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

Pastor’s Corner: What do you want out of life? What do you desire? That is the basis of another question: What is your goal this Lent? Lent is about readjusting where we fit God into our lives. This isn’t so arcane as you might think, because, where you fit God into your life determines not just the “what” you want from life, but the “how” by which you achieve what you want from life. Each year we go through these Lenten 40 days; but why? The goal is to turn our minds and hearts—our desires—in a direction that is profitable. We all like profits; we’re capitalists, after all. By profitable, I mean, towards that which will make us happy. Usually, when one thinks of “desire” for something that will make us happy, we imagine the immediate gratification of some urge or need. We push God out of the way, even from our thoughts, and misconstrue the immediate satisfaction of our urges or ambitions for happiness. Our true happiness comes when we do that which we were designed to do: to please God by doing that which pleases the God who loves us, rather than by merely and temporarily satisfying our every desire. St. Paul reminds us of our real status as slaves to our sins [Rom 6:15 ff]. And all the time you thought you were the boss of your own life! Christ offers liberation from the tyranny of sin and death, and, as an extra bonus of His love, eternal life as His co-heirs in Heaven. All that, just for trying to please Him now, not merely in thought, but in deed. Continuing to sin while claiming to love God is like insisting that you love your wife, while continuing to go out with your girlfriend; you can’t insist that you love God, while continuing to sin, acting as if He didn’t exist, or, as if He were not important enough to pay attention to. [I John 2:3-4]

One the Church’s greatest sinner-become-saint, Saint Augustine, was an expert at this. He sought to “scratch every itch”, as the saying goes. For him, running after women and seeking fame and fortune were the most important things in life, because he believed he was the most important person in his life and, so, he determined that was what he’d do to make himself happy. He believed in God, but God was not real enough for Augustine to change the way he lived, since Augustine’s God was an idea, and not as real as Augustine’s personal urges and ambitions. That was Augustine’s first mistake, and usually ours as well: if we don’t first treat God as God, then we treat ourselves as God, and so we tend to treat other people as things. So, we can use anyone, hurt anyone, cheat everyone, simply because we determine that is how to become happy in life, and that justifies whatever we do. We are first, and everyone else is second, because God really doesn’t exist in our lives, at least not enough to affect how we live. Or, we make up an idea of God, who allows us to do whatever we want. Here’s Saint Augustine:

“The whole life of a believing Christian is, after all, a holy desire. What you desire, you do not yet see, but your desire enables you to be filled with seeing when the time for seeing comes. A comparison: If you want to fill a bag with something very big, you stretch the mouth of it; the object is big and the mouth small, but by stretching the mouth you make it bigger. In like manner, God expands our desire by deferring fulfillment; through desire He stretches the soul and makes it able to hold more. . . What, then, are we to do in this life where we do not yet lay hold of what we desire? St. Paul wrote, ‘I forget what is behind and stretch out to what is ahead, intent on the goal of heavenly calling,’ This is our life’s purpose: to practice desire. But we can cultivate holy desire only to the extent that we detach our desire from the world. You are to be filled with good things from God; you must first empty yourself of evil. Suppose God wanted to fill you with honey, but you were already filled with the vinegar of sin! You must empty yourself of vinegar, be cleansed, even with laborious scrubbing, so that you may be fit to be filled with something better” [Commentary on the First Letter of John, Treatise 4].

Lent is the annual season during which we turn our desires from satisfying ourselves in sinful pursuits, and work for true happiness that comes from loving God here and now. Try it: pray a bit more; fast from food, as a penance; be more charitable to the needy; forgive those who hurt you. Basics. Because Christ is basic to our identities and lives. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: James Meadows II, Karin Fahey, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Virginia Donaghue, Marcel Gedeon, Antoinette Rubino, James Hale, Edna Campbell, Joseph Pavia, Elmer Lipinski, William Henry, Sr., Louis Chiapetta, Ann R. DiGiovanni, Patricia Morris, Jean Fusaro, Frederick Intrieri, Jody Ann O’Brien.

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, Monday, March 10th.

