For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday Dec 08, 2013

Angel Gabriel

Pastor’s Corner: One of the most beautiful of all meditations about God becoming Man [the mystery we celebrate at Christmas] is that written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux [1090-1153]. The “mystery” is why God would come to rescue us from sin and death, at all!? The answer to that is God’s love for us; and His hope that we will learn to love Him in return. That’s what salvation is: understanding that God loves you, and deciding that you will love God in the way you live your life, thereby opening yourself to God’s grace, so you might live with Him forever. Saint Bernard’s meditation is about the response Our Lady made to the Archangel Gabriel, who was sent by God to ask Mary to co-operate with His plan to save humankind from sin and death. As we read Bernard’s meditation, think of yourself as being in Our Lady’s room when the Archangel Gabriel appears: you’re eavesdropping, hiding behind the curtains. But, even while you’re doing something not so very nice, you become caught up in the scene of the angel before Mary: and, as you begin to understand the importance that Mary’s response to God is to YOU and to YOUR future, you begin to hope that Mary will say “yes” , and co-operate with God’s invitation to be the Mother of God, so that you and all humankind might benefit in eternal life—for the first time, you understand the depth of God’s love for you, and, possibly for the first time, you desire to love God in return.

Saint Bernard’s meditation is based on this Sunday’s Gospel: the Annunciation, which is also one of the most beautiful of the stained glass windows here at the Basilica: it is the on the side wall of Our Lady’s Chapel—to the left of the high altar: Mary kneels in prayer, and the Archangel Gabriel appears before her: and a small white dove can be seen descending upon Mary: the power of the Holy Spirit, by Whom Mary will conceive the savior in her womb.

Here’s the meditation by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and he begins his narrative the moment after the Archangel invites Mary to be the Mother of God. This is not merely a reflection about something that happened in the past. Bernard writes this to be applied to each of us. The narrator is YOUR heart, beating more excitedly, hoping Mary will say “yes” daily to God’s will, just as God hopes daily that you will. Here is Bernard’s work:

You have heard, Virgin Mary, that you are to conceive and bear a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits your answer, for he must now return to God who sent him. We too await your merciful word, Lady, for we are the wretches whom condemnation threatens. The price of our salvation is offered to you, and if you consent then we shall at once be freed. We were all created in God’s Eternal Word, yet now we are doomed to death because of Adam’s sin; in your short answer we shall be remade and summoned back to life.

Adam and Eve stand here weeping with their poor exiled children and await your answer; Abraham is here and David and all the holy patriarchs who are your fathers but dwell now in the valley of death’s shadow. The whole world is prostrate at your feet and waiting. What else can they do, since on your words depend the consolation of the wretched, the liberation of prisoners, the rescue of the condemned, and, in a word, the salvation of all Adam’s children of your whole race?

Answer quickly, then, Virgin. Answer the angel and the Lord he represents. Give your word and receive the Eternal Word [The Eternal Son of God]; speak the word that passes and embrace the Word who abides forever!

Why the delay and the trembling? Believe, confess, receive. Virginal simplicity must not forget wisdom. Fear not to be presumptuous, for though silent modesty is pleasing, your words of dedication are more needed now.

Blessed Virgin, open your heart to faith, your lips to the praise of the Lord, your body to your Creator. The One for whom the nations yearn is knocking at the door. Delay, and he will pass by, and you shall begin again in sorrow to seek Him whom your heart loves. Rise up, run, open!

She answers: “Behold the Lord’s servant. Do with me as you say.” [In Praise of the Virgin Mary, Sermon 4, 8-9]
—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Kathy Raggio, Elaine Mellace, Elmer Lipinski, Florita Guimbal, Harrie Humphreys, William Perretti, Juanita Evans, Rosa Vera, Tom Diffley, 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: Louis Chiapetta, Ann R. DiGiovanni, Patricia Morris, Jean Fusaro, Frederick Intrieri, Jody Ann O’Brien, 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.

Retirement Fund for Religious Collection . . . Please drop your Retirement Fund for Religious envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory. There will only be one collection today.

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, December 9th.

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.

