For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Jan 4, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: On the site of the ancient Roman Capitol—the Capitoline Hill, one of Rome’s original seven—is a graceful set of stairs, the cordonata, built by Michelangelo in 1536, on the occasion of the visit of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Its easy ascent leads to the capitol buildings, and in the center of the little square is a recent copy of the ancient bronze equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The original is now in the museum on the other end of the square. It is a magnificent setting, designed to receive the most powerful man in the 16th century as he visited the Eternal City. However, if you asked any of the thousands of tourists who mount the stairs and gaze at Marcus Aurelius, who the man is atop his bronze horse, about 99% of them would have no clue—even if they had a guide book providing the answer!

To the left of Michelangelo’s historic gem is the rough brick Church of Santa Maria dell’ Aracoeli, which I wrote about a few weeks ago, sitting atop 122 steep steps. The steps were built in 1348 in gratitude for the cessation of the Black Plague. It is a very, very difficult ascent!

The Aracoeli sits atop what was believed to be an Altar of Heaven, built by the Emperor Caesar Augustus, at which spot he had a vision of Mary and the infant Jesus. The church is renowned for its beautiful artwork, and for its numerous tombs of important men and women. But, the heart of the church is a tiny wooden statue of the Infant Jesus. Rather ugly, but wrapped in swaddling clothes. Over the centuries, it has become encrusted in jewelry, precious stones, and, in more recent times, Rolex watches, offered by the faithful asking for favors or answered prayers. It is credited with numerous miracles, ever since its arrival in the church centuries ago. In fact, up through Mussolini’s time, the statue had its own horse drawn carriage in which it would ride to the home of the local poor, visiting the sick or attending the deathbed of a pious, impoverished Roman. The story is even told that during a public demonstration when Mussolini was haranguing the crowds, and all traffic was halted, the Duce himself stopped speaking, and the crowds parted to allow the Santo Bambino to pass by on a mission of mercy!

Each year, between Christmas Eve and the Epiphany, [this year, January 4th], there are thousands upon thousands of Romans eagerly mounting those treacherous 122 steps to reach the ugly brick church on top. Their quest is inside: a small pulpit is erected in front of the Nativity Scene, and the Santo Bambino is placed there. And thousands of Roman children come to mount the pulpit daily, to recite “sermons”, poems or simply little speeches they’ve composed to the Infant Jesus. It’s quite lovely, in a Roman way.

An interesting contrast: the center of the political realm of the man who had been Emperor of the world, atop steps designed by Michelangelo, and no one knows who sits on that bronze horse, and no one visits him during Christmas. And next door, in an ugly church, atop inaccessible steps, is a horrid little wooden statue of a child covered in jewels, and everyone knows who He is—why, the Emperor of the Universe who became a child so we could live in peace on earth, if we listen to Him, and live with Him forever in Heaven, if we choose.

Bring your children to our Nativity Scene at Saint John’s on the Epiphany [Sunday, January 4th], and let them give a little speech to the Infant Jesus, thanking Him and His Mother for loving us so much.

Merry Christmas! —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Mary Lou Kerr, Elaine Mellace, Valerie McAleer, Victoria Campos, Barbara Wolf, 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, 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: Angelina Corcione, Fernand Constant, Karin Fahey, Louise Fazio, 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, Jenny Gallagher.

Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs 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, Jan. 5th.

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).

Do you know someone who is carrying the grief of a past abortion? There is help and hope available and the pain and sorrow of a past abortion need not endure for a lifetime. “Days of Prayer and Healing” offer the opportunity to experience the love and mercy of God and to heal the wound of abortion. The next “Day of Prayer and Healing” for women is Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, in Yonkers, NY. For location and confidential registration call the Sisters of Life at (866)-575-0075 (toll free) or email hopeandhealing@sistersoflife.org. For additional tri-state retreats and information see Lumina Hope & Healing after abortion www.postabortinhelp.org or email lumina@postabortionhelp.org and you may also visit the Family Life/Respect Life Office — Project Rachel website at http://nyfamilylife.org/project-rachel/.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Not Available because of Early Bulletin Transmission Deadlines

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

January 11th, Sunday Readings: Is 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Mk 1:7-11.

