For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Feb 9, 2014

Pastor’s Corner: The border between Spain and France is one of misty mountain heights, mystic shrines of local gothic design, and winding roads following ancient paths of shepherds and pilgrims. It is a place of rugged beauty and mystery, and it is here that the climactic battle in the Chanson de Roland takes place: that 11th century epic poetic narrative of the exploits and heroic death of the greatest of Charlemagne’s knights, Roland, during the Battle of Roncevalles in 778 A.D. The ideal of French manhood, Roland is the perfect warrior, possessed of the best steed, the greatest strength and courage, whose loyalty and potent sword were legendary, and who was true to his liege lord, Charlemagne, the greatest of European princes.

The young Bernadette Soubirous knew nothing of Roland. Uneducated, impoverished and sickly, she never entered the realm of mid-19th century scholars or of the privileged, ruling classes of Third Empire of France. The movers a shakers of culture, politics, industry and society in what is today France and Germany, resurrected and propagated myths of national heroes and heroines. Set to prose, poetry and opera, these legends became potent cultural props for growing nationalistic sentiments and industrialized arms races that would blossom in the early 20th century, the centenary of which first salvo we celebrate this summer. God was merely another prop to burgeoning nationalism and the making of fortunes, led by men of far-reaching and vast vision. So they said.

But not for Bernadette, who was pressed down by the tedious worries of daily practicalities, without which there was no survival during the bitter winters of Lourdes, a nothing town in a primitive part of southern France near the border with Spain, at the base of the Pyrenees where Roland had marched. In pursuit of her daily chores on February 11, 1858, Bernadette saw a small young lady. Bernadette’s sister, Toinette and a friend were there, but saw no one. Bernadette returned, carrying holy water, just in case the vision was from the Evil One. After sprinkling the holy water, the lady merely smiled, yet still said nothing. During the subsequent visits, the lady told her that she was “The Immaculate Conception”, a title recently defined by Pope Pius IX, yet unknown to the illiterate peasant girl. Bernadette was also told to drink from a spring nearby. Not seeing a spring, the girl began to dig in the mud, until finally water began bubbling up—today, more than 32,000 gallons of water bubble up daily from the original spring near the Grotto. As rumor of visions began, people from neighboring villages arrived: 30 on February 20th, 100, the next day, 150 on February 23rd and more than 800 on February 27th. Since the tiny village was being overrun by strangers, the local police and anti-clerical mayor became involved, pressuring the family to stop Bernadette. On March 1st, more than 1,500 people were present, and witnessed the first miraculous cure: a local woman, Catherine Latapie, suffering from a paralyzed arm from birth, bathed in the spring water and her arm was restored. On June 8th, the mayor barricaded the Grotto, and placed armed guards around the area. Bernadette knelt and prayed outside the barricades as Our Lady appeared to her for the last time.

The message of Our Lady of Lourdes is a simple one: do not forget Her Divine Son, obey the Commandments, and love God. Not precisely the message Emperor Napoleon III wanted to hear, as he worked for Empire by the most disgraceful means of the day, along with King Victor Emmanuel and Prince Von Bismarck. Forget God, and everything we hold important crumbles to dust—as would be seen in the Franco-Prussian War and the unification of Italy in 1870; the outbreak of World War I in 1914; the Russian Revolution of 1917, the collapse of Europe in 1918, and the tragic aftermath and the development of Fascism, Nazism and Communism. An entire world swept away, the effects of which remain today, as we continue to forget God and busy ourselves with ourselves.

February 11th is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Let’s remember that day—just one more during which God reminds us that we are important only in the eyes of God; and, that when we forget that, we become props to movements, governments, marketing schemes and fads, that hold us valuable only as consumers. God knows we are more: His sons and daughters, and hopes we will one day realize that, as well. —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.

Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial . . . Special Intentions

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.

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 10th.

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 11th.

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 February 2, 2014 $ 11,580.80
Sunday February 3, 2013 $ 13,312.02

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

Feb. 16th, Sunday Readings: Sir 15:15-20; 1 Cor 2:6-10; Mt 5:17-37 or 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37.

