For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Oct 20, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: This is the final weekend before Halloween, when all thoughts turn to ghosts, ghouls and death. Frightening!! Everyone is fearful of death. But those who believe in Christ know that He has conquered death—He is the only person who ever rose from the grave—not as a zombie, but as the conqueror, the Son of God who became a man in the womb of the Virgin freed humanity from eternal death. Christ’s triumph over death is at the very heart of our Faith and of our Basilica—as seen in the sanctuary. The three windows above the high altar portray the three greatest moments in human history: on the left, the Christmas window: the eternal Son of God became man, sitting on the lap of his mother, while the three kings kneel; the center window, the Crucifixion: the reason God became man, to die in payment of human sin and to destroy death; the right window: the Resurrection: Jesus, raised from the dead in the humanity he took in the Virgin’s womb, steps out of his grave, as the conqueror of death.

Below those windows is the original high altar and tabernacle: the very centerpiece of the Basilica: everything in the building leads to this. As the altar was being built in 1886, it was observed that, “when completed, the altar will be second to none in New England” [The Connecticut Catholic, September 12, 1885]. By November, 1885, the interior of the church was nearly completed, and it was opened for inspection by the general public, who flocked to visit the largest stone church in the state. The Advocate noted that “Competent judges pronounce this ‘the most beautiful altar in the United States’” [November 20, 1885]. The theme of the altar is the Last Judgment: Christ conquers death for those who love Him.

The high altar is gothic in design, of carved white Carrara marble with columns and inlaid panels of golden Mexican onyx. The unifying motif is of grape vines intertwined with shamrocks decorates the capitals and architraves of the altar. This motif is a sign of the power of the Eternal Love of Christ which nourishes and supports us in the Eucharist. The central image in the heart of the “table” or mensa of the altar, is the Lamb of God, as described in the Book of Revelation. Resting on the Book of the Gospels with seven seals, and bearing the banner of the Resurrection, the Lamb is Christ, triumphant over death who reveals the truth of God through His Church in Scripture and the Church’s teaching.

Resting on the altar is the tabernacle, in the form of a castle with decorative turrets. A central marble canopy or baldacchino rises above the tabernacle. This canopy is a splendid piece of carved marble work. Open on the front side, its sole support is provided by two lithe golden pilasters on its back wall. The marble reredos, or decorative back wall, rises above the tabernacle. Raised on two steps, the reredos is composed of four niches between three towers. The niches are now occupied by four marble angels, each 5 feet in height, with downcast eyes, leading the worshippers’ gaze to the tabernacle and altar. The angels carry cruets of wine and water and incense thuribles, as if they are serving the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered on the altar below. Flanking the two far ends of the reredos are two fifteen foot towers. The entire altar is crowned by a central 30 foot tower, within whose niche a four foot marble statue of the Archangel Gabriel sounds the trumpet of the Last Judgment.

We are reminded of death every day, in the news, or even by the death of a family member or friend. Yet, daily, we are reminded that death is not the end of those who are faithful to Christ. For Christ has conquered death for us: each time we offer Holy Mass, the angels and saints, and God Himself is present, offering us the one way beyond the grave to eternity with the God who loves us. So, while popular images of Halloween are those frightful and scary, and the night is designed for fun and mischief, each time we enter our Basilica and approach the altar, let us remember the merciful love of Christ, represented in the altar itself, present in the Tabernacle in the very person of Jesus in the Eucharist. He loves us, so there is no need to be paralyzed by fear, nor despair that life is hopeless. Christ is our hope and our eternal future—just love him. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Ann DiGiovanni, Bonnie Keyes, Ed Grady, Connor Walsh, Billy Therriault, Thomas Bernie, Megan Bobroske, Mary Churley, Lena Cocchia, Thomas Bernie, Nancy Gallagher, Maria Wnek, Reno Antonio Rosa, Silvana Smith, Joseph W. Evans, Connie Ward, Ron DeCamp, Keith Nicholson.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Frances Rose Fabrizio, Zelma Potter, Thomas Lupo, Robert LeBeau, Robert Jegle, Jennie Galasso, Father Richard Futie, Charles Austin, Jr. , Carol Lovello, 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.