Abstinence from eating meat: All Fridays during Lent: are days of abstinence from eating meat for those 14 years and older, unless sickness or medical conditions prevent this.

Confessions During Lent: Besides the usual daily schedule, Confessions will also be heard each Tuesday during Lent: 7pm– 9pm in the Basilica.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4:00pm in the Basilica.

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: March 12th.

KENTUCKY DERBY: Save the Date!! May 3rd: our annual parish fundraising event: the simulcast of the Derby in the Monsignor Nagle Hall, 4-7pm: outstanding food and drink, raffles, a live auction, and great fun. Come join us for the Kentucky Derby at St. John’s. All proceeds for the repainting and repair of the Rectory.

SAINT GABRIEL PARISH LECTURE SERIES FOR LENT: CATHOLIC IDENTITY:RENEWING OUR APPRECIATION – On four Monday evenings (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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 2, 2014 $ 10,736.00
Sunday March 3, 2013 $ 15,840.26
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mar. 16th, Sunday Readings: Gn 12:1-4a; 2 Tim 1:8b-10; Mt 17:1-9.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Has begun. Many parishioners have already received a letter from Bishop Lori. Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. The funds collected for the Bishop are used for the numerous charitable and educational works of the Diocese. Please be generous.

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

STAMFORD SYMPHONY: Will perform Handel’s Messiah in our Basilica on
Saturday, December 6, 2014: Tickets go on sale in March ONLY THROUGH
THE STAMFORD SYMPHONY PATRON SERVICE: 203-325-1407, ext. 10.

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 seeks volunteers: Support women with unplanned pregnancies to bring their babies to term, providing pregnancy tests, connecting women with medical, financial, legal and other resources. Flexibe schedules; training 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).

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, March 24th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 8, 2014
4:00 For the opening of the Cause of Ignatius Cardinal Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Sunday, March 9, 2014
7:30 People of the Parish
10:00 +Kathy Robustelli req. Jeff and Sal Zolluccio and Marion Zolluccio Carey
12:00 Joseph Kung req. Family
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 10, 2014
8:00 +Kola Palushaj req. Age Tushaj
12:10 +Fanelia Jean Pierre and Constantin Gaspard and Family req. Nephews and Nieces
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 The Boiteau Family req. Maude and Paul Hughes
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
8:00 Sp. Int. Elizabeth Schallenberg req. Maureen and Rick Carpiniello
12:10 In Honor of the Divine Will of God
Thursday, March 13, 2014
8:00 +Age Camaj req. Age Tushaj
12:10 +Peter Medwed – 13th Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families
Friday, March 14, 2014
8:00 +Timmy Skehan req. Maureen and Rick Carpiniello
12:10 +Al Lorenti req. Pinto Family
Saturday, March 15, 2014
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Mr. Michael Gerard Januski req. Ferry G.

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:

145 years ago, or so:
March 12, 1869: “The Roman Catholic Society have purchased a lot 200 X 100 feet, in one of the most prominent and valuable positions on Atlantic Street, from Mr. A. J. Bell, for $12,500. We understand it is the intention of the society to build a handsome church edifice on their new purchase.”

140 years ago, or so:
March 15, 1872: St. Patrick’s Day. “Next Sunday the 17th of March, a temperance meeting, as previously announced, will be held in Seely’s Hall. Eloquent speakers will deliver addresses appropriate to the subject and the occasion. In many parts of the State the usual St. Patrick’s Day processions will take place on Monday the 18th. We understand that no procession or other special celebration will mark the day in Stamford.”

75 years ago, or so:
March 16, 1941: Hibernians Plan Dance to Observe St. Patrick’s Day. “The annual entertainment and dance, in Hibernian Hall, Main St., tonight, under the auspices of the Gen. Philip Sheridan Branch, A.O.H., will lead the city’s observance of St. Patrick’s Day. The program sponsored by the Hibernians will get under way at 8 P.M. and will include singing and dancing, with Irish and American music.”

