For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 7, 2014

Pastor’s Corner: The Church of the Gesu is one of the largest in Rome. It is the principal church of the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits. Saint Ignatius Loyala, founder of the Jesuits, had been a Spanish soldier. His dreams as a young man were those of many young noblemen of Europe: a chivalrous life, rescuing fair damsels in distress, and of heroic glory, dying for his king on the battlefield. He did achieve that battlefield “glory”, with the help of a cannonball to a kneecap. But his months of bed rest and recuperation led him to the conclusion that his earlier goals were fairy tales. Now he became fascinated by the feats of other young men whose lives were more heroic than his—saintly priests, who led lives as disciplined as any soldier’s, but whose king was not so willing to forget their services as Ignatius’ Spanish sovereign was of his. Ignatius decided to follow their example, and the rediscovery of his Catholic faith transformed the world—quite literally. He determined to conquer the world, not in the name of the King of Spain, but in the name of the King of Heaven—Jesus (I.H.S. is the abbreviation—as seen on the ceiling of our basilica], and he founded the Society of Jesus to do it. He would conquer the world by gathering around him some of the smartest and most gallant men he could, who would dedicate themselves to Christ, alone for the betterment of men, women and children.

His first associate in this venture to conquer the world was Francis Xavier. Another Spanish nobleman, who was studying at the university in Paris. Francis had his whole career planned, just as had Ignatius—obtain his university degree, return home to his girl friend, whose father just happened to be politically connected, secure a military commission, glory on the battlefield, etc., etc. You get the picture: nothing changes—even today, young men dream of similar, albeit corporate, heroics. But Ignatius hounded Francis—literally, for months. Finally, Francis had no further arguments, and agreed to give up his ordinary hopes, and to join Ignatius in conquest of the world for Jesus. First, he had to train to be in love with Our Lord; discipline mind and heart; then to work.

Once ordained a priest, Francis was sent off to the “ends of the world”, to India, to preach the Gospel. On May 6, 1542, he landed in Goa, and began simply by preaching to children, and teaching catechism. He then moved to the extreme southern coast to preach to communities of pearl fishermen and their families. He continued his missionary journeys, baptizing and preaching the Gospel throughout western India, often in the face of great persecution and hardships. More young Jesuit priests began to arrive from Europe, placed under the direction of Francis, who sent them to the missions he had established throughout India. Since the Indian missions were flourishing, he traveled to Japan, where he learned the language and translated prayers and the basics of the Faith, preached and established missions. He next turned his attention to bringing the Church to China, and, reached the island of Sancian. There he was taken ill, and died on December 2, 1552. He was only 46 years old, and yet, is considered the greatest missionary since Saint Paul. In only ten years, he had traveled tens of thousands of miles, preached to countless crowds, and baptized hundreds of thousands in India and Japan. His feast day was December 3rd.

In the Jesuit Church of the Gesu in Rome, on a side altar dedicated “to the glory of God and the honor of Saint Francis Xavier” is the right arm of the saint—that which baptized hundreds of thousands of people—which brought them the possibility of eternity through that Sacrament. Today, tens of thousands visit that side altar, and pray—not to the arm—but to the King of Heaven who sent this young nobleman to become His soldier, and to take up a cause worthy of a man—conquering the world for Jesus, by bringing eternal life to as many as possible through the Sacraments and Gospel of the Catholic Church. Francis used his good right arm, not with a sword in battle, but in battle against evil, administering the Sacraments that give life, and bestowing the Blessing of the King of the World, Jesus.

Every Catholic young man has the moral obligation to consider the question: “Is God calling me to the priesthood.” The question is NOT, “Do I want to be a priest?” The question has to do with what God wants for you in your life: Francis Xavier fought that call. In the end, he followed it, and transformed the world for Christ. Talk to Fr. Walsh or Fr. Al—they’ll help you figure out God’s call. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Elaine Mellace, Valerie McAleer, Victoria Campos, Barbara Wolf, Fernand Constant, Dominick Franco, Ro Clarke, Suzanne DePreta, Patrick and Rita Timon, Billy Therriault, Thomas Bernie, Harrie Humphreys, Diane Grant, 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, Ruth Coyle, Jacqueline Domingue, John Palumbo, Kristine Barron, Silvana Smith, Lena Cocchia, Christina Samon Ta-Chu.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Alice Dykes, Anthony Pellicci, Mark Cagle, Nicholas J. DiMatteo, Onide Jean-Guillaume, Canio V. Lorusso, John DePoli, Lilji Vasilji, Scott Therriault, Bill Detrick, Malcolm Pounds, 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, Lucy Zabatta Carrigan, Jenny Gallagher, Ellen Green Tully, Thomas Hogan.

