For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Dec 22, 2013

St Augustine

Pastor’s Corner: Saint Augustine was one of the clearest and most prolific of writers in the early Church. I have chosen the reading below as a beautiful mediation for Christmas morning: I hope you will take the time to read it then to understand more fully why God became man:

“God had a time for making promises and a time for fulfilling them. The time for making promise lasted from the prophets to John the Baptist, the time for fulfilling them from then to the end of time.

The faithful God made himself our debtor, not by receiving anything from us, but by his own promises. He even bound himself in writing, as though handing us a written pledge; thus, when he would begin to carry out his promises, we could determine from the Scriptures the very order of fulfillment.

God’s ultimate promise was of eternal salvation, unending blessedness with the angels, and everlasting and glorious inheritance, the sweetness of his face, his holy house in heaven, resurrection from the dead and release from fear of death. All this is the goal we seek; once there, we shall not need nor want anything more. But he also made promises and predictions about the way to that goal of happiness. Thus he promised divinity to men and women, immortality to mortals, justification to sinners, and glory to the humble.

Since all this might seem incredible to us, God not only put his promises in writing but also gave us a Mediator, his only Son, to show how he would lead us to the promised goal. More than this, he made his Son not only show us the way but himself be the very Way.

God’s Son, then, was to come among us, take manhood to himself and be a man; to die, rise up, ascend to heaven, and sit at the Father’s right hand; to carry out the various promises among the nations; and finally, to fulfill the ultimate promise to come again and bestow on the unjust what he had threatened and on the just what he had promised. All this had to be foretold so that we might not be distressed by its unexpected coming but await it with faith.” [Commentary on the Psalms: 109, 1-3]

Christmas, the events in Bethlehem that we celebrate on December 25th, is the most dramatic and visible of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us. Let us kneel at Our Lord’s Crib, and thank him for keeping his word, loving so much that he became one of us so we could be more like him here and in eternity.
Merry Christmas! —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Pasqualina Bruzzese, Kathy Raggio, Elaine Mellace, Elmer Lipinski, Florita Guimbal, Harrie Humphreys, William Perretti, 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, Connie Ward, Ron DeCamp, Keith Nicholson.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Nelson Mandela, William Henry, Sr., 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.

Christmas Day Collection . . . The second collection on Christmas will be the for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Christmas Mass Schedule:
Christmas Eve: December 24th: 4 pm: Christmas Vigil with children’s choir;
Christmas Day: December 25th: 12 midnight: Midnight Solemn Mass with choir;
7:30 am, 10 am, 12Noon [Chant], 6pm [Haitian].

THERE WILL BE NO 5PM MASS ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

Christmas Confessions Schedule:
Christmas Eve: December 24th: 3-4 pm.
Christmas Day: December 25th: 7-7:25 am, 9:30-9:55 am, 11:30-11:55 am.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Edward and Bill Cody req. Cody Family

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 23rd.

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: January 8th.

JANUARY 11TH: Conference on Fatherhood, to be held in the Basilica for all men: 12years and older, single and married; grand fathers and fathers bring your sons; sons, bring your dads and brothers: 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!!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday December 15, 2013 $ 12,581.00
Sunday December 16, 2012 $ 14,838.23
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Dec. 29th, Sunday Readings: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Col 3:12-21 or 3:12-17; Mt 2:13-15, 19-23.

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.

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).

March for Life:  Wednesday, January 22, 2014. The bus will be departing 5:30 am from the Bridgeport stopping at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist at 6:00am.  The bus will be leaving Washington, D.C. at 4:00pm to return to Connecticut.  The fee for the bus is $75. Please register by Friday, January 17th. Please contact me if you have any questions, Maureen Ciardiello, Office of Pastoral Services, 203-416-1445, mciardiello@dibpt.org.

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.

