For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Feb 8, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: Lent is much more than a time of increased piety or resolutions designed to break bad habits or to lose weight. Lent is the Church’s annual season of struggle against Satan. That struggle began at the beginning of time when we turned our backs on God in disobedience in Eden. The final struggle began over 2,000 years ago when the eternal Son of God, creator of the universe, took on human flesh of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. The Creator became a creature to free the only creature made in His image and likeness-US-from the power of Satan and from the sway of his most potent weapon, death. As one of the prayers for Christmas Mass reads: “Hasten, Lord our God, do not delay, and free us by Your power from the devil’s fury.” What is “the devil’s fury”? Moviegoers might imagine a scene from The Exorcist, or some other cinematographic special effects. The devil’s fury is subtler and more boringly mundane than anything Hollywood might imagine. The devil’s fury is daily temptation, which Satan ratchets up as we seek to fight it off by the practice of virtue. By falling into sin, Satan wins, and his hatred of God bears fruit in the eternal damnation of God’s image and likeness—US.

Lent is the Church’s great annual spiritual exercise with its focal point on the mystery of Christ’s redemptive mercy, foretold in the Old Testament, realized in the earthly life of Jesus, especially in His Passion, death, resurrection and ascension; and which is realized in us by our worthy and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, and then in prayer, fasting, acts of mercy, spiritual reading, and a more intense practice of the Christian virtues in our daily lives. In other words, we open ourselves more readily to Christ’s transforming grace by living a more intense Christian life. Lent is the time to begin anew to live that more intensely Christian life. According to Saint Peter Chrysologus, “Three things sustain faith, devotion, and virtue,”. . . “prayer, fasting, and mercy to others. Prayer knocks at God’s door, fasting wins us what we need, and mercy is the hand cupped to receive . . . Let him who prays also fast; let him who fasts have pity on others; let him who wishes to be heard hear those who ask his help, for such a person alone has God’s ear whose own ear is not closed to the needs of others.” [Sermon 43]

How to begin? Don’t make crazy resolutions that you’ll never keep. Decide to set sin aside, instead, and to open your heart to doing God’s will as the most important guide for all you do in your daily life. First: go to Confession and use this first week of Lent to meditate on the Passion of Christ: look at His sufferings for what they are—Jesus suffering to save you from Satan and eternal death. Another of Christ’s saints describes it in these words: “There is no greater stimulus to love our enemies [in which fraternal charity finds its perfect form] than the contemplation of the marvelous patience of Him who . . . offered His face to be spat upon and endured the other torments of His Passion . . . Did anyone hear those sweet and loving words of Christ from the Cross: ‘Father forgive them. . ?” Blessed Abbot Aelred continues, “If you are to love yourself correctly, you must not yield to carnal pleasure, by which is meant self-centeredness. If you do not to yield to carnal pleasure, center your affections on the loving person of the Lord.” [The Mirror of Charity, 3]. Start your first week of Lent by reading and meditating on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels. Read some each day, and think about them, and pray for a few minutes daily in gratitude to God for thinking so highly of you, personally, that He sent Christ to die for you. Express that gratitude in acts of charity, fasting, prayer and penance.

Avoiding and ignoring God isolates us, making us turn inward. In the Inferno, the first section of his masterpiece the Divine Comedy, Dante proposes that the lowest circle of Hell is a frozen wasteland—perpetual February—with Satan at the very lowest point of Hell, frozen in solid ice, forever. He’s entirely paralyzed by ice; isolated from everything and everyone, his mind seethes with frustration over his defeat by God and his eternal punishment. Having refused to serve God in Heaven, Satan rules in a Hell which is its own punishment—his perpetual hatred and frustration producing only a repulsive bloody froth, seeping from his tear ducts and mouth for all eternity. Sin isolates us from God and from one another, because by using others in sin, we strike at God.

My suggestion to avoid this fate—turning in on yourself, seething in frustration, isolated from everyone because of the ice and frigid temperatures of your heart and soul, during these 40 days of Lent–is to do a few things:

–Practice charity: get out of your house and help someone: a relative or neighbor who needs a little assistance.

