For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday April 26, 2015

FROM THE PASTOR: THIS IS A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT FOR EVERY PARISHIONER OF SAINT JOHN’S:

On Saturday, May 2nd, the Holy Father, Pope Francis will visit the Pontifical North American College in Rome. I plan to bring to his attention Cardinal Kung, and ask him to consider opening a cause for his canonization.

Kung photo

Ignatius Cardinal Kung was named the first native Chinese bishop of the Diocese of Soochow, China in 1949 by Pope Pius XII, just a few months after the People’s Liberation Army marched into Shanghai, presaging the communist takeover of the country. In 1950, Bishop Kung was named the first Chinese Bishop of Shanghai. Bishop Kung prepared his people for imminent martyrdom and great suffering under the communist regime, which was already savagely attacking Catholics throughout the country—martyring and imprisoning tens of thousands of Catholic men, women, children, religious sisters, priests and bishops. Bishop Kung was arrested on September 8, 1955 for his steadfast loyalty to the Catholic Church and to the Successor of Saint Peter, the pope. He was sentenced by the communist party to life in prison. In 1979, Saint Pope John Paul II secretly [in pectore] named Bishop Kung a cardinal. After 33 years imprisonment for the Catholic Faith, Cardinal Kung was released because he was ill, and the communists feared his death might be seen as martyrdom. He spent his last years in Stamford with his nephew Joseph Kung, his wife Agnes and their family. The Cardinal died in 2000, and was buried from the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist. Pope Saint John Paul II sent Cardinal Francis Stafford as his personal representative to Saint John’s to preside at Cardinal Kung’s funeral.

On Saturday, May 2nd, Pope Francis will visit the Pontifical North American College here in Rome. There he will announce his intention to canonize Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary [1713-1784] who founded many of the missions in today’s California, preached the Gospel fearlessly, planted the Catholic Faith and Church in California, and fought for the protection of the native peoples as the image of God. To prepare for that visit, I asked Margarita and Roberto Ucero, parishioners of Saint John’s presently living in Mexico City, to translate into Spanish and update the English prayer card the parish has been using for the past few years. They did. I flipped it to Greg Duffey, another parishioner who is a master printer in Norwalk who does our printing [the best Minuteman printer in the State!!]. By the time you read this, he will have FedEx’d me copies of the card in Spanish, which will be handed to the Holy Father next Saturday, May 2nd. Nothing like hi-tech Catholicism!!

Here is your homework assignment: take one of the Cardinal Kung holy cards—English or Spanish—which should be at the entrances of the church, and simply pray one Hail Mary each day: beginning TODAY, after you read this, and continue each day through May 2nd: asking that Our Lady move the heart of Pope Francis to read the Cardinal Kung holy card in Spanish, and decide to open a cause of canonization. Not difficult homework: but one that will unite us all at St. John’s in prayer to Jesus’ Mother for the canonization of a holy witness to Her Divine Son, Cardinal Kung. His canonization would simply give the Church another hero: someone to inspire each of us to trust in Our Lord when times get rough. God bless you, and thanks. – Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Alexandre Laurent, 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, 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: Patrick Timon, Thomas Mardi, Alfred Candito, Sr., 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.

Catholic Home Missions Collection . . . Please drop your special envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

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 27th.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #13 – St. Vincent de Paul would make a Holy Hour asking the Lord blessings on important business transactions and, afterwards, returned to thank the Lord. (Fr. John Hardon)

Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Juliana Oliveira Moura and Joseph Gaetano Barresi
III Banns: Michelle Ann Houston and Tony Orrin Temerario

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: Next Sunday, May 3rd, is the First Communion Rehearsal at 8:30a.m. in the church. Saturday, May 9th is First Communion at 10a.m.

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!

Vertus

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday April 19, 2015 $ 11,308.00
Sunday April 20, 2014 $ 17,505.59

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

May 3rd, Sunday Readings: Acts 9:26-31; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8.

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.

Electronic Giving – Offertory Donations Made Easy…Consider using your credit card to make your weekly or monthly donation to St. John’s. Easier for you, and less costly for the parish than the printing and mailing of weekly envelopes, credit card giving automatically sends your weekly offering to the Basilica of St. John’s. Call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

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.

Lauralton Hall: will be offering an entrance exam for 7th grade girls next Saturday, May 2nd at 8:00a.m. Pre-register for the exam online at www.lauraltonhall.org. Any questions, please call our Admissions Office at (203) 878-3333.

Discover Lauralton Hall: will host Discover Lauralton this Sunday, April 26th, from 1:00p.m.—3:30p.m. for 5th, 6th,& 7th grade girls. To register and for further information, please call our Admissions Office at (203) 878-3333.

Trinity Catholic H.S. : Please support Trinity Catholic High School here in Stamford. Tickets for the 2015 Cash Raffle are being sold in the vestibule after all this Sunday’s masses on April 25th and 26th. Tickets are $50.00 each. First prize is $5,000 cash, second prize $2,500, and third is $1,000. Your support will allow Trinity Catholic to continue providing catholic values, moral development, and academic excellence to future generations for years to come. We appreciate your support.

