For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday April 28, 2013

Pastor’s Corner:

Pastors CornerThe Catholic Church has always employed the arts as vehicles for spreading the Gospel. Why? Because beauty offers easier access to the deepest realities of God than do words. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, or so the saying goes, and it is true.

For instance, one of the earliest images of Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, first seen in the Christian early catacombs in Rome, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. But the image was not limited to funereal art. Tertullian wrote that as early as 210 a.d., the Good Shepherd was one of the most popular images found on chalices used at Mass [De pud. 7. 1; 10.12] . The image is based on the words of Our Lord, who described Himself saying, “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me” [John 10]. While Jesus referred to Himself as a shepherd, he was not one by profession. Yet, He employed the image as a way to describe His personal concern for us, His “sheep”, His followers. So, for the past 1,800 years, anyone seeing a picture of the Good Shepherd knows that it is an image of Jesus, even if there be no identifying sign nearby.

Another image Jesus used of Himself is the vine: “I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neighbor can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing” [John 15: 1; 6-9] .

If you look around our basilica, you will see golden grape vines with broad leaves and bunches of grapes, along much of the decorative woodwork: in the sanctuary, above the wood paneling. Nearby, lower down the wood paneling, you will find dark wooden arches, which are carved to look like branches with thorns on them. Both the grape vines and the thorns encircle the walls of the basilica: on top of the confessionals, along the choir loft wall and the glass and wood partition wall beneath, leading to the front door.

These vines form an image of our union with Christ: we derive our very life from Him. As branches are united to the Vine, who is Christ, through the shedding of His Blood—on the Cross, suggested by the thorns that formed His Crown. We share in the Body and Blood of Christ Crucified and Risen from the Dead every time we receive Holy Communion. Our union with Christ comes not by mere registration in the parish; nor by sharing ideas about Jesus, nor even by sharing Faith. Those are all basic starting points for a deeper relationship with Our Lord. The real relationship with Him comes by sharing His Divine Life through the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism, but coming to its fullness in the Eucharist. We are united with Christ by eating His Body and drinking His Blood—by taking the Resurrected Jesus into ourselves, literally, so He can transform us [John 6:52-59].

That is why He used another image of Himself: “I am the bread of life”. The entire 6th chapter of John’s Gospel is about Jesus as the Bread of Life: those who didn’t like the idea of eating His Body and drinking His Blood, left and went away. And Jesus let them go away, and turned on His Apostles to ask if what He had said was too much for them to accept, as well. He did not back down; He did not water down what He said by suggesting He had been speaking only symbolically. Jesus doesn’t fool around with our salvation! Some images He used are symbolic; most are not, including those by which He identified Himself as the Vine and the Bread of Life, the Shepherd and the Sheep gate. And all are part of Catholic art.

Spend some time looking around the basilica: the artwork is not there for prettiness: everything, from the colors chosen, to the images in the stained glass, and the plaster work, woodwork and carved marble work, all have meaning about Jesus and His plan for our salvation.

Salvation is too important and serious a work to be accomplished only by symbols: and the best way we can describe that mysterious and loving actions by God for our benefit is by the use of beauty in music, poetry, painting and sculpture, because these media speak directly to the heart and soul about the deepest mysteries of God.

—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Maureen Henry James, Diane Grant, Huong Diep Nguyen, 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, Flint Moger, Kathleen Moger, Catherine Olnek, Margaret Kelly, Julia Oliveira.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Felix Boursiquot, Helen Moger, Alfred Preziosi, Brian M. Murray, Fr. James C. Hoge, O.S.B., Fr. David Howell, 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.

Catholic Home Missions Collection . . . Please drop your special envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

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 29th.

Easter Duty: Each Catholic is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once yearly, during the Easter Season (Easter, March 31st—Pentecost, May 19th). That means each person should also go to Confession at least once yearly, to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord worthily.

Banns of Marriage: Banns III: Russell S. Loesch and Caitlin M. Harkins

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

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Will not meet in May.

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. 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. Info: 203-324-1553.

