For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday April 5, 2015

Pastor’s Corner. . . The greatest proof of God’s love for us is the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and His bodily Resurrection from the grave. We share in these greatest of all historic events through the Church’s sacraments. Since the early Fathers of the Church expressed it best, let’s listen to them:

“The Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a pledge of victory and a lesson in patience. What may the hearts of believers not expect from God’s grace when His only Son did not hesitate to become a man and to die at the hands of men whom He Himself had created? Great indeed are God’s promises to us, but greater still is what He has already done for us. How can we doubt that He will give us his life [forever] when He has already given us His death?

“Who is Christ but the Word that ‘was in the beginning, was with God, and was God’? [John 1: 1 and cf. Gen 1:1] That Word ‘was made flesh and dwelt among us.’ [John 1:2] He was unable as God to die for us; to die, He had to take mortal flesh from us. Then the immortal One could die and give life to mortal men and women; He would give a share of Himself to those whose lot He first shared as a man. We had no power of ourselves to live; He had no power of Himself to die. He entered, therefore, into an exchange with us: we gave Him the means of dying for us; He gave us the means of living forever.” (St. Augustine, Sermons, 3)

“God our Savior’s way of dealing with us is to call us back when we have fallen into sin and to restore us to familiarity with Himself, after we have been estranged by the disobedience of sin. Christ’s coming in the flesh, therefore, His work among us, His suffering and death, His burial and Resurrection, were all intended that we, saved by imitation of Christ, might enter once again into the relationship with God as His adopted sons and daughters.

“If we are to live fully, then, we must imitate Christ not simply in His kindness, humility and patience he showed during His human life, but in his very death. How do we imitate His death? By being buried with Him in baptism. Let us note, first, that the continuity of our earlier life (of sin & disobedience to God) must be disrupted, and for this nothing will serve but to be born again, for rebirth is the beginning of a new life. But before you can begin the new, you must put a finish to the old life: a death [to sin and to an arrogant self-centered life] must intervene.” (St. Basil the Great, The Holy Spirit, 15 )

“Today there is a great silence over the earth, for the King sleeps. . . God is dead in the flesh, and has shaken Sheol to its foundations. He goes to seek our first parents like a lost sheep. He cries out, ‘I bid you: Awake, sleeper! I did not create you to lie bound in hell. Arise from the dead, for I am life to those who have died. Rise up, work of my hands, my likeness, made in my image. Rise, let us go hence.

“‘For your sake I put on your lowly shape as a man. For your sake I came to earth and to the underworld. See the spittle on my face—it was for you, that you might have the breath of life again. See my cheeks reddened by the blows—it was for you, that you might be remade in my image. See my torn back—it was for you, that I might take the burden of sin from your shoulders. See the nail-marks in my hands—it was for you, because you once put your hand to the forbidden tree.

“‘Arise, let us go hence. I have a heavenly throne prepared for you, and the cherubim shall bow down before you.’” (Ancient Holy Saturday Homily )

“What marvelous love God shows to us! Christ endured the tormenting nails in his innocent hands and feet; we, knowing nothing of his pain and suffering, receive the salvation that sprang from them.

“Let no one, therefore, think of baptism simply as forgiveness of sins and grace of adoption by God, as though it were identical with the baptism of John the Baptist, which effected only forgiveness. For our baptism not only brings forgiveness and the gifts of the Holy Spirit; it is also the symbolic expression of Christ’s sufferings. . . You were baptized into Christ and you put on Christ, in this way you were made like the Son of God.

“At the Last Supper, Christ said of the bread: ‘This is my Body.’ Who can doubt the truth henceforth? He said of the wine: ‘This is my Blood.’ Who can claim that it is not his Blood? Let us then, with full conviction receive the bread and wine as Christ’s Body and Blood. The Body is given to you in this symbolic form of bread and the Blood in the form of wine; having received them, you are one in body and one in blood with Christ. Thus, we become Christ-bearers, for his Body and Blood have been introduced into our bodies. Thereby, too, we become, according to Blessed Peter, sharers in the divine nature.” (Jerusalem Catechesis, 20;21;22)
Happy Easter! —-Monsignor 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.

Easter Sunday: There is no 5 pm Mass on Easter Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday: April 12th: A Holy Hour 1:00-2:00PM with the Holy Rosary, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

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, April 6th.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #10 – Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Eucharist will obtain a more abundant measure of grace. (St. Alphonsus Ligouri)

Banns of Marriage: I Banns: Katie Cecilia Arenas and Juan Esteban Pabon

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. April 18th is the Confirmation Retreat (Students only) 9am Nagle Hall. April 22nd is Confirmation.

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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday March 29, 2015 $ 14,005.02
Sunday March 30, 2014 $ 15,965.95

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 12th, Sunday Readings: Acts 4:32-35; 1 Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31.

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.

