For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Jan 11, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: Four months have passed by since I left the parish. A progress report is due, I think. If you’d like a clear idea of my project, please Google the site for the student publication, Roman Echoes: www.romanechoes//pontificalnorthamericancollege
[the most recent issue [#9] pops up on the screen; just click “Read now”, and the article about my project is entitled “New History at the College”, on page 26].

The Pontifical North American College was founded by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1859. Pius is the pope who defined Papal Infallibility, the Immaculate Conception and was the pope during whose reign our basilica was built. You can see a painting of him to the left of northern transept window [as you face the altar, the huge window on your right in the right arm of the church]. The North American College is different than a college in the United States. In Europe, “College” signifies a residence in which students live who attend classes at a local university. The Pontifical North American College is only a residence for seminarians and for student priests, who attend local Roman universities for their graduate and post-graduate studies in theology, canon law, church history, liturgy, scripture, and philosophy. The College does the practical and spiritual training of American men to be priests.

The North American College was established by the pope to train American seminarians and graduate priests. In 1953, a new seminary was built across town, on the Janiculum Hill. Today, that is the seminary, with 282 seminarians; the original college, the Casa Santa Maria where I live, is the graduate-priest house, with 65 priests, in the center of Rome’s historic district.

My job is to write the history of The College from 1955-1979. An earlier history was written from 1859-1955; mine carries the story forward, through the turbulent years of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The College is an important American institution in Rome. During its lifetime, the famous movers and shakers of the day visited: movie stars, industrialists, government officials, intellectuals, artists, and even United States presidents—McKinley, Grant, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Likewise, all important American and European churchmen have visited the College during the years, including, in more recent times, Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II.

The purpose of the College is to form and educate young American men to be priests in the United States. Since the College began, the Holy See has urged the American bishops to send only their best and brightest young men to study in Rome. [I sneaked in under the wire!!] In the 1950’s, the College was even referred to by Pope Pius XII as “The West Point of the Catholic Church” in the United States. The importance of the College is that it allows Americans to do something in Rome they could do no where else: to study in some of the most important Catholic universities in the world; to pray at the tombs of the Apostles and martyrs; to walk the same streets as the saints. Most important of all, to be close to the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Francis. The College is literally down the street from the Vatican: you can walk there in 10 minutes, and, from the student rooms, you can hear the Pope’s blessing given each Sunday at 12 noon. Periodically, the seminarians serve the pope’s Mass. The purpose of the College is encapsulated in an inscription on the main façade of the building, facing Saint Peter’s Basilica:
“The young men who have come here from the distant shores of America, looking upon the Vatican hill, strengthen their faith and their love for the Roman Pontiff.”

That is the reason the North American College exists: to bind Catholics in the far-off United States to the Successor of Saint Peter by means of the good young Americans trained near the Successor of Saint Peter, who return home to preach the Gospel as priests.

So, I’m writing the modern history of this American and Catholic institution. The Rector, Monsignor Checchio, asked our Bishop Caggiano last year if he would permit the College to invite me to come and be the “Scholar in Residence”—believe it or not, that is what my title is! Bishop Caggiano obviously gave his permission. I’m a member of the College faculty for one year, with the task to research and write this history. I’ve spent the past months doing research, and last month I completed the first rough draft of the first chapter. The whole book should be five chapters, and I’ve begun writing the second chapter already.

It’s a good job, but I do miss Saint John’s. I’ll be back in late June, hopefully with a book completed, ready to get back to work in Stamford. Say a prayer for me, please, as I pray for you daily. Happy New Year! —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Pete Boltrek, Kevin O’Byrne, Barbara Itri, 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, Mary Bauer, Mary Rose Bauer, Paul Cavalli, Maggie Ward, Sr. Anne-Marguerite, Peter Monks, Agnes Allen, Bonnie and Dorothy Keyes, Ruth Coyle, Jacqueline Domingue, John Palumbo, 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.

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. 12th.

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/.

Sts. Maria Goretti & Dominic Savio Societies: Will meet this Sunday, January 11th 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 ext.21 or religioused@stjohnsstamford.com for more information. 

