For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 30, 2014

Pastor’s Corner: The Annual Bishop’s Appeal is an important instrument that allows us to be generous to those in need during Lent. Begun by Bishop Egan years ago, it is a special collection designed to fund the charities and good works of the Bishop of Bridgeport throughout Fairfield County, which is the Diocese of Bridgeport.

What type of charities does the Annual Bishop’s Appeal help? Your donation will be used to feed the hungry: this funds the two soup kitchens run by the Diocese of Bridgeport: New Covenant House of Hospitality on Fairfield Avenue, here in Stamford, and the Thomas Merton Center on Madison Avenue, Bridgeport. You also fund the Senior Nutrition Programs offered by Catholic Charities in Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury and Bridgeport, providing hot meals to home bound seniors, without charge. Last year, more than 1 million hot meals were served by these Catholic programs throughout Fairfield County to the homeless, homebound, and needy.

Catholic Charities of Fairfield County is also funded by your donation, and offers counseling, both individual and family, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, educational programs, and more, to thousands of people who could not otherwise receive such assistance.

Your donation also helps fund the seminary program: Saint John Fisher Seminary Residence was founded in 1989 by me. It provides a local seminary program for young men between the ages of 18 and 40 to enter into a disciplined life of study and pray, and to be guided by a faculty of priests and lay teachers to determine whether God is calling them to the priesthood, and provides the Diocese a means to determine the suitability of the young men to be priests. Since its founding, Fisher has brought 87 young men to priestly ordination for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Your donation also funds the various educational programs around the diocese. The Fairfield County Catholic, is a means of educating the faithful of the work of Catholic Church around the diocese. The monthly Catholic newspaper is offered free of charge. Our local Catholic grammar schools and high schools throughout Fairfield County also receive funding from the Annual Bishop’s Appeal.

This is just a brief outline of some of the good works that you support and fund by your donation to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal. There are many more.

Each parish is given a goal set by a committee of pastors: Saint John’s goal this year is $100,000. Next weekend, April 5/6, we will offer you the opportunity to make a donation, or to pledge a donation, when we have our “In-Pew” weekend to fill out donation envelopes in church. Please use these next days to consider what your gift to Bishop Caggiano will be, that he and the Diocese may continue their good works to form and assist the lives of thousands throughout Fairfield County. God bless you for your generous support of Bishop Caggiano.  —-Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Charles Armstrong, Pasqualina Bruzzese, Nancy Gallagher, 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, 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: Ernest Szechenyi, 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.

American Bishops’ Overseas Appeal Collection . . . Please drop your special envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

St. Joseph Altar Votive Light:   Special Intentions Jo and Ann.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light:   Victims and Families of the Malaysian Airliner req. Joan and John Kronk.

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 31st.

Banns of Marriage: III 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: April 2nd.

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 Monday evening, March 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 23, 2014 $ 15,015.50
Sunday March 24, 2013 $ 18,091.70

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

April 6th, Sunday Readings: Ez 37:12-14; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 20-27, 33b-45.

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: Monday, April 28th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 29, 2014
4:00 +Esther Backman req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 30, 2014
7:30 +Angelo Mancini req. Richard Foreman
10:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:00 +Sister Fernanda Scarlato, POSC req. John Paul and Angela Marchetti
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 31, 2014
8:00 +Gwen Prodell
12:10 +John McEvilly req. Kieran and Mary Malone
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
8:00 Alexandra Laurent req. Mom
12:10 In Honor of St. Anthony – Thanksgiving req. Rosita A. Domdom
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
8:00 +Father Charles Repoli, OFM req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
12:10 In Honor of Infant Jesus of Prague – Thanksgiving req. Rosita A. Domdom
Thursday, April 3, 2014
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Gene Tushaj req. Age Tushaj
Friday, April 4, 2014
8:00 +Paul Rittman, Sr. req. Pam Rittman
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
8:00 +Jean Butero req. Barbara O’Brien
12:10 +Monsignor William Nagle 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 ADVOCATE:
145 years ago, or so:
April 1, 1870: IMPROVEMENTS. “Mr. A. J. Bell has opened a new street (which should be called “Bell Street”) from Atlantic to South street, through his property near the Congregational church. He has already built a model blacksmith shop for Wm. A. Lockwood, and intends to build large additions on the south row of houses, and make them front on the new street. In time he will probably put up a block of stores on the corner of the new street and Atlantic, immediately opposite to the lot owned by the Roman Catholic Society, on which, it is said, an elegant stone church is to be built.”

