For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 29, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: Today begins Holy Week: Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the holiest days: Special services begin Wednesday: Tenebrae (8:00 P.M.): a sung service recalling the abandonment of Christ by His Apostles, and His betrayal by Judas.

Holy Thursday’s evening Mass (8:00 P.M.) recalls the Last Supper and Our Lord’s institution of the Priesthood and the Eucharist; Judas’ betrayal; Peter’s denial; Jesus’ arrest in the Garden while his apostles slept.

Judas betrayal of Our Lord for 30 pieces of silver mirrored both humanity’s betrayal of our Creator for the brief satisfaction offered by sin, and Lucifer’s betrayal of God for power.

Jesus’ response to Judas and mankind’s betrayal is to affect our redemption by sacrificing Himself on the Cross, and by instituting the means by which His mercy, the effects of that sacrifice, are meted out in all places and all time: the Priesthood and the Eucharist.

Good Friday (3:00 P.M.) is a memorial service of the Crucifixion. The church altar is absolutely bare; all images and statues covered over; no candles are lit; the church is dark. No Mass is celebrated anywhere today: the only day of the year. We hear the prophecies of Christ’s sacrificial death; the Passion narrative; we venerate the Cross “upon which hung the Savior of the world”; we partake of Holy Communion, consecrated at the Mass of Holy Thursday. All that is before us is God’s response to mankind’s sin: mercy through the suffering of God in human flesh.

Holy Saturday (8:00 P.M.) is the Easter Vigil. The church is in total darkness. We gather at the Tomb of Christ, in a world in which the power of Evil apparently is victorious: Satan has affected the death of God in the flesh! Yet, on Saturday, a fire is lit, representing Christ rising from the grave; a huge Easter Candle representing the Risen Christ is blessed and carried through the church; the ancient Easter hymn, the Exaltet, is sung to the Easter candle; seven selections from the Old Testament outline all salvation history; new converts are baptized.
If we love Our Lord, we should show that love in the way we live our daily lives. He waits to forgive us; if only we humble ourselves and go to Him in the sacrament He gave His Church. Want to do something in preparation for Easter? Go to Confession and make a pilgrimage.

Going on a pilgrimage to a shrine or church is an ancient practice. Early Christians visited the sites of Our Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection in Jerusalem; pilgrimages to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome began immediately following their martyrdom in 64 A.D.; pilgrimages were an essential part of medieval life; Saint Philip Neri, revived the Holy Week practice in the early 1550’s, gathering thousands to visit the seven great basilicas of the Eternal City. The Seven Church Walk on Holy Thursday evening came to America with the Catholic immigrants, and continues to our day, but usually using cars.

Last Sunday the Saint John’s Holy Week schedule, was in the bulletin; on the back side, a small map with the addresses of churches in the area and the times they will remain open on Holy Thursday evening [April 2nd] for the pilgrimage visits. Other copies are at the church doors, and on the parish website. Come to Saint John’s for the beautiful Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 8:00 p.m., and then get in your car and make the Pilgrimage to Seven of Stamford’s Catholic churches.

Loving God is about doing something spiritual, not just thinking religious thoughts. So do something: go to Confession; avoid sin and live virtuously; and go on a pilgrimage on Thursday evening. You will become closer to God: you doing something in response to what God has done for you in Christ Jesus. —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.

Palm Sunday: Please pick up your Palms before mass, Palms will be blessed at the beginning of all the Weekend Masses: Saturday 4pm Vigil Mass; Sunday 7:30, 10:00, 12:00Noon, 5:00, & 6:00pm.

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 30th.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #9 – The grace of adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament is given to everybody. (St. Peter Julian Eymard)

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 on Easter Sunday, April 5th.

Statues are covered: As the Church enters the holiest time of the year, preparing to commemorate Our Lord’s Holy Week, the statues are covered because not even the saints should distract us from meditating on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 22, 2015 $ 13,194.25
Sunday March 23, 2014 $ 15,217.16

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

April 5th, Sunday Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9.