World Mission Sunday 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, tomorrow evening, Monday, October 21st.

Banns of Marriage: Banns II: Brian Thomas Jacobi and Kara Therese Banahan

St. Joseph Altar Votive Light: Special Intentions Jo and Ann Corcione

Sunday Noon Mass: Will be our Gregorian Chant Mass. The Mass will be offered in English, with our Gregorian Chant schola leading the music propers of the day. Please join us.

Saint John’s School Exhibit: On view in the Msgr. Nagle Hall each Sunday following the 10 a.m. Mass, or by appointment with Monsignor: 203-324-1553, ext. 11.

Holy Name Society: Each Friday morning at 7:00 in the Rectory, 30+ Catholic men of all ages meet for coffee, 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 are welcome: just walk in the front or back door of the rectory.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Meets each Wednesday evening during October 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. It is a keeper for your personal library. Join us.

St. Monica Latin Reading Group: Weekly Wednesday meetings at 6:15 pm in the Rectory. We end in time for the St. Monica Patristic meetings. We read the Latin Church Fathers in the original language. Currently, we are translating St. Augustine’s De Trinitate. A basic reading ability in Latin [high school level] is necessary. Please join us.

St. Monica Biblical Greek Grammar: An intermediate grammar/reading class: Basic grammatical knowledge of Biblical Greek is required. Currently we are also translating the Gospel of Saint John. We meet Thursdays at 6:30 pm in the Rectory. Please join us.

MARRIAGE RETREAT: Saturday, December 14th at 5pm: St. Birgitta Convent in Darien: The priests of the parish will offer an evening retreat for married couples. Reserve a spot : Confessions, Mass, supper and social time with other couples.

CONCERT: Saint John’s Schola Polyphonica , led by our choirmaster Christopher Mueller, will sing in concert at the Church of the Assumption in Ansonia, CT this Sunday, October 20th at 5 pm. There is a free reception following the concert. A free will offering may be given. For more information:

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday October 13, 2013 $ 11,181.50
Sunday October 14, 2012 $ 13,868.08

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

Oct. 27th, Sunday Readings: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk 18:9-14.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. The We have collected to date: $84,596.00. 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: Nov 1, Dec 6, Jan 3, Feb 7, March 7, April 4, May 2. All ages are welcome. Please contact Bridget Bethray at, or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301,

UCONN—Stamford: Tuesday, October 22nd, 7:15 pm: Monsignor David Jaeger, a justice on the Vatican’s Tribunal, The Roman Rota, will be the guest speaker. He will lecture and lead a discussion on the Diplomatic Relations between the Vatican and Israel.
Msgr. DiGiovanni is a panelist for the open discussion. $5. per person: registration: 203-251-0184 or This should be a fascinating evening!

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.

RCIA…Interested in becoming Catholic or Catholics wanting to receive First Communion or Confirmation are invited to attend classes: Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the Rectory.

St John’s Flock (20’s and 30’s Young Adult Ministry): Meetings on Two Tuesdays a month and other social/service events. For more information, please go to or email

Francis & Clare: Our High School Youth Group. Students interested in being part of the Teen Leadership Group: E-mail 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

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

Electronic Giving – Offertory Donations Made Easy…Consider using your credit card to make your weekly or monthly 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 of St. John’s. Call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

St. Maria Goretti Society: First meeting of the Year will be Sunday October 27th after the 10AM Mass. For the spiritual formation of young ladies,7th-8th grades (High Schoolers welcome) .For more information please call Beth 203-975-0074.