–Read a little Scripture: try the Gospel of Luke and Saint Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians. Both great reads that should inspire gratitude to God for His generosity.

These are a few ideas to get you out of yourself during these last bleak weeks of winter during Lent. Forget the groundhog, and concentrate on doing what you were designed to do: act more like God in charity and be grateful to Our Lord for his generosity. So, buck up your spirits: despite the weather, God has done a lot of hard work to make sure you don’t end up in that perpetual February freeze of Hell. Bring some warmth into someone else’s life by volunteering, and some warmth into your own by reading about God’s love for you in Scripture and praying daily.
—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Sister Mary Rinaldi, FMA, Karyl Suzanne Bearden, 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: Felicitas Cody, 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.

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, February 9th.

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: Tuesdays, 7:00PM in the rectory. Open to anyone interested in becoming a Catholic, or adult Catholics wanting to receive 1st Communion or Confirmation (call 324-1553) Special Needs RCIA: Contact Michelle O’Mara at momara@stcatherineacademy.org 203 540 5381 ext 2012

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.

National Open House Day with Religious at the Sisters of Life: Did you ever wonder what life was like beyond the walls of a convent? Along with religious across the country, the Sisters of Life will be opening their doors on This Sunday, February 8 for the first ever National Open House Day with Religious. Pope Francis said: “Wherever consecrated people are, there is always joy!” Please share our joy in celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life by stopping in at Villa Maria Guadalupe (159 Sky Meadow Drive, Stamford, CT 06903) between 2:00 and 5:00 pm to meet our Sisters and see our home. Everyone is welcome. Stay tuned for more information about Days of Service with Religious this summer and a Day of Prayer with Religious on Sunday, September 13, 2015. We look forward to sharing these days with you, so that you may discover, in the words of Pope Francis, that “Joy, true joy, is contagious.” For more information contact: Sr. Mary Karen: 203-329-1492.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday February 01, 2015 $ 12,784.50
Sunday February 02, 2014 $ 11,580.80

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 15th, Sunday Readings: Lv 13:1-2, 44-46; 1 Cor 10:31—11:1; Mk 1:40-45.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #2– The spiritual lives of our families are strengthened through our Holy Hour. (Blessed John Paul II)

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.

The Stamford St. Patrick’s Day Parade: which will take place March 7, 2015 at 12Noon, beginning at Columbus Park, and concluding at Latham Park.  I am reaching out at this time to also invite a group to participate in our 20th St. Patrick’s Day Parade. If you are interested, please contact Michael Feighan at mpfeighan1@gmail.com. We hope that you can join us for the BIG Event.

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.

Religious Ed News: No religion classes next Sunday February 15th due to February break.

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, February 23rd, 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 7, 2015
4:00 +Santo Failla req. Anna Failla
Sunday, February 8, 2015
7:30 +Leopold Joseph req. Marie Fieffe
10:00 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 John Ignatius Kung req. Parents
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 9, 2015
8:00 Gemma Marchetti req. Parents
12:10 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Vito Longo Birthday Remembrance req. daughter Millie
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
8:00 +Bartolo Carrillo Sr. req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
12:10 +Louis Fecci – 3rd Anniversary req. Louise Munro
Thursday, February 12, 2015
8:00 +Bartolo Carrillo Sr. req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. Parents
Friday, February 13, 2015
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 +Vincent DeVivo – 57th Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families
6:00 VALENTINE SWEETHEART MASS
Saturday, February 14, 2015
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 Grace Melton req. Family

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:

