For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Feb 2, 2014
Presentation of Our Lord

Pastor’s Corner: February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, also known as Candlemas. The celebration recalls the historical event when, in obedience to the precepts of the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:1-3; Leviticus 12:1-8) the Blessed Mother presented her first born son in the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after His birth. It also recalls the mystical fact that Christ is the final sacrifice who brings about the salvation of the world, and that He comes to us daily in every Catholic Church where Mass is offered and the Eucharist received.

The earliest record of this celebration comes from the 5th century, as recorded by a Spanish lady named Egedia in her Diary of a “Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” The Mass celebrated in Jerusalem recalled the historical presentation of Jesus in the Temple, while the procession with lighted candles, referred to the mystical reality of who this Child is, and what His life and death would mean for the history and salvation of the world. By the 5th century it was already a very developed ceremony, as described by Egeria, which suggests that the ceremony was already an ancient one in Jerusalem by the time of Egeria’s visit.

Throughout the Old Testament, all the prophets spoke of the coming of the Savior. And as Jesus was presented in the Temple, as recounted in the Gospel of Luke 2: 21-40, two further prophecies are fulfilled: that of Simeon, who had been promised by God not to see death until he had first seen the Savior; and that of Anna, the prophetess, who recognized the Savior as the incarnation of the generous God. The Blessed Mother presented Her Son, not simply to fulfill the old Law of Moses, but to prefigure the work of Jesus by joining Jesus’ sacrifice to the prophetic words and sacrifices of the old Law of Israel. She presents Jesus to the Eternal Father, who will accept the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross to pay for human sin. This feast day is the link between Christmas—God becoming man in Mary’s womb—and Good Friday/Easter—the Son of God dying in the flesh as the ultimate payment for human sin, to rescue us from death. This is the reason why the Eternal Son, Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity became a man. He took our punishment for our wrongs. And He could do this because Jesus is both God and man. If Christ had not taught anything, had He not healed or fed anyone, if He had done nothing other than offer Himself on the Cross, then His work would have been perfect. Yet, in the generosity of the Father, Christ’s work also included His deeper revelation of His identity as God, and how we should respond to Him in our daily lives.

On February 2nd, then, the Church blesses candles in honor of this historical and mystical event and reality. All candles used during the year in church are blessed on February 2nd, as well as candles for the faithful to bring home. Each candle represents Christ, whose light illumines the world with the Truth about God and about mankind. The candle is also a sign of our faith in Christ, shining in the darkness and sin of the world. We are to imitate Christ in His obedience and love for the Father, and imitate Our Lady in her humility, obeying God by co-operating with the loving plan of God . We are to imitate Mary and Her son in our lives of virtue. Our Lord told His Apostles, “You are the light of the world.” The candles blessed today represent Christ in our daily lives. We should let Christ shine to the world by means of our lives of virtue and holiness; especially by our charity and mutual forgiveness, striving to please God by our daily deeds.

The custom has arisen through the centuries of blessing throats on Saint Blaise day on February 3rd. St. Blaise, a Catholic bishop, saved a child from choking while both were imprisoned because of their Catholic faith, during a government persecution in the 4th century. We bless throats using two candles blessed on February 2nd–they represent Christ–and the candles are held to form a Cross, and placed on the throat of the person being blessed. The prayer recited by the priest is “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may you be delivered from all diseases of the throat and from every other evil, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It is the power of Christ and His Cross, by the intercession of Saint Blaise, that is invoked to heal us from the evil of illness. Saint Blaise does exactly what all the saints do: they pray for us daily in Heaven before the throne of God, for both they and we are members of the One Church founded by Our Lord, called Catholic since the end of the 1st century. There is something so very good that we share with the Saints and the Blessed Mother: it begins with a shared faith and shared sacraments, and matures to a shared love for God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—who share their lives with us through the Church. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Margaret Potolicchio, Ruth Coyle, James Tymon, Terence Dervishi, Antoinette Rubino, Andres Ferrer Sr., Val McIntosh, 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: Marcel Gedeon, Antoinette Rubino, James Hale, Edna Campbell, Joseph Pavia, 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.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam

ASH WEDNESDAY: March 5th: Is NOT a holy day of obligation. Ashes will be given out at the 8 am and 12:10 pm Masses that day; AND in the basilica at 7 am, 1pm and 7:30 pm. HOWEVER,
ASHES WILL NOT BE GIVEN OUT AT THE RECTORY.