St. Monica Latin Reading Group: Wednesday meetings at 6:15 pm in the Rectory. We read the Latin Church Fathers. 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.

BIBLE STUDY: Fr. Walsh will lead our study of The Book of Isaiah, on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm in the Rectory. Bring your Bible. Next meeting: December 11th.

JANUARY 11 TH: Conference on Fatherhood, to be held in the Basilica for all men: 15 years and older, single or married: led by Steve Wood, internationally renowned Catholic speaker on virtue and family life. This is a conference about being a virtuous and strong Catholic man in today’s challenging culture. Stay tuned for further details: All men of the parish should join us for an inspirational day!!

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 homeplacemoms@gmail.com : Confession, Mass, supper and social time with other couples.

DECEMBER 21st: 6:45 am Advent Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form:
A Rorate Mass by candlelight, an ancient tradition of a votive Mass of the Blessed Mother offered at sunrise to greet Christ the Light of the World. Coffee-And to follow in the parish hall. A very beautiful Advent devotion to begin the week of Christmas.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday December 1, 2013 $ 13,207.50
Sunday December 2, 2012 $ 13,768.12

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

Dec. 15th, Sunday Readings: Is 35:1-6a, 10; Jas 5:7-10; Mt 11:2-11.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. We have collected to date: $84,596.00. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.

Home Schooling Families: Meet in the Msgr. Nagle Parish hall each First Friday: Jan 3, Feb 7, March 7, April 4, May 2. All ages are welcome. Please contact Bridget Bethray: bridget.bethray@gmail.com, or Janet Lancaster: 203-637-3301, jmlancaster@optonline.net.

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 info: 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.

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.

Calling All Bakers: We need Bakers and Helpers for Bake Sale Dec. 14th & 15th.
Saturday, Dec. 14th, drop off in the Nagle Hall from 3pm til before the 4pm mass.
Sunday, Dec. 15th., drop off from 9am til after the 12 noon Mass. Goods to bake: Cookies, Cakes, Brownies, Cup Cakes, all kinds of Bread etc . Fundraising towards our Rectory. Please, wrap and label the items with descriptions  and ingredients. Volunteers to work at the sale are greatly needed. Please Contact: Scholastica Nabwire at email nascho44@optonline.net
or call: 917-975-2896.

BAKE SALE Dec. 14/15th: The ladies of the parish will begin baking specialties that will go on sale after the Sunday Masses during the weekend of Dec 14/15th in the parish hall: proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Rectory. Wait till you see what they bake. YUM!

Heartfelt thanks: For your expressions of sympathy on the occasion of my mother’s death, and for your prayers and Masses for her eternal repose. My family and I are very grateful. Msgr. DiGiovanni

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: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606: Next meeting: Monday, January 27th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 7, 2013
4:00 +Fausta Hernandez req. the Borromeo Family
Sunday, December 8, 2013
7:30 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
10:00 +Ronald Sperling
12:00 +Edna Holt and Family req. Marion Morris and Family and +Robert J. Ruddy req. Celine Parcon
5:00 +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, O.F.M., Cap.
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, December 9, 2013
8:00 +Virginia and Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +John O’Sullivan req. Maureen Hanna and Family
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Bahlert req. Olga Richter
12:10 +Maria Gajardo req. The Latin Reading Group
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
8:00 +Phyllis H. Evans req. Juanita Evans
12:10 +Mary Boody req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Thursday, December 12, 2013
8:00 Special Intentions Raquel Mesa
12:10 In Loving Memory of the Unborn req. Marion Morris, Michelle and Jimmy Sagdati
Friday, December 13, 2013
8:00 +Sarah and Joseph Brennan
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. the McAleer Family
12:10 +Pat Orzo req. Giannitti Family

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 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-HighSchoolers welcome Contact-Ferry203-324-1553 x22.

St. Maria Goretti Society: For the spiritual formation of young ladies,7th-8th grades(High Schoolers welcome).Beth 203-975-0074.

Holy Hour: on Monday Nights, 7pm—8 pm. Adoration, Holy Rosary, and Benediction. All are welcome!

