For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 1, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: What do you want out of life? What do you desire? That is the basis of another question: What is your goal this Lent? Let is about readjusting where we fit God into our lives. This isn’t so arcane as you might think, because, where you fit God into your life determines not just the “what” you want from life, but the “how” by which you achieve what you want from life. Each year we go through these Lenten 40 days; but why? The goal is to turn our minds and hearts—our desires—in a direction that is profitable. We all like profits; we’re capitalists, after all. By profitable, I mean, towards that which will make us happy. Usually, when one thinks of “desire” for something that will make us happy, we imagine the immediate gratification of some urge or need. We push God out of the way, even from our thoughts, and misconstrue the immediate satisfaction of our urges or ambitions for happiness. Our true happiness comes when we do that which we were designed to do: to please God by doing that which pleases the God who loves us, rather than by merely and temporarily satisfying our every desire. St. Paul reminds us of our real status as slaves to our sins [Rom 6:15 ff]. And all the time you thought you were the boss of your own life! Christ offers liberation from the tyranny of sin and death, and, as an extra bonus of His love, eternal life as His co-heirs in Heaven. All that, just for trying to please Him now, not merely in thought, but in deed. Continuing to sin while claiming to love God is like insisting that you love your wife, while continuing to go out with your girlfriend; you can’t insist that you love God, while continuing to sin, acting as if He didn’t exist, or, as if He were not important enough to pay attention to. [I John 2:3-4]

One the Church’s greatest sinner-become-saint, Saint Augustine, was an expert at this. He sought to “scratch every itch”, as the saying goes. For him, running after women and seeking fame and fortune were the most important things in life, because he believed he was the most important person in his life and, so, he determined that was what he’d do to make himself happy. He believed in God, but God was not real enough for Augustine to change the way he lived, since Augustine’s God was an idea, and not as real as Augustine’s personal urges and ambitions. That was Augustine’s first mistake, and usually ours as well: if we don’t first treat God as God, then we treat ourselves as God, and so we tend to treat other people as things. So, we can use anyone, hurt anyone, cheat everyone, simply because we determine that is how to become happy in life, and that justifies whatever we do. We are first, and everyone else is second, because God really doesn’t exist in our lives, at least not enough to affect how we live. Or, we make up an idea of God, who allows us to do whatever we want. Here’s Saint Augustine:

“The whole life of a believing Christian is, after all, a holy desire. What you desire, you do not yet see, but your desire enables you to be filled with seeing when the time for seeing comes. A comparison: If you want to fill a bag with something very big, you stretch the mouth of it; the object is big and the mouth small, but by stretching the mouth you make it bigger. In like manner, God expands our desire by deferring fulfillment; through desire He stretches the soul and makes it able to hold more. . . What, then, are we to do in this life where we do not yet lay hold of what we desire? St. Paul wrote, ‘I forget what is behind and stretch out to what is ahead, intent on the goal of heavenly calling,’ This is our life’s purpose: to practice desire. But we can cultivate holy desire only to the extent that we detach our desire from the world. You are to be filled with good things from God; you must first empty yourself of evil. Suppose God wanted to fill you with honey, but you were already filled with the vinegar of sin! You must empty yourself of vinegar, be cleansed, even with laborious scrubbing, so that you may be fit to be filled with something better” [Commentary on the First Letter of John, Treatise 4].

Lent is the annual season during which we turn our desires from satisfying ourselves in sinful pursuits, and work for true happiness that comes from loving God here and now. Try it: pray a bit more; fast from food, as a penance; be more charitable to the needy; forgive those who hurt you. Basics. Because Christ is basic to our identities and lives. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: John MacLean, John Murray, Barbara Rizzi, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Carolina Paniagua, Angelo Russo, Johanna Delavalle, 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.

Daylight Savings Time . . . Begins next Sunday, March 8th. Please remember to set your clocks forward one hour.

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, March 2rd.

St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial: +Joseph Taricani req. Leon Taricani

Banns of Marriage: III Banns: Walter Philip Clark III and Jesy Anne Liamzon

Parish Lenten Retreat: There will be a Lenten Retreat in the Basilica, March 16th, 17th & 18th from 7-8PM. Please come join us!