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: Monday, April 27th 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: This Tuesday at 7pm to 9pm will be the last opportunity to take part in the Diocesan-wide Lenten Confession Campaign. Even if you have been away from the Sacrament for some time or are unfamiliar with the “steps” of the Sacrament that is fine. Pope Francis gives us a gift when he tells us not to be “afraid” to go to confession. Come to Easter with a sense of peace from the Risen Lord. Christ appointed His Apostles, His priests, to continue His mission of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation—His mission of bringing peace. Peace is the “gift” of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is because of this we can say that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a celebration. There is joy in heaven when a sinner repents. Let us open our hearts to the boundless love of Christ and celebrate the joy of the Resurrection of the Lord with a reconciled heart.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 28, 2015
4:00 +James Meehan and Kevin Keary req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, March 29, 2015
7:30 +John H. Hall req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
10:00 +Barbara Anderson req. Melton Family
12:00 +William Borkowski req. Michael and Ann Borkowski
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 30, 2015
8:00 Duffey Family req. Dewey Family
12:10 Special Intentions David Kimber req. Andrea Hickman
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
8:00 Thanksgiving to Mother of God req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Connie Monti req. Dewey Family
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Derek Hudson req. Andrea Hickman
TRIDUUM SACRUM
HOLY THURSDAY, April 2nd -The church remains open until 12 midnight for Adoration.
NO 8AM or 12:10PM Masses
8:00PM: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: People of the Parish
GOOD FRIDAY, April 3rd
NO 8AM or 12:10 PM Masses
3:00PM Liturgy of Lord’s Passion
HOLY SATURDAY, April 4th
NO 8AM, 12:10PM or 4PM MASSES
8:00PM Easter Vigil: People of the Parish

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 24, 1917: FAST DAY PROCLAMATION. “Gov. Marcus H. Holcomb today issued his proclamation for Fast Day (Good Friday), April 6. The proclamation, in part, follows: “We face dark days. When danger threatened and the future loomed dark, our fathers were never ashamed to turn to God for help, and the example of their faith points out the way for us. The knowledge of a just cause and the heavy burden of responsibility resting upon us should force us, then, on the Friday before Easter, which each year we designate as a day of Fasting and Prayer in all humility, in all sincerity, and in all faith, to bow ourselves before the God of our people, asking of Him light to guide our steps, a clear vision of the goal we still must see, courage to act, if act we must, and if pain must be our lot, steadfastness to endure unto the end.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Governor Holcomb’s proclamation was issued three weeks before the United States, joined Britain, France and Russia, on April 6, 1917, to fight in World War I.)

80 years ago, or so:
March 29, 1934: FATHER CARROLL TELLS STORY OF HOLY THURSDAY. Arrest, Trial and Sentence of Jesus at Last Lenten Service in St. John’s R. C. Church. “At the last of his series of Lenten services in St. John’s R. C. Church last night, the Rev. James F. Carroll of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Ferndale, told the story of Holy Thursday, of the arrest, trial and sentence of Jesus. He spoke also of the significance of the crucifixion. He referred to Christ’s death on the Cross as “the substitution of God-made-man in the place of sinning humanity for the redemption of the world.” and said sin was to be punished in Him that was innocent. “Is it any wonder that the eyes of all the world are turned every decade to the little town of Oberammergau where the Passion Play is given?” he asked. He said that the first act in the great drama of the crucifixion concerns the arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, which took place on Holy Thursday after the Holy Eucharist. He told how Christ said “My Father, if it be possible, may this chalice pass from me,” and explained that Christ was to atone for every sin after the heinous crime of the crucifixion, down to the very last sin, “your sin and mine, to the crack of doom.” He said that it was no wonder that Christ cried out as He did and continued, “But it was not possible. If we were to be saved, if we were to be redeemed, Christ’s sufferings could not pass.” Father Carroll told of the trial of Jesus first by the Jews and then in the Roman court, and of the charges brought against Him. He told of the words on the Cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” In conclusion, he said that every road to Heaven must pass by the way of Calvary.”

