For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 23, 2014

Immaculate Conception Crucifixion

Pastor’s Corner: God became man in the Virgin’s womb, and was born at Christmas, so He could offer Himself on Good Friday—human body, soul, mind and heart—in obedience to the Father, and so free us from sin and eternal death. We celebrate God becoming man on March 25th: the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she had been chosen by God to be the Mother of Salvation, asking that she assist God in His plan to save humanity. Her “yes” is the moment she conceived. Below are two beautiful reflections on the mystery of the depth of God’s love for us as manifest in the His sending the Son, and the Son’s loving obedience to the Father, for our sake. The Eternal Son is referred to as the Word:

“God, the Word of the Father, did not abandon human nature to corruption, but canceled the death our [human] nature had incurred by offering his own body, corrected our neglect by his teaching, and restored mankind’s estate by his acts of power.

If you read the Scriptures, you will find all this confirmed by those men of God, the Savior’s Apostles: ‘The love of God drives us on, for we believe that if one man died for all, then all have died; and if he died for all, then we must no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and rose for us, our Lord Jesus Christ.’ This and other passages show that mankind was rescued from death only by the Word of God [the Eternal Son] who had created them in the beginning.

The reason why the Word took flesh himself was that he might make of himself a Victim for others. ‘The children all are men of flesh and blood; he became one of them in order to destroy by his death the lord of death, that is, the devil, and to free those whom fear of death had everywhere made slaves.’ By sacrificing his own body he abrogated the law against us and renewed the springs of life in us by giving us the hope of the resurrection.

Men and women had given death power over them. It was fitting, then, that God the Word became a man in order to destroy death and restore life. Listen to St. Paul, a man filled with Christ: ‘As death came through one man’s doing, so did the resurrection from the dead. As all die in Adam, so all will be restored to life in Christ.’ Henceforth we do not die forever as men and women condemned; instead as men and women who are to be raised from the dead, we await the general resurrection which God will effect in due time. (St. Athanasius, Discourse 10: On the Incarnation of the Word)

Another patristic writer expressed Our Lord’s work in this way:

“As a farmer takes suitable tools with him when he goes out to till the soil, so Christ, the heavenly King and true Farmer, took a human body and a Cross as his tools when he came to lost humankind in order to till the soil of our souls. He cleared it of the thorns of evil affections and the weeds of sin. When he had tilled it with the ploughshare of the Cross, he planted in it the beautiful gardens of the Holy Spirit, which would produce sweet fruits of every kind for God its Lord forever.” (St. Macarius, Sermon 28)

As Lent continues, read the Gospels: The Christmas narratives: Matt. 1-2; Luke 1-2; John 1; Passion and Resurrection narratives: Matt. 26; in Mark 14; in Luke 22; in John 13. —a few brief chapters each night until Easter would be very rewarding for all. ——Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Jessica Fleckenstein, Lilliana Papa, 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.

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 24th.

Banns of Marriage: II 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.

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, June 22nd, 5:30 pm: Corpus Christi: Join us in our Eucharistic Procession through Stamford , followed by a parish block party: food and fun for the family, with the great nationally renowned band: L’ANGELUS, who played here two years ago. Join us.

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

BISHOP CAGGIANO & OUTDOOR STATIONS OF THE CROSS: At Saint Margaret’s Shrine, 2532 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, on Palm Sunday, April 13th at 1pm. Led by Bishop Caggiano through the beautiful grounds of our only Diocesan Shrine, the Stations of the Cross are a wonderful way to begin Holy Week.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 16, 2014 $ 14,005.00
Sunday March 17, 2013 $ 12,076.23

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. 30th, Sunday Readings: 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38.

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: $22,315. 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. Flexible 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: This Monday, March 24th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 22, 2014
4:00 +James Meehan and Kevin Keary req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 23, 2014
7:30 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
10:00 +Kathy Robustelli req. Dick and Chris McRedmond
12:00 +William M. Borkowski req. Ann and Michael Borkowski
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 24, 2014
8:00 Souls in Purgatory
12:10 Deceased members of Terenzio Family req. Millie Terenzio
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
8:00 Bonnie Keyes req. Dorothy Keyes
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
8:00 +John Lancaster req. Sue Kremheller
12:10 +Sylvester Pascale req. John and Laura Pascale
Thursday, March 27, 2014
8:00 +Charles V. Austin Jr. req. parents
12:10 +Michael Galgano req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Friday, March 28, 2014
8:00 Thanksgiving to Mother of God req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Robert Steward req. Bill and Jeannine Steward
Saturday, March 29, 2014
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 +Sister Christine Marie req. Nancy Ligouri

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 NEWS:

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
150 years ago, or so:
March 30, 1866: Fast Day. “Friday next being Good Friday, also the day appointed for a general fast day in this state, there will be the usual services in the Roman Catholic Church.”

THE Connecticut catholic:
125 years ago, or so:
March 24, 1888: STAMFORD. “The parochial schools were closed last week on account of the storm. The snow storm of last week, hereafter to be known as the greatest of all storms in this part of this country, was the severest snow and wind storm that was ever seen in Stamford or this part of the state. The town was completely covered with snow. Mr. Carey, station agent, went to work with energy with a force of men and cleared the tracks east and west. At last trains from New York arrived with papers from the great metropolis, and the news spread like wild fire. No great damage was done in Stamford; no lives were lost.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The “Blizzard of ‘88” or “The Great White Hurricane” was, and remains to this day, the most severe snow and wind storm ever to hit Stamford. Upwards of three feet of snow fell on the City.)

