For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Dec 29, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: There are very many people I must thank for their generosity in preparing for
Christmas here at Saint John’s. As you know, Saint John’s is quite a splendid little parish, if I do say so myself. It’s had decades of practice, but it also has a vast crowd of people, both employees and volunteers, who make it work. I’ve always thought that many people think that after Sunday Mass we shut off the lights until the following Sunday. Not so: Just look at the parish bulletin for the usual weekly schedule of activities for some idea that the place stays open daily, and most evenings with scores of people studying, practicing music for Mass, or praying to Our Lord in church. The priests stay occupied with hospital calls, with the celebration of the sacraments, with preparing couples for marriage, teaching, preparing homilies and lectures, and with personal counseling of parishioners and prayer; the salaried staff remains constantly busy making the place run, in the office, keeping the rectory and church trim and clean, and repairing everything that frequently breaks.

Besides the paid staff, there is a battalion of volunteers who work hundreds of hours behind-the-scenes to make St. John’s the best parish in Fairfield County, and without whom not much would really function so well or efficiently. I want to express my thanks to everyone who has helped make this past year so splendid. Without naming names, here is a small list of some of those unseen-yet-essential volunteers and their duties: the lady who opens the church weekdays at 6:30 a.m.-originally from Stamford, she now drives from Monroe each morning; the ladies who maintain the sanctuary, clean and polish the altar, statues and sacred Mass vessels, arrange the flowers, clean and iron the altar linens, maintain the church supplies, and keep the church in running order—they arrive Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays, 9: 00 a.m., and spend most of their days at church—on Fridays they arrive at 2:00 p.m. and leave by 9:00 p.m. And all they do is clean, polish, and pick up after all of us, priests and parishioners. Christmas, Holy Week and Easter require dozens more hours daily, and another lovely lady who directs the flower arranging for Christmas and Easter; the lady who repairs the Mass vestments, altar linens and ornaments, and robes for Our Lady’s altar; various tradesmen and professionals who donate their time and efforts in parish repair and construction projects; the ladies who baked for scores of hours for our bake sale; the numerous lectors and altar servers who serve at the altar daily at Mass; our ushers, who maintain order, keeping an eagle eye open for any characters in the church, and take up the weekly collection; those who sort and count the collection; the volunteer choir who sing so beautifully at the 4:00 p.m.; then there are the religious education teachers and their assistants who teach our children the Catholic faith weekly; volunteers who organize our parish societies; the men and women who volunteer to make all our social and fundraising events happen; the bookstore volunteers, and those who prepare coffee and refreshments each week after the 10:00 a.m. Mass; the young lady who volunteers as parish archive secretary, maintaining computer files of St. John’s history for us and for the Stamford Historical Society; the members of our parish Finance Council and Parish Council; our parish Trustees and legal counsel, who do there best to restrain the pastor from doing too many dumb things. That’s a lot of people!! And too often, their efforts and dedicated service to Saint John’s goes unmentioned, unnoticed or unappreciated by us all, because, as our lady sacristan once told me: “We don’t do this for you, Monsignor; we do it all for Our Lord!” So, this weekend, I would like to thank them all for their generous and continued hard work, which is such a sign of their love for our parish and for Our Lord, and one reason why St. John’s does work so well.

To all, May Our Lord and His Blessed Mother bless you and your families with good health during this New Year. God bless you!! —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Pasqualina Bruzzese, Kathy Raggio, Elaine Mellace, 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: Elmer Lipinski, 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.

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 30th.

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.

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. Checks can be made payable to: Office for Pastoral Services and mailed to: Diocese of Bridgeport, Respect Life Ministry Office, 238 Jewett Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06606. 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.

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 22, 2013 $ 12,571.00
Sunday December 23, 2012 $ 13,318.65
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Jan. 5th, Sunday Readings: Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12

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).

Trinity Catholic Middle School: is holding an Open House on Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. in our building at 948 Newfield Avenue, Stamford. The school is located on the same campus as Trinity Catholic High School. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the Administration and Teachers, tour the facility, learn about the curriculum and have all of your questions answered.

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 28, 2013
4:00 Priests of the Parish req. Millie Terenzio
Sunday, December 29, 2013
7:30 Deceased relatives of the Saint Preuve and the Lops Family req. Yvonne
10:00 +Jayson Jarrett req. Norma Jarrett
12:00 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and +Allan Mitchell 3rd Anniversary req. Michael Borkowski, Joseph
Maker, Louis Logsdail and Marion Morris
5:00 +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, O.F.M., Cap.
6:00 +Tess Kertelitis req. Anita Fasanelli
Monday, December 30, 2013
8:00 +Mary Riordan req. Bill and Mary Fox
12:10 +Muriel M. Figlewski req. Collins Family
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
8:00 +Anne Augustine req. Armelle Penta
12:10 +Ugo Ceretti req. niece Rosemary Rebula
5:15 Special Intentions Bonnie Keyes req. Mother
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
8:00 Special Intentions Fr. Peter Towsley req. Carpanzano Family
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
5:15 +Charles V. Austin Jr. req. Parents
Thursday, January 2, 2014
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 In Honor of the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary req. Fabiola C.
Friday, January 3, 2014
8:00 Special Intentions Fabiola C.
12:10 +Francis J. Sullivan req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Saturday, January 4, 2014
8:00 +Lawrence T. DeMarco req. J. Vincent Collins
12:10 +Monsignor William Nagle req. Nick and Therese Troilo

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 w elcome 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 29th. Will Resume Jan. 5th.

ST. JOHN’S IN THE NEWS:
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
150 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
December 30, 1864:
“The Roman Catholic Church was handsomely dressed with evergreens. Early Mass was said and the usual Christmas services celebrated.”

THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
125 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
January 1, 1887: STAMFORD.
“The parochial school will reopen next Monday. During this week’s vacation the school rooms have been painted inside and out, and otherwise greatly improved. St. Patrick’s society received Holy Communion in a body on Christmas, at 9 o’clock Mass. Father Matthew’s society will have their annual ball on Friday night. On New Year’s day Masses will be at five and a High Mass at eight o’clock. Christmas day was a most delightful day in town, no one having any excuse to remain away from Mass on account of weather. On that day there were four Masses celebrated; the first at five o’clock and the others at the usual hour as on Sundays. Last Mass was a High Mass offered up by Rev. Father Lynch, who wished all the parishioners a Happy Christmas. It is with no little pride that the people of this parish are particularly pleased at this Christmas time, being the first Christmas when Mass was celebrated upstairs of our new church. Flowers of a choice selection and ivy vines encircled the snow-white marble, all arranged with artistic taste, that the whole appearance was of a most pleasing character. Our organist, Professor Smith, presided at organ and filled his position to satisfaction. The singing on this occasion was particularly well rendered.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
110 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
January 5, 1903: HER SILVER JUBILEE.
“Sister Mary Elizabeth, of the local Convent of Mercy, celebrated her silver jubilee yesterday. The event was observed quietly, at the convent, by the community and the nun’s relatives. Rev. James C. O’Brien celebrated Mass in the morning, and after a breakfast there were musical selections and a congratulatory address was read by one of the nuns. In the evening, Rev. Father Sullivan gave benediction.”

FAIRFIELD COUNTY CATHOLIC”
20 YEARS AGO, OR SO:
January, 1993: “Msgr. Kevin Wallin, Rev. Michael Moynihan and Rev. Stephen DiGiovanni, priests of the Diocese of Bridgeport, recently attended a special audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome.”

BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER
– Fr Terry Walsh
“God the Father gathered all the seas together and called them the seas or maria. He gathered all his grace together and called it Mary, or Maria… ‘the treasury of the Lord’.”
–St. Louis DeMontfort

Atop the great oak doors of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist rests the Coat of Arms which greets us with the words our Lord uttered from the Cross and leads us to reflect upon the role of Mary in the sanctification of our souls. As he gazes upon the beloved disciple from the Cross, Jesus says: “Behold your Mother.” Indeed, he is saying the same to us. Some moments later, Blood and Water gushed from his Sacred Heart, torn open by the soldier’s lance. Jesus emptied himself in the greatest act of love ever known to man. Contemplating His perfect sacrifice, we approach the Altar and our gaze quite naturally is drawn to Stained glass window above the High Altar: Consummatum Est: It is Finished. There we contemplate the pain and sorrow endured by our Blessed Mother. John, also grieving, comforts Mary. Our Lady consented to the immolation of her Son for our sake, just as she consented to his Incarnation according to the will of God – for our sake.

As we consider the Incarnation, we turn our gaze to the side chapel, and meditate on the magnificent scene of the Annunciation so beautifully depicted in the Window. There we see Mary kneeling in prayer, reflecting upon the word of God. Through her Fiat, her willingness to become the Mother of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary becomes the Mother of Grace. Indeed, the image in the window depicts the Living Waters of sanctifying grace flowing from Mary, going out to water the souls of all who come to believe. Jesus said, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow living water’” (John 7: 37-38). Jesus promised that if we respond to the life giving waters of eternal life and abide in his love, the Holy Trinity would reside in us, that is, “The Kingdom of God is within.” Thus, the living waters necessary for our salvation actually well up from within us to heal and nourish our souls with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Indeed, we receive every gift and blessing necessary for salvation. St. Louis DeMontfort explains, “God the Son imparted to his mother all that he gained by his life and death, namely his infinite merits and his eminent virtues…She is his mystic channel, his aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly”(True Devotion, 24).

The Gospel of John provides such beautiful images and spiritual insights that enable us to see the depth of the love of God. What a wonderful influence Mary would have had upon the beloved disciple throughout the course of years they lived together following the Ascension of our Lord: the conversations they would have had concerning the life of Jesus; the graces John would have received through Mary’s intercession for him. Among the four Evangelists, the Gospel of John is the most spiritual account of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Beautiful images of Light and Water abound and lead to a deeper understanding of the Presence of God in our souls. John recounts the compelling story of conversion of the woman at the well who came to receive the Living Waters and in turn joyfully watered the gardens of her neighbors through her new found faith. Just as Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, so too does he speak to us: “…whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”(John 4:14).

The choice is ours. On the one hand, we may choose to drink from the worldly waters that focus on the self and are attractive to the flesh. These waters bring immediate gratification, but at the cost of spiritual emptiness. Alternatively, we may choose to drink from the life-giving waters emanating from the wounded side of Christ. He pours them out to us every single day. These waters come to us most abundantly through the Sacraments and bring spiritual enrichment, gradually forming us into more perfect likenesses of Christ. These waters enable us to embrace our Cross and to offer the trials of life for the glory of God and the sanctification of our souls. In essence, our Cross becomes an opportunity to prove our love for the One who offered himself up for us. And just as our Lady stood by Jesus, so too does she accompany us. Recall the encouraging words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of the drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit”(Jeremiah 17:7-8). We come to the Basilica to enable the roots of our soul to spread wide and grow deep beside the Living waters of sacramental grace. Each sip moves us closer to Heaven by enabling us to accomplish the mission our Lord has given us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The best path is traveled through our spiritual Mother. “If Mary, the Tree of Life, is well cultivated in our soul….she will in due time bring forth her fruit, which is none other than Jesus”(True Devotion, St. Louis DeMontfort, 218).