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, April 27th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, April 25, 2015
4:00 Margaret Chu req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Sunday, April 26, 2015
7:30 Carmine DiGiovanni req. Gina Uva
10:00 Deceased Members of Millien Family req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:00 +James and Ismalia Machado req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, April 27, 2015
8:00 Wedding Anniversary Thang and Huong Diep Nguyen
12:10 +Giuseppe and Maria Megale req. Pugliese Family
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 Special Intentions Mabel Lewis req. Norma Jarrett
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
8:00 Father Walsh req. Luann Blackson
12:10 +Antonio Pugliese req. Pugliese Family
Thursday, April 30, 2015
8:00 In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary req. Linda Zachariadis
12:10 Special Intentions John Paul and Angela Marchetti
Friday, May 1, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Diane Strain req. Luann Blackson
12:10 Jimmy Sagdati Birthday Remembrance req. Mom, Billy, Ricky and Michelle Sagdati
Saturday, May 2, 2015
8:00 +Mr. and Mrs. Beaublum req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Tessie Mulhern req. Mulhern grandchildren

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. Maria Goretti Society & St. Dominic Savio Society: For the spiritual formation of young ladies and men, 6th-8thgrades. For more info. Please contact Anne Marie, religioused@stjohnsstamford.com or 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:

145 years ago, or so:
April 29, 1870: “Let all whom it may concern, read the “notice to builders” advertised in this issue, by the Roman Catholic Society of Stamford: NOTICE TO BUILDERS. The Contract for Building the new Catholic Church, on Atlantic street, will be left open for bids for a short time. Plans and Specifications may be examined at the residence of Rev. John Fagan, on Meadow street.”

135 years ago, or so:
May 2, 1879: Burglars. “The residence of Father Rogers was entered by burglars about three o’clock Tuesday morning, and his desk ransacked and papers disturbed. The thieves were heard walking through the house by the housekeeper, but as she thought it was some of the inmates, made no alarm. It is supposed they were after a monthly collection taken in the church on the Sunday previous, but which had been, as usual, safely deposited in the Bank. Before the rascals went through the basement window where they entered, they helped themselves to what edibles they could find in the pantry, and by way of diversion, while eating, tried the quality of the metal in the spoons, forks, etc. by breaking several of them. Evidently they wanted only valuable articles of gold or silver, and, finding none, departed, leaving many expensive portable articles of household use undisturbed.”

125 years ago, or so:
May 3, 1889: Stamford’s Centennial. “This, one of the oldest towns in the State, was not behind others in a proper observance of April 30th. Mass was said at St. John’s R.C. Church, and the day was properly commemorated in accordance with the Governor’s proclamation. On Atlantic, Main, Broad and other streets, many flags were displayed, and on Monday large banners were flying on the top of Clark & Hoyt’s building, and the flag pole in the park and the Town Hall. Over the Town Hall the halyards broke and consequently that flag could not be raised Tuesday. A fine flag was also displayed on the top of Collender’s near the depot. The great holiday was variously observed. Some went to church, others to New York, and yet others went fishing. The stores were generally closed and many weary laborers had a day of welcome rest. In fact, there was a general desire to do homage to the name and memory of Washington, and to have a little centennial here as well as in New York. At 9 a.m. Tuesday, High Mass was said by Father Keena, and a large congregation was present. A few remarks were made in regard to the observance of the day and what it was intended to commemorate.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: April 30, 1889 was the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of our first President, George Washington.)

Preparation for the Mass
– Fr Terry Walsh

“But I through the abundance of thy steadfast love will enter thy house, I will worship toward thy holy temple in the fear of thee.” – Psalm 5:7

Pass the ketchup! Ah, to see the joy on the faces of so many people enjoying a good barbeque, especially in the cold weather. Of course, these wonderful gatherings require much planning and more than a little work. The food needs to be carefully organized well in advance to ensure proper quantities as well as a wide variety. Then of course the SUV needs to be packed with precision in order to squeeze the coolers in between the grill, the portable TV, the table and chairs and other necessary items. Nothing is left to chance. Years of experience enable the process to be fine-tuned to ensure the best results: an on time departure from the family garage assures securing the usual parking spot, normally just after sun-up. It’s game time! Well, actually, the game begins in 6 hours, but it’s good to be prepared. The old saying rings true – “Anything worth doing is worth doing well!” It seems only natural to plan well for those things that interest us so that we can derive the greatest joy from them. And yet, how well do we prepare for the most important thing: that deeply personal and intimate encounter with God? What place does the Mass hold in our hearts? A simple examination of conscience reveals whether God holds the central place in our Spiritual House, our soul, or if perhaps we’ve given that space to a lesser occupant. What place does the Mass – and keeping the 3rd Commandment – hold in our hearts?

Consider the story of the Israelites as they prepared to cross the Jordan and take possession of the Promised Land. Imagine their excitement! Thousands upon thousands lined the River’s edge, the air abuzz with joy and anticipation. What might have been occupying their hearts and minds in those days leading up to the crossing? Perhaps they were reflecting on the many blessings they had already received, especially the love and attention God demonstrated toward them – freeing them from bondage and caring for them in the desert. It was during those long years that they came to know God more personally – His fidelity and love – His abiding Presence. And now, in these special moments, they no doubt happily considered the life that lay ahead in the land of “milk and honey.” Do we likewise reflect on the blessing of being “rescued” by God and His invitation to live in the true and eternal Promised Land—or have we slipped a bit in the gratitude and devotion we owe to God? Just before Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, he summoned them and conveyed God’s message, reminding them of the duties and obligations that faith and love demand: “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”(Joshua 3:5). What sweet words in the ears of the people! We likewise hear the very same words at every Mass: “The Lord be with you!” In order to understand the mystery of the Mass we need to begin with the mystery of the spiritual life. It can be challenging, and yet, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well!”

The spiritual life rests on Faith, which is a gift infused into our souls by God. Love makes it grow and we prove our love for God by keeping the Law, by praying well, and by loving one another. Jesus said: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”(John 14:23). In other words, it’s up to us. God doesn’t force our hand. Our “full, active, and conscious participation” is directly related to our spiritual life – prayer, devotion, sacrifice. Each time we pick up the Bible and read a passage