For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 16, 2014

St PatrickPastor’s Corner: Much of the information about St. Patrick comes to us from his personal memoir, entitled Confessions, which he wrote at the end of his life. He began: “I, Patrick, the sinner, the most illiterate and the least of all the faithful, and contemptible in the eyes of very many, had for a father Calpornius,…who belonged to the village of Bannavem Taberniae. Now he had a small farm hard by, and there I was taken captive. I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God; and I went into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of persons . . .”

Born in Britain, he was captured by Irish slavers and brought to Ireland, where he endured six years as a slave, shepherding his master’s flocks. While born a Christian, he was actually a baptized non-believer, living a worldly life with no thought of God, until his capture. During his years of slavery he had a true conversion. In his Confessions, he tells the reader that while a slave he heard the voice of Christ in a dream, escaped his master by trudging the entire length of Ireland, took passage on a pirate ship, and landed in south-western Gaul [France]. There he sought priestly ordination, and dreamt that the Irish people were calling him back to the isle of his captivity to save them through Christ and His Catholic Church. He was taught by the saintly theologian St. Germain of Auxerre, who instructed the young Patrick in the basics of Catholicism and the monastic rule of the recently established Order of Saint Benedict. Despite his late start and incomplete education, Patrick was ordained a priest, then went to Rome seeking the Pope, because the young priest had no doubts about his mission: Ireland.

For many in Rome, the 5th century was about surviving barbarian invasions, and did not appear a propitious time for sending missionaries north to save them. The Roman Empire was weakened by repeated invasions by barbarian hoardes. Indeed, Rome fell in 476 AD when the last Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by Odoacer, the first non-Italian ruler in Italy, who sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople with a note stating that scepters and crowns were no longer needed in Rome. Ireland was seen to be just one more northern territory inhabited by untamed barbarians, and all in Rome feared them. Despite the cowardly worldview of many clerics and statesmen in the Eternal City, the Pope, Celestine I, saw no need to tremble, and sent St. Palladius in 431 A.D. to preach the Gospel and to establish the Roman Church in Ireland. Prior to his mission, there was a vague mix of Christianity and local mythology, vying with the wild cult of the Druids for the loyalty of the tribes and clans. Following St. Palladius, all others steadfastly refused to go to continue the saint’s work —except Patrick, whose uniquely forceful insistence that he be permitted to preach in the pagan wilds of Ireland brought him to the attention of the Pope. Pope Celestine listened the Patrick’s request, ordained him a bishop and sent him to pick up where St. Palladius left off, to make the Irish Roman Christians.

Patrick began to work in the northwest of the Emerald Isle, where no one had yet preached the Gospel. Since there were no towns or fortresses on the Roman pattern, Patrick established Benedictine monasteries for men and for women as centers of religious life and evangelization, directly subject to him as bishop. These became the heart of local Catholic culture in the wilds of Ireland. These monastic centers of Catholic culture, and the disciplined Benedictine life of prayer, hard work, study, charity and penance, formed the backbone of Patrick’s mission in Ireland. Patrick’s principal home base of operations was Armagh, from which he wandered preaching and teaching the faith of Peter and Paul, establishing the Church of Christ. From there he propagated monastic life, brought clergy from Europe, taught Latin and theology to his younger priests, and formed local minds, hearts and culture on the Gospel, offering a share in the Divine Life of the Trinity through the Sacraments. By this means, the Irish monks re-Christianized Europe in the subsequent centuries, preserving the Catholic faith and the classical Latin literature of western culture when all had been lost as the Dark Ages descended upon Europe. Irish Benedictine monasticism forged a common learned language [Latin] and Catholic culture among peoples who otherwise would have had no common ground. Christ’s Catholic Church was at its heart.

St. Patrick’s influence on the development of the Church and culture of Ireland and Europe was immense, the effects of which continue to this day, nearly 1,600 after his death. Let us pray for a dose of his love for the Church and his devotion to Our Lord that led him to forgive his persecutors, and preach Christ. St. Patrick, pray for us. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!! —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Megan Bobroske, Connor Walsh, Billy Therriault, Thomas Bernie, Connie Ward, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Theodore Scheidel, Jr., 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.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: Special Intentions Silvana Murray Smith

St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial . . . In Thanksgiving

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 17th.

Banns of Marriage: I Banns: Leonor H. Lopez & Francis M. Deluca.

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 26th.

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 our glorious Catholic Heritage.

Saint Gabriel Church: on Wednesday March 19th, at 7:30 PM, will celebrate a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, (Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal), for the Feast of Saint Joseph. Followed by refreshments in the Parish Meeting Room. Please  join us!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 9, 2014 $ 13,435.77
Sunday March 10, 2013 $ 11,523.67

Please increase your Sunday offering by $5.00.
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mar. 23rd, Sunday Readings: Ex 17:3-7; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Has begun. Saint John’s 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. We have collected to date: $18,130. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.

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 15, 2014
4:00 Francis Kung req. parents
Sunday, March 16, 2014
7:30 Deceased members of the Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
10:00 +Anthony Lepore req. Rose Lepore
12:00 +Joseph Gutowski req. Marchetti Family
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 17, 2014
8:00 John J. Tarleton req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Barbara DiRocco req. Marc Romano
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
8:00 +Belinda Saldua req. Saldua Family
12:10 Ana Ucero req. Sharon Gannon
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
8:00 Special Intentions John Paul and Angela Marchetti
12:10 +Patrick Dandry req. Laura and John Pascale
Thursday, March 20, 2014
8:00 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 Father Walsh req. Millie Terenzio
Friday, March 21, 2014
8:00 Mr. and Mrs. Gene D’Agostino req. Natarelli Family
12:10 +Robert Steward req. Bill and Jeannine Steward
Saturday, March 22, 2014
8:00 +Ernesto Anguilla req. Lauren Gabriele
12:10 Rev. Terrence P. Walsh req. Scholastica and Andrew

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:
March 18, 1864: “Yesterday was St. Patrick’s day, and, contrary to the general rule, the weather was fine in the morning. Mass was celebrated and a sermon preached by Rev. Father O’Neil, in the Roman Catholic Church. A full congregation was in attendance.”