Epiphany Sunday: January 5th: Solemn sung Vespers at 4:00 p m at The Church of Saint Gabriel: 914 Newfield Avenue, Stamford. Everyone is welcome for a beautiful afternoon of prayer, music and Eucharistic Adoration.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 21, 2013
4:00 Special Intentions Joseph Kung and Family req. Agnes Kung
Sunday, December 22, 2013
7:30 Special Intentions Giannitti Family
10:00 +Aldo Iantorno req. Pasquale and Ida Carpanzano
12:00 Special Intentions Eileen Tarleton and +William Borkowski req. Ann and Michael Borkowski
5:00 +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, O.F.M., Cap.
6:00 +Felix Boursiquot req. Marion Morris & Family
Monday, December 23, 2013
8:00 Antonio, Gemma and Giuseppe Marchetti req. Parents
12:10 +Helen T. Duffy req. Duffy Family
Tuesday, CHRISTMAS EVE, December 24, 2013
8:00 +Marguerite Munger req. Jim and Lori Rubino
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Yvonne St. Preuve
4:00 +John Melfi, Sr., Mary Melfi, Vito Melfi, John Melfi, Jr. req. Joseph Melfi
MIDNIGHT MASS – Christmas Eve: People of the Parish
Wednesday, CHRISTMAS, December 25, 2013
7:30 Special Intentions Irsa Garcia
10:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
12:00 +Sterling Alphonse and +Brian Mulhern req. Margaret Chery and Margie, Ernie, Brian & Mark Mulhern
5:00 NO MASS
6:00 +Steven Boccuzzi req. Mr. and Mrs. Gus Chilikis
Thursday, December 26, 2013
8:00 +Randolph Samedi req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Anne Augustine req. Armelle Penta
Friday, December 27, 2013
8:00 +Nang Nguyen req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Carol Boyd req. Virginia Gerardi
Saturday, December 28, 2013
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 +Patsy Cappiello req. Duffy 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).

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: NO COFFEE HOUR This Sunday December 22nd or next Sunday December 29th. Will Resume Jan. 5th.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
150 years ago, or so:
December 25, 1863: Church Services. “In the Roman Catholic Church there will be Mass at quarter to six A.M., and the usual Christmas services at 11.”

100 years ago, or so:
December 26, 1914: CHURCHES CELEBRATE FEAST OF NATIVITY. “St. John’s Catholic Church was trimmed with holly and evergreens, and the “Manger Scene” also was depicted here. Mass was held at 5 a.m.; Solemn High Mass at 7:30; Masses at 9 and 9:30 and Solemn High Mass again at 10:30. In the church, Christmas music, solemn and stately, was given by the choirs, and the church was filled with worshippers at each Mass.”

THE HARTFORD COURANT:
85 years ago, or so:
December 29, 1926: Tower Adds Beauty to St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. “With the completion of the new tower of the St. John’s R.C. Church, of this city, the edifice becomes one of the finest places of architecture and one of the handsomest church buildings in the state. The tower is the result of years of planning by Rev. James C. O’Brien, pastor of the church, and forms a splendid memorial to his work as leader of the parish. The edifice may now be seen from practically all parts of Stamford. The church building has been standing on Atlantic Street, in the center of the city, for many years. Funds required for the addition of the tower to the building were contributed by members of the parish. Work on the tower was started last May and has just been completed.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
70 years ago, or so:
December 23, 1943: Christmas Masses To Feature Special Musical Programs. “Christmas will be observed in Stamford Catholic churches with the time of Masses similar to the customary Sunday schedule while at some churches there will be additional Masses. Appropriate Christmas music will be presented by senior and junior choirs. At. St. John’s Catholic church, Christmas Masses will be at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 a.m. in the church and at 10:15 a.m. in the lower chapel. The Christmas music arranged for Masses at 9, 10 and 11 the Children’s Choir of 90 voices, under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy. Included in the program are “When Blossoms Flowered Mid the Snow,” “Silent Night,” Angels We Have Heard,” “Adeste Fidelis,” “Sleep, Holy Babe,” and “Message of the Bells.”