2015 KENTUCKY DERBY: Save the date and join us! Saturday, May 2nd, 4-7 p.m., this year in the Rectory. Our annual fundraiser for the Basilica features a simulcast of the “Run for the Roses,” fabulous food and drink, and the chance to win some spectacular prizes. Space limited to 100 guests only; tickets: $125. All proceeds benefit the restoration of our historic 1850 Rectory. For more information and tickets, please visit www.stjohnsstamford.com or call the Rectory: 324-1553, ext. 21. See you on May 2nd!

MAGNIFICAT: a Ministry to Catholic Women will host a prayer breakfast on Saturday April 11th 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM at Tashua Knolls Golf Club, Trumbull, CT.  Caroline Gambale-Dirkes will be the guest speaker.  Cost $25 Pre register by Saturday March 28th.  No tickets will be sold at the door.  For more information, call Fran Hood 203-744-1856 or
email s.m.hood@sbcglobal.net View Caroline on EWTN Choices We Face on 5/19/2015 at 5:30 PM and 5/22/2015 at 6:30 AM.

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).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
HOLY SATURDAY, April 4th
NO 4PM MASS
8:00PM Easter Vigil: People of the Parish
Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015
7:30 +Guido Robin req. Castiglione, Moccia and Pavia Families
10:00 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 +Antonio Lepore req. Rose Lepore
5:00 No 5PM Mass Easter Sunday
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, April 6, 2015
8:00 +Virginia Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. Parents
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
8:00 +Ana Aguirre req. Andrea Hickman
12:10 +Raffaele and Caterina Sette req. Pugliese Family
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
8:00 +Gjyste and Zef Vulaj req. Age
12:10 +Kevin Long req. Dewey Family
Thursday, April 9, 2015
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Giuseppe and Elisabeth Annetta req. Pugliese Family
Friday, April 10, 2015
8:00 Priests of St. John’s req. Dewey Family
12:10 +Lilian Melnikoff req. Bill Christiaanse
Saturday, April 11, 2015
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Lucy Espinoza
12:10 +Chrissy Driscoll

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: No Coffee Hour on Easter Sunday. Will resume next Sunday, April 12th, after the 10AM Mass.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

120 years ago, or so:
March 26, 1894: EASTER IN THE CHURCHES. “It was not the ideal weather for Easter Day, and many ladies postponed the wearing of their spring finery, but all the churches in Stamford were crowded. Many strange faces were seen in each of them. There was a large congregation at St. John’s R.C. Church last night. There were musical vespers and an excellent sermon by the Rev. Peter McClean of the Catholic University of America inWashington on “The Joys of Easter.” For his text he took the verse, “This is the day the Lord hath made, let us be glad and rejoice therein.” He drew a comparison between the different feasts of the church, as the Feast of the Nativity, and the Feast of the Transfiguration, and showed how Easter was the most joyous feast celebrated by the church. The fact of the resurrection was a proof of the divinity of Christ, and the confirmation of the Christian’s faith, and the assurance of his hope of future bliss. He referred to Christ’s resurrection as a pledge of our resurrection. The sermon was listened to with the deepest attention and made a marked impression upon the congregation. The program of Easter music prepared by the director, J.F. O’Brien, was unusually interesting and of a high order. The morning sermon was preached by Rev. J. C. Lynch, the new assistant, and the offertory was, as usual at Easter, devoted to the education of young men to the priesthood.”

100 years ago, or so:
March 24, 1913: BRIGHT EASTER SKIES. “Dame Nature smiled upon Stamford yesterday and her beams sufficed to bring out what appeared to be one of the largest church-going crowds that this town has ever witnessed. The cool breeze which was wafted across the city in the early morning, with just enough sting to have left ice during the night, was not cold enough to drive back the Easter bonnets, Easter gowns and all the rest of the Easter finery displayed by the feminine sex, while the men were not a bit behind, with the first low shoes and flimsy suits of the season. At St. John’s Catholic Church, there was a large attendance for the 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses, and the church was beautifully decorated for the occasion, while excellent music was rendered by the choir.”

75 years ago, or so:
March 23, 1940: Easter in the Churches. “At St. John’s Catholic Church, the church choir, under the direction of Miss Irene Kearney and Howard Fagan, organist, and choir master, will be heard at the 9, 10 and 11 o’clock Masses. The soloists for the Mass will be Miss Helen Regan, soprano, and John Lemon, Tenor.”

