For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday October 12, 2014

Pastor’s Corner: Perillo Tours, Inc usually begins their advertising narratives about Italy with views of the Coliseum. No one can tell you what was in the Forum. But the Coliseum, everyone knows: that’s where the gladiators fought and Christians died marturs.

The Coliseum was built during the late 1st century by the Flavian Emperors, Vespasian and Titus—conquerors of Jerusalem, who employed tens of thousands of Jewish slaves to create this greatest of all sports arenas—completed during the reign of Domitian [81-96 AD]. It and Saint Peter’s Basilica are the two icons of Rome.

The visit to the Coliseum is much more rewarding if one does it without a group or a guide. Since all guides must be licensed these days, the Republic of Italy has imposed an “official” version of the history. Many statistics, measurements, and arcane facts abound, which usually inspire a glazing over of the eyes of ardent tourists. The one statement that awakens them is that—in both human and IPod versions—no Christian was ever martyred there. Never! Once again, the Catholic Church simply makes stuff up, but we all knew that. And the official guides assure us this is the case.

Oddly enough, next Friday, October 17th, is the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Antioch—who actually did die in the Coliseum in the year 110 AD under the Emperor Trajan. In fact, he was eaten there by hungry lions, despite the tour guides fervent protests to the contrary.

Ignatius was a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist, our parish patron. He learned everything about Our Lord from Our Lord’s closest human friend. Not a bad teacher! He then became a disciple of St. Peter, who established the Church in the Syrian capital of Antioch, the third largest city in the Roman Empire. Ignatius, ordained by Peter, later became the third Bishop of Antioch, second after St. Peter, himself. Arrested during the persecution of the Church by Trajan, dragged across Asia Minor in chains, he was regularly beaten and mistreated by his guards, even though he was an old man. During this torturous journey, the local Christians and bishops came to meet with him as he progressed to martyrdom, so great was his reputation. During these visits, he dictated seven letters to the Church in the towns he passed by, encouraging them to avoid heresies, to remain faithful to their bishops, and through their bishops, faithful to Christ. He wrote one to the Church in Rome, his final destination. He extolled his fellow Christians of the Imperial Capital for their faith in the midst of trial, recalling their earlier “athletes for Christ”, Saints Peter and Paul who died martyrs in the nearby Vatican with hundreds of others during the reign of the Emperor Nero in 67 AD. He also abjured them not to obstruct his martyrdom. Any rescue effort, he wrote, would be contrary to the will of God:

“I beg you, do not show me unseasonable kindness. Suffer me to be the food of wild beasts, which are the means of my making my way to God. God’s wheat I am, and by the teeth of wild beasts I am to be ground that I may prove Christ’s pure bread. . . . . . Oh, may the beasts be prepared for me by my joy! And I pray they may be found to be ready for me. I will even coax them to make short work of me . . . And should they be unwilling to attack me who am willing, I will myself compel them. Pardon me—I know very well where my advantage lies. At last I am well on the way to being a disciple. May nothing seen or unseen fascinate me, so that I may happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crunching of the whole body, cruel tortures inflicted by the devil—let them come upon me, provided only I make my way to Jesus… Him I seek who died for us; Him I love who rose again because of us. . . Permit me to be an imitator of my suffering God” [Letter to the Romans, 4-6].

Ignatius had no death wish; he was not suicidal. Rather, when faced with a government that actively denied Christ by killing His followers, Ignatius preferred to imitate Christ instead of supporting the self-interest of the Empire.