Eusebio Biyeni: has won the prestigious St. Thomas Aquinas Award from Bishop Caggiano. Eusebio and his family are members of the Basilica; he is a 5th grader in Holy Spirit School. Congratulations Eusebio!!!

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, February 3rd.

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 leads our study of The Book of Isaiah, on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm in the Rectory. Bring your Bible. Next meeting: February 5th.

Supper with Bishop Caggiano: Any young man of high school, college and post-college age, who has ever thought about the priesthood, can be the guest of our Bishop on February 18th at the Saint John Fisher Seminary Residence on Newfield Avenue. There is no charge, nor obligation: just an opportunity to consider that God may truly be calling you to the priesthood and meet our bishop. If you are interested, just contact Monsignor, Fathers Audette or Walsh, or simply phone the office [203-324-1553, ext 21] and speak with Cindy, our parish secretary. If you’d need a ride, we’ll be happy to oblige.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday January 26, 2014 $ 10,848.50
Sunday January 27, 2013 $ 11,378.80
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Feb. 9th, Sunday Readings: Is 58:7-10; 1 Cor 2:1-5; Mt 5:13-16.

Home Schooling Families: Meet in the Msgr. Nagle Parish hall each First Friday: 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.

SAINT GABRIEL PARISH LECTURE SERIES FOR LENT: CATHOLIC IDENTITY:RENEWING OUR APPRECIATION – On four Monday evenings during the Lenten season (March 10th,17th, 24th, and 31st) from 7:30 -8:30 p.m. in the Saint Gabriel parish hall, Dr. Joan Kelly will lead us on a tour of our Catholic Faith Tradition.  Together we will explore the wealth of our glorious Catholic Heritage steeped in a centuries old Tradition more than 2000 years old.  You will be enlightened about the historical resplendency of Catholic doctrine, ritual and devotion that manifests itself in our Church down to the present day!

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, February 24th.

Saint Gabriel Church: Bishop Caggiano to Preach at a Latin Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11th at 7:30 in the evening, for a special Marian Celebration.  Bishop Caggiano will preach at a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. (Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal)  A reception will follow in the Saint Gabriel Parish Meeting Room.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 1, 2014
4:00 +Vito Melfi req. Joseph Melfi
Sunday, February 2, 2014
7:30 People of the Parish
10:00 +John Riddle req. Danny Rainho
12:00 +Cliff Lindquist and Special Intentions Marion Morris req. Diane Strain & Family and Joseph and
Agnes Kung
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 3, 2014
8:00 For the Opening of the Cause of Ignatius Cardinal Kung req. the Cardinal Kung Foundation
12:10 Mary Coffey req. Thomas Cycon
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Vincenzo Giannitti req. Angela Giannitti
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
8:00 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
12:10 +James and Adele Henson req. John and Laura Pascale
Thursday, February 6, 2014
8:00 +Stephen Anthony Romanelli req. John Chidsey
12:10 In Honor of the Divine Will of the Holy Trinity req. Fabiola C.
Friday, February 7, 2014
8:00 +Dennis P. Sugrue req. Carpanzano Family
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
8:00 +Jules Pericles req. Marie Florestal
12:10 Gemma Marchetti req. Parents

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 ADVOCATE:

120 years ago, or so:
January 15, 1891: St. John’s R.C. Church. “Wednesday evening was the time set for the marriage of Mr. Daniel Rogers, brother of Rev. Father Rogers, pastor of St. John’s, to Miss Sadie Bracken, all of Stamford. From the annual report lately read in St. John’s church it appears that debts to the amount of over $4,000 have been paid, and that there are about 4,000 parishioners. Last year there were 225 baptisms, 63 marriages and 10 converts. Messrs. Daniel Hanrahan and Edward Duffy have been re-elected trustees of this church.”

100 years ago, or so:
February 3, 1913: THROATS BLESSED TODAY. “The Feast of St. Blasius is observed today in St. John’s Catholic Church by the usual custom of blessing of throats. This ceremony was performed in St. John’s Church at 7:30 and will be performed at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today. Ash Wednesday services in St. John’s will be at 8 a.m., 3:30 and at 7:30 p.m. The ashes will be blessed at these Masses and distributed after the Masses. During Lent, the services will be each Wednesday evening, a sermon, the rosary and benediction of the Holy Sacrament, the sermons to be delivered each week by Rev. John Corbett of New York, being a series on “The Life of Christ.” There will be services each Friday evening with the Stations of the Cross and Benediction, and every morning during Lent there will be a Mass at 8 a.m..”

