For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday October 26, 2014

Pastor’s Corner: Last Saturday was a beautiful day, sunny and bright. Tired of reading old documents and typing notes, I jumped on a 60 Express bus, and passed outside the ancient walls of Rome to the Via Nomentana. There, next door the embassy of the “Islamic Republic of Iran”, I disembarked and walked down the slopping side street and into the courtyard garden of one of the most venerable of churches: the Basilica of Saint Agnes. I had not gone to this 4th century shrine for piety-sake, although I offered prayers for parishioners of Saint John’s who had recently asked for them. I sought the 7th century mosaics. More ancient mosaics exist nearby, but I wanted to see those of Saint Agnes.

Saint Agnes was a 12 or 13 year old Catholic girl who, during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian in 304 AD, was turned in by a wealthy young man whose amorous advances she had spurned, for Agnes had vowed her virginity to Christ. After imprisonment and various torments, Agnes was beheaded as she professed her love for Our Lord. Almost from the moment of her martyrdom, pilgrimages of young people from all over Italy came to pray at the tomb of the young heroine for Christ. Word of her heroic virtue spread fast, even in pre-internet days!

The original 4th century Basilica of Saint Agnes literally cut into the underground catacomb of her burial, enshrining her tomb beneath the altar. Within the next centuries, being too small to accommodate the crowds of young people, the building was enlarged and decorated with mosiacs. There in the apse, above the high altar, shine Saint Agnes, and on one side Pope Saint Honorius I, who built the present church [625-638 AD], and, on her other side, Pope Symmachus, who paid for the mosaic. Standing in the front doorway, always kept open, the eastern sun blazes against the golden mosaic background above her altar-tomb. The two popes and the triumphant young girl-saint stand on a simple swath of green grass and flowers, reflecting the fuller mosaic garland of flowers and laurel branches that form the triumphal arch mosaic above them. Saint Agnes—standing on a sword, her instrument of martyrdom, she is dressed in the imperial vestments of the empress of Constantinople—the only queen anyone knew at the time, and whose outfit was the fanciest imaginable, suitable for the virgin martyr. Above her is the vault of Heaven—a deep blue sky with twinkling stars, and way above the golden and red clouds, is a hand holding a wreath—the hand of God the Father, offering the crown of victory to the young victorious Agnes.

Of all the images on that starry, glistening back wall, it is the hand of God that caught my attention. It is a rough hand, with large fingers. I thought at first it was done by an artless artist—but Agnes’ hands are slender and graceful, so a lack of ability was not the cause for the rough looking hand. Then I thought—this is the hand of God the creator of the universe: God is a workman—and, just like the stonemasons, carpenters, and mosaic artists who built this church—who all had large, muscular hands made rough by their hard work—so, too, the large, muscular hand holding the crown of victory, was that of the God who worked hard to create the universe, and who continued his hard work raising even the sweet young Agnes to heroism before her persecutors bearing witness to God’s love. Google the Basilica of Saint Agnes Fuori le Mura, in Rome—and you’ll see. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Dominick Franco, 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: Carol Sorbo, 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.

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

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 27th.

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.

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).

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.

Can Food Drive: The Maria Goretti and Dominic Savio Societies are sponsoring a Can Food Drive to help the hungry in our community as Thanksgiving approaches. Beginning next weekend (November 1st and 2nd), there will be boxes in the back of the church. (Please do not bring cans with expired dates). Canned and non-perishable foods will be collected through Sunday, November 16th. Your generosity is much appreciated.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday October 19, 2014 $ 13,970.00
Sunday October 20, 2013 $ 11,602.22

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

November 2nd, Sunday Readings: Wis 3:1-9; Rom 5:5-11 or Rom 6:3-9; Jn 6:37-40.

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.

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.

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

The 21st Annual Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. Lecture in Theology, Religion & Society – “On Calling a Diocesan Synod: Hopes and Dreams”. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, will speak on his hopes for
the Diocese. Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 8 p.m. at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts. Admission is Free. For more information, please Contact: Meg McCaffrey, 203-254-4000, ext. 2726.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, October 25, 2014
4:00 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
Sunday, October 26, 2014
7:30 +Rafaella Annetta req. Pugliese Family
10:00 +Domingo and Bundo Kim req. Joseph and Mary Kim
12:00 +Peter and Theodora Kim req. Joseph and Mary Kim
5:00 +George B. Cooper
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, October 27, 2014
8:00 +Sister Mary Rose Gallagher CSJ Birthday Remembrance req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Grace Pohlman req. Pam Rittman
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
8:00 Special Intentions Frank Bellardito req. Legion of Mary
12:10 +Guillermo Mora req. Dewey Family
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 Priests of the Parish req. Dewey Family
Thursday, October 30, 2014
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Raul Blanco req. Amparo Herrera
Friday, October 31, 2014
8:00 +Gjyste Vulaj req. Age Tushaj
12:10 Thanksgiving to St. Joseph for Prayers Answered req. Diane Strain
Saturday, November 1, 2014
8:00 +Gaston Millien req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.

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 NEWS:

THE HARTFORD COURANT:
155 years ago, or so:
Nov. 2, 1858: DEATHS. “In Stamford, Oct. 26, Rev. James Reynolds, AE 49.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. James Reynolds was Pastor of St. John’s in 1857 and 1858.)

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
145 years ago, or so:
October 28, 1870: “Ground has been broken for the foundation of the new Catholic church on Atlantic Street. The most popular man in town, according to the result of the voting at the Catholic Fair, is John W. Leeds, Esq., President of Stamford National Bank. The Catholic Fair ended Monday night, or rather early Tuesday morning.”