Confessions During Lent: Besides the usual daily schedule, Confessions will also be heard each Tuesday during Lent: 7pm– 9pm, February 24th – March 31st, in the Basilica.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4:00pm in English, in the Basilica.

All Fridays during Lent – are days of abstinence from eating meat for those 14 years and older, unless sickness or medical conditions prevent this.

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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday February 22, 2015 $ 11,054.00
Sunday February 23, 2014 $ 14,264.98

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

March 8th, Sunday Readings: Ex 20:1-17; 1 Cor 1:22-25; Jn 2:13-25.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #5 – The only time our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night He went into agony. Not for activity did he plead but for an Hour of companionship. (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

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 7-9pm, and third Sunday from 5-7pm 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.

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

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, 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.  Maureen Ciardiello, at 203-416-1445 or email respectlife@diobpt.org.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 28, 2015
4:00 +Mildred/JoAnn and Felix Fiore req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 1, 2015
7:30 In Honor of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague req. Rosita A. Domdom
10:00 +Antonio Lepore req. Rose Lepore
12:00 +Anna Young req. Kung Family
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 People of the Parish
Monday, March 2, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Ted and Gail Alcarez req. Skidd Family
12:10 +John O’Connor req. Rosario and Elizabeth Pugliese
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Alice Haughwout req. Nancy and Michael Finlay
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
8:00 Sister Ellen Mary CSJ req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Ken Fischer req. John Pascale
Thursday, March 5, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Nicholas Hickman req. Andrea Hickman
12:10 +Raffaela Annetta req. Pugliese Family
Friday, March 6, 2015
8:00 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Richard F. Morse req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
Saturday, March 7, 2015
8:00 Thanksgiving to Mother of God req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Charles Topping req. Frances Dewey

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:

100 years ago, or so:
March 7, 1913: Catholic Churches and Societies. “The Holy Name Society of St. John’s Catholic Church will receive Holy Communion Sunday, at 7:25 a.m., and will hold a regular monthly meeting in the chapel at 7:30 p.m. Father O’Brien is giving an interesting course of short sermons at St. John’s Catholic Church on Sunday evenings. On last Sunday he had for his subject “The Catacombs.” On Holy Thursday night, the Tenebrae will be held in St. John’s Catholic Church. Seldom is this service held in any church outside the cathedrals. Five years ago it was rendered at St John’s. There are few of the Holy Week ceremonies of more symbolic interest.”

50 years ago, or so:
March 6, 1962: Churches Plan Special Services For Girl Scouts. “To commemorate Girl Scouts’ Golden Day of Rededication this 50th birthday year of Girl Scouting, religious services will be presented in Stamford. A Holy Hour for Catholic Scouts will be held at St. John’s Church, at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Rev. Robert G. Franklin will give the sermon. Mrs. Constantine Veremakis will lead the Brownie Promise and Mrs. Edward C. Coyne will lead the Girl Scout Promise. The music will be under the direction of Mrs. Arthur Gaudio, organist, and the St. John’s Girls Choir will sing.”

25 years ago, or so:
March 5, 1981: Gov. O’Neill speaks to Hibernians. “Gov. William A. O’Neill will be the guest speaker at the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ St. Patrick’s Communion Breakfast on Sunday, March 15, at the Stamford Marriott. Carl Shanahan, city businessman and Limerick native, is the scheduled toastmaster at the breakfast, the Hibernians’ 38th annual celebration. A special 9 a.m. Mass at St. John’s Church celebrated by Rev. William Nagle, pastor of St. John’s and chaplain of the Division, will precede the breakfast. The local General Philip Sheridan Division, A.O.H., has also scheduled a full morning of activities on St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday, March 17, beginning with a Mass being celebrated for “peace with justice” in Ireland. Rev. Nagle will offer the Mass at 8:30 a.m. in St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, 279 Atlantic St. Following the Mass, the group will gather at Heritage Park behind the Old Town Hall to raise the flag or Ireland at 9:30 a.m. Carl Shanahan will serve as guest speaker at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, honoring the patron saint of Ireland.”

