For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Jan 25, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: Rome’s public transportation system is one of the best. To get to the Porta San Paolo, take the 176 bus from the Teatro di Marcello, across from the Victor Emmanuel Monument in the center of town, which is about a 5 minute walk from where I live.

The Porta San Paolo, or St. Paul’s Gate, was built in the 3rd century as part of the City’s Aurelian Walls. It takes its name from Saint Paul, whose feast day should be on January 25th, but has been pre-empted this year by Sunday. The gate bears the saint’s name because it opens on to the road which Paul walked down on his way to be executed because he would not deny Christ, just a few months before St. Peter died in the Vatican.

The more imposing structure is older than the wall next to which it stands: the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius stands 125 feet tall, way higher than the wall, and is constructed of thousands of gleaming white marble blocks. When it was built in 12 B.C, tombs and burials were prohibited inside Rome, so, this was outside the City walls, in the open countryside. This is the only thing poor Cestius, a local government official, is remembered for. Cestius was very proud of his limited accomplishments, and his pyramid tomb tells us more about his immense ego than about anything he accomplished in life. Saint Paul would have seen this pyramid as one of the last man-made things before his execution further in the countryside.

Saint Paul had been converted from Judaism by the Risen Christ, as he rode to Damascus, persecuting the early Church [Acts 9]. He was a brilliant man, empowered by the Jewish Temple authorities in Jerusalem to destroy the Church, imprisoning Christians and overseeing their execution, like that of Saint Stephen [Acts 7:57-8:3]. Paul was certain he was doing God’s will, as he mentions often in his letters [cf., Galatians 1:13-14]. He was converted, as the Acts of the Apostles tells us, by the Resurrected Lord, who called him to do the actual will of God, build up His Church. By persecuting the early Christians, Paul actually persecuted Christ, so intimately united are we with Christ through the Sacraments and by our Faith. Christ told him so in answer to Paul’s question about his identity: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” [Acts 9:3]

From the moment Paul was called personally by the Risen Lord, and empowered by Him as had been the other Apostles, Paul was a changed man. He went about preaching Christ—Son of God in the flesh, crucified to pay for human sin and evil, risen to grant us a share in His eternal life—and preached it to the pagan world. Those pagan societies—wealthy, powerful, learned—all knew they were correct, and that Paul was just another fool who took religion too seriously. They suffered from the same condition Paul had when he persecuted the Church: Paul KNEW he was doing God’s will as he killed people in the name of God. But, he wasn’t. He did what he wanted to do, convincing himself it’s what God wanted. That’s what we all do, at one time or another. Once God revealed Paul’s pride and ego, leading him to such evil, Paul could do nothing other than follow the God who loved Him so that he’d saved Paul from himself, his ego and errors.

Further down the road is Paul’s tomb, upon which was built a church by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, enlarged in the 5th century. It stands as the sign of a man who found immortality by actually doing God’s work: charitably preaching the truth of God so others could be freed from their pride and self-centered lives to approach the unimaginable good things God wants for those who love Him. Next time you’re in Rome, take the 176 bus. You’ll see Cestius’ pyramid, but don’t linger long. Not much to see. Walk a ways down the Via Ostiensis, and you’ll come to the tomb of a humble man who, in Christ’s name, changed the world.   —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Nellie Taylor-Boltrek, Pete Boltrek, Kevin O’Byrne, Barbara Itri, Mary Lou Kerr, Elaine Mellace, Victoria Campos, Barbara Wolf, Dominick Franco, Ro Clarke, Suzanne DePreta, Patrick and Rita Timon, Billy Therriault, Thomas Bernie, 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: Roledonne J. Samedi, Harrie Humphreys, 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, Stefano Pirolozzi, Teodoro DeBlasi, Erzulia Joseph, Jenny Gallagher.

Church in Latin America Collection . . . Please drop your special Church in Latin America envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

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. 26th.

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).

Knights of Columbus Free Throw Competition: All Boys and Girls from 9 to 14 years old (as of Jan 1) are invited to participate in the annual Knight of Columbus Free Throw Championship. All attendees will receive a Participation Certificate and winners will advance to the District Competition to represent our community! The event will be held on February 8, 2015 at 3pm in the Rippowam Middle School Gym – 381 High Ridge Rd, Stamford, CT 06905. Pre-registration is suggested by Feb 1. Contact KofC5833@gmail.com or Dan Fiegoli at 203-327-9027 with any questions. This event is hosted by the local Knights of Columbus Fr. Myron Miller Council #5833.

