no sin, became sin”, as St. Paul wrote, took on the guilt of all human sin, and experienced even that final abandonment—allowing Himself to become repugnant to the Father, as the means to pay for mankind’s abandonment of God. His descent into Hell extended the power of the Cross to the dead—on Satan’s home court, granting them a share in His triumph over death by His bodily Resurrection:

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence and stillness, a silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and had fallen still, for God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping in death from the ages. God is dead in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled. Truly, He goes to seek our first parent like a lost sheep. He wills to visit those who sit in the dark shadows of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his wife Eve from their grievous captivity, He who is God, and Adam’s son.”

“The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, the Cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees Him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping Adam’s hand raises him up, saying: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

“I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison [Hades, cf I Pet 3:19]: Come forth, and to those in darkness: have light, and to those who sleep: Rise.”

“I command you: Awake, sleeper! I did not create you to lie bound in Hell. Arise from the dead, for I am life to those who have died. Rise up, work of my hands, my likeness, made in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.”

“For your sake I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form, that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden [Eden], I was handed over from the garden [of Olives] and crucified in a garden [Golgotha].”

“See the spittle on my face—it was for you, that you might have the breath of life again. See my cheeks reddened by the blows—it was for you, that you might be remade in my image. See my torn back—it was for you, that I might take the load of sin from your shoulders. See the nail-marks in my hands—it was for you, because you once put your hand to the fruit of the forbidden tree.”

“I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep of death in Hades; my sword has checked the sword [of the angel guarding Eden] which was turned against you.”

“Arise, let us go hence. Satan, the enemy, brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but I have a heavenly throne prepared for you. I denied you the tree of life, which was only a symbol, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life itself. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now, the cherubim shall bow down before you” [Patrologia Greca, 43: 439].

As we celebrate with our families today, let us remember why we celebrate: Because God, who created us in His image and likeness, humbled Himself to become a creature—one of us— in order to raise us up to share His Divine Life in the flesh. Our Lord died on the Cross to destroy the power of sin; He rises in His body to free all humankind from eternal death, all because He loves us so very much. The Lord is risen; He is truly risen! Happy Easter!
-Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Kevin O’Byrne, Paul Cavallo, Peter Baccaro, 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, Julia Oliveira.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Brian M. Murray, Mario Stano, Raymond Jean-Rene, 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.

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

Easter Duty. . . Each Catholic is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once yearly, during the Easter Season (Easter—Pentecost, May 19th). That means each person should also go to Confession at least once yearly, in order to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord worthily.

Divine Mercy Sunday: Low Sunday, April 7th: A Holy Hour 3:00-4:00 PM with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

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.

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

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 April 1st.

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 next meet during the Wednesdays of May in the Rectory at 7:30 pm. Our moderator will be Msgr. DiGiovanni, who will lead us in reading a spiritual classic by Saint Maximus the Confessor: The Life of the Virgin. All are welcome to attend!

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.

Papal Coat of Arms

The Holy Father has decided to retain his coat of arms from Buenos Aires, representing the Holy Family: the Sunburst in the top center bears the first three Greek letters for the Holy Name of Jesus: IHS, topped by a cross, beneath which are the three nails of Christ’s crucifixion. This is also the symbol of the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits—of which Pope Francis is a member. The star at the bottom left refers to Our Lady, and the cluster of grapes on the bottom right, to Saint Joseph. The miter atop the shield reminds us that the pope is the Bishop of Rome, and the crossed gold and silver keys, remind us that he is the Successor of Saint Peter: the keys being symbolic of the authority Christ gave Saint Peter of judgment [silver key] and mercy [gold key], to forgive sins and define truth. His motto: Miserando atque Eligendo: “Having mercy and choosing”, comes from a homily [#21] by the Venerable Bede, commenting on Jesus’ calling of the tax collector St. Matthew as an apostle: “Jesus looked at him with the inner eye of compassion and chose him, saying: ‘Follow me’.” God chooses us to experience His great mercy, not because anyone merits His mercy, but because He loves each of us so much. We, therefore, must imitate Christ by being merciful to everyone around us. The Pope’s coat of arms, and those of the Basilica, are displayed on the face of the choir loft.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 24, 2013 $ 13,135.00
Sunday March 25, 2012 $ 12,459.41
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

April 7th, Sunday Readings: Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; Jn 20:19-31.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Has begun. Many parishioners may have already received a letter from the Diocese. 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: $36,382. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.