Job Seekers: Meets 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: or 203-866-1606: Next meeting: Monday, November 4th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, October 19, 2013
4:00 +Regina Grabowski req. Duffy Family
Sunday, October 20, 2013 7:30 +Kol Palushaj req. Age Tushaj
10:00 +Bill Pinto req. Pinto Family
12:00 +Monsignor William A. Nagle req. Legion of Mary
And +Paul Rittman Jr. req. Pam Rittman
5:00 +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, O.F.M., Cap.
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, October 21, 2013
8:00 Special Intentions Maria Gordon req. Tina MacLina
12:10 +Alfred Trivilino req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:00 Special Intentions Piacenza Family
12:10 +Shirley Hrywna req. Pinto Family
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:00 Special Intentions Wendy Pellicci req. Legion of Mary
12:10 +Carmine Iantorno req. Pasquale and Ida Carpanzano
Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:00 Catherine Hourican req. William Carello
12:10 Deceased members of Vincent and Theresa Kung’s Family req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Friday, October 25, 2013 8:00 +Faye Maresca req. Steve Terenzio
12:10 +Anthony and Cecelia Conte req. the Conte Family
Saturday, October 26, 2013 8:00 William Roy Carello req. William M. Carello
12:10 +Alston Boyke req. Maria and Tony Marchetti and Mirella Badetti

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 family society meeting four times a year on Sundays after the 5pm mass, with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and prayer, supper, and a lecture in the church hall.

Francis & Clare: Co-Ed High School Youth Group. Email

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.
First meeting of the Year will be Sunday October 27th after the 10AM Mass.

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.

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: Sunday, after the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:
140 years ago, or so:
October 25, 1872: The Fair. “The Catholic Fair has so far been a great success. It was to have been closed last evening, but all concerned were anxious it should continue until Saturday when it will positively close. An amusing and even exciting feature of the Fair was the balloting for a gold-braded cane purchased by the employees of the Stillwater Company and the Stamford Manufacturing Company to be presented to a gentleman to be selected by either party who should procure the most votes. The Stillwater men named Jerry Aryes, Esq., and the Cove men nominated George W. Smith, Esq. The latter men attended the Fair in a body the other evening and polled a large vote for Mr. Smith and the Stillwater men are working hard for their candidate.”

130 years ago, or so:
October 25, 1884: STAMFORD. “The Children of Mary will receive Holy Communion in a body at 9 o’clock Mass, Sunday. The singing of the junior choir on last Sunday at 9 o’clock Mass was excellent. This choir is improving wonderfully under the tuition of Sister Evangelist. Rev. Henry T. Walsh, our worthy assistant pastor, has been elected one of the vice presidents of the Alumni Association of the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels, Niagara, the institution in which he was educated.”

120 years ago, or so:
October 21, 1893: STAMFORD. “A handsome statue of St. Joseph six feet in height was erected in St. John’s R. C. Church Monday. It was presented to the church by Mrs. E. Brown in memory of her late husband Edgar A. Brown, and is a beautiful piece of rare artistic value, and adds very much to the general appearance of the church.”

55 years ago, or so:
October 24, 1958: Stamford Catholic H.S. Dedicated Before 4,500. “Stamford Catholic High School was dedicated with pageantry and reverence Thursday as a large gathering saw the Papal Delegate to the United States bless the new building on Newfield Ave. The Most Rev. Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, blessed the exterior of the building and chapel. The Catholic High School was designed for architect J. Gerald Phelan’s office by Frank D. George, A.I.A., of 289 Four Brooks Road, Stamford. The Rt. Rev. Nicholas P. Coleman, pastor of St. John’s church, was chairman of the program.”