No Christian ever died in the Coliseum: that’s what the official guides and guide books tell us. Tell that to Saint Ignatius of Antioch next Friday. “There is no proof that Christians were martyred here”, they tell the wide-eyed tourist. Of course there is no proof—the lions ate it! And the tens of thousands of Romans who witnessed the death of Ignatius and of thousands of others, are dead; and there weren’t many newspaper reporters among them at the time to write it all down. But the Church was there, and did recall, and does remember the witness of Ignatius in the Flavian Ampitheatre –that God is very real, and here. And, that He is worth living for and dying for, as He lived and died for us. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Carol Sorbo, Ro Clarke, Suzanne DePreta, Patrick and Rita Timon, Harrie Humphreys, Diane Grant, Robert Valluzzo, Marie Augustin, Mary Churley, Lee Kaplan, Mary Bauer, Mary Rose Bauer, Paul Cavalli, Maggie Ward, Yvonne Saint Preuve, Sr. Anne-Marguerite, Peter Monks, Agnes Allen, Laureen Keenan, Bonnie and Dorothy Keyes, Billy Therriault, Thomas Bernie, Ruth Coyle, Jacqueline Domingue, John Palumbo, Kristine Barron, Silvana Smith, Lena Cocchia, Christina Samon Ta-Chu.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Bill Detrick, Stefano Pirolozzi, Teodoro DeBlasi, Erzulia Joseph, Dorothy Clements, Tommaso Marena, Martine Kelly, Arthur Sherry, Shirley Polcer, Joyce Considine, Mary Zimmerly, Pasqualina Bruzzese, Theodore Scheidel, Jr., Lucy Zabatta Carrigan, Jenny Gallagher, Ellen Green Tully, Thomas Hogan, James Capodanno, Bronislawa (Betty) Balutowski, Wisler Nau, Liliana Pappa, Elinor Zarimski, Amelia DeDomenici, Jessica Rybnick Fleckenstein, Jeanette Pavia, Maryann Cornelio, Ernest Szechenyi, Virginia Donaghue, 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, October 13th.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: + Ida DeRosa req. Joan and John Kronk.

Banns of Marriage:
III Banns: Joseph Dominic Palma and Lauren Christine Claire Wantuck.

St. Monica Latin Reading Group: Thursdays at 12:45 in the Rectory. We are beginning this Fall’s meetings with a review of Ecclesiastical Latin using Latin Grammar by Cora and Charles Scanlon. A basic reading ability in Latin is necessary. Please call the Rectory for information.

St. Monica Biblical Greek Grammar: Thursdays at 6:30pm. An intermediate grammar/reading class. We are translating the Gospel of John. Basic grammatical knowledge of Biblical Greek is required. Call the rectory for information.

COUNCIL OF ITALIAN AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS presents the COLUMBUS DAY PARADE – This Sunday, October 12, 2014, Parade Kickoff at Noon from Sacred Heart Church on Schyler Ave. & proceeds down Broad Street to Atlantic Street ending with a ceremony at Columbus Park. Parade Grand Marshall is Dr. Alfred B. Fusco. There will be live music and dancing, and delicious Italian Specialties as well as an exhibition of Antique, Classic and Custom Cars!

Priest Convocation…Lead by Bishop Caggiano, the Priests of the Diocese of Bridgeport will meet on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week for their Convocation. Please pray for them that they have a fruitful conference.

RCIA: Classes meet Tuesdays at 7:00PM in the rectory. Anyone interested in becoming a Catholic, or adult Catholics wanting to receive First Communion or Confirmation, please call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday October 5, 2014 $ 11,085.00
Sunday October 6, 2013 $ 12,156.35

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

October 19th, Sunday Readings: Is 45:1, 4-6; 1 Thes 1:1-5b; Mt 22:15-21.

Home Schooling Families: All ages are welcome. For information, please contact Bridget Bethray: bridget.bethray@gmail.com, or Janet Lancaster: jmlancaster@optonline.net,
or at 203-637-3301.

St John’s Flock (20’s and 30’s Young Adult Ministry):  The Flock is a group of Catholic young adults in their 20s and 30s committed to strengthening community ties through regular meetings to growth in our faith, social events, and community service projects. The group meets regularly each month on the first Monday for Holy Hour and fellowship from 7-9, and third Sunday from 5-7 pm for the 5pm mass and fellowship. We also organize and participate in various service, social, and faith events. For more details or to sign up, please email Mary at saintjohnsflock@gmail.com.