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.

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: Supports women with unplanned pregnancies to bring their babies to term, providing pregnancy tests, listening 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. Call 348-4355 if interested. See www.birthright.org .

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.

Holy Roots! Continued: The Stamford Historical Society will host an afternoon presentation about the development of various churches in Stamford on Sunday, April 28th from 2-5 PM. This year highlights the Stamford Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church, with emphasis on Stamford’s Gilded Age (1868-1893). The Stamford Historical Society is located on 1508 High Ridge Road: cost is $15 for adults/ $5 for students under 18. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please call 203-329-1183.

THE GOSPEL OF LIFE SOCIETY: This group which is devoted to maintaining a culture of life based on Pope John Paul II’s Evangelicum Vitae encyclical meets on the second Saturday of each month at St Mary Church, 669 West Ave, Norwalk for a Pro-Life Mass at 9:00 A.M. followed by a meeting at 10:00A.M. The next meeting on April 13, 2013 will feature Leticia Velasquez, author of “A Special Mother is Born,” who co-founded KIDS (Keep Infants With Down Syndrome) to raise awareness of the 92% abortion rate of babies with Downs Syndrome.

Job Seekers: Next meeting is this 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.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 30, 2013
4:00 NO 4PM MASS
8:00PM Easter Vigil – +Brian Murray req. Monsignor DiGiovanni
Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013
7:30 People of the Parish
8:30 People of the Parish
10:00 People of the Parish
11:30 People of the Parish
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, April 1, 2013
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Martin Santiago req. Marie Pearl Mayo
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Helen Cappiello req. Duffy Family
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
8:00 +Gene Tushaj req. Age
12:10 +Rolando Garcia req. Irsa Garcia
Thursday, April 4, 2013
8:00 +Anthony Carlucci req. Marguerite and Gene Giaquinto
12:10 +Barbara Owen req. the Collins Family
Friday, April 5, 2013
8:00 Faithful Departed
12:10 Monsignor DiGiovanni req. Ferry G.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
8:00 +Patrick Kevin Harding req. Mary Bridget Gaine
12:10 +Robbie, Mary and Raymond 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-8thgrades-High Schoolers welcomeContact-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, May 1st.

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:
130 years ago, or so:
April 22, 1881: “In the Roman Catholic church Easter is always a high day. The music last Sunday was especially good in the evening, at vespers. The choir was assisted on this occasion by Mr. Griswold, Mr. Parker and Mr. E. Carey. The soprano of the regular choir, Miss Annie Weed, was in splendid voice for the evening programme, and sang her solos to the evident pleasure of the vast congregation, who listened with intense delight to the music throughout. It was quite apparent that Mr. Chas. W. Smith, the accomplished organist, had taken great pains in preparing the programme and drilling the choir, for the result was very satisfactory. His own part was rendered in a masterly way and the new organ of the church, with its beautiful variety of stops, which he knows so well how to combine, was made to speak forth in pleasing tempo, as can alone be done by one familiar with the mechanical construction of the “king of instruments.” Rev. Father Walsh delivered an address in the evening on the lessons of the resurrection of Christ, as pleasing and as orthodox as one could wish to hear from any pulpit.”

75 years ago, or so:
March 29, 1937: Churches Are Filled At Easter Sunday Services. “Thousands of Stamford people attended church services here, Easter Sunday, participating in religious celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Preaching at St. John’s R.C. Church, Rev. Charles
Hagaerty said in part: “The eternal Galilean has conquered the world, and His victory is complete. The Angel of Death slowly and somberly folds back the dark wings overhanging the living crucifix on Calvary’s Hill. Its writhing victim is now still. He who called Himself King of the Jews now stand a lifeless corpse, exposed to the chilly evening wind of the now darkened Jerusalem. Never has any man spoken as this man, but He would speak no more. No more would He uncover and expose the foolish wisdom of the proud Scribes and Pharisees. No more would He blaspheme and call Himself the Christ. He who had saved others could not save Himself. Saturday passed and the Roman world was now at ease. But when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and the mother of James and Salome came early to the tomb that they might anoint His body with sweet spices. And as they stood at the tomb, behold an angel spoke His unwritten epitaph: ‘He is risen; He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him’. Armed with the sacred truth of Christ’s Resurrection, my dear Catholic brethren, we, too go forth to direct our lives to Christ. Let its truth sink into our souls, and nothing can ever loosen its grasp. This the Risen Christ cries out today to each of us today to suffer with Him and to die with Him that we may one day rise with Him.”