Home Schooling Families: Meet in the Msgr. Nagle Parish hall each First Friday: 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, this Tuesday, 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 8, 2014
4:00 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
Sunday, February 9, 2014
7:30 Deceased members of the Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
10:00 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 +Suzanne Roccat and John Ignatius Kung req. Diane Strain & Family and John Ignatius Kung’s
Parents
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 10, 2014
8:00 In Honor of the Infant Jesus req. Gina Uva
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Vito Longo Birthday Remembrance req. Terenzio Family
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
8:00 +Charles V. Austin Jr. req. Parents
12:10 +Alexander Munro – 36th Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families
Thursday, February 13, 2014
8:00 +Josephine Sinclair Achatz req. Ralph and Grace DeVito
12:10 Special Intentions Grandchildren req. Millie
Friday, February 14, 2014
8:00 +Edner Dieu and Gracelie Vilme req. Marie Florestal
12:10 +Frank Dal Molin req. Mary Jean Dal Molin
Saturday, February 15, 2014
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 Father Brian Gannon Birthday req. Sharon Gannon

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:
150 years ago, or so:
February 12, 1864: Lenten Services. “Lenten services were held on Ash Wednesday in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches.”

100 years ago, or so:
February 13, 1915: MAYOR OPENS BAZAAR IN PAROCHIAL SCHOOL HALL. “At the bazaar which the ladies of St. John’s Catholic Parish are to conduct and maintain for four days in the School Hall, off Bell Street, for the benefit of the church, over 300 persons played euchre last night, and also did their share in bringing smiles to the faces of the tenders of the various pretty booths. The booths were arranged about the sides of the room, and in the center the card players were busy until about 10 p.m. when Frank Smith distributed the prizes, and then dancing was enjoyed until midnight. Smith’s orchestra furnished the music.”

75 years ago, or so:
February 10, 1938: Church Appeals Grant of Permit For Gas Station. St. John’s Catholic Pastor Opposed Application Citing Traffic Hazards for Pupils. “An appeal from the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals in granting permission to Karl K. Wolfe to operate a gasoline station on the south side of Bell St. was taken to the Superior Court, today, by St. John’s Catholic Church. The Rev. N.P. Coleman, pastor of St. John’s Church, appeared at a hearing on the Wolfe application two weeks ago, and protested against the establishment of the station, which, he claimed, would add to traffic hazards already existing for pupils of St. John’s Parochial School on Bell St. Supporting Father Coleman’s protest was that submitted by the Retail Gasoline Dealers’ Association through Attorney Daniel E. Ryan, who claimed that the zoning regulations bar gasoline stations within 200 feet of a church or school.”

60 years ago, or so:
February 10, 1954: Namers Beaten By St. John’s In CYO League. “The jinx the St. John’s hold over the Holy Names in the CYO Grammar School League held forth Tuesday night. The Johnnies tagged the second defeat on the South End rival by a 23-22 score, the reverses being the only setbacks suffered by the Holy Names in both rounds of play. St. Mary’s will play the Holy Names in a playoff next Tuesday, with the winners to engage the St. John’s next Wednesday for the round title.”