What gift can I give Jesus?
– Fr. Terry Walsh
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:12

What gift will you offer to our Lord this Christmas? What do you think He might like the most? Of course, we all know the answer to that one! He wants our love. At first glance, it might seem like we’re already covered. Whew! But then, upon closer inspection, we might find ourselves scratching our heads wondering, “Did I prepare my gift according to my idea of love, or His”? Is it sufficient to be generally thankful for all the blessings He bestows, to avoid grumbling too much, and in general, to have a good feeling about him? Or, could Jesus be hoping for a bit more from us? What’s the appropriate gift for the one who loves us so perfectly that he actually gave himself up to death as a sacrificial offering in order to open the gates of heaven so that we might enter? Well, actually, He tells us: “If you love me, you will keep my Commandments.” When we scratch beneath the surface, we soon discover that choosing to keep the Commandments necessarily involves the Cross. An old Dominican professor in seminary challenged our class one day: “Christian spirituality,” he said matter-of-factly, “is impossible.” I remember him gazing around the room, letting the weight of his statement sink in a bit. Essentially, Christian Spirituality means forgiving enemies, doing good to those who persecute you, and in general, be willing to put the welfare of others ahead of oneself. Moreover, we are actually required forgive those who cause us harm. Impossible! In a way, the professor was right. Left to our own strength, Christian Spirituality is impossible. But we are not left “to our own strength”. Yet, Jesus invites us to do the impossible. After all, with God, all things are possible. In other words, if we truly love Him, we will humbly seek to do His Will rather than our own. He will provide all the graces necessary to accomplish what would otherwise be impossible on a purely natural level. Then Christian Spirituality becomes a pathway to Heaven. Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing”(John 15:5). It all begins with a decision to follow Him – to say with humble conviction: “Thy Will be done.” And He will provide. And what is His Will? It is to love. In His deepest anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that the Chalice of Suffering might be taken away. He prayed: “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”(Luke 22:42). Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Will of the Father because of His perfect love. Indeed, Isaiah spoke of our Lord, the “Suffering Servant” saying, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him…when he makes himself an offering for sin…he shall see the fruit of his travail of his soul and be satisfied…”(Isaiah 53:10).

In the heart of Rome stands a Church called The Holy Name of Jesus. It was built in the 16th century shortly after the death of the Founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola, who is buried there. Above the high Altar is a Mosaic depicting the Circumcision of Jesus. The Mosaic seems to open the “supernatural veil,” revealing a glimpse of the “first shedding” of Christ’s Blood soon after His birth. In the scene, Mary and Joseph stand beside Jesus at His Circumcision. Surrounding the Holy Family are angels hovering above, each holding an instrument of the Passion that Jesus would willing suffer 33 years later. As we gaze upon the scene, we see the outstretched arms of the baby Jesus eagerly reaching up to Heaven. Our eye naturally follows the path to the object of His grasp. Suddenly, our hearts are torn open, overwhelmed with the realization of His love: He is reaching for the Chalice, the “Cup of Suffering” held by the angel, the Cup that ultimately would open the gates of Heaven for all who follow Him. He was born into the world in order to save us – though the Cross. He has come to do the Father’s Will. He would obediently lay down His life so that we might drink the fruits of His sacrifice, the Eucharist, and so gain eternal life. What greater gift could we possibly offer Him than to imitate His words to the Father: “Thy Will be done”? Ah, that kind of love glorifies the Father. Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). Consider the witness of the greatest disciple of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the moment of the Annunciation she likewise freely gave her Will over to the Father. With deep humility, our Lady responded to the Angel Gabriel’s greeting with all her love: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary consented and gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem; she likewise consented at the foot of the Cross and gave birth to all of us. What gift will you give to our Lord this Christmas? Will it be what He wants most? Will it be your love? He will help. Why not ask for the graces necessary to reach for the Chalice? Lord, give me the grace of a pure heart, an understanding mind, a soul filled with your wisdom, your love, so that I may more perfectly accomplish your Will in my life.
“You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8