For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Sunday April 13, 2014

Carrying of the Cross

Pastor’s Corner: I have heard it commented that God is cruel, since He permitted, even required, His Son to suffer. That is a comment made by individuals who know little about God, and less about the reality of God’s love for us. Jesus died, not because a cruel God required the suffering; God became a man and suffered in the flesh because mankind’s sins are so enormous; our own outrages so cruelly astounding, that they could be paid for and their effects overcome only by the suffering of the Eternal Son: the Creator of the universe, humbled to become a creature, in order to suffer to raise us up from our own self-inflicted corruption, and to repay us for our crimes–with eternal life in the flesh. Here are two of the clearest narratives of Jesus’ divine generosity in our regard on the first Good Friday, which led to His and our triumph over death: nailed to a Cross in the flesh taken in the womb of the Virgin, buried in a borrowed grave and raised in the flesh on the Easter Resurrection by God : all done for us. Be grateful! Use these as mediations for Holy Week; join us on Holy Thursday, Friday and Holy Saturday as we accompany Our Lord to accomplish your salvation.

Saint Theodoret of Cyrrhus: On the Incarnation of the Lord :
“Jesus freely goes forth to the sufferings foretold for him; indeed he had himself foretold them to his disciples and had been forced to upbraid Peter, who took the prediction badly. The salvation of the world was to hang upon this suffering. Jesus therefore declared himself to those who were searching for him: ‘I am the one you seek.’ When accused, he did not answer; when he could have hidden, he would not, even though he evaded attack on several other occasions.

Moreover, he weeps for Jerusalem, which by its unbelief was its own downfall, and he condemns the glorious temple to total ruin. He bears patiently a blow to the head from a man who was twice over a slave. He is slapped, spat upon, insulted, tortured, whipped, and finally nailed to the Cross with two thieves to share his suffering. He is numbered among murderers and felons, drinks the bitter sap of an evil vine, is crowned with thorns instead of palm-sprigs and grape-clusters; he is pierced with a lance and finally buried.

All this he suffered for our salvation. Those who were slaves to sin were also subject to the penalty of sin; he was sinless and the wholly just Man, but he bore the punishment for our sins and by his death on the Cross lifted the ancient curse [of Adam]. He took on himself the bitter sorrows of mortal, suffering man; he made human deformity his own and restored man to his lofty estate.

The [royal] purple garb of mockery pointed to the true King, the reed on his head to the weakness of Satan’s power; the slaps he received were the pledge of our freedom. Thus he bore the insults and afflictions that were our due.

His side, like Adam’s, was pierced, but from it came . . . a fountain of life to enliven the world. A twofold stream flows from the fountain; it give us rebirth in the baptistery and feeds us as children at God’s altar-table [at Mass]”

Pope Saint Leo the Great: Sermon 15, On the Lord’s Passion, observes God’s love made visible in the flesh:

“The true worshiper of the Lord in his Passion should look upon the crucified Jesus with the eyes of the heart and recognize in Jesus’ flesh your own. For there is no one so weak that the victory of the Cross fails you, no one whom Christ’s prayer cannot help. If Christ did good to his enemies who raged against him, how much more to you when you turn to him? He has pierced through our ignorance and strengthened us in our weakness. . .

Let us, then, not be so arrogantly and anxiously immersed in the business of our present life that we do not strive wholeheartedly to follow the example of our Redeemer and to become like him. Everything he did and endured was for our salvation so that the power inherent in Jesus, the Head, might enter into us, the members of His Body [The Church], as well.

When God took our mortal substance unto himself and ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,’ what person was excluded from his merciful embrace? Can you not recognize your own weakness in Christ’s? Who cannot see that in his nature as our fellow-servant, Christ who ate and slept, was sad and wept in his loving concern for us?

Our nature was to be healed of its ancient wounds and purified of the infection of sin. Therefore, the
Only-begotten of God became one of the sons of men that he might have not only the fullness of divinity but an authentic manhood as well. It was for our sake that he lay lifeless in the tomb and rose on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father’s majesty.”
—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, Andres Ferrer Sr., Val McIntosh, Kathy Raggio, Elaine Mellace, Florita Guimbal.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Jeanette Pavia, Maryann Cornelio, 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.

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, April 14th.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Bill Cody req. Cody Family

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.

HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE: Mon-Wed: normal daily Mass + Confession schedule.
Wed, April 16: 8pm: TENEBRAE
Holy Thursday, April 17: NO DAILY MASSES: Confessions: 11:30-12noon. 8 PM: Mass of the Lord’s Supper & Procession. Church remains open until 12 midnight.
Good Friday, April 18: NO DAILY MASSES: Confessions: 11:30-12 noon. 3PM: Passion of the Lord.
Holy Saturday, April 19: NO DAILY MASSES: Confessions: 11:30-12:30. 8PM: Easter Vigil Mass.

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.

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. Join us.

