For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Aug 25, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: Thursday, August 29th is the Feast of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. For those unaware of the essentials of the Church’s Faith, this may appear odd. In today’s culture, martyrdom of any variety is viewed as fanatical. Even simple penances like fasting are seen as bizarre, especially since our society disdains any self denial of any pleasure as excessive. Likewise, in view of the frequency of Moslem extremists killing themselves to destroy America, all religions and public expression of religion are suspect as crazed. Catholic martyrdom, however, is not about political power. For the Catholic Church, the basic bottom line principals for all actions, public or private, are two:

1) You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind and strength;

2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

This was the foundational outline Our Lord gave when asked about the most important of the Ten Commandments, upon which daily life is based for one who claims to love God [Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31].

So, for the Catholic Church everything must be done first to please God, which means, doing His Will in our daily lives; next, to benefit those around us. True martyrdom, therefore, can never harm others. There are nuts in all institutions and communities. One is not a martyr simply because one claims to die for religion, but which kills the innocent. One is a martyr who prefers to die rather than to deny God by word or deed.

John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets of the Old Testament, the first of the New, was an authentic martyr. He preferred to die for the truth, rather than to deny God. He did not take dozens of people along with him when he died. He was beheaded in his prison cell, alone, except for those few sent by King Herod to kill him. Why did he die? What good did his death produce? The good done was the clear witness he gave by his death that God’s will must preferred to all else, otherwise, tragedy results, both individual and societal. In the midst of every day life, we all fudge doing God’s will; we cheat on what we consider small stuff, or private stuff, because “God understands” the pressures of our daily lives. He does understand, and He knows the truth that “the Devil is in the details” of life. John the Baptist died because he was impolitic enough to continue telling the truth when he had been officially instructed to stop. The topic was the adulterous relationship of the king with his brother’s wife. King Herod, already married, banished his wife and child, and took his brother’s wife for himself; the relationship was also seen as incestuous. These days, neither adultery nor incest rank high on America’s list of deadly sins—if such a list exist at all, outside the Catholic Church, of course. But the series of evil events leading to the relationship of King Herod with his brother’s wife were serious, indeed, for they broke both of the two Commandments listed above, and, therefore, were highly offensive to God and, therefore, very harmful for others. Since the king was perceived to be God’s representative, then the king’s immoral and destructive lifestyle could be misjudged as admirable. John the Baptist would not stand for that. So, by repeating the truth and calling Herod to conversion and repentance, John worked for the king’s salvation and that of everyone in Israel who might try to imitate the king’s immorality.

The truth John died for was this: the primacy of God, in both private and public life. Once you decide that God’s will is second to your own will, everything—I do mean everything—begins to fall apart. Not because God seeks vengeance for rule breaking; rather, because by doing that which offends God you deny God’s authority, and in so doing, harm yourself and others because you allow yourself to do anything you decide to do. Everyone then becomes a disposable item, whose only value is usefulness to you, right now. Business, government, international relations, personal relationships, family bonds, all become meaningless, once we set God’s will aside, and make our own agenda the most important. Why? Because once we judge our agenda to be most important, everyone else and everything becomes subject to our will and agenda: people and things are good only if they help us attain our goal; people and things are bad if they hinder our attaining our goal. Simplistic? No: Accurate. The Devil IS in the details—of everyday life. The way we treat people in private is the way we treat them in public. People are either things to be used to satisfy ourselves, or they are the image of God. King Herod saw everyone as disposable, in private and in public: he could kill his brother-in-law, andhis first two wives and his sons, because he lusted for his brother’s wife; he could use his brother’s wife to satisfy himself; he could kill the Jews, St. John the Baptist and his servants, because he wanted to achieve his political goals and satisfy his illicit, immoral desires. Kings should act better, and John knew it.

So, John the Baptist refused to stop his public protests. He wasn’t a prude about things sexual. He simply understood that the way the King treated people in private—as if God did not exist—was the same way the King treated people in public—as if God did not exist. And the result was tragedy, great pain and suffering for tens of thousands. John spoke the truth—God’s will must be primary in all aspects of daily life, public and private. Herod privately was attracted by John’s preaching. But, his ego and many lusts for personal gratification drowned out his longing to follow John’s preaching. Herod’s god was Herod, and the satisfying of his desires— and, because he was king, they were matters of State importance. John paid for Herod’s self-idolatry and life of lies that used people as things. He died for truth and for the God of truth.