Francis & Clare: Our High School Youth Group. Students interested in being part of the Teen Leadership Group contact Sue Kremheller, D.R.E. at: religioused@stjohnsstamford.com.
Service Hours are available for those who have already been Confirmed.

Prayers in Rome: If you have any prayer intentions, or people you’d like me to pray for at the Tombs of the Apostles, Saints and Martyrs while I’m in Rome for the upcoming year, please drop a note to Cindy in the parish office: please DO NOT give a huge list of names of everyone you know or everything you’ve hoped for; just one or two intentions at a time, please. God bless you, Msgr. DiGiovanni.

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: seeks volunteers: Support women 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.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION NEWS: Classes have started. Registration is closed.

Sts. Maria Goretti & Dominic Savio Societies: next meeting will be on next Sunday,
October 19th after the 10am Mass in the Rectory. All boys and girls who are in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades are welcome! Please contact Anne Marie at 203-324-1553 or email religioused@stjohnsstamford.com for more information.

Job Seekers: 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, October 27th, 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, October 11, 2014
4:00 +Monsignor John Horgan-Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Sunday, October 12, 2014
7:30 +Deceased members of the Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
10:00 +Mary-Ann and Marie Mascarenhas req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
12:00 +Joseph Peter Young req. Young-Kung Family
5:00 +George B. Cooper
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, October 13, 2014
8:00 +Vince Gallagher req. Parker Family
12:10 Matoucheka Etienne req. Ferry G.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
8:00 +Martin Ciskanik req. Dewey Family
12:10 Mass of Thanksgiving to St. Rita req. Diane Strain
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
8:00 +Maureen Smith req. Parker Family
12:10 +Michael Sean Dunn req. Dr. Joe McAleer
Thursday, October 16, 2014
8:00 +Frank Iantorno req. Beth and Frank Carpanzano
12:10 Kendra Seth req. Legion of Mary
Friday, October 17, 2014
8:00 +Antonio Cortese req. Beth and Frank Carpanzano
12:10 +Marigrace Sabato req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Saturday, October 18, 2014
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Ed Cody – Birthday req. his wife Ann

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 meet 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. Meetings are held twice a month in the Church Hall.

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 young men, 6th-8thgrades. Anne Marie 203-324-1553, x21.

St. Maria Goretti Society: For the spiritual formation of young ladies,6th-8thgrades:Anne Marie 203-324-1553 x21.

Holy Hour: on Monday Nights, 7pm—8 pm. Adoration, Holy Rosary, and Benediction. All are welcome!

The Legion of Mary: 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: Thursday afternoons in the rectory: basic reading ability required. Please call the rectory for information.

Intermediate Studies in Biblical Greek: Intermediate Grammar: Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in a private home. Please call the office for more information.

Coffee Hour. . . After the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

125 years ago, or so:
October 16, 1891: “During the past week a delegation called on RevRev Carroll. R. J. Carroll and presented him with a handsome gold watch, a gold-headed cane and purse of money with the heart felt wishes and congratulations of his many friends in Stamford.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Carroll was an assistant at St. John’s church from 1887 to 1891.)

October 16, 1892: “At the services in St. John’s R. C. Church Sunday morning, the Rev. Father Keena read the letters of the Pope and of Bishop McMahon, in regard to Columbus Day. Appropriate religious services will be held in the Stamford church. Father Keena made reference to the Stamford anniversary celebration, and heartily encouraged the societies and the people to join in that celebration.”

October 18, 1898: CATHOLIC CHURCH ITEMS. “Rev. Thomas Keena of St. Lawrence’s, Hartford, former assistant in Stamford, hasRev Keena been elected diocesan director of the association for the Propagation of the Faith.
This society corresponds to the Mission Boards in Protestant churches and collects as well as distributes all the funds that are received for conducting Catholic missions in foreign lands, and among the Indians and Negroes of the country. Father Keena is the first priest to hold the position in this State, an honor which attests the high esteem in which his superiors hold our former Stamford clergyman.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Keena was an assistant at St. John’s from 1886 to 1897. In 1892, he founded the St. Anne’s Society, the oldest surviving church society at St. John’s today.)