The Mystery of the Holy Mass
– Fr. Terry Walsh

Tears were running down his cheeks. The prophet was completely and utterly overwhelmed. But why was he crying? Ah, the drama of life is deeply immersed in mystery, especially the supernatural life. We believe in so much that we simply do not see. We cannot see our soul, yet it is immortal. We cannot see emotions such as love, fear, or joy, and yet we live by them. Indeed, the Saints remind us that all that we can see and touch will one day pass away, and that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth”(Revelation 21:1). At the same time, God has revealed that there are things that will in fact never pass away: “Love never ends”(1 Corinthians 13:8). Ah, the mystery of love is the mystery of God. Why then was Isaiah crying? (see The Book of Isaiah, Chapter 6) Afterall, he was gazing upon Love personified. Imagine it! What a miraculous grace he was given before he was sent out to preach. He would speak about the Virgin Birth, the Suffering Servant, and the Consolation of Israel. God prepared Him by allowing him a glimpse of Heaven. As he stood before the Throne of God, the prophet was surrounded by myriads of angels and archangels all chanting with perfect sweetness and power, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Is the Lord of hosts!”(Isaiah 6:3). We enter into that very same chorus at every Mass, although now the Saints are there too. Imagine the sweet fragrances he was drinking in, incomprehensible to mere human senses. Isaiah was shaking, his tears increasing as his conscience was laid bear before the Throne. There was little doubt that he was a good man, afterall, he demonstrated an eager desire to serve the Lord. Yet, his tears revealed the shame of the wounds upon his soul due to sin. Immediately he felt a tremendous urge to run away. He was unworthy to stand in the presence of God and he knew it in the depth of his heart. His impurity was an offence to God. And yet, in that moment, the true contrition of the prophet pierced the Heart of Divine Mercy. Instantly, the doomed prophet was healed! God sent an angel to touch the sullied lips of Isaiah with a burning coal taken from the Altar, immediately purging all uncleanness. “Behold,” whispered the fiery seraphim, “this has touched your lips. You have been made clean. Your sins are forgiven.” What amazing words of love! What mystery! We hear those very same words in the Sacrament of Confession! The Vision of Isaiah is real. Truly, we participate in the same scene when we walk through the doors of St. John’s to attend Holy Mass. It’s true. Countless angels and Archangels fill the sanctuary praising God and bowing down in adoration in sheer amazement as he confines himself in the host. They are really there! We’re “in heaven” at the Mass. Do you see it? Do you exhibit the same awe and wonder that Isaiah felt? Have you made a faithful effort to uncover the mysteries of faith through daily prayer and faithful reception of the graces that come through each personal encounter with Christ, sacramentally? Indeed, as we penetrate the Mysteries of our faith, we’ll begin to understand the beauty of God and the ocean of His love. Bit by bit we’ll become ever more docile to the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and so respond to the invitation to stand in His presence, like Isaiah. We’ll be filled with that same Awe and Wonder; we will be made clean. When we peer behind the veil of the Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we’ll gain a deeper awareness of our filial relationship with God. He wipes our sins away with the gentle words of absolution; He touches our lips – not with a burning coal – but rather with His very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – the Bread of Angels! He calls us to walk in His Radiant Light from the very moment of our baptism. Are there tears running down your cheeks? How easily we are distracted. How fragile our commitment. What does it take for God to get our attention? Do the cares of daily life distract you from the spiritual reality of the Presence of Almighty God? He is truly gazing upon each one of us, not in a general way so that we might hide anonymously hide behind our neighbor, but rather, He is actually peering into each heart and inspecting the deepest regions of our conscience. The spiritual life is a journey. Naturally, there is a gradual growth. But conversion of the heart depends on our response to the invitation of grace. In the natural world, a child grows into adolescence and eventually into a mature person. On the other hand, the spiritual life, which is also meant to grow – requires a decision. We are not meant to remain in “spiritual adolescence” but rather, we are meant to hunger for heaven. Spiritual adolescence might be something like this: Only an hour earlier I was rolling out of my comfortable bed. Barely awake, I hopped into the car to roll into Church and on the way out the door I grabbed a bagel, forgetting about the one hour fast from food before receiving Holy Communion. I rushed up the steps out of breath, yet again, but excusing myself because, after all, Mass hadn’t really started yet, the altar servers were still filing into the Sanctuary. Now seriously, imagine Isaiah strolling into Heaven late for his vision, and nonchalantly picking the sleep out of his eye, wiping the crumbs off his lapel, and yawning, as if the gift before him was ‘no big deal’ – as if it was just one more thing he had to do before getting on with the important and fun part of his day. There is more going on at Mass than meets the eye, the spiritual eye that is – and that’s the one that really counts. A lack of tears – of thanksgiving, of joy, of love for our Lord – may actually bring tears to His cheeks. The gift of life is a precious mystery of love. But we have to be attentive to it, else we will miss it and mistakenly grab onto fleeting things. Recall the childlike wonder at the beauty of a sunset – one that covered the entire sky with a fiery orange and red tapestry. As soon as you noticed it, you stopped in the middle of whatever it was that was occupying your attention and immediately turned your complete attention to that amazing scene! The mystery spoke directly to your heart and you knew, even as a child, that if you didn’t stop whatever you were engaged in at that moment and turn your gaze to that wonder before your eyes, it would be missed, perhaps gone forever. And in that little peek, your heart and mind were utterly captured by the beauty created by God. That childlike wonder, with the help of God’s grace, is meant to mature into a deep spiritual vision of the truth behind the veil of the natural world; that is, we’re meant to see more distinctly with the ‘eyes of the heart’ as St. Paul would say, the deeper mysteries of life that mould our souls and prepare us for eternal beatitude, provided we seek that vision; provided we drink in the Living Waters of Divine Grace, which come to us most abundantly in the Bread of Angels, the Eucharist.