THE Connecticut Catholic:
135 years ago, or so:
February 12, 1881: STAMFORD. “Owing to the extreme severity of the weather, only ten of the eighteen members of the choir participated in their annual sleigh ride, Thursday evening. Organist Prof. Smith was among the absentees, but his place was well supplied by his namesake, Neighbor Smith. Mr. Hudson was also among the missing, but Mr. Michael Hayes filled his shoes to perfection. At 8:35 o’clock Mr. John McNally’s mammoth sleigh drawn by four prancing steeds, drew up in front of St. John’s rectory, and the expectant choir was soon aboard snugly ensconced in a superabundance of buffalo robes. Mr. Hayes having seen that all was right, dexterously landed his aldermanic proportions on the rear platform, gave the signal to start, and the festive party was off to Norwalk. The journey thither was made in an hour, and was delightful in the extreme. Father Walsh, together with Messrs. Hayes and Smith, kept the ladies in kinks of laughter with their side-splitting anecdotes. For some time it would be a difficult task to decide which of these gentlemen told the funniest story, but finally Sr. Smith manifest his absolute superiority over his rivals. Arriving at Norwalk the party was met by Father Rogers, who had gone ahead to prepare the way, and conducted to Mr. Fred Mead’s restaurant where a sumptuous repast awaited them.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
120 years ago, or so:
February 15, 1894: DON’T DRINK DURING LENT. “Rev. Father Keena delivered a temperance address in St. John’s Roman Catholic Church last night, which was forcible and practical. The congregation filled the large church to its utmost capacity. St. Joseph’s Temperance Society attended in a body. Father Keena pointed out the evils and temptations of intemperance. He described the ruin which intemperance brings to the home and the family, and declared that much of the poverty that exists in Stamford today is attributable to the waste of money on liquor.”

THE HARTFORD COURANT:
85 years ago, or so:
February 10, 1928: STAMFORD. “Preliminary inventory of the estate of the late Rev. James C. O’Brien, pastor of St. John’s R.C. Church here for 25 years, was made today. To St. John’s, the will leaves $7,000. Other bequests were: St. Anne’s Ladies Aid Society, at St. John’s, $2,000; Catherine Rogos and Rose Mulvey, assistants at the rectory and Edward Gorman, sexton at St. John’s, $2,000 each.”

The Eucharist
– Fr. Terry Walsh

What thoughts run through your heart and mind at that extraordinary moment of grace when the Consecrated Host is raised to the Father in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? What greater example of mercy could there possibly be? Jesus offers Himself, laying down His very life for sinful humanity. It is truly the supreme act of love and mercy. He feeds the souls of the faithful with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Eucharist, thus healing, nourishing, strengthening and protecting us. What inspirations flow into the depths of your soul at that extraordinary moment when you are “Face to Face” with Him as you are about to receive Him into your being? In those few brief moments, as we gaze upon mercy and love Himself and see with the eyes of faith “Light from Light” we might recall various extraordinary scenes from the Scriptures such as the vision of Isaiah (Chapter 6) or the vision of our patron, St. John, in the Book of Revelation (particularly ch. 21 and 22). We might consider the vision of St. Paul or a host of other Saints who have shared their experiences with Awe and Wonder. Consider the extraordinary dream of St. John Bosco (1851 –1888; Feast Day January 31st) concerning the Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church:

“On May 30, 1862, Don Bosco recounted that, in a dream, he had seen an immense sea, on which a great many ships were arranged for battle, against a larger and taller ship. He also saw others which were defending the tall ship. ‘In the midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky. One is surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin, at whose feet a large inscription reads: “Help of Christians.” The other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a Host of proportionate size, and bears beneath it the inscription: “Salvation of believers.” The flagship commander—the Roman Pontiff—standing at the helm, strains every muscle to steer his ship between the two columns, from whose summit hang many anchors, and strong hooks linked to chains. The entire enemy fleet closes in, to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole in its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash…Suddenly, the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up, but, struck a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy; wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead, than another takes his place…Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ships safely between the two columns; first, to the one surmounted by the Host, and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin…The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding and scuttling each other.”

Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”(John 14:6). Jesus Christ is the Church. We are His Mystical Body. The Truth subsists in the Catholic Church. Our Lord calls us to a deep and abiding love—one that can only be realized though our faithful reception of the Eucharist. Jesus said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh”(John 6:51). Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him”(John 6:53).