Physician Assisted Suicide Information Session: Diocese of Bridgeport Respect Life Ministry, the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference and Family Institute of Connecticut are sponsoring a Physician Assisted Suicide Information Session to be held on Thursday, March 12, 2014 at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, 279 Atlantic Ave., Stamford, CT, from 7pm to 9pm.  The session will include speakers from across the diocese to discuss the Catholic understanding of physician assisted suicide, hospice care and current events at the state legislature.  Please join us and bring a friend!  For questions or more information contact, Maureen Ciardiello at the Respect Life Ministry for the Diocese of Bridgeport at 203-416-1445 or email respectlife@diobpt.org.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday January 11, 2015 $ 10,495.50
Sunday January 12, 2014 $ 10,794.72

Sunday January 18, 2015 $ 10,498.50
Sunday January 19, 2014 $ 11,222.12

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

February 1st, Sunday Readings: Dt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 7:32-35; Mk 1:21-28.

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.

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

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 24, 2015
4:00 +Dr. Vincent and Theresa Kung req. Family
Sunday, January 25, 2015
7:30 +Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
10:00 +Margarita Gonzalez req. Mossa Family
12:00 Krystyna S. Lovell req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, January 26, 2015
8:00 +Zachary Puno req. Corazon Angeles
12:10 +John Romano Sr. req. Marc Romano
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
8:00 +Joanne Cicero req. Colleen Carney
12:10 +Pat Fabricatore req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
8:00 +Dorothy Clements req. Thomas Cycon
12:10 +Marietta Franco req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Thursday, January 29, 2015
8:00 +Dorothy Clements req. Marion, Tony and Dominick
12:10 +Rhoda Friedrichs req. Bill Christiaanse
Friday, January 30, 2015
8:00 +Bartolo Carrillo Sr. req. James and Lori Rubino
12:10 +Francis Sullivan req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Saturday, January 31, 2015
8:00 +Salvatore DiGiovanni req. Gina Uva
12:10 +Michael Manzella req. Friends at Workplace

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 NEWS:

DEDICATION OF THE ORIGINAL CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, JANUARY 26, 1851.

THE BOSTON PILOT:
February 3rd, 1851: Connecticut. STAMFORD. “Mr. Editor: From a conviction of the interest which your truly Catholic paper has always taken in communicating through its columns the progress of our holy religion, I take pleasure in informing you of the dedication of our Church in Stamford, on Sunday, January 26th, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop O’Reilly. The morning was beautiful and it would appear that the cross shone with more than usual luster: from an early hour in the morning the hills and valleys were literally covered over with the sons and daughters of the emerald isle, whose hearts and souls were overflowing with joy that the time at length arrived when they had a church to be dedicated to the service of Almighty God. This church has been commenced and completed by the indefatigable zeal of our pious and exemplary pastor, Rev. John C. Brady, with the cooperation of the whole-souled Catholics of Stamford. The Church was dedicated to Almighty God under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist, after which confirmation was conferred on a considerable number, who were duly prepared by their Rev. Pastor; then High Mass was sung by the Pastor, and after the first gospel the Bishop ascended the platform and preached a very eloquent and persuasive sermon on the gospel of the day to a crowded congregation, many of whom were not of our religion, yet they were much delighted by the mild and charitable sermon. In the afternoon at vespers he preached one of the most powerful and practicable sermons we ever heard. On the following Tuesday he dedicated another Church, erected by the same pastor, under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary , and administered confirmation to those who were prepared here; he was assisted by the Rev. Mr. Lynch of Bridgeport, and Rev. Mr. Brady of Middletown. So now Mr. Editor you must think that our holy religion is flourishing rapidly along the Sound. A few years ago there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant coming from New York to New Haven, but now the emblem of salvation may be seen in every little village. Yours truly, J. T. O’R.”