80 years ago, or so:
October 13, 1932: St. Augustine Council Celebrates Columbus Day. “St. Augustine Council No. 41, Knights of Columbus, observed Columbus Day last night with a dinner in the auditorium of the Stamford Gas & Electric Co. The occasion was marked by speeches in praise of the discoverer of America and by singing and other entertainment. An interesting feature was the presence of three of the charter member of St. Augustine Council, which was organized at St. John’s R. C. Church in 1887. The trio, James T. Brennan, Andrew J. Morris and John Tierney, were introduced to the gathering and each received a kindly greeting.”

The Patristics
The Writings of the Early Saints of the Church
“The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith; the Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.” – Medieval couplet (CCC 118)

– Fr. Terry Walsh
My first introduction to the “Early Fathers of the Church” better known as “The Patristics” occurred as I was reading through Bible Commentary trying to better understand a particular passage. Suddenly, the meaning became clear, much easier to comprehend. I began to see that the Scriptures could be read in many different ways, or what the Church calls the “Spiritual Sense.” The Catechism explains the various ways of reading the Bible and helps us understand the differences between the Literal and the Spiritual Senses. In Part I of the Catechism, we read (numbers 115-118):

“According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the Literal and the Spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the Allegorical, Moral, and Anagogical Senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church. The LITERAL SENSE is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: ‘All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the Literal(St. Thomas Aquinas)’. The SPIRITUAL SENSE: Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs. The ALLEGORICAL SENSE: We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism(see also 1 Corinthians 10:2). The MORAL SENSE: The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written ‘for our instruction’(1 Corinthians 10:11 and also Hebrews 3-4:11). The ANAGOGICAL SENSE: (Greek: anagoge; ‘leading’): We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem(Revelation 21:1 – 22:5).”

The Patristics seem to soar in their spiritual insights of Sacred Scripture. What a truly rich history we enjoy in the Catholic Church. Each generation building upon the insights and reflections of the previous generations -one beautiful insight seems to spark another – like wildfire. We begin to see the amazing depth of the Scriptures and we’re able to apply them to our own lives – our work, our play, our joys and our sorrows, in a whole new way. There are many wonderful books available that unveil the meditations of these great Saints. For instance, there is a series of books called Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture published by Intervarsity Press. Each volume considers the various points of view from a select number of Patristics for each and every chapter of the Bible. Another Four Volume Set concerns itself only with the four Gospels: The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers by Ignatius Press. The Sacra Pagina series (published by The Liturgical Press) offers still another glimpse into the meditations of the Patristics. In all cases, the faithful benefit from the prayerful reflections of such greats as St. Augustine, St. Leo the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Bernard, St. Gregory the Great, St. Gregory Nyssa, St. Basil the Great, and the list goes on and on. If perhaps you prefer a mix of Saints that span the centuries (rather than those of the fist few centuries), you might enjoy the Navarre Bible Commentary Series which offers commentary from both the Patristics as well as such greats as St. Teresa of Alvia, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, Blessed Pope John Paul II and other recent Popes, as well as the Faculty of Theology from Navarre University (English version published by Four Courts Press, Dublin, Ireland). I would also recommend a daily reflection book comprised of the meditations of the Patristics on a wide variety of topics concerning the spiritual life entitled: A Year with the Church Fathers, edited by Mike Aquilina and published by St. Benedict Press. It is a wonderful prayer book. There are of course many very good Bible Commentaries available to us today, but the insights of the Early Saints of the Church hold a special place in helping to develop the Theology of our Faith. St. Augustine, for instance, is known as The Doctor of Grace and The Doctor of the Trinity because of the exceptional work he did concerning these aspects of our faith. These volumes are readily available at any Catholic Bookstore and certainly Online. What wonderful additions they would make to a family library to help develop a wonderful appreciation for the Scriptures and the joy of deepening the understanding of our faith. There is a real communion between the saints as well. In a very real way, it’s a bit like having a conversation with the Church Triumphant.