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.

Lost & Found . . . Please check the Lost & Found in the Rectory for any items you may have left in the church. Feel free to call Cindy at the rectory, M-F, 9AM—1:30PM, 203-324-1553 x21.

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).

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.

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).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 3, 2015
4:00 +Ludovico and Genoveffa Bova req. Anna Failla
Sunday, January 4, 2015
7:30 Deceased members of Hagan and Hardiman Families req. Joan and John Hagan
10:00 +Bill Santora req. Pinto Family
12:00 +Suzanna Donovan 20th Anniversary req. Marion Morris
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 People of the Parish
Monday, January 5, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Anthony Tymon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Frank Donatucci req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
8:00 +Barbara Serafin req. Labrosciano Family
12:10 +Francesco and Josephine Mancuso req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Margaret Reichenstein req. Bill Christiaanse
Thursday, January 8, 2015
8:00 +Dante Buzzeo req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
12:10 +Dorothy Cimato req. Ann Armstrong
Friday, January 9, 2015
8:00 +Barbara Serafin req. Domenico Piria
12:10 +Henrietta Crowley req. Jeannine and Bill Steward
Saturday, January 10, 2015
8:00 +Max Andrianiriana req. Mary Bridget Gaine
12:10 For the Sick and Suffering req. Stephanie

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.

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:

150 years ago, or so:
Jan. 11, 1861: Fast Day. “Last Friday was observed here in accordance with the proclamation of the authorities as a day of fasting and prayer. The places of business were closed. There was Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Father O’Neil read the Pastoral letter of the Bishop of the Diocese and made a brief address, evincing no sympathy with secession. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Bishop McFarland’s letter expressed the sentiments that the Southern States’ secession from the union was morally wrong.)

100 years ago, or so:
Jan. 6, 1908: Funeral of Mrs. H.S. Provost. “The funeral of Mrs. Henry S. Provost, who died last Thursday, was held at 10:30 this morning, from St. John’s R.C. Church. A Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Rev. William H. Rogers, former pastor of St. John’s, assisted by Rev. T. J. Keena, former assistant pastor of St. John’s, and Rev. Eugene Sullivan of Stamford. Father O’Brien and other Stamford priests were present. Father O’Brien paid a feeling and appropriate tribute to the deceased, speaking of her high Christian character.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Mrs. Provost was one of three sisters who, in 1896, donated the sanctuary lamp that still hangs in the sanctuary.)

65 years ago, or so:
Jan. 8, 1948: CYO Ends Half Tonight, Johnnies Upset Holy Names. “Last night, the feature game of the evening provided a thriller, with the St. John’s upsetting a favored Holy Name five by the score of 43-39. It was one of the closest games played this season, with the score changing hands no less than 10 times. The game was marked by the fine playing of Gaynor Brennan, who held the decided threat of Tommy Malanowski, bottling the high-scoring ace at all times. Julie Markiewicz tallied 21 points in the losing cause, with Brennan scoring 18 for the winners.”

50 years ago, or so:
Jan. 12, 1963: Scenes For Movie To Be Filmed At Church, School Here. “Stamford again will be “location” for scenes for a movie picture to be made by a Hollywood movie company. Specifically, St. John’s Church on Atlantic St. and St. John’s School will be used in filming of scenes in “The Cardinal.” The movie, based on the novel of the same name, will be a fictional biography of a cardinal. St. John’s Church will be used as the church where early in his career, the cardinal is a parish priest. The shooting of the Stamford scenes is expected to begin Feb. 7 and take about a week.” Several years ago, the moving picture “Boomerang” was also filmed here.”

THE EPIPHANY
The Manifestation of Light
-Fr Terry Walsh

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”(Matthew 4:4).