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 April 6, 2014 $ 13,197.50
Sunday April 7, 2013 $ 14,413.77

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 20th, Sunday Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8; Jn 20:1-9.

Statues are covered: As the Church enters the holiest time of the year, preparing to commemorate Our Lord’s Holy Week, the statues are covered because not even the saints should distract us from meditating on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Palm Sunday: Palms will be blessed and distributed during all the Weekend Masses:
Saturday 4pm Vigil Mass; Sunday 7:30, 10:00, 12:00Noon, 5:00, 6:00pm Masses.

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: $37,415.00.
Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.

Divine Mercy Sunday: April 27th: A Holy Hour 1:00-2:00PM with the Holy Rosary, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Home Schooling Families: Meet in the Msgr. Nagle Parish hall each First Friday: May 2. All ages are welcome. Please contact Bridget Bethray:, or Janet Lancaster: 203-637-3301,

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 are $50.00. Tickets may be purchased 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: or Email:

Francis & Clare: Our High School Youth Group. Students interested in being part of the Teen Leadership Group: E-mail 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

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

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: or 203-866-1606: Next meeting: Monday, April 28th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, April 12, 2014
4:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
Sunday, April 13, 2014
7:30 +Deceased members of the Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
10:00 Antonio Marchetti req. Parents
12:00 Diane Strain – God’s Blessing and Souls in Purgatory req. Marion Morris & Family and Fabiola C.
5:00 +Frank Alagia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, April 14, 2014
8:00 +Tin Nguyen req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
8:00 +Frank Byrne
12:10 +Bill Cody Birthday Remembrance req. Cody Family
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
8:00 +Tole Camaj req. Age Tushaj
12:10 +Arthur and Anna Jean-Guillaume and Family req. their children
8:00PM Tenebrae Service
HOLY THURSDAY, April 17th -The church remains open until 12 midnight for Adoration.
NO 8AM or 12:10PM Masses
8:00PM: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: People of the Parish
GOOD FRIDAY, April 18th
NO 8AM or 12:10 PM Masses
3:00PM Liturgy of Lord’s Passion
NO 8AM, 12:10PM or 4PM MASSES
8:00PM Easter Vigil: +Dr. Vincent Kung req. Family

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

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:
—Latin Patristic 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:

135 years ago, or so:
April 19, 1878: Good Friday. “Today being what is called Good Friday, and also the Fast Day appointed by the Governor of our state, business generally will be suspended in town. Religious services will be held in the Roman Catholic Church.”

115 years ago, or so:
April 15, 1897: Maundy Thursday observance. “The Mass and procession of the Blessed Sacrament in St. John’s R.C. Church today, at 8 a.m., were largely attended. Rev. Father Keena was the celebrant. The procession of the Blessed Sacrament is an interesting ceremony connected with Maundy Thursday and has a symbolic meaning. During Good Friday the sacrament is not permitted to remain in its accustomed receptacle in the central altar, but is borne to a side altar known as the repository, after the Mass on the morning of Holy Thursday, and is placed in a receptacle similar to that in the main altar, to remain until Saturday, when it is returned to the customary place. During the interval between the singing of the Gloria at the close of the Mass today and the singing of the Gloria Saturday morning, the organ will not be used in any service. The procession which accompanied the Blessed Sacrament to its temporary resting place, this morning, consisted of about twenty acolytes in black cassocks and white surplices, twelve flower girls wearing white dresses, white slippers, and coronets of white flowers; two other acolytes bearing censers, and Father Keena, wearing a yellow robe embroidered in gold and edged with gilt lace, bearing the Blessed Sacrament, covered, before him in upraised hands. Father Lynch walked by his side and held back one fold of the yellow robe, showing its red lining. The acolyte in advance bore aloft a crucifix covered with purple cloth. Next followed two acolytes bearing large candlesticks with lighted candles. Other Acolytes carried lighted candles. The flower girls, who moved in an elongated circle, distributed flowers in the path of the priest. Each girl dropped one flower as she reached the point in the orbit nearest the priest. The two acolytes bearing the censers walked backward, before the priest, swinging the censers constantly towards the sacrament. Burning incense filled the air with a delicate odor. The altar to which the sacrament was carried was decorated with Easter lilies, roses and other flowers in rich profusion. During the march through the aisles the choir sang. Tomorrow at 8 a.m. the Mass of pre-sanctification will be said. It will be the only service of the day.”