“Do You Know What Day It Is?”
– Fr. Terry Walsh

“Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.” – Psalm 8:5

The Olympics demonstrate the effect of what can be accomplished through hard work and determination. So many of the individual stories are in a way inspiring—overcoming adversity, reaching new and extraordinary heights in personal endurance, and so on. Indeed, many have inspired others to dream of the possibility of achieving personal goals that lead to a deeper appreciation of the gifts God has bestowed— especially goals of virtue off the athletic field. Meanwhile, from dawn till dusk people everywhere are putting themselves to the test – running faster, jumping higher, and developing skills in a variety of activities that are meant to strengthen character and confidence – especially in the young. The “language” of sports translates across borders and builds bridges among cultures. What joy the achievements of human excellence bring – the fruit of much labor. And in the high-tech age, sports provide a wholesome alternative to gadgets galore. Very often, people gain great consolations by reaching new heights or pushing through difficult barriers through steadfast determination. What reasonable sacrifices am I willing to make to reach my best performance? Perhaps the best lesson of all is found in discovering our limits and humbly recognizing what we can not attain. That takes courage. It’s particularly fruitful when that discovery prompts us to turn our gaze away from ourselves and instead begin to contemplate the One who knows no limits – the Infinite One who emptied Himself completely in order to share His Divine Life.

Team sports add the component of working together to accomplish a community goal. Clearly, each individual effort affects every other member of the team and since responsibility to the community takes precedence over personal achievement, individual accomplishments may need to be sacrificed in order for the team to be victorious. Moreover, is there a willingness to offer constructive criticism to teammates even when it’s difficult? Applied to the spiritual life, these lessons lead to a deeper understanding of love. St. Paul refers to this when he writes about the Mystical Body of Christ. He reminds us that as each member grows in holiness – “faith working through love” – the entire Body grows in holiness. Yet, if one member falls, the ill effect is felt by the whole Body. We are obligated to grow in holiness and to help others in their pursuit of a holy life as well. Sports can make a wholesome contribution. Ah, there are a million stories. One Christmas Day during World War I, American and German soldiers crawled out of their bloody trenches and met each other in the middle – for a game of soccer. After their game, they simply couldn’t go back to shooting each other. Consider, too, the most renowned athletic stage – the Olympics. Consider the 1924 Summer Games? Do you remember Eric Liddell? He was considered to be the world’s fasted human. Yet, he refused to compete in 3 of the 4 events he qualified to run because they took place on Sunday. Liddell would not compromise the integrity of his faith. His heroic witness captured the attention of the entire world. Instead, he ran the 400 meters and set a new world record with his victory.

What place do sports hold in the heart of man today? Is it still an activity that builds character and friendships? Or, has it become an “end” in itself – one that governs the daily activity of families even to the exclusion of honoring God? In many respects, Sports have replaced religion. So few attend Church, yet many would not think about missing practice. Few seem to know the Our Father or the Hail Mary, yet many recite the entire history of their favorite sports team. Few seem to know the names of the four Evangelists, the most important books ever written, yet many can rattle off the starting lineups of their favorite team, along with accompanying statistics. Few can list the 10 Commandments, and fewer still the Beatitudes, but most can tell you the rules governing their sport, including obscure nuances for the most ridiculous scenarios. So few know the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but most know the story of Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle. What priority do we place on developing and maintaining a faithful prayer life—in particular, reading the Scriptures daily, praying the Rosary daily, and having a heart to heart with our Lord—daily? Is it actually a higher priority than worldly endeavors such as entertainment? As faithful Catholics, our dignity is realized in our relationship with God. The virtue of Religion falls under the Cardinal Virtue of Justice. We fulfill that virtue by keeping the Commandments. “In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakable faithfulness of God’s covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it” (Catechism, 346).

Skipping Mass in favor of a sporting event clearly indicates a lack luster desire for God. A faithful prayer life would have prevented the tragedy of turning a wholesome activity into an “end” in itself. We have been made to share in the Divine Life. We are meant to be crowned with glory and honor, in heaven. It is a crown that comes through faith, hope, and love and is the fruit of following the One True God in this life. Sports ought to contribute to the growth and development of the human person rather than serve as a conduit of self-absorption, whose logical end is the exploitation and commoditization of the human person and the loss the true dignity – union with God.