For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 22, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: God became man at Christmas so He could offer Himself—human body, soul, mind and heart—in obedience to the Father on Good Friday, and so free us from sin and death. Below are two beautiful reflections on the mystery of why and how deeply God loves each of us as manifest in the Father’s sending of the Son and the Son’s loving obedience to the Father, for our sake:

“God, the Word of the Father, did not abandon human nature to corruption, but canceled the death our [human] nature had incurred by offering his own body, corrected our neglect by his teaching, and restored mankind’s estate by his acts of power.

“If you read the Scriptures, you will find all this confirmed by those men of God, the Savior’s Apostles: ‘The love of God drives us on, for we believe that if one man died for all, then all have died; and if he died for all, then we must no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and rose for us, our Lord Jesus Christ.’ This and other passages show that mankind was rescued from death only by the Word of God [the Eternal Son] who had created them in the beginning.

“The reason why the Word took flesh himself was that he might make of himself a Victim for others. ‘The children all are men of flesh and blood; he became one of them in order to destroy by his death the lord of death, that is, the devil, and to free those whom fear of death had everywhere made slaves.’ By sacrificing his own body he abrogated the law against us and renewed the springs of life in us by giving us the hope of the resurrection.

“Men and women had given death power over them. It was fitting, then, that God the Word became a man in order to destroy death and restore life. Listen to St. Paul, a man filled with Christ: ‘As death came through one man’s doing, so did the resurrection from the dead. As all die in Adam, so all will be restored to life in Christ.’ Henceforth we do not die forever as men and women condemned; instead as men and women who are to be raised from the dead, we await the general resurrection which God will effect in due time” (St. Athanasius, Discourse 10: On the Incarnation of the Word).

Another patristic writer expressed Our Lord’s work in this way:

“God is angered at the soul that sins, and he hands it over to the enemy (Satan) who seduced and malformed it.

“A house whose owner is absent becomes darkened and filled with dust and filth. So the soul whose Lord no longer holds festival in her with his angels is filled with the darkness of sin, with base desires and affections, and with every kind of degradation.

“Woe to the path on which no one walks and no human voice is heard! It becomes the lair of beasts. Woe to the soul in which the Lord does not walk and scatter with his voice the beasts of spiritual evil! Woe to the ship if the pilot abandons it, for it shall be tossed by waves and storms and be wrecked! Woe to the soul if it does not have the Lord for its Pilot, for it shall be battered by the dark and bitter sea, by its turbulent affections, and by the evil spirits, and must perish at last!

“Woe to the earth if no farmer tills it! Woe to the soul if Christ does not cultivate it and enable it to yield the good fruits of the Spirit! Once abandoned, it will be filled with thorns and thistles, and its yield will be fit for naught but burning! Woe to the heart in which Christ its Lord does not dwell! Once abandoned, it will overflow with evil attachments and become the prey of every vice.

“As a farmer takes suitable tools with him when he goes out to till the soil, so Christ, the heavenly King and true Farmer, took a body and a Cross as his tools when he came to desolate mankind in order to till the soil of souls. He cleared it of the thorns of evil affections and the weeds of sin. When he had tilled it with the ploughshare of the Cross, he planted in it the beautiful gardens of the Holy Spirit, which would produce sweet fruits of every kind for God its Lord forever” (St. Macarius, Sermon 28).

In preparation for Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, March 29th, you might consider reading the Passion and Resurrection narratives in the four Gospels: (They begin in Matt. 26; in Mark 14; in Luke 22; in John 13): —a few brief chapters each night until Easter would be very rewarding for all. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Louise Morello, John MacLean, John Murray, Barbara Rizzi, Karyl Suzanne Bearden, Nellie Taylor-Boltrek, Pete Boltrek, Kevin O’Byrne, Barbara Itri, 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: Mabel Lewis, Linda DePreta, Theresa Deluca, Josephine Melfi, Mary Lou Kerr, Madeline Preziosi, Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Suzanne Demonchaux, 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.

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 23rd.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #8 – A Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration is a sharing in the work of Redemption. (Archbisop Fulton Sheen)

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Anna Taricani req. Leon Taricani

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.

REMINDER: There will be no 5 pm Mass on Easter Sunday

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.

Religious Ed News: There is No Class next Sunday, March 29th, Palm Sunday and also there is No Class on Easter Sunday, April 5th.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 15, 2015 $ 14,550.92
Sunday March 16, 2014 $ 14,258.63

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 29th, Sunday Readings: Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Mk 14:1—15:47.

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.

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).