Spend some time reading the Gospel accounts of St. John’s work and his martyrdom [Mt: 3: 1-17; 11:1-6; 14: 1-12; Mk 1: 1-11; 6: 14-29; Lk 3; 7: 18-30; Jn 1: 6-9; 1: 19-36; 3: 22-37]. Love the Lord with your whole heart, mind and soul; love your neighbor as yourself. No one gets hurt, and life is better now and for eternity. – Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Nancy Gallagher, Maria Wnek, Reno Antonio Rosa, Silvana Smith, Juanita Evans, Joseph W. Evans, Connie Ward, Billy Therriault, Ron DeCamp, Keith Nicholson, Connor Walsh, Katherine Jean Kirby, O.S.F., John Duffy, Mary Rose Bauer, Mary Bauer, Catherine Olnek, Gertha Laurent, Alexandra Laurent, Jean Galasso, Jesus Orbagosa, Gary Everett, Robert Jegle, Bonnie Keyes, Thomas Beirne, Patrick A. Toole, Sr., Katherine Klass, Patricia McNamee, Ian Rice, Diane Grant, Huong Diep Nguyen, Kevin O’Byrne, Paul Cavalli, Peter Baccaro, Megan Bobroske, Harrie Humphreys.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Joseph Michael Kirkland, Harry Parson, Stephen Boccuzzi, John DeDomenici, Scott Clark, Richard Agnew, M. Esther Hart, Cliff Linquist, Kathy Robustelli, Yvette Constant, Sr. Fernanda, P.O.S.C., Anne Zerrenner, Gloria Donahue, Donald Sabia, Robert Luden, Donna Fraleigh, Frances White, Hugh Troshynski, Sheila Catherine Beirne, Edward Cipri.

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

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 August 26th.

Banns of Marriage: Banns I: Allen Drenzek and Rian Heffron

Latin Reading Group: Cancelled for the summer.

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. Call the rectory for information.

Padre Pio: September 21st: MARK YOU CALENDAR: A display of original photos of Saint Padre Pio and champagne reception in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the saint’s death. The Msgr. Nagle Hall: 5:30-9:00 pm, Sponsored by the Puglia Center of America and the Diocese of Manfredonia. Everyone’s welcome: books of his photos will be available.

Holy Name Society: Each Friday morning at 7:00 in the Rectory, 30+ parish men of all ages meet for coffee followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, prayer, a spiritual conference and Benediction, ending at 7:50, just in time to go to Mass or work—or both! All men of the parish are welcome: just walk in the front or back door of the rectory, they’re unlocked, and follow your nose to the coffee and your ears to the conversation and laughter. Join us.

Sacred Heart Church: Stamford’s Italian National Parish, is celebrating The 90th Anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone.  Sacred Heart will be holding a fundraiser featuring “The Sicilian Tenors” on September 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm in the Church. The Tenors will sing music from Hollywood, Broadway and Italy.  Donation for the ticket is $75.00 each. For more information or tickets, please contact Sacred Heart Rectory at 203-324-9544 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Begins anew this year each Wednesday evening during October, beginning on October 2nd at 7:30 pm in the Rectory. Being October, the month of Our Lady, we will read The Life of the Virgin by St. Maximus the Confessor. You can purchase the text on Amazon or Alibris: translated into English by Stephen Shoemaker, published by Yale University Press, 2012. A great spiritual classic: the oldest biography of Jesus’ Mother. Join us.

St. Leo 33rd Annual Parish Fair: 24 Roxbury Road, Stamford. Tuesday, August 27th through Friday, August 30th, from 6PM to 11PM and Saturday, August 31st, from 2PM to 11PM. Enjoy rides, games, live entertainment, international foods, bingo and our $10 raffle with a 1st prize 2013 Mercedes-Benz C300 4matic Sport. Information: call Denise Esposito at 203-322-1669 x227.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday August 18, 2013 $ 9,930.67
Sunday August 19, 2012 $ 11,907.90

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

Sept. 1st, Sunday Readings: Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a;Lk 14:1, 7-14.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. The funds collected are used for the numerous charitable and educational works of the Diocese. We have collected to date: $82,876.00. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.

Home Schooling Families: A group for home schooling families meets in the Msgr. Nagle Parish hall each First Friday, beginning October: Oct 4, Nov 1, Dec 6, Jan 3, Feb 7, March 7, April 4, May 2. 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 meetings on Two Tuesdays a month and other social/service events. For more information, please go to stjohnsflock.com or email core-team@stjohnsflock.com.

BIBLE STUDY: Fr. Walsh will lead our study of The Book of Isaiah, on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm in the Rectory, beginning November 6th. Bring your Bible.

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.

Electronic Giving – Offertory Donations Made Easy: Consider using your credit card for your weekly donation to St. John’s. Easier for you, and less costly for the parish than the printing and mailing of weekly envelopes, credit card giving automatically sends your weekly offering to the Basilica. Call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

Lost & Found: Please check in the Rectory for any items you may have left in the church. Feel free to call Cindy at the rectory, M-F, 9AM—1:30PM, 203-324-1553 x21.