The Holy Land
– Fr. Terry Walsh

“Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay.” – Matthew 28: 5-6

Our last days in the Holy City of Jerusalem centered on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Commissioned by the Emperor Constantine, the enormous Romanesque Church was built over the Rock of Calvary where Jesus was crucified and the Tomb where He was buried, a mere forty yards away from the Cross, and where He rose from the dead. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is carefully divided among the Greek Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, and the Armenian Apostolic denominations, although the Coptic Orthodox, as well as the Ethiopian and Syrian Orthodox Churches also play a small role. Upon entering the Church, we were greeted by a stunning mosaic depicting the preparation of the Body of Jesus for burial with a commemorative marble “Stone of Unction” beneath the mosaic, complete with beautiful hanging candle lamps. Throngs of pilgrims streamed into the Church, ascending the staircase that led to Calvary, just to the right of the “Stone of Unction”. Pilgrims gradually moved to the center Chapel and one by one knelt before the altar, reaching down a narrow hole in the floor to touch the Rock. Icons flanked the altar, most notably, the Crucifixion scene and our Lady of Sorrows standing beside the Cross. Votive candles seemed to cast a colorful hue reminiscent of the hundreds of candles held at the beginning of the Easter Vigil. Fragrant incense released a sweet-smelling aroma, calling to mind the blessing of the gifts of bread and wine upon the altar in the Holy Mass. Although we were shoulder to shoulder in the tightly packed area in the small Chapel honoring the place where Jesus was crucified, there was nevertheless a reverential silence as people prayed, reflecting on the cost of our salvation. We returned to the main level to the “Chapel of Adam” built directly beneath Golgotha (Calvary), where tradition claims Adam had been buried. The New Adam came to heal the children of the Old Adam through the Cross. We found our way to “The Chapel of the Crusaders” where we offered Holy Mass and called to mind the profound realization that we were actually receiving the fruits of His Sacrifice where Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. As Catholics, we believe the supernatural spiritual reality that wherever Mass is offered in the world, it is in fact, mystically at the foot of the Cross. Truly, we enter into that One sacrifice that took place some 2000 years ago whose efficacy nourishes all who worthily receive Him throughout all time! The “Mystical Calvary” unites all the Saints in Heaven with all of us – at every Mass.

We made our way to the Tomb and joined the long line of pilgrims that patiently waited to venerate the place where Jesus was laid to rest. The Tomb is enclosed in a “Little House” of marble known as the Edicule, which contains two very small rooms. The first room is the Greek Orthodox “Chapel of the Angel” whose small altar contains a relic of the actual stone that was “rolled back” Easter morning. The inner room has a marble slab covering the actual stone where the Body of Jesus was placed. Five pilgrims at a time enter the small doorway into the Tomb, the holiest place on earth, to pray for a few precious seconds, reflecting on the complete “self-emptying” of Christ – that He actually died for us. In the early afternoon, we made our way through the narrow cobblestone passages of Jerusalem. We finally arrived at the Church of the Dormition where the Blessed Virgin Mary was Assumed Body and Soul into Heaven. It was a wonderful time to reflect on the holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Her unique role in our salvation. We returned to the Holy Sepulchre just before midnight for an extraordinary grace-filled experience. Since it was Saturday night, the Church remained open for the Vigil services. We walked through the dark and quiet alley ways of Jerusalem until we finally reached the Holy Sepulchre. We entered the candle lit Church and were greeted with loud and melodious chanting. Thuribles of burning incense drew many pilgrims to the Tomb where the Orthodox were conducting their lengthy service. A couple hours later, they gave way to the Armenian Service. Chanting and clouds of incense continued through the early morning hours until at last, the Catholics time had arrived promptly at 4:00 am. When we had arrived at midnight, our small group settled in various places in the Church to “watch and pray” as we waited for the Catholic Mass in the Tomb at 4:00 am. As I wandered around the Church, I thought about St. Mary Magdalene rushing to the tomb early on the morning of the Resurrection, seeking Jesus. I made my way up to the 12th Station to spend time at the foot of the Cross. As time drifted by and the Orthodox and Armenian pilgrims dispersed, I found myself all alone. As I look back on that moment now, I understand it as a tremendous grace.

When I heard the bells being rung, I moved from Calvary to the Tomb. The Catholic Mass was about to begin. As the priest went into the Tomb to prepare for Mass, I joined the Sisters of St. Bridget and a couple other religious in our group for Mass in the Tomb. Like St. Mary Magdalene, we too experienced the Risen One. He entered our souls through His gift of the Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, all made possible through the Paschal Mystery accomplished in this very place.

Before we departed, I made one last visit to the Church at Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. As I walked up the path that Jesus had taken into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, I turned around to look at the City of Jerusalem. Upon the slope of the Mount of Olives along the south side of the path there is a vast cemetery with hundreds of sepulures (above ground as is the custom) facing toward Jerusalem. As the Sun was setting, it seemed to be resting directly over the Church of the Dormition, shining upon Jerusalem, the Kidron Valley, and indeed casting a beautiful light upon the raised seplucures facing the City. This beautiful sunset seemed to tell the story of our daily pilgrimage: that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception, who gave birth to the true Light of the world, was drawing souls to her son who said “I am the Resurrection.” May the merciful Rays of the Risen One shine upon us and one day draw us into the true Holy Land – the love of the Holy Trinity, Heaven.