75 years ago, or so:
February 8, 1938: Children of Mary, St. John’s Church, To Meet In Groups. “A reorganization meeting of the Children of Mary Society of St. John’s Church was held Sunday afternoon. It was decided that the girls be divided into senior and junior sodalities. This reorganization was commended by both groups to facilitate co-operation and individuality of interests. The senior division consists of girls in the senior year of High School and over that age. The Junior or Immaculate Conception group will included girls from the eighth grade to junior year high school. Officers of the Senior Sodality were elected to serve for the ensuing year. They are: Kathryn Leonard, president; Ann Matutis, vice president; Esther Hart, treasurer; Irene Frey, secretary. Marion McRedmond was appointed publicity chairman.”

55 years ago, or so:
February 7, 1955: St. John’s Wins In CYO Court Loop. “The Holy Name and St. John’s teams put on a rousing contest in the nightcap with St. John’s eking out a 32-31 win. Billy Ward was the big gun for the St. John’s team with 18 points.”

Who do you play for?
-Fr. Terry Walsh

Grant that we, who are nourished by his body and blood, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ. – Eucharistic Prayer III

Do you remember the movie “Miracle on Ice” that told the story of the surprising USA Hockey team that took home the Gold Medal in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games? Tensions were hot throughout the world in those days – Communism and the Cold War was at a fever pitch. And, of course, the Nation was dealing with the terrible Hostage Crisis in Iran. And yet, in a few short weeks at Lake Placid, a small group of young men gave an entire country an unexpected joy that seemed to linger long after the closing ceremonies and to have a lasting effect on us all.

The Victories on the Ice were utterly astounding. The USA Hockey team was the clear underdog entering into the Olympics. And yet, the Miracle of rising to the top was something much deeper – much richer than even the Gold Medal itself. It was a lesson in virtue. Courage, Sacrifice, Singleness of purpose. Herb Brooks, the Coach of that unforgettable Team, taught his players something about the human spirit. A simple lesson, really, but one that seems to allude many. It is the lesson of selflessness. The turning point in the training of the team came after a grueling practice session as the team drew closer to the opening ceremonies. There were many such sessions, but what set this particular session apart from the rest was that it came on the heels of what could be called a battle with ‘selfishness’. The team had just lost a scrimmage game on the road. As Herb Brooks gazed upon the faces of his players down the final minutes of the game, his players seemed to have their minds – and their eyes – on other things. They were not “in the game” but rather, they had drifted away. So, immediately after the game, the American Team stayed on the ice. And they began doing wind sprints back and forth on the ice. One after the other. It was the custom of Coach Brooks to pause during typical practices, especially in the early days of putting the team together and ask one of the lads where they were from – who did they play for. And each would respond by shouting out his name and the College or University he represented – remember, these were College guys – not Professionals, like the Russian team. But on this particular night – he didn’t ask them – he just drilled them – one sprint after another. The assistant coach reluctantly blew the whistle to signal the start of each sprint. From time to time, he would plead with Coach Brooks that the lads just couldn’t handle any more—they were exhausted to the point of collapsing. It was time to call it a day. But Coach Brooks was not satisfied. They had indeed come so far, and yet, they hadn’t yet learned the most important thing—and it could not be taught—it had to be learned. He would not stop. Finally, in one brief pause between whistles, as the players were all clutching their legs, gasping for breath, one player yelled out his name: “Mike Eruzione!” Coach Brooks replied, “Who do you play for?” Eruzione replied, “I play for the United States of America!” It was all the Brooks was waiting for. Eruzione, the captain of the team, did not play for his College team here. No, rather, he was chosen to play for his Country, to represent the USA. He finally understood, and so too his teammates finally understood.

And who do you play for? In his Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul chides the community for losing sight of their true identity. They lost sight of the Truth of the Gospel. They were not living as brothers and sisters in Christ. “For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are your not merely men? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building”(1 Corinthians 3:5-9). What is your name? Who do you play for? I play for Jesus Christ, He who humbled Himself to become man in order to redeem me – that I may become a member of His Mystical Body (His Team) and so share Everlasting Life with Him in Heaven. And what is required? Love. And Love, by it’s very nature is sacrificial. St. Paul would go on to teach the Corinthians – and all of us – the nature of love (see chapters 12 and 13 of this same Letter). Our Team is the Church, whose guiding Light is the Holy Spirit. “The Church has been planted in this world like a Garden of Eden. Thus the Spirit of God says, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden’(Genesis 2:16) – that is, ‘Eat from every Scripture of the Lord, but you must not eat with a proud mind, or touch any heretical discord”(St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5.20.2).