95 years ago, or so:
March 21, 1921: Seven Last Words Sung. “Mercadante’s “Seven Last Words” was sung in English last night by the choir of St. John’s Catholic Church. It was also sung well. The solo parts were sustained with a fine feeling and delicate shading, and the chorus of fifty voices co-ordinated with the soloists smoothly and effectively. Seldom has a sacred classic been rendered more satisfactorily in this church. The vesper service during which the masterpiece was sung was attended by a congregation that filled every seat in the church. Miss Annette Kenna presided at the organ, and the Rev. John J. Kelley directed the chorus.”

60 years ago, or so:
March 23, 1955: Gift To Diocesan Sisters. “A check for $1,100 was presented by Earl Higgins of Bridgeport to Sister M. Marita of St. John’s Convent, Stamford, for the building fund of the Sisters of Mercy novitiate and infirmary at Madison. Mr. Higgins was chairman of a St. Valentine’s Day card party and social which raised the funds in cooperation with the Mercy Guild. A feature was the Mulkerin Step Dancers of Stamford. Sister Marita, a member of the faculty at St. John’s for the last 10 years, was a former teacher at St. Thomas’ School in Fairfield, where Mr. Higgins attended as a boy.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Sister Marita was a 4th grade teacher at St. John’s School from 1945 to 1957.)

10 years ago, or so:
March 18, 2006: Relic adds to Irish celebration Irish-Americans honored at St. Patrick’s Day Mass. “The shrill call of bagpipes resounded off the arches and stained glass at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church as a procession of worshipers clad in green headed down the aisle yesterday morning. Near the altar, a small green candle flickered in front of a monstrance containing a tiny bone relic of the 5th century man celebrated as the embodiment of Irish-Catholic pride: St. Patrick himself. Along with St. Patrick, the Mass celebrated two local Irish-Americans that the local Ancient Order of Hibernians selected as exemplary models in the spirit of the Emerald Aisles’ patron saint: Monsignor William Nagle, retired pastor of St. John’s and chaplain emeritus of the Hibernians: and Phillis Doonan, a native of Leitrim, Ireland and a 38-year Stamford resident.”

Christian Discipleship
– Fr. Terry Walsh

The world offers so many distractions and yet although we live in the world, our Lord tells us, we are not “of” the world. At baptism we begin a new life—a life centered on Christ; indeed, a life lived “in” Christ. Faith leads us to Him and love nourishes and builds our relationship with Him. Of course, our spiritual life is filled with all sorts of challenges—some small and some not so small. Yet, Jesus promised that He would always be with us to heal our brokenness, if we allow him to heal us, and at the same time, strengthen us so that when we are tested, either by “the world” or “the enemy” or our own human weakness, He is always there to help us. Indeed, as St. Augustine teaches us from his experiences of spiritual desolation, our Lord is actually shouting and waving and doing all sorts of things to keep us in Him through our everyday experiences. Our Lord ‘calls and shouts and breaks through our deafness’ St. Augustine writes in his Spiritual Classic, The Confessions, that we may abide in Him and He in us. And of course, Sacred Scripture calls to mind the effect of the Sacrament of Baptism: “God is present to our inmost being: ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’ In the words of St. Augustine, “God is ‘higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self’”(Catechism of the Catholic Church,300). And yet, there is still the problem of sin. There is still the battles that frail human nature is presented daily—in part, to test our resolve, in part to prove our love, our willingness to humbly ask God for the assistance we need in order to do His will. And of course, it is humility, motivated by love, that brings us to our Lord in the Sacrament of Confession when we recognize that we have fallen in thought, word, or deed. It is that recognition of our Lord’s voice deep in our heart, our conscience, where He calls us to a humble recognition, contrition, and confession so that he can then heal, restore, nourish, and build up.

As we come to understand that God calls us to share in a life of unimaginable happiness, we begin to understand what this relationship entails. It’s an active, meaningful journey unto spiritual perfection that begins at the very moment of our Baptism. This path to Christian Perfection is paved with our active and sacrificial love. This path is groomed and prepared by identifying and sifting away vice. The surface is paved with the moral virtues and traveled well as these virtues are informed by and strengthened through the supernatural graces provided by God Himself: Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel, Understanding, Fortitude, Piety, and of course, Fear of the Lord, more commonly called “Awe and Wonder”. When we are docile to the Holy Spirit and develop the habit of virtuous living we travel through every bend and pothole guided by the Light of Christ. Only vice from within our own engine can cause a breakdown. Vice leads us away from God. Jesus reminds us of this danger. He quotes the prophet Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me…” Christian Perfection is forged in the heart or, as St. Paul teaches, “Faith working through love.” And so, Prayer and the Sacraments are the antidote: prayer opens the heart and exhibits a deeper desire for the graces of the Sacraments. St. Augustine traveled a very bumpy road for many years until at last he came to understand the love God had for him. His profound conversion of heart is recorded in the Spiritual Classic, The Confessions. No longer would he travel the road of self-indulgence. He opened his heart to the Truth and God flooded his soul with grace and peace. There was no turning back. He lived now for Christ. He confesses:

“Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light…this light was above me because it had made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light….you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: ‘I am the food (Eucharist) of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me…

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you…You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

STATIONS of the CROSS—FRIDAYS at 4:00pm throughout LENT