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. Schedules are flexible, and training is provided. Call 348-4355 or www.birthright.org.

St. Clement Preschool: NAEYC Accredited & School Readiness Program open to all 3 & 4 year old children.  Please call (203)323-4844 for information & an appointment for a tour.  

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: This Monday, August 26th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, August 24, 2013
4:00 +Nancy Claire O’Shea req. John and Eileen Tarleton
Sunday, August 25, 2013
7:30 +Mark Czytowski req. Legion of Mary
8:30 +Margaret DiMartino req. Joseph A. Maker
10:00 +Walter Harrison req. Beth and Frank Carpanzano
11:30 +Angelina Candella req. Marchetti Family
5:00 +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, O.F.M., Cap.
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, August 26, 2013
8:00 Special Intention Maurice Staten req. Marie and Patrick McDermott
12:10 Catherine Hourican req. Bill
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
12:10 Special Intentions Dorothy Keyes req. Josephine
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
8:00 +Donald Mutz req. Bill Carello
12:10 +Andrew O. Mitchell and James Bosilevas req. Dorothy Keyes
Thursday, August 29, 2013
8:00 +Dr. John Sachs req. Mary Francis Malone
12:10 Salvatore Mancuso req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Friday, August 30, 2013
8:00 Keyes Family req. Dorothy Keyes
12:10 +Jack and Theresa Scalfari req. daughter Marion
Saturday, August 31, 2013
8:00 Barbra and George Freehill req. Scholastica and Andrew
12:10 +Gloria Adrian req. Dianne and Steve Talbot

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: Fridays, 7-10:30a.m., Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St.

St. Dominic Savio Society and St. Maria Goretti Society: Will resume in September.

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 Msgr. Nagle Hall. All are welcome.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Wednesdays, 7:30 pm in the rectory. Next meeting, October 2nd.

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: Starts again in September.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

145 years ago, or so:
August 28, 1868: “The St. Patrick’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society, of Stamford, held their excursion and picnic at Pembroke Grove, Bridgeport, on Wednesday last, and they had a fine time. In the morning they formed in procession, and marched to the depot, passing through the principal streets. Their appearance was imposing and they looked respectable and neat. Each member wore his badge, which are gotten up in good style. There were thirteen cars full of passengers on the picnic train. In Bridgeport they enjoyed themselves well, and returned home in good season, sober.”

130 years ago, or so:
September 1, 1882: “Burglars entered the residence of Rev. Father Rogers, Sunday night, but were frightened off before they had secured any plunder.”

90 years ago, or so:
September 1, 1922: STAMFORD MAN CANDIDATE FOR CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD. “Patrick Killeen of Stamford is among the candidates for the Catholic priesthood who have recently received seminary assignments from Right Rev. John J. Nilan, bishop of the diocese of Hartford, which includes Stamford. He has been assigned to St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore. The candidate is the son of the late Patrick Killeen and Mrs. Susan Killeen of 115 Richmond Hill Avenue. He was graduated from St. John’s school, and, after attending the Stamford High School, was entered at St. Thomas’ Seminary. He has been graduated from the latter school, and his next move is to St. Mary’s in Baltimore.”

80 years ago, or so:
August 30, 1933: FR. CALLAHAN IS PRESENTED PURSE. “A large gathering of members of the parish and friends throughout the community was present in the basement of St. John’s R. C. Church, last night, when Judge John F. Keating presented to the Rev. Henry M. Callahan, former assistant pastor of the local church, a purse as a testimonial from his well-wishers here. Father Callahan came down from Simsbury, where he is now pastor, for the reception given in his honor. He remained at the rectory over night and returned to Simsbury this morning. Judge Keating was chairman of the committee collecting the funds for the testimonial. He spoke of the esteem in which Father Callahan was held in Stamford when he made the presentation. Father Callahan responded graciously.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. Henry M. Callahan was an Assistant Pastor at St. John’s from 1917 through 1933. During that time he was also the principal of St. John’s School for several years. He organized the St. John’s Recreation Club in 1926.)