125 years ago, or so:
October 31, 1890: St. John’s R. C. Church Matters. “On Saturday, November 1, the Feast of All Saints will be celebrated in this church in the morning. Rev. Wm. Kane, from Westminister, Maryland, has for some time been visiting relatives and friends in Stamford. He officiated at the morning service in St. John’s church last Sunday. He was only ordained last June. The tar walk recently made in front of the rectory is a great convenience, and workmen are now engaged on a fine roadway between the church and the rectory.”

105 years ago, or so:
October 28, 1907: Observance of All Saints’ Day. “In St. John’s R. C. church, yesterday, the announcement was made that next Friday will not be observed as a fast day by Catholics, as it is All Saints’ Day. This is the first time in a number of years that this distinction has been made for any holy day falling on Friday, excepting Christmas. There will be services in the church at 5, 7, 8 and 9 a.m. Saturday will be All Souls’ Day, and, aside from the usual services in the church in the morning, there will be a service at 3 p.m. in the cemetery at Springdale.”

40 years ago, or so:
November 2, 1973: Huge Crowd. “Talking about Father Bill Nagle, he recalls the huge crowd that gathered Sunday at St. John’s Cemetery in Springdale, where a special Mass was celebrated to observe All Souls Day. More the five hundred persons attended the Mass, which will be an annual affair in the Diocese of Bridgeport and at the Camp Avenue cemetery.”

Practical considerations…
– Fr Terry Walsh

“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” – John 14

“The Lord helps those who help themselves.” We have all heard that one a million times. And what does it mean anyway? Well, to put it simply, if we seek God, he will reveal himself to us. If we search for understanding, knowledge, wisdom—if we search for Truth—we will surely discover Truth. As we look around the world today, there is much confusion, doubt, and even despair. Why? Well, could it be because mankind has stopped seeking the Truth? It is errily reminiscent of the Tower of Babel. Has man stopped searching for the Truth and instead made himself the center of the universe? God created us out of love and calls us to share in His Divine life because He loves us. But of course, love is a choice, a decision, an act of the will. Our Lord has given us the gift of freedom in order that we might love. But, man is free to reject God. If we truly love him, we will quite naturally seek him and upon discovering him, we will quite naturally deepen our knowledge of him; we will cling to him for he alone fulfills us. Throughout the history of the Church, we have grown in our knowledge and understanding of our call as sons and daughters of the Most High, for we are truly His children by virtue of our baptism. He has led us to a deeper understanding. In other words, the Holy Spirit has answered the prayers of the Faithful by granting insights into the Truth that have deepened our understanding and enabled us to have an even greater appreciation for the Gift of our calling as “sons and daughters.” An important distinction must be made. The Church has not “changed” the Truth for that of course is impossible. The Truth can not contradict itself. Rather, the Truth has become better understood. The Dogmas of the Church regarding Faith and Morals come to us from God and can not be contradicted, they can not change. For instance, as regards the faith of the Church, we believe that God is a Holy Trinity, that Jesus is a Divine Person with two natures, human and divine, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God, that Jesus is the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Likewise, as regards morals, we live by the 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the Gospel Precepts. These teachings come from God and are eternally true. Our task is to understand them and adhere to them. It is important then to understanding the right relationship we have with God and with one another.

Interestingly, when a man enters the Seminary to begin preparing for the Priesthood, he begins by studying Philosophy. Indeed, he would first receive a degree in philosophy before beginning his training in Theology. Why? Well, it is important to understand the nature of man and of course the nature of God. What does it mean to be made in the Image and Likeness of God and what after all is the purpose of man’s existence. Quite naturally, we want “to know” – to know who we are and how we got here and what is the purpose of our lives. Throughout time, mankind has grown in his understanding of the meaning and purpose of life, uncovering a deeper understanding through the Gift of Reason. Philosophers dig for the truth, but it is God Himself who ultimately reveals it to us. He wants us to seek and find –the Truth. And, he helps us. He has revealed to us that truth is not simply “a thing” but rather, truth is actually “a Person”. At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His Apostles: “I am the way, the Truth, and the life.” Little did Pilate know that when he asked the question, he was actually standing directly in front of Truth. Is it the same today? How many claim to seek the Truth but at the same time refuse to look at Him?

In our world today, there are many who echo the words of Pilate, “What is Truth?” They are unaware that Truth is not a “What” but actually a “Who” and the only path that leads to “The Truth” is humility. Humility asks the question, Who are you Lord and who am I in your eyes and how ought I live my life, which I understand as a gift, and how ought I treat my neighbor and so on. These are the questions of a humble soul in search of God and “God helps those who help themselves”. Pride, on the other hand, does not ask these questions. Indeed, it would seem, Pride does not ask any questions. Pride makes statements—such as—I say the world means this or that according to my opinion or for that matter whatever I desire it to be. Pride makes its own rules, it doesn’t follow the law that has been inscribed on the heart. It simply denies the law of love inscribed by God on each and every person created in His image and likeness. Pride bends and even breaks the rules and laws and ordinances which have actually been given to us by God ultimately for our good, for our salvation. Pride tries to wiggle around these ‘signposts to heaven’ and instead seek loopholes to fit its own erroneous desires rather than humbly turn its gaze up to our Heavenly Father who made us and calls us to Himself and to ask Him for help. And so, while there is confusion, doubt, and despair in the world, there is at the same time hope for healing, understanding, and holiness. There is hope, because Truth is with us. Truth is in the hearts and minds and souls of all believers by virtue of our Baptism and the nourishing graces of the sacraments. Truth loves us and will help us through every worry, doubt, or concern. He promised: “Let not your hearts be troubled…I will not leave you orphans…I will always be with you…”