Annual White Mass : The Diocese of Bridgeport’s 22cnd annual White Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano at 8:30 a.m. in Saint Aloysius Church in New Canaan on April 12th. A breakfast will follow at Woodway Country Club in Darien. The Reverend Kevin Fitzgerald S.J., Associate Professor of Bioethics at Georgetown University School of Medicine will speak on “Genetics in the 21st century from a Catholic perspective” For all Catholics who care for the sick, both professionals and volunteers, the White Mass is a celebration of their ministry to the sick and an opportunity to rededicate themselves to that ministry. For more information, contact Debbie Charles at 203-416-1352 or dcharles@diobpt.org.

Reconciliation through Confession: Lent is the time we can check where we have failed to be faithful to our relationship and friendship with God. Today’s Responsorial Psalm can be our prayer of repentance for the coming week: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” During Lent in our Diocese we have the opportunity on Tuesday nights to create that clean heart by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us remember the words of St. Paul which teach us a great lesson of the gift we are to the church: “All this has been done by God who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18)

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 21, 2015
4:00 +Maryann Cornelio req. Angela Giannitti
Sunday, March 22, 2015
7:30 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
10:00 +David Kelley req. Dewey Family
12:00 Mike Guarnieri
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 23, 2015
8:00 +Mario Sticca req. Dewey Family
12:10 Special Intentions Father Walsh
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
8:00 +Vasilia Zachariadis req. Gina Uva
12:10 Deceased members Terenzio and Longo Families req. Millie Terenzio
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
8:00 +Kol and Gjok Camaj req. Age
12:10 +Victor Vellozo req. Sarah and Abdul Aslam
Thursday, March 26, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Adriana Stange req. Andrea Hickman
12:10 +John O’Connor req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Friday, March 27, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Grandchildren and their Father req. Anne Marie
12:10 +Georgiana Cecire req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Saturday, March 28, 2015
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 Jack Walsh

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:
March 27, 1874: “A preliminary meeting for the purpose of organizing a temperance society among the younger members of St. John’s R. C. congregation was held on Monday evening in the Meadow street school house. Another meeting is to be held in the same place next Sunday evening, at which it is expected the society will be fully organized by the election of officers, etc.”

115 years ago, or so:
March 24, 1900: FATHER RYLE DEAD. “Rev. James Ryle, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church at Westport, died, at his residence in that town, last night. He had been critically ill for several months, and his death was looked for at any time during the last few days. He has been ill of Bright’s disease. When the trouble became acute, this winter, he went to Lakewood, in the expectation that the climate there might alleviate his suffering if not effect a cure. He did not improve, however, as much as he had hoped to, and returned to Westport a few weeks ago.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Ryle was the first vocation to the priesthood from St. John’s parish.)

85 years ago, or so:
March 27, 1928: Troop Activities Reported By Scout Scribes. “TROOP 22—St. John’s R. C. Church. The Beaver Patrol of Troop 22 has made up a number of flint and steel sets. These are on sale at the Boy Scout Headquarters and also at meetings of Troop 22 at a very minimal cost of 35 cents.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Flint and steel sets are used for fire starting and are still in use today.)

40 years ago, or so:
March 28, 1973: Rev. Parent Dies At 64; Pastor Here. “The Rev. Bertrand E. Parent, 64, pastor of St. John’s R.C. Church on Atlantic St., died Tuesday in St. Joseph Hospital where he had been a patient for a month. He lived at the church rectory, 279 Atlantic St.”

35 years ago, or so:
March 26, 1980: St. Anne Society is arranging dessert card party next month. “The seventeenth annual dessert card party of St. Anne Society of St. John’s Catholic Church will be held April 11 at 8 p.m. in St. John’s Church Hall, 279 Atlantic St. The Rev. William A. Nagle, chaplain, is honorary chairman. Mrs. Neil Andrew is chairman and Mrs. Charlotte Esposito in charge of tickets. Serving on the committee are Mrs. William Morgan, Mrs. Martin Kenney, Mrs. John Sheridan, Miss Bridie Madigan, Mrs. Michael Ganino, Mrs. William O’Kane, Mrs. Bernard Guilfoyle, Miss Mary Boyle, Mrs. Eva Lynch and Mrs. Patrick LeHane.”

Mary our Mother
– Fr. Terry Walsh

“She is His mystic channel, His aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly.” – True Devotion (TD), no. 24.

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 150 page 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”(TD,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? “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—perhaps consider beginning on the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25th). Why not consider reading a few paragraphs of True Devotion each day and reflect upon the spiritual insights that lead to a greater understanding of our baptismal promises. The goal we seek 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 apostolic motto: “Totus Tuus” – I am totally yours, Blessed Virgin Mary!