Have you ever had the experience of reading a story that you simply could not put down – hour after hour your heart and mind happily absorb tremendous new insights and understanding, delving ever deeper into the mystery of life? You recognize in those moments that your life has somehow changed – a new course heading has been established. Who better to re-orient the spiritual compass than God Himself? The Prophet Jeremiah rejoiced in his discovery: “Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by thy name, O Lord, God of Hosts”(Jer. 15:16). Each turn of the page gradually unlocks the mysteries of life, like a soft summer breeze gently filling the sail of your heart, leading you to new shores. What could be more exciting than coming to understand the origin of human existence and the very purpose of life? The very first verses of the Bible capture our attention as we contemplate the explosion of love of the Holy Trinity: God creating everything out of nothing in a simple and perfect act of love – forming man with such tender affection and endowing him with the ability to know Him and to love Him. As the story unfolds, we meet Adam, Noah, and Abraham who enter into Covenant relationships with God. Later, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, and many others help carry out God’s plan of Salvation, all leading up to that unique moment in time: the Incarnation! Indeed, all the books in the Bible point to the four Gospels, which tell the story of the life, death, and resurrection of God-made-man, Jesus Christ. As we peer a little deeper into the stories of the Old Testament, we soon discover that there are actually many layers. For instance, the early Saints of the Church pondered the story of Noah’s Ark and they explained how it actually corresponds on a deeper level to Jesus, who saved His family, that is, all who are incorporated into His Mystical Body through the waters of baptism, from sin and death through the Ark of the Church. Consider the story of the twelve sons of Jacob in the book of Genesis. When the younger son, Joseph, reveals to his brothers the dream he had concerning the higher place he would have among them, they are enraged. They plot to kill him – their own brother. What utter bewilderment! They betray him, selling him for 30 pieces of silver to nomads traveling to Egypt. As we read the story, our thoughts immediately leap across the centuries to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus, surrounded by his “brethren” – the twelve Apostles – who likewise was sold for 30 pieces of silver by his “brother,” Judas. In the Book of Genesis, Joseph would emerge as the right hand man of Pharaoh, who had put Joseph in charge of distributing the world’s supply of grain when a seven year famine engulfed the nations. On a deeper level, we come to understand that Joseph actually prefigures Jesus, who, centuries later, would be revealed as the Bread of Life, feeding all who hunger for spiritual healing and nourishment. When we read the Old Testament in light of this truth, our hearts expand with utter gratitude and amazement. How can our response be anything but love for him?

Yet, if we never take the time to ponder the history of Salvation, how can we really know Him? St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”(Hebrews 4:12). In other words, how can we really fully appreciate the lengths he has gone to pour out His love upon us and to teach us exactly how we ought to respond to him if we haven’t taken the time to ponder His words? “Still, the Christian faith is not a ‘religion of the book.’ Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is ‘not written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living.’ If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, ‘open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures’”(Catechism, 108). The Scriptures enable us to grow in Wisdom through our prayerful contemplation of the mystery of our Redemption: “Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her”(Wisdom 6:12). Moreover, we’ll avoid the errors of presumption, such as those made by the Sadducees who confronted Jesus concerning the Resurrection. “Jesus said to them, ‘Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”(Mark 12:24). Sadly, those who neglect the Scriptures simply don’t realize what they are missing – for if they would take the time to read the Bible, they would, quite naturally be led by the Light of Christ. He alone pours “Light” into our hearts and minds and without this Light we would only stumble in the dark. If we allow our Lord to plant His words deep in the garden of our soul, we’ll bear spiritual fruits – the treasure of Heaven. “As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty”(Matthew 13:23). The 73 “books” of the Old and New Testaments comprise 1335 “chapters” – each about a page in length (including the 150 Psalms). If you read 1 single page each day, you will have read the Bible in about 3 years. That’s about 10 minutes of your time each day – or roughly the equivalent of the amount to time you would spend watching commercials in an average half-hour sitcom. “In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, ‘but as what it really is, the word of God.’ In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them’”(Catechism, 104). Wonderful graces will wash over you simply from opening the Bible and making an honest effort. Each turn of the page will quite literally transform the soul and lead to greater wisdom, understanding, knowledge and piety. God will whisper into the ear of your soul: “Trust me.” “Be courageous.” “I will never leave you.” “Follow Me.” Even when you feel as though you “don’t get it” God will reward you and encourage you. Why not at least try. Our Lord said, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open to you.” Let Him build your Spiritual House (Psalm 127).