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 at 1508 High Ridge Road: cost is $15 for adults/ $5 for students under 18. For information and tickets, please call 203-329-1183.

Relics of Saints: A very generous parishioner has donated a collection of more than 300 saints’ relics to our parish. They are organized in reliquaries by month. So, as you can see on the Saint Joseph Altar, there is a reliquary to the left of the tabernacle, and each month it will house the relics of saints whose feast days are celebrated that month. So, for April, the saints’ relics are: Saints Theodosia, Francis de Paola, Pancras, Theodulus, Zeno, Pope Sixtus I, Cyriacus, Denis, Hilarius, Terence, Pope Leo I, Victor, Heriman, Valerian, Basilissa, Julia, Fortunatus, Anselm, Soter, George, Vitalis, Peter Martyr, Catherine of Siena. The Saints are still members of the living Church, and we are joined to them through Our Lord, especially each time we offer Holy Mass and receive the Eucharist. Pray to them for your own intentions and for those of your family and friends, that they may intercede at the throne of God on your behalf.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday April 21, 2013 $ 10,579.00
Sunday April 22 2012 $ 11,264.92
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

May 5th, Sunday Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; Jn 14:23-29.

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: $45,502. 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. Tickets can be purchased on the parish website or at the parish rectory office. All proceeds will be used for the repair, restoration and repainting of our 1850 Greek Revival 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.

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.

Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God, who is love and mercy. 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, connecting 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, or click onto www.birthright.org.

Job Seekers: Meets the 4th Monday monthly in the rectory at 7:30pm: There’s no charge. 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: Monday, May 27th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, April 27, 2013
4:00 Special Intentions Margaret Chu req. Joseph and Agnes Kung

Sunday, April 28, 2013
7:30 +Anthony Lepore req. Rose Lepore
8:30 +James and Ismalia Machado req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
10:00 Special Intentions Mabel Lewis req. Norma Jarrett
11:30 Special Intentions Tessie Mulhern req. Margie, Ernie, Brian, Mark Mulhern
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family

Monday, April 29, 2013
8:00 +Sister Gerard Barattino, FMA req. Dr. Joe McAleer
12:10 +Louise D’Onofrio req. Margaret Fitzpatrick

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
8:00 +William Yates req. Clara and Lisa D’Acunto
12:10 +Willie Longo req. Terri Rizzo

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Deceased members Cappiello and Cebulski Family req. Duffy Family

Thursday, May 2, 2013
8:00 +Joan Edmonds req. Larry Bolanowski
12:10 +Andrew – AJ – Hoenig req. Terri Rizzo

Friday, May 3, 2013
8:00 Faithful Departed
12:10 Special Intentions Heloise Nana

Saturday, May 4, 2013
8:00 +Mark Czytowski req. Ewa Czytowska
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.

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: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: Will not meet in May.

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:
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
135 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
April 28, 1876: “Right Rev. Bishop Galberry, of the R.C. diocese of Connecticut <sic>, confirmed between four-hundred and fifty and five-hundred persons, in St. John’s R.C. church, in Stamford, last Sunday.”

100 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
May 2, 1913: FR. COLEMAN PROMOTED. “Rev. Nicholas P. Coleman, for nearly three years assistant pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church of this city, has been appointed to the pastorate of a new parish formed from the west side of St. John’s parish of this city and from the east side of St. Mary’s parish, Greenwich. Father Coleman came to Stamford in July, 1910, and his zealous, intelligent and kindly work among his parishioners won for him the love of all with whom he became acquainted. Father Coleman will be succeeded here by Rev. Thomas Sullivan.”

50 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
May 1, 1963: Event To Promote Boys’ Interest In Becoming Priests. “A Day of Recollection for sixth, seventh and eighth grade boys to promote ocations to the priesthood will be held May 5 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at St. Cecilia’s Church in Springdale. The Rev. William A. Nagle of St. John’s, Noroton and the Rev. Pierre A. Botton of Springdale, assistant vocational directors for the Deanery, will address the group.”

THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
20 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
May, 1993: to be ordained. “Albert D. Audette, Jr., a native of Central Falls, RI, is the son of the late Albert and Mary Audette. He attended elementary schools in Rhode Island and St. Raphael’s Academy in Pawtucket. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Nebraska, and an M.A. degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Father Audette studied at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA, and was ordained to the transitional deaconate on December 5, 1992. He served his deacon internship at Our Lady of Calvary Parish in Philadelphia, PA.”

10 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
May, 2004: Four men to be ordained. “On Saturday, May 22, Bishop William E. Lori will ordain four new priests for the Diocese of Bridgeport. Father Terrence P. Walsh, 44, grew up in Bristol, the son of Jack and the late Margaret Walsh. He graduated from St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH. He will celebrate his first Mass at St. John’s, Stamford, May 23.”

Come, O Most Holy Spirit, Come
– Fr. Terry Walsh

God has revealed Himself to as a personal God. He is not simply some unknowable distant force. He has revealed Himself as the essence of love, of purity, of holiness, and He is knowable to all who seek Him. He has revealed Himself as One God, but Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is of course the greatest Mystery of our faith and through our assent of faith, that is, through our ‘yes’ to God, we are given bountiful graces to grow in our understanding. This gift of faith is sustained and nourished most especially through our personal encounters with Jesus in the each of the seven Sacraments. Each Sunday, just after hearing the Word of God, we proclaim our ‘yes’ when we stand and assert our Catholic Faith. During the course of our prayer, we say the words: “I believe in the Holy Spirit” – a distinct and equal Person of the Trinity. “The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God”(Gal. 4:6). “When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals Him”(Catechism, Article 689).

The Holy Spirit unites the faithful into the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ as He gives and sustains supernatural Divine life. St. Gregory of Nyssa describes this holy “anointing” in this way: “The notion of anointing suggests… that there is no distance between the Son and the Spirit. Indeed, just as between the surface of the body and the anointing with oil neither reason nor sensation recognizes any intermediary, so the contact of the Son with the Spirit is immediate, so that anyone who would make contact with the Son by faith must first encounter the oil by contact. In fact there is no part that is not covered by the Holy Spirit. That is why the confession of the Son’s Lordship is made in the Holy Spirit by those who receive him, the Spirit coming from all sides to those who approach the Son in faith.” At Baptism, we are anointed with the Sacred Chrism (Holy Oil specially blessed by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass) on the crown of our heads and we hear the words: “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into His holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of His Body, sharing everlasting life.” In the Sacrament of Confirmation, which completes Christian Initiation, we are anointed by the Holy Spirit when the Bishop traces the sign of the Cross on our foreheads, once again with the Sacred Chrism, and says: “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” Recall the words of St. Paul, “…those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit…to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace…But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through His Spirit who dwells in you”(Romans 8:5ff).

“Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit’.”(Jn3:5-8). At Baptism, we are literally born of water and the Spirit, as the Holy Spirit penetrates our hearts and souls breathing the life of Divine Grace into us and refashioning our souls, as it were, to begin our new and eternal life in the Body of Christ. As we progress in the Spiritual life by receiving nourishment that flows from the Sacrifice of Jesus, we’re able to be formed more and more into His Divine Likeness – in holiness – in love. St. John of the Cross put it this way: “God communicates himself most to that soul that has progressed farthest in love; namely, that has it’s will in closest conformity with the will of God. And the soul that has attained complete conformity and likeness of will is totally united and transformed in God supernaturally.” It’s the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit that transform our wounded nature into the Divine.

Jesus – the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit – the Breath of God were “hidden” in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament as the Prophet Isaiah tells us (c.750B.C.): “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse (Jesus Christ), and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord”(Isaiah 11: 1- 2). Once baptized, we’re transformed by grace and become “living tabernacles” of the Trinity. As we grow in docility to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and seek to “Do the Father’s Will” then, ‘the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ.’ Like the Apostles, we share in the outpouring of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit and are called to participate in the same mission.