The Holy Land (“Thy Will Be Done!”)
– Fr. Terry Walsh

Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was meant to honor our Holy Father’s declaration of the Year of Faith, and from our first moments in the Holy Land and our visit to Bethlehem, it seemed our Lord was leading us into a deeper appreciation for that gift. One morning, in the wake of these rising tensions, we began our day with a short walk across the street from our hotel, which was perched atop the Mount of Olives. Our small band of pilgrims began to walk down a rather steep and narrow pathway that eventually brought us into the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It was, in fact, the very same path Jesus had taken as he rode upon the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday being hailed King. I wondered what thoughts might have passed through our Lord’s mind as he rode into the “City of Peace” knowing that he would return to this same Garden a few days later to be confronted with deceit and betrayal and finally enter into his deepest agony. Everything he did was about accomplishing the will of the Father with unwavering obedience in order to carry out his mission of redemption for the sake of our salvation. Likewise, he teaches us to recognize that our life, like His, is an encounter with the Cross and that if we turn to him in our need, he will provide the graces necessary to embrace it. As we neared the bottom of the Mount of Olives, we visited the Church of Gethsemane built over the Rock of Agony where our Lord suffered even to the point of sweating blood. There, we reflected upon the utter depth of his prayer to our heavenly Father. Adjacent to the Church surrounded by several 2000 year old olive trees, the Garden extended along a little way. We quietly entered the gate into the very still section of Gethsemane – perhaps where the Apostles were told to watch and pray. We gathered around the altar in the midst of the Garden and prepared to offer Mass. We heard the Gospel account of the agony of our Lord in the very place where it happened, calling to mind the horrible feeling of abandonment our Lord experienced there. Earlier in the week, we had visited the Church near the Sea of Galilee built on the spot where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the hungry crowd, a prefigurement of the Eucharist. Outside the Church in the courtyard, there was a circular stone olive press, in Aramaic, gath shemani -“Gethsemane.” Our guide described the process of pressing olive oil in the “Gethsemane”- crushing the olives between two heavy stones, the inner stone rotating in a circular way round and round, tighter and tighter, as if ringing water from a towel. The image called to mind the intense spiritual suffering endured by our Lord in this very Garden called “Gethsemane,” squeezing drop after drop of his precious Blood from his battered Body, all for love of us, fulfilling the Father’s will. The Garden of suffering had become a place of nourishment for us.

After offering Holy Mass, we made our way back to the top of the Mount of Olives and visited the Church Pater Noster, (The Our Father Church) believed to be the place where Jesus taught the disciples how to pray. As we entered the Carmelite Church, we walked through the open air courtyard and discovered great marble plaques fastened on the walls, adorned with the Our Father written in every language in the world. Seeing the Our Father displayed in so many different languages witnessed the universality of the Church and pointed to the One Father of us all. As we stepped into the grotto area, we prayed the Our Father in the various languages spoken by members of our group, one after the other. It was a beautiful, meditative, reverent moment of prayer, especially in light of our experience in the Garden of Gethsemane just moments earlier. Our Lord accompanied us each step of the way, pointing to the love of Our Father. Imagine the countless times those sacred words have reached up to heaven, in all these different languages, yet with the same faithful plea: praising and petitioning God for mercy, healing, and salvation. There was a palpable feeling of peace in this Church that seemed to permeate our little group, weaving together the various experiences in the Holy Land, drawing us into a deeper contemplation of the love of God and inspiring in us a deeper faith. On this Mount of Olives, Jesus taught this sacred prayer, first with words and then by example. We left the Mount of Olives and traveled to the picturesque village known as Ein Kerem (“Spring of the Vineyard”), a short ride away. It was in these wooded hills that the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth took place, as well as the birth of St. John the Baptist. We walked up to the Church built over the birthplace of the Precursor of our Lord and contemplated the witness he would offer, even to martyrdom! We walked back down to the main road, across the village, and up the opposite hilltop to the Church of the Visitation, where Mary had greeted Elizabeth and proclaimed the Magnificat. Imagine how Mary and Elizabeth must have prayed together during these brief months, contemplating the deep mysteries of faith and the work that lay ahead.

We had begun our day walking along the glorious path our Lord had taken on Palm Sunday only to find ourselves in the Garden of Gethsemane a short time later, contemplating the sacrificial love of Christ. And in Ein Kerem, a village located quite a long distance from Nazareth, we contemplated our Lady’s difficult journey to visit Elizabeth, who was in need. Mary had already said with perfect faith, “Let it be done to me according to your word” at the moment of the Annunciation, fulfilling the Father’s will. And then, immediately, she left the comfort of her home to visit Elizabeth, demonstrating her enduring love. Indeed, our Blessed Mother makes the same journey to each one of our homes – that is – our hearts – to care for us. Sacrificial love! Life is precious. It is an invitation to fall in love with God. It begins with a simple act of faith, which unlocks the floodgates of grace and enables us to imitate the One who laid down His life for us: “Thy will be done.” He is with us every single moment of every day of our lives, provided we invite him through our daily prayers, our faithful reception of the sacraments, and our willingness to carry the Cross – for love of him.