120 years ago, or so:
April 4, 1892: “Patrick Reilly died while on a visit at the residence of his sister, Mrs. Edward Flynn, on Green Avenue, Sunday morning, after a short illness of pleurisy-pneumonia. For fifteen years he was principal of St. John’s Parochial School and also organist of St. John’s R. C. Church.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Patrick Reilly was one of two teachers when the original St. John’s School opened its doors in September 1862.)

100 years ago, or so:
April 4, 1914: BRIGHTER AND LIGHTER. Transformation in St. John’s Catholic Church. “When the members of St. John’s Catholic Church go to Mass, next Sunday, they will be agreeably surprised with the appearance of the interior of the church. A very pleasing transformation has been wrought by skilled artisans during the past two months. Their work is about finished, and the schedule of services, which was interfered with when the improvements made it necessary for the congregation to worship in the chapel of the church, will be resumed tomorrow. Perhaps the most striking change is the rearranged lighting system. Hereafter, electricity will be used throughout the upper church, provision being made for use of gas in emergency. Another new feature is the presence of marble platforms in front of the altars of the church. Marble steps have been added to the platform in front of the main altar. These platforms and steps are gifts of the Hibernian organizations of the city. The panels over the main altar have been decorated to give a sky effect. On a sky-blue background are scores of gold-leaf stars. The remainder of the chancel panels and walls have an ivory tone that is pleasing to the eye and harmonizes with the altars. The vestibule of the church has received considerable attention. It is finished in a warm shade of yellow. The vestry is done in the same soft gray water color as the nave. There is a complete new outfit of linoleum in the nave, and handsome new carpets cover the chancel floor. The large cross on the top of the church also has been re-gilded.”

The Habit of Prayer
– Fr Terry Walsh

How often does it feel like “the burden of prayer?” How do we pray? When, where, and how often? Am I doing it right? Shouldn’t I be getting some answers, some feedback from God? To begin, prayer is that intimate conversation we have with God in that quiet place in our soul, even in the midst of an often times noisy world all around us. St. Therese calls prayer quite simply a ‘Surge of the Heart toward God.’

There is so much to say about prayer, but I will simply focus on a few practical points for consideration. Prayer is of course indispensable in our spiritual growth. It is a necessary activity that prepares us for faithful reception of the Sacraments, for a deepening of our knowledge and understanding of God and consequently of ourselves; prayer enables us to examine our lives in light of the Gospel teachings and informs our conscience so that we might seek forgiveness for those occasions when we realize we have offended God or one another.

In prayer, we’re able to offer thanks and praise to God, we’re able to adore Him, we’re able to petition Him for whatever we need or for some particular gift that will benefit someone else in need. If we’re able to receive so many varied and beautiful graces through prayer, why is it so difficult to pray sometimes?

Well, it might simply be that we don’t work at it. It is, after all, a relationship. If too little attention is given to examining “the prayer life” how can it grow? That’s NOT the same thing as saying ‘too little time’ is spent in prayer. The time for prayer will quite naturally vary from person to person, depending on one’s vocation, along with a whole host of other circumstances. The “attention” I’m speaking about has more to do with the quality of our prayer life. It is, in many ways, an “organic” activity – it’s a living relationship with God: it changes, it grows, it deepens, provided there is due attention given to it.

As a practical matter, I’d recommend that you consider forming a “foundation” to your daily prayer. This might include a brief, but deliberate, morning offering, something as simple as standing at the foot of the Crucifix in your room and offering the day to God – asking Him to bless your family, your work, your play, and so on. Naturally, it would be good to take a few moments at the end of each day to examine – briefly – how you did in light of the Gospel.

Read the Scriptures everyday. Let the habit of growing in the knowledge of God be real food for your soul every single day. It is amazing the ground you’ll cover in just a month by reading a page a day – it only takes 10 minutes. Imagine where you’ll be a year from now in your journey through the story of Salvation history and how the graces you’ll receive will strengthen the virtues of faith, hope, and love in your soul.

Reflect on one of the Mysteries of our Lord’s life through the beautiful devotion of the Rosary. It is a beautiful “Community” prayer, that is, said with others—such as a group of friends. It is especially wonderful when a family gathers to pray the Rosary together, perhaps after dinner each night or before bedtime and calls to mind the wise old saying, “The family that prays together, stays together!”

And finally, perhaps, take 10 minutes to simply tell God what’s on your mind and in your heart. He really wants to hear it from you. What trust, what an act of faith and hope and love as you simply give it all to Him and ask for whatever you need to heal and to grow. This would be a good beginning. See where the Holy Spirit leads you. One thing is certain, if you seek Him through a deepening of your prayer, He will reveal Himself to you in that “inner room” of your soul. Prayer will no longer seem strained, or a burden, but rather, it will become alive and fresh and as natural as the air you breathe.