Holy Day of Obligation. . . Monday, December 8th: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: Masses on December 8th: 8 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.

ADVENT RETREAT…December 8th, 9th, and 10th in the Basilica from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation all 3 Days. Monday will include the Rosary while Tuesday and Wednesday we will offer an Advent Reflection. Come join us in preparation for the Joy of Christmas!

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, Dec. 8th.

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 1st Communion or Confirmation, call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

BAKE SALE: Our Christmas Bake Sale will be held next weekend. Saturday, December 13th after the 4pm mass, Sunday December 14th after the 7:30am, 10am & 12Noon masses in the Monsignor Nagle Hall. We need lots of you marvelous bakers & helpers as well, to volunteer that weekend. Festively wrap your items, label, and include recipes if you wish! Please Contact: Scholastica Nabwire at nascho44@optonline.net or call her at 917-975-2896 (c) or 203-975-7311 (h), with information about your baked goods, if you have any questions or especially if you are able to volunteer to help for an hour or two at the Sale on either day. It’s good fun for a good cause!

Bishop Caggiano will be Celebrating a Mass in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:00PM at Saint Augustine Cathedral. An invitation has been extended to all our Parish Community to attend the Mass in Bridgeport to Honor our Lady of Guadalupe!

Coffee Hour: No Coffee Hour this Sunday, December 7th. It will resume Sunday December 14th after the 10AM Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday November 30, 2014 $ 12,476.50
Sunday December 1, 2013 $ 13,346.24

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

December 14th, Sunday Readings: Is 61:1-2a, 10-11; 1 Thes 5:16-24; Jn 1:6-8, 19-28.

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. 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. 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.

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; just one or two intentions at a time, please. God bless you, Msgr. DiGiovanni.

The Christmas Giving Tree: This year is to benefit pregnant women and their families served by the Sisters of Life. At Christmas we celebrate the gift of the Christ child and every birth of a child is a renewal of this greatest gift. Thank you for helping us to celebrate! The name of an item is written on each tag in the Christmas basket that would benefit the woman in need.  Please take a tag or tags as you are able purchase the item on the tag and take the gift to the rectory.  All items are due back to the parish by Tuesday December 16th.  Thank you so much for your generosity!

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, January 26th, 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

The Maria Goretti & Dominic Savio Societies: Thank you for another successful Canned Food Drive! More than 70 bags of food were packed for the needy in our parish as well as for the St. Joseph’s Parenting Center in Stamford. Thanks to all of our generous parishioners for making a difference in the lives of many families this Thanksgiving! 

Sts. Maria Goretti & Dominic Savio Societies: next meeting will be on Sunday, December 14th 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 at: religioused@stjohnsstamford.com.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 6, 2014
4:00 +John and Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Sexton Young
Sunday, December 7, 2014
7:30 People of the Parish
10:00 +Laura Pascale req. Sue and Rich Kremheller
12:00 +Edna Holt and son req. Marion Morris and Family
5:00 +George B. Cooper
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, December 8, 2014
8:00 +Virginia and Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
5:15 Ziriyana Taaka req. Scholastica and Andrew
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
8:00 Deceased Members of Samedi Family req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Marlene Herrero req. Rosita A. Domdom
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Noemi Isidro req. Lupe Dauplaise
Thursday, December 11, 2014
8:00 +Marie Carriero req. Maria and Antonio Esposito
12:10 +Christopher Jay-r Fainsan req. Noela Fainsan
Friday, December 12, 2014
8:00 Jayden Kravar req. Fabiola C.
12:10 In Loving Memory of the Unborn req. Marion Morris, Michelle and Jimmy Sagdati
Saturday, December 13, 2014
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Emily Turturino req. Diane Strain

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: No Coffee Hour this Sunday, December 7th. Will resume Sunday December 14th after 10AM Mass.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