Christ our Light
– Fr. Terry Walsh

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”(Jn 10:10)

My first year of Theology in Major Seminary was the Jubilee Year, 2000. Naturally, the Church offered many special graces for the faithful throughout the world. One of those graces was the chance to view the Shroud of Turin, the burial garment of our Lord. On our first free weekend, 15 of my classmates and I took the overnight train from Rome to Turin so that we might have a glimpse of the Holy Shroud. It was an amazing experience, a grace filled moment. One of the most startling things I learned about the Shroud was that the Image left upon the cloth was the result of a “Radiant Light” characteristic of a Nuclear Blast. It was the immediate image left at the moment of His Resurrection. He has Risen! He is God! And he has come to rescue his sheep and to put His enemies beneath His feet. The Light will not be extinguished. He has triumphed over death and offers life to all who follow Him.

Light shines on the darkness and reveals the Truth. Darkness, on the other hand, reminds us of falsehood, of sin, and ultimately of death. In John’s Gospel we hear these words: “In Him [the Word, Jesus Christ] was life, and the life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. The True Light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” Consider Jesus miraculous birth in the Stable. Indeed, throughout His public Ministry, he enlightened all his witnesses by miracle after miracle, teaching after teaching, enlightening all who followed Him. At His Transfiguration, His glory was revealed once again in blinding light. How is it then that so many remained in the dark?

As Jesus “Hour” approached, the true intentions of the hearts of all were made manifest. Many preferred the “cozy cave of ignorance” rather than the “Light of Christ.” In order to receive the Light, the human heart must be willing to let go of false teachings that may seem “comfortable” and instead freely choose to walk in the Light – even when that walk requires some extra effort. To leave what is comfortable can be difficult. Contemplating Jesus words requires humility and a desire for Truth. Putting those words into action requires some work, perhaps even some manner of purification, which would naturally involve some measure of suffering. In the end, it becomes a decision to love. There is no love without sacrifice. Sadly, many looked upon Jesus as one who simply drew attention to Himself for some selfish reason. They accused Him of bringing division to the so-called “community.” Their hearts were in the dark and their lack of humility revealed their own selfish desires. Their refusal to be transformed by the Light ultimately led to shouts of “Crucify Him!” They sought to extinguish the Light. They missed the point entirely. Jesus came to give life. But they “had not the love of God within them”(John 5:42).

As they mocked him while he suffered His frightful agony upon the Cross, their pride punctuated a false victory over He who exposed their deceit, their contempt for God. Opening His side with the lance, the final blow of hate, would instead reveal the Light of Truth. The Blood and Water that flowed from His Wounded Sacred Heart became the very Light of divine grace that would wash away the darkness. In His Glorified Body, streams of Healing Light beam from His Merciful Heart and all who seek Him with humility and love are filled with this Light. “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will have the Light of Life”(John 8:12). “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We receive this Light most abundantly through the Sacraments. It is precisely sacramental grace that transforms our souls making us holy; sacrament grace imparts wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude, as well as awe and wonder. As we grow in grace, we walk more and more in the Light. It’s that simple. It is the “well lit path” that leads to Heaven. When we walk in the Light we will not fall into the snags and potholes of falsehoods, lies, deceits, and spiritual laziness that try to derail us from union with God. We just need to take that 1st step – that act of faith in our heart. Open the door just a crack and let the Radiant Light of Christ lead you from the darkness into the warmth and peace and joy and happiness of life IN HIM. He has Risen! He has come to give life…