The Holy Land (“Thy Will Be Done!”)– Fr. Terry Walsh

A couple years ago, I accompanied the Brigittine Sisters on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was meant to honor our Holy Father’s declaration of the Year of Faith that year, and from our first moments in the Holy Land and our visit to Bethlehem, it seemed our Lord was leading us into a deeper appreciation for that gift. One morning, in the wake of rising tensions in Israel, we began our day with a short walk across the street from our hotel, which was perched atop the Mount of Olives. Our small band of pilgrims began to walk down a rather steep and narrow pathway that eventually brought us into the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It was, in fact, the very same path Jesus had taken as he rode upon the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday being hailed King. I wondered what thoughts might have passed through our Lord’s mind as he rode into the “City of Peace” knowing that he would return to this same Garden a few days later to be confronted with deceit and betrayal and finally enter into his deepest agony. Everything he did was about accomplishing the will of the Father with unwavering obedience in order to carry out his mission of redemption for the sake of our salvation. Likewise, he teaches us to recognize that our life, like His, is an encounter with the Cross and that if we turn to him in our need, he will provide the graces necessary to embrace it. As we approached the bottom of the Mount of Olives, we visited the Church of Gethsemane built over the Rock of Agony where our Lord suffered even to the point of sweating blood. There, we reflected upon the utter depth of his prayer to our heavenly Father. Adjacent to the Church surrounded by several 2000 year old olive trees, the Garden extended along a little way. We quietly entered the gate into the very still section of Gethsemane – perhaps where the Apostles were told to Watch and Pray. We gathered around the altar in the midst of the Garden and prepared to offer Mass. We heard the Gospel account of the agony of our Lord in the very place where it happened, calling to mind the horrible feeling of abandonment our Lord experienced there.

Earlier in the week, we had visited the Church along the Sea of Galilee built on the spot where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the hungry crowd, a prefigurement of the Eucharist. Outside the Church in the courtyard, there was a circular stone olive press, in Aramaic, gath shemani -“Gethsemane.” Our guide described the process of pressing olive oil in the “Gethsemane”- crushing the olives between two heavy stones, the inner stone rotating in a circular way round and round, tighter and tighter, as if ringing water from a towel. The image called to mind the intense spiritual suffering endured by our Lord in this very Garden called “Gethsemane,” squeezing drop after drop of his precious Blood from his battered Body, all for love of us, fulfilling the Father’s will. The Garden of suffering had become a place of nourishment for us.

After offering Holy Mass in the Garden—the very place where Jesus offered His will to the Father— we made our way back to the top of the Mount of Olives and visited the Pater Noster Church, (The Our Father Church) believed to be the place where Jesus taught the disciples how to pray. As we entered the Carmelite Church, we walked through the open air courtyard and discovered great marble plaques fastened on the walls, adorned with the Our Father written in every language in the world. Seeing the Our Father displayed in so many different languages witnessed the universality of the Church and pointed to the One Father of us all. As we stepped into the grotto area, we prayed the Our Father in the various languages spoken by members of our group, one after the other. It was a beautiful, meditative, reverent moment of prayer, especially in light of our experience in the Garden of Gethsemane just moments earlier. Our Lord accompanied us each step of the way, pointing to the love of Our Father. Imagine the countless times those sacred words have reached up to heaven, in all these different languages, yet with the same faithful plea: praising and petitioning God for mercy, healing, and salvation. There was a palpable feeling of peace in this Church that seemed to permeate our little group, weaving together the various experiences in the Holy Land, drawing us into a deeper contemplation of the love of God and inspiring in us a deeper faith. On this Mount of Olives, Jesus taught this sacred prayer, first with words and then by example.

We left the Mount of Olives and traveled a short ride from Jerusalem to the picturesque village known as Ein Kerem (“Spring of the Vineyard”). It was in these wooded hills that the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth took place, as well as the birth of St. John the Baptist. We walked up to the Church built over the birthplace of the Precursor of our Lord and contemplated the witness he would offer, even to martyrdom! We walked back down to the main road, across the village, and up the opposite hilltop to the Church of the Visitation, where Mary had greeted Elizabeth and proclaimed the Magnificat. Imagine how Mary and Elizabeth must have prayed together during these brief months, contemplating the deep mysteries of faith and the work that lay ahead.

We had begun our day journeying along the glorious path our Lord had taken on Palm Sunday only to find ourselves in the Garden of Gethsemane a short time later, contemplating the sacrificial love of Christ. And in Ein Kerem, a village located quite a long distance from Nazareth, we contemplated our Lady’s difficult journey to visit Elizabeth, who was in need. Mary had already said with perfect faith, “Let it be done to me according to your word” at the moment of the Annunciation, fulfilling the Father’s will. And then, immediately, she left the comfort of her home to visit Elizabeth, demonstrating her enduring love. Indeed, our Blessed Mother makes the same journey to each one of our homes – that is – our hearts – to care for us. Sacrificial love!

Life is precious. It is an invitation to fall in love with God. It begins with a simple act of faith, which unlocks the floodgates of grace and enables us to imitate the One who laid down His life for us: “Thy will be done.” He is with us every single moment of every day of our lives, provided we invite him through our daily prayers, our faithful reception of the sacraments, and our willingness to carry the Cross – for love of him.