140 years ago, or so:
Dec. 12, 1873: Father Fagan’s Funeral. “One of the largest funeral processions ever seen in town was that which, on Saturday last, accompanied the remains of the late Rev. John Fagan to their last resting place in the new Roman Catholic cemetery at Springdale. More than one hundred crowded carriages followed the hearse, and a very large concourse of people accompanied the funeral cortege on foot. The entire proceedings-including the solemn and imposing services in the church-were conducted in an impressive and orderly manner, and over the vast assemblage there reigned an atmosphere of deep though undemonstrative sadness, which attested, by unmistakable evidence, the high estimation in which the deceased was held, and the sense of bereavement which his death has caused among the community to which he ministered.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. John Fagan was pastor from 1868 to 1873. During his pastorate the land on which the present church now stands was purchased. Construction of the church was initiated during his pastorate also.)

100 years ago, or so:
Dec. 9, 1907: “St. Anne’s Ladies’ Aid Society held a meeting, yesterday afternoon, at which it was decided to give an entertainment in Realty Hall, Jan. 15 and 16. An Irish play will be given. A number will appear in the cast who have won favor heretofore on the amateur stage. The society will continue its usual practice of sending out Christmas baskets to poor families. Contributions for this work will be gratefully received.”

85 years ago, or so:
Dec. 11, 1931: “Before a congregation that filled every available space in the church, a Solemn High Mass was celebrated in St. John’s R.C. Church this morning at 9 in honor of the centennial celebration of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy. During his brief talk on the significance of the occasion, the Rev. Francis J. Lally, pastor of the church, called attention to the fact that every priest in the parish was joining in the celebration. The Sisters of Mercy, from the convent on South Street were present with the pupils from St. John’s Parochial School, and the parents, former pupils and friends began flocking to the church long before the appointed hour for the Mass. The Sisters of St. Joseph, from Strawberry Hill, were present in a body, with all of their pupils.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe
(December 12th)
Fr. Terry Walsh

“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child….”(Revelation 12:1-2).

In 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the people in what had been the Aztec empire and “crushed the head of the serpent” as it were, bringing about the conversion of millions. She appeared to the people wrapped with the mantle of the stars, clothed with the sun, and the moon under Her feet – and – she was pregnant. Interestingly, in the Book of Revelation, St. John the Evangelist describes a great and mysterious vision of the Woman. Consider the insights of St. Gregory concerning this remarkable vision of St. John: “The sun stands for the light of truth, and the moon for the transitoriness of temporal things; the holy Church is clothed like the sun because she is protected by the splendor of supernatural truth, and she has the moon under her feet because she is above all earthly things.” Moreover, St. Bernard had this to add: “The sun contains permanent color and splendor; whereas the moon’s brightness is unpredictable and changeable, for it never stays the same. It is quite right, then, for Mary to be depicted as clothed with the sun, for she entered the profundity of divine wisdom much much further than one can possibly conceive.” Now, as the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary becomes the Mother of all who are baptized into the Body of Her Son; we are Her spiritual children, and our birth has come about through great pain, that is, through the suffering and death of Her only Son – a suffering that Mary endured spiritually. We are part of the Mystical Body, the Church, and Mary is the Mother of the Church. “The Mother of Jesus in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim people of God”(Lumen Gentium, 68, Vatican II). Recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”(7:14) as well as the words of St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman…”(4:4). The great Franciscan, St. Bonaventure, wrote: “God could have made none greater. He could have made a greater world and a greater heaven; but not a woman greater than his own mother.” ‘Mary is indeed our Queen, but She is even more our Mother.’ And our Mother faithfully protects Her children. She will crush the head of the serpent. St. Cyprian wrote, “The devil is described as a serpent because he moves silently and seems peaceable and comes by easy ways and is so astute and so deceptive that he tries to have night taken for day, poison taken for medicine. So by deceptions of this kind, he tries to destroy truth by cunning. That is why he passes himself off as an angel of light.” Stay close to Mary and She will lead you along the true path into the very Heart of Her Son. Take comfort in the words Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke to the humble Saint Juan Diego (Feast Day, December 9th) in 1531: “Hear and let it penetrate your heart my dear little son; let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?”