The Legion of Mary: Meets on Wednesday Evenings, 7:30 pm ’till 9:00 pm in the 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:

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
145 years ago, or so:
December 16, 1870: “Messr. Editors: – In order to quiet the public mind concerning a report which appeared in your last issue to the effect that the Roman Catholic Society had purchased the Mary Rogers place, with the intention of building their church thereon, permit me to inform you that the report, besides being entirely false, came from no reliable authority. Nearly two years have passed since the Catholics selected a site for their new church, and a lot on Atlantic street was purchased from A. J. Bell, Esq. for that purpose. Since that time we have been satisfied with our location, and at no time were we desirous of changing it, nor do we now think, with some sympathizing friends, that we can better ourselves. The passer by may notice that we are at work, and, with God’s help, we expect to erect a church edifice there which will be no discredit to the beautiful street on which it will stand. Respectfully, John Fagan, Pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church.”

100 years ago, or so:
December 13, 1911: St. Patrick’s Made a Holy Day. “A decree by the Pope today, makes St. Patrick’s Day a holy day, but not one of obligation..”

75 years ago, or so:
December 13, 1938: St. John’s Boys Have Good Year. “The St. John’s Boys’ Brigade will give a supper to its football team, tomorrow night, at seven, in the St. John’s school hall. The team finished a successful season, wining six of seven games. Captained by Jimmy Callahan, quarterback, the boys won a lot of praise for their teamwork and smooth playing.”

THE HARTFORD COURANT:
55 years ago, or so:
December 11, 1959: 17 Priests Receive Papal Awards. “Pope John XXIII has awarded Papal honors to 17 priests of the Bridgeport Diocese. The honors were announced by Bishop Lawrence J Shehan. Named Protonotary Apostolic: Rt. Rev, Msgr. N.P. Coleman, V.F. of Stamford.”

FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC:
25 years ago, or so:
December, 1991: “The Class reunion held at St. John’s Parish in Stamford in October drew alumni representing classes from 1919 to 1971 and brought back memories to more than 550 graduates who came from various parts of the United States to renew acquaintances and revive old friendships.”

The Immaculate Conception
– Fr Terry Walsh
“So intimately is she united to you that it would be easier to separate light from the sun, and heat from the fire. I go further, it would be even easier to separate all the angels and saints from you than Mary; for she loves you more ardently, and glorifies you more perfectly than all your other creatures put together”(St. Louis De Montfort, TD,63).

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin”(Catechism, 491). The Saints of the Church have sung the praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the centuries, beginning with the Apostles. They were merely imitating Christ Himself, who honored Mary above all others. Consider St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort (1673 – 1716) who likewise sings her praises and challenges us to seek a deeper understanding of our Spiritual Mother through an interior devotion in a little book known as True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Throughout his brief 150 page treatise, he masterfully weaves references to Sacred Scripture, the Dogmas of the Church, and the insights of the Saints, and so helps us understand the magnificence of Mary and the boundless love she holds for each one of her spiritual children. Furthermore, he explains the intimate role she plays in our salvation. It would be sheer foolishness to neglect her. He writes, “The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of his divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear”(TD,157). Throughout the short treatise, DeMontfort explains his devotion by first helping us to understand the one of a kind relationship Mary has with God. Indeed, the Church teaches through the declaration of various Dogmas as well as through the celebration of her feasts and Solemnities in the Liturgy: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship”(Catechism, #971).

The Church teaches us: “To become the mother of the Savior, Mary ‘was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role’(Catechism, 490). And the Church explains further: “The ‘splendor of an entirely unique holiness’ by which Mary is ‘enriched from the first instant of her conception’ comes wholly from Christ: she is ‘redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.’ The Father blessed Mary more than any other person ‘in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places’ and chose her ‘ in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love’”(Catechism, 492). Consider the beautiful writings of St. Anselm concerning our Blessed Mother: “Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night – everything that is subject to the power or use of man – rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendor by men who believe in God. The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb. Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain. Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation. To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, who he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.
God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed. Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.”“She is His mystic channel, His aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly.” – True Devotion (TD), no. 24.