Jerusalem
– Fr. Terry Walsh

Our last days in the Holy City of Jerusalem centered on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Commissioned by the Emperor Constantine, the enormous Romanesque Church was built over the Rock of Calvary where Jesus was crucified and the Tomb where He was buried, a mere forty yards away from the Cross, and where He rose from the dead. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is carefully divided among the Greek Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, and the Armenian Apostolic denominations, although the Coptic Orthodox, as well as the Ethiopian and Syrian Orthodox Churches also play a small role. Once again we were witnessing the divisions so characteristic of the Holy Land – even within the Christian Community. Upon entering the Church, we were greeted by a stunning mosaic depicting the preparation of the Body of Jesus for burial with a commemorative marble “Stone of Unction” beneath the mosaic, complete with beautiful hanging candle lamps. Throngs of pilgrims streamed into the Church, ascending the staircase that led to Calvary, just to the right of the “Stone of Unction”. The staircase opened into three Chapels side by side, the center Chapel belonging to the Greek Orthodox, with an altar directly over the Rock of Calvary, the 12th Station. The adjoining Roman Catholic “Chapel of the Nailing of the Cross” marked both the 11th and 13th Stations of the Cross. Pilgrims gradually moved to the center Chapel and one by one knelt before the altar, reaching down a narrow hole in the floor to touch the Rock. Icons flanked the altar, most notably, the Crucifixion scene and our Lady of Sorrows standing beside the Cross. Votive candles seemed to cast a colorful hue reminiscent of the hundreds of candles held at the beginning of the Easter Vigil. Fragrant incense released a sweet-smelling aroma, calling to mind the blessing of the gifts of bread and wine upon the altar in the Holy Mass. Although we were shoulder to shoulder in the tightly packed area in the small Chapels honoring the place where Jesus was crucified, there was nevertheless a reverential silence as people prayed, reflecting on the cost of our salvation. We returned to the main level to the “Chapel of Adam” built directly beneath Golgotha (Calvary), where tradition claims Adam had been buried. The New Adam (Jesus Christ) came to heal the children of the Old Adam through the Cross. We found our way to “The Chapel of the Crusaders” where we offered Holy Mass and called to mind the profound realization that we were actually receiving the fruits of His Sacrifice where Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Months later, I am still digesting the graces of that moment. As Catholics, we believe the supernatural spiritual reality that wherever Mass is offered in the world, it is in fact, mystically at the foot of the Cross. Truly, we enter into that One sacrifice that took place some 2000 years ago whose efficacy nourishes all who worthily receive Him throughout all time! The “Mystical Calvary” unites all the Saints in Heaven with all the faithful here on earth – at every Mass. We made our way to the Tomb and joined the long line of pilgrims that patiently waited to venerate the place where Jesus was laid to rest. The Tomb is enclosed in a “Little House” of marble known as the Edicule, which contains two very small rooms. The first room is the Greek Orthodox “Chapel of the Angel” whose small altar contains a relic of the actual stone that was “rolled back” Easter morning. The inner room has a marble slab covering the actual stone where the Body of Jesus was placed. Five pilgrims at a time enter the small doorway into the Tomb, the holiest place on earth, to pray for a few precious seconds, reflecting on the complete “self-emptying” of Christ – that He actually died for us. Later, we made our way through the narrow cobblestone passages of Jerusalem, we finally arrived at the Church of the Dormition where the Blessed Virgin Mary was Assumed Body and Soul into Heaven. We began the next morning visiting the Church of St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary. The Romanesque Basilica was built in the 12th century over the home of St. Anne and St. Joachim where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born. We offered the Mass of the Immaculate Conception in the Sacristy Chapel in honor of our Lady. After dinner and a little rest, we returned to the Holy Sepulchre just before midnight for an extraordinary grace-filled experience. Since it was Saturday night, the Church remained open for the Vigil services. We walked through the dark and quiet alley ways of Jerusalem until we finally reached the Holy Sepulchre. We entered the candle lit Church and were greeted with loud and melodious chanting. Thuribles of burning incense drew many pilgrims to the Tomb where the Orthodox were conducting their lengthy service. A couple hours later, they gave way to the Armenian Service. Chanting and clouds of incense continued through the early morning hours until at last, the Catholics time had arrived promptly at 4:00 am. When we had arrived at midnight, our small group settled in various places in the Church to “watch and pray” as we waited for the Catholic Mass in the Tomb at 4:00 am. As I wandered around the Church, I thought about St. Mary Magdalene rushing to the tomb early on the morning of the Resurrection, seeking Jesus. I made my way up to the 12th Station to spend time at the foot of the Cross. As time drifted by and the Orthodox and Armenian pilgrims dispersed, I found myself all alone. When I heard the bells being rung, I moved from Calvary to the Tomb. The Catholic Mass was about to begin. As the priest went into the Tomb to prepare for Mass, I joined the Sisters of St. Bridget and a couple other religious in our group for Mass in the Tomb. Like St. Mary Magdalene, we too experienced the Risen One. He entered our souls through His gift of the Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, all made possible through the Paschal Mystery accomplished in this very place. Finally, we returned to the Hotel for a little rest before beginning our last day in the Holy Land. We boarded our bus for the short drive to the Bridgettine Convent where we had begun our pilgrimage several days earlier, giving us the opportunity to reflect not so much on how we had passed through the Holy Land, but rather, how the Holy Land had actually passed through us – our hearts and souls – and that we would be digesting the graces for years to come. As the Sun was setting, it seemed to be resting directly over the Church of the Dormition, shining upon Jerusalem. It’s beautiful rays seemed to whisper to us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, who gave birth to the true Light of the world, was drawing souls to her son. May the merciful Rays of the Risen One shine upon us and one day draw us into the true Holy Land – the love of the Holy Trinity, Heaven. HAPPY EASTER!!!