Weekly Sunday collection:
Christmas December 25, 2014 $ 38,694.00
Christmas December 25, 2013 $ 39,097.62

Sunday December 28, 2014 $ 14,934.00
Sunday December 29, 2013 $ 11,821.75

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 18th, Sunday Readings: 1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19; 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20; Jn 1:35-42.

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 10, 2015
4:00 Lori Longo Birthday req. Aunt Millie
Sunday, January 11, 2015
7:30 +Vincenzo Enea req. Michael Guarnieri
10:00 +Frances Delaney 7th Anniversary req. Family
12:00 +Catherine Morris 31st Anniversary req. your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, January 12, 2015
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +Marianne Cummings req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Jean-Guillaume Family
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. Parents
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Special Intentions Krystal Gourgue
Thursday, January 15, 2015
8:00 +Tony Lupinacci req. Marc Romano
12:10 +John and Mildred Bayne req. Barbara Bayne
Friday, January 16, 2015
8:00 +Joseph and Margaret Curtis req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +Henrietta Crowley req. Jeannine and Bill Steward
Saturday, January 17, 2015
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 Thanksgiving req. Thang Nguyen

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:

140 years ago, or so:
Jan. 15, 1875: Lecture on The Jesuits. “Hon. W. C. Robinson, of New Haven, is announced to deliver a lecture on the above subject in the Town Hall Sunday evening. That the lecturer will be greeted with a good house is a foregone conclusion, for he is known as an eloquent speaker who handles an interesting subject with great ability, and the proceeds are for the benefit of the new Catholic Church building, an enterprise which is being pushed forward with vigor, and which requires all the help its friends can give it.”

110 years ago, or so:
Jan. 17, 1903: Roman Catholic. “Tomorrow will be the Feast of the Holy Name and will be specially observed by Roman Catholics. In St. John’s Church, the Holy Name Society, which has membership of about 500 men, will receive Holy Communion at the 7:30 o’clock Mass. The other Masses will be at 9, 9:30 and 10:30, and for Poles and Hungarians at 11.”

95 years ago, or so:
Jan. 15, 1921: Bishop and Mayor to Speak. “Much interest is being taken by members of the local Holy Name Societies in the rally to be held in the Alhambra Theatre, tomorrow, at 8 p.m., under the auspices of the societies of St. John’s and of St. Mary’s Churches. The Rt. Rev. John G. Murray, auxiliary bishop of the Catholic diocese of Hartford, and David E. Fitzgerald, the eloquent Mayor of New Haven, are to make addresses. The chaplains and other officers of the Holy Name societies in the district between Westport and East Port Chester, will be represented at the meeting, which will be for men only. Senator Matthew H. Kenealy is to preside and, apart for the addresses, there will be singing by the audience and, perhaps, some vocal solos. The members of the two societies are to receive Holy Communion in their respective churches on Sunday morning.”

55 years ago, or so:
Jan. 13, 1960: St. John’s Church Holy Name Society Names New Officers. “James E. Lynch has been elected president of St. John’s Church Holy Name Society. Others elected for 1960 are: James C. Elsken and Jesse J. Seabrooks, vice presidents; Charles A. Gilbert, secretary; the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, treasurer and spiritual advisor; and William E. Thomson, assistant treasurer. Members elected to the executive committee are: John R. Boyd, William A. Dunn, Francis T. Finley, Hugh C. Matsen, Larry F. Ryder, Alexander J. Traska, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Kerrigan and Mr. Elsken. Elected Marshals are Harry Courtney, John Flynn, Charles Z. Johnson and Michael McGrath.”