Practical considerations…
– Fr Terry Walsh

I remember when I was a teenager, perhaps 13 or 14 years old, our parish priest came down from the Sanctuary area during his homily and spoke to the people in the aisle. He explained that the Church was now offering the opportunity to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Up to that time, we were to receive only on the tongue. He recognized that this new way would be very difficult for people. After all, the Church had only allowed Communion on the Tongue. No one in the Church had received Communion in the Hand. He encouraged us to “try it”. I don’t recall the whole homily—it was 40 years ago after all. I just remember in a general sense that the congregation seemed a bit stunned.

Looking back on that moment so many years later, it seems to me that we might ask a different question. Have you considered perhaps receiving our Lord on the Tongue? It is your option, after all. And, I might even go a step further. Have you considered receiving Communion at the Communion Rail, on the Tongue? It seems to me it is a worthy question to reflect upon. There would be a few very obvious advantages even from a very practical point of view. First, when a person comes to the Communion Rail, the posture is kneeling. For those who are able, it is a very humble posture. Of course, God knows the humble heart whether one is standing, sitting, or kneeling. But just from a practical point of view, if one is able, it might be a posture worth considering. What’s more, there are some moments to prayerfully meditate on the gift of the Eucharist and a quiet moment to offer an interior prayer with a degree of stillness, rather than movement, that is, walking forward until it’s “one’s turn.” At the rail, one can gaze upon the Tabernacle and contemplate the Empty Tomb, or perhaps how the Blessed Virgin Mary became the Living Tabernacle at the Incarnation and how we, likewise, become “Living Tabernacles” when we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Her Son in the Host. We might gaze upon the Altar, where moments earlier, Jesus became present—for our Salvation—and our thoughts might drift back to the “Altar of the Cross” on Calvary—the very Sacrifice we are entering into in the Mass—and consider our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We might consider the Mystery of this supernatural encounter with Almighty God as we kneel at the rail, calling to mind the myriads of angels surrounding us just as Isaiah was blessed to witness in his extraordinary vision at the time of his calling. They are, of course, all present—for wherever God is, there the angels are too. In those beautiful moments of anticipation as the priest draws near to us holding the Ciborium filled with the Eucharist, we might gaze on the windows high above the altar and see Mary holding the Child Jesus, the Light of the world, being adored by the wise men who are kneeling before him. They are pagans—yet they are prostrate in humble adoration. They have come bearing gifts. What gift have I brought to him? As I kneel before him, I can offer my joys and my sorrows; I can give Him my day and ask that He help me to live it according to His holy will. I can bring Him my struggles and pains and ask for His help. In short, I can give Him everything. After all, He has given everything to me. I might have an extra moment to turn my gaze to the right and contemplate on the window of His Kingship and humbly ask Him to reign in me. Yes, there are many such considerations that can help me prepare to receive my King, my Lord, my God, and I will have those “extra” quiet, still, moments to prepare for that encounter with Him.

Now, one can contemplate the glory of God walking up to the priest and receiving standing. Indeed, we all quite naturally are praying in those moments. I am merely suggesting that if one is able, it might be worth considering the option of approaching the Communion Rail and kneeling for a few moments in prayer—in stillness—and then, after receiving, remaining there at the rail, in stillness, as you consume the Host, in stillness for a few precious moments, offering a brief prayer of praise and thanksgiving rather than meandering back to one’s pew while still consuming the Host and at the same time trying to negotiate the aisles with lines of people moving in a variety of directions. It just seems to be a practical consideration. Each of us longs to relish that uniquely powerful moment of great peace and awe and wonder—that the Great God, the Loving God, the Almighty One, has humbled Himself to enter into us so that He draw us closer to Himself.

Our goal is holiness, of course, and reverence is essential. And, as eager souls always seeking a deeper and more abiding love for God, we are, for all practical purposes, open to opportunities that will help us realize that desire. Perhaps this is one simple way that might help. It seems to me that it is at least worth considering. Why not give it a try…