The Language of the Mass– Fr Terry Walsh

Shortly after we arrived in Rome for our first year of Seminary, our class took a weekend trip to visit the medieval city of Assisi. While we were visiting this holy place and learning about the great Saints that had lived there, Francis and Clare, we were also taking some time to make the cultural adjustments that living in a foreign county would quite naturally have upon us. We gathered at the local theatre to see a stage production of the life of St. Francis. I was looking forward to it, especially since I had just walked through the very places St. Francis and St. Clare had walked. When the curtain went up my excitement dwindled. I couldn’t believe it. They were speaking Italian! And why wouldn’t they – we were, after all, in Italy. The wind went right out of my sail and I had to sit through a long production where I could only watch and sort of guess the storyline. I didn’t speak the language and consequently, I couldn’t really understand the beauty of the conversion of this great Saint, nor could I fully appreciate the depth of his holy life – the sacrifices Saint Francis had endured out of love for God. Thinking back to my youth, I remember having a similar experience when I attended Mass. I generally knew the story, but I didn’t have a great depth of understanding, nor did I appreciate the reality of the mystery taking place all around me. My knowledge of the faith was at a very rudimentary level. The parts of the Mass were a bit confusing to me. I knew when to sit and when to stand, but I didn’t know the significance of those gestures, nor did I understand the Readings with any real depth, especially the Old Testament. The beauty and majesty of the Mystery was lost to me. I didn’t really ‘speak the language’ of the Mass. I was easily distracted and found my mind contemplating things that really had nothing to do with the Mass at all. Ah, I was in the midst of Heaven and I didn’t have a clue. When would I grow in my understanding of the faith, and in particular, when would I come to appreciate the Mystery of the Mass through the eyes of spiritual maturity? I presumed that it would just sort of happen automatically with the turn of the clock. And yet, I hadn’t really invested the time or effort that a deeper love necessarily demands.

Now somewhere along the line, I began to realize that my relationship with God depended on my response to His invitation and so I began to seek Him with a more thoughtful disposition. I began to pray with a more ardent desire to know God. I came to understand that in a practical sense, the day of decision actually takes place each and every morning. Will I seek a deeper relationship with God today, or will I settle for mediocrity? Will I ask the more difficult questions about things I don’t really understand in order to gain a deeper wisdom, or will I merely check off the obligatory ‘I went to Mass’ box? Why is it called a Sacrifice? How is it different from any other form of worship? What does it mean to say that the whole heavenly court is present? What role does the priest play and what is the role of the laity? What effect does the Mass actually have on me? What are the different parts of the Mass and how are they connected? These and other questions needed to be answered if I was to be fully engaged in the Liturgy of the Mass and so receive the graces our Lord was offering me for my spiritual growth – for my salvation. Until I turned that corner in my spiritual development, I knew that I wouldn’t truly “speak the language” of the Mass, and as a consequence, I couldn’t fully appreciate the union of Heaven and Earth. Moreover, I didn’t understand the sacrificial nature of the Mass – that we were actually taking part in the one perfect sacrifice at Calvary. I didn’t really see the big picture. Others around me seemed to be deeply immersed in prayer; almost swept up in the mystery of what God was doing in those grace-filled moments. They spoke the language, no doubt through a faithful prayer life and an abiding love. And yet, there were others around me who seemed even more distracted than me. Oftentimes, the difference seems to be a matter of the heart. In other words, once we have decided for God, then a simple gaze toward heaven, as St. Therese might say – a gaze from the heart – will effectively draw us into the mystery and fill us with the graces which flow from the side of Christ. Degrees in Theology are not a prerequisite. A simple decision to give one’s due attention to God is all that is necessary. Spiritual insights, deeper understanding, abiding faith – all these things and more will be poured into the soul of the one who desires them. It’s simply a matter of humble perseverance. The soul that longs for God will quite naturally pursue an ever deeper relationship with God; he will seek answers to the questions that percolate in the heart and mind and lead to a broader understanding of the love of God, which will in turn transform the soul into a truer image of Christ Himself. The Mass is truly Heaven on earth.

The better we understand the significance of each part of the Mass, the more deeply we can enter into it. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council reminds us of the importance of growing in our appreciation of the Mass in order to be fully engaged in our worship of God. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy put it this way: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’ (1 Peter 2: 2-4, 9) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism”(SC 14). It goes without saying that in order to enter into a “full, conscious, and active participation” in the Mass, one clearly must be engaged in a full, conscious, and active life of prayer throughout the week. After all, how will we come to recognize the Presence of God in the Mass on Sunday if we neglect Him the rest of the week? Our active participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass actually begins each morning at the foot of the Cross when we make our daily offering, “Thy will be done.”