70 years ago, or so:
March 16, 1941: Funeral for Late Michael A. Boyle At 10 A.M. Monday. “A Solemn High Requiem Mass will be celebrated for Michael A. Boyle on Monday at 10 a.m. in St. John’s Catholic Church, of which the late High School teacher and athletic director was a member. It is expected that large delegations of teachers and pupils will attend the funeral. Members of St. Augustine Council, Knights of Columbus of the Fourth Degree unit, Lafayette Assembly, of which Mr. Boyle was a member, will also attend as will members of St. John’s Holy Name Society.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Michael Boyle was an 1893 graduate of St. John’s School. The Stamford High School stadium bears his name in honor”

65 years ago, or so:
March 14, 1950: “St. John’s Parochial School will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by presenting a musical, with performances on Thursday and Friday nights at 8 in St. John’s Church hall. There will be singing, dancing, recitations, and a chorus of 50, all hailing Ireland’s patron saint. The group includes Sergey Eshinsky, Ann Forbes, Eileen Kenney, Robert Berry, Frieda Mitchell and Stephen Raiteri.”

The Stations of the Cross – The First Station
– Fr. Terry Walsh

“He did no wrong; no deceit was found in his mouth. When he was insulted, he returned no insult.” – 1 Peter 2

Did you ever wonder what might have been going through the mind of our Lord at the First Station? Or have you considered what those witnessing this horrible scene might have been thinking?

I sometimes wonder if Jesus might have been reflecting on all that he had done for the very people who stood in his midst, accusing him unjustly. Imagine it! He obeyed the will of the Father: “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men”(Philippians 2:6-7). God became man and now, for the rest or eternity, Jesus, a Divine Person, has two natures: Divine and human – for love of us. The Incarnation! And then, he lived among us for 33 years, obedient to Mary and Joseph, humbly working and praying and doing every manner of good to those around him. Indeed, St. Louis DeMontfort contends that through this humble obedience He gave the Father more glory than all the miracles. Humble obedience. I wonder if he called to mind his many marvelous works of kindness at the moment of the 1st Station as he stood before his accusers: healings, casting our demons, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, restoring sight to the blind, teaching the truth and calling all to a life of holiness, faithfulness, and love. Indeed, he called all to share in his holiness and he promised the necessary graces to accomplish this call—if only we would humbly obey him and follow him. Then, how could this be? How could he be standing in front of this court to be tried as a criminal?

There he was, innocent, yet scorned by his own, falsely accused, arrested in the dead of night and brought before an angry mob. I wonder if he might have been reflecting on the many words of thanks he had heard from those he had healed. I wonder if he may have thought about the cold places he had slept and the lack of food he suffered from time to time, or perhaps the toil he endured when everyone was pulling at his cloak hoping to gain a grace. What strength it must have taken to stand there before this crooked crowd. He had just endured a suffering unlike anything ever known to man during his agony in the Garden. He had felt the terror of abandonment as he watched his Apostles scatter away. What utter disappointment. What sadness. He had said to them: “Watch and Pray”. But they fell asleep. There he stood, the innocent Lamb being prepared for the Slaughter. Was he thirsty? After all, he had endured a horrible spiritual suffering in the Garden so intense that he actually sweat blood. He must have been dehydrated and wearied with grief. Were the bruises he endured as he was dragged to the court making it difficult to see – or to breath? “He did no wrong; no deceit was in his mouth. When he was insulted, he returned no insult”(1 Peter 2). He simply stood there. He opened not his moth. He had already done his talking: three years of laying down his life for everyone he met. Where were they?

Seven centuries earlier, the great prophet Isaiah spoke of this moment, the moment of the Passion of the Suffering Servant: “The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame”(Isaiah 50:7). He was prepared to “make all things new” through the suffering of the Passion, knowing that through his Passion, he would feed all who come to him seeking Eternal Life, union with God, forever. He was carrying out his Mission and he knew he would be vindicated: “No weapon fashioned against you shall prevail; (even though for a short time it seemed that he was defeated) every tongue you shall prove false that launches an accusation against you. This is the lot of the servants of the Lord, their vindication from me, says the Lord”(Isaiah 54:17). All for the Salvation of souls…. “All you who are thirsty, come to the water! All you who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk”(Isaiah 55:1). He was thinking about us….

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid? When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, These enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall….But I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27