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
115 years ago, or so:
March 24, 1900: FATHER RYLE DEAD. “Rev. James Ryle, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church at Westport, died, at his residence in that town, last night. He had been critically ill for several months, and his death was looked for at any time during the last few weeks. Father Ryle was born in Ireland. He took a course in St. John’s College at Villanova, Pa., and at St. Charles College, Baltimore. Father Ryle was ordained to the priesthood eighteen years ago. Father Ryle was a brother of Jeremiah Ryle, John Ryle, & William Ryle of this city.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Ryle was the first recorded vocation to the priesthood from St. John’s parish.)

110 years ago, or so:
March 27, 1906: “Another complaint about the dog nuisance came out today. This time it is in regard to the annoyance caused by the stray dogs in churches, which has been especially aggravating about St. John’s R. C. Church. This church is always open and during Lent there are members at devotions practically all day. Dogs frequently get in, and are a decided nuisance. The sexton is kept busy all the time, chasing them out, and he would like very much to have the authority to put many of them out of mischief for good.”

“Do You Know What Day It Is?”
-Fr. Terry Walsh
“Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.” – Psalm 8:5

Spring has finally arrived! How wonderful to see green! Indeed, the fields are bursting with activity as new hopes and dreams of athletic greatness dance about in the hearts and minds of millions. From dawn till dusk people everywhere are putting themselves to the test – running faster, jumping higher, and developing skills in a variety of activities that are meant to strengthen character and confidence – especially in the young. The “language” of sports translates across borders and builds bridges among cultures. What joy the achievements of human excellence bring – the fruit of much labor. And in the high-tech age, sports provide a wholesome alternative to gadgets galore. In addition, sports teach important lessons about character. Very often, people gain great consolations by reaching new heights or pushing through difficult barriers through steadfast determination. What reasonable sacrifices am I willing to make to reach my best performance? Perhaps the best lesson of all is found in discovering our limits and humbly recognizing what we can not attain. That takes courage. It’s particularly fruitful when that discovery prompts us to turn our gaze away from ourselves and instead begin to contemplate the One who knows no limits – the Infinite One who emptied Himself completely in order to share His Divine Life.

Team sports add the component of working together to accomplish a community goal. Clearly, each individual effort affects every other member of the team and since responsibility to the community takes precedence over personal achievement, individual accomplishments may need to be sacrificed in order for the team to be victorious. Moreover, am I willing to offer constructive criticism to teammates even when it’s difficult? Applied to the spiritual life, these lessons lead to a deeper understanding of love. St. Paul refers to this when he writes about the Mystical Body of Christ. He reminds us that as each member grows in holiness – “faith working through love” – the entire Body grows in holiness. Yet, if one member falls, the ill effect is felt by the whole Body. As members of the Body, we are obligated to grow in holiness and to help others in their pursuit of a holy life as well and sports can make a wholesome contribution.

Ah, there are a million stories. One Christmas Day during World War I, American and German soldiers crawled out of their bloody trenches and met each other in the middle – for a game of soccer. After their game, they simply couldn’t go back to shooting eachother. Consider too the most renowned athletic stage – the Olympics. And how about the 1924 Summer Games? Do you remember Eric Liddell? He was considered to be the world’s fasted human. Yet, he refused to compete in 3 of the 4 events he qualified to run because they took place on Sunday. Liddell would not compromise the integrity of his faith. His heroic witness captured the attention of the entire world. Instead, he ran the 400 meters and set a new world record with his victory.

What place do sports hold in the heart of man today? Is it still an activity that builds character and friendships? Or, has it become an “end” in itself – one that governs the daily activity of families even to the exclusion of honoring God? In many respects, Sports have replaced religion. So few attend Church, yet many would not think about missing practice. Few seem to know the Our Father or the Hail Mary, yet many recite the entire history of their favorite sports team. Few seem to know the names of the four Evangelists, the most important books ever written, yet many can rattle off the starting lineups of their favorite team, along with accompanying statistics. Few can list the 10 Commandments, and fewer still the Beatitudes, but most can tell you the rules governing their sport, including obscure nuances for the most ridiculous scenarios. So few know the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but most know the story of Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle. So few seem to engage in a faithful prayer life, but missing a daily workout would be considered ‘a mortal sin.’

As faithful Catholics, our dignity is realized in our relationship with God. The virtue of Religion falls under the Cardinal Virtue of Justice. We fulfill that virtue by keeping the Commandments. “In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakable faithfulness of God’s covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it” (Catechism, 346). Skipping Mass in favor of a sporting event clearly indicates a lack luster desire for God.
A faithful prayer life would have prevented the tragedy of turning a wholesome activity into an “end” in itself.

We have been made to share in the Divine Life. We are meant to be crowned with glory and honor, in heaven. It is a crown that comes through faith, hope, and love and is the fruit of following the One True God in this life. Sports ought to contribute to the growth and development of the human person rather than serve as a conduit of self-absorption, whose logical end is the exploitation and commoditization of the human person and the loss the true dignity – union with God.