“TRUE DEVOTION to the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY”
– Fr. Terry Walsh

The Saints of the Church have sung the praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the centuries, beginning with the Apostles. They were merely imitating Christ Himself, who honored Mary above all others. St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort (1673 – 1716) likewise sings her praises and challenges us to seek a deeper understanding of our Spiritual Mother through an interior devotion in a little book known as True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Throughout his brief treatise, he masterfully weaves references to Sacred Scripture, the Dogmas of the Church, and the insights of the Saints, and so helps us understand the magnificence of Mary and the boundless love she holds for each one of her spiritual children. Furthermore, he explains the intimate role she plays in our salvation. It would be sheer foolishness to neglect her. He writes, “The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of his divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear”(TD,157). Throughout the short treatise, DeMontfort explains his devotion by first helping us to understand the one of a kind relationship Mary has with God. Indeed, the Church teaches through the declaration of various Dogmas as well as through the celebration of her feasts and Solemnities in the Liturgy: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship”(Catechism, #971). It’s important to make a distinction between praise and adoration. Adoration is reserved for God alone. We are called to praise Mary, but to adore her Son. We honor her with hymns of praise and heartfelt prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. Indeed, we are compelled to honor her if we are to keep the fourth Commandment. And yet, our relationship with Mary ought to be understood in an infinitely deeper way – through love. “God the Son imparted to his Mother all that he gained by his life and death, namely, his infinite merits and his eminent virtues. He made her the treasurer of all his Father had given him as heritage. Through her he applies his merits to his members and through her he transmits his virtues and distributes his graces…She is His mystic channel, His aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly.” – True Devotion (TD), no. 24. Mary alone has the unique privilege of being at the same time the daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of the Son. And of course, it was through her that Jesus took upon Himself our human nature so that he could offer Himself to the Father in reparation for our sins. “Mary alone found grace before God without the help of any other creature. All those who have since found grace before God have found it only through her. She was full of grace when she was greeted by the Archangel Gabriel and was filled with grace to overflowing by the Holy Spirit when he so mysteriously overshadowed her…the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can lead them along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life…Jesus is always and everywhere the fruit and Son of Mary and Mary is everywhere the genuine tree that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother who bears that Son”(TD,44). What an extraordinary relationship! What tremendous humility. By virtue of our baptism, our incorporation into the Body of her Son, we share in that relationship, provided we are faithful to our Baptismal promises. Mary will gently lead us into the Heart of Her Son so that we may be healed and so walk in the Light of Truth. She knows the way. “She is not the sun, dazzling our weak sight by the brightness of its rays. Rather, she is fair and gentle as the moon, which receives its light from the sun and softens it and adapts it to our limited perception. She is so full of love that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be. The saints say that it never has been known since the world began that anyone had recourse to our blessed Lady, with trust and perseverance, and was rejected”(TD,85).
How would you describe your relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary? How well do you really know Her? DeMontfort turns to the Scriptures to illustrate the tender and effective love of Mary. Our Lady enables the soul to receive a greater measure of grace thereby forming us into a more perfect likeness of Jesus. “When Mary has taken root in a soul she produces in it wonders of grace which only she can produce; for she alone is the fruitful virgin who never had and never will have her equal in purity and fruitfulness….When the Holy Spirit, her spouse, finds Mary in a soul, he hastens there and enters fully into it. He gives himself generously to that soul according to the place it has given to his spouse”(TD, 35). Mary intercedes on our behalf with her Son, just like at the wedding feast of Cana, asking our Lord to give us the New Wine, that is, the graces won for us through the Paschal Mystery. What hopefulness. Imagine it! She is right beside us helping us to faithfully live in Christ. DeMontfort’s beautiful treatise on our Lady is filled with spiritual treasures, revealing a clear understanding of the role of Mary in the lives of the faithful. It would certainly prove worthy spiritual reading throughout the Holy Season of Lent. Why not consider reading a few paragraphs of True Devotion each day, especially as we begin the month of October, a Marian month, and reflect upon the spiritual insights that lead to a greater understanding of our baptismal promises. The goal we seek of course is a deeper union with our Lord and our Blessed Mother wants to help us. Our late Holy Father, Blessed Pope John Paul II, praised the writings of DeMontfort calling them an “inexhaustible fountainhead of spirituality” that “teach the meaning of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin.” As we draw close to Mary, may we echo his motto: “Totus Tuus” – I am totally yours, Blessed Virgin Mary!
February 2 is the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple—a wonderful day to begin reading De Montfot’s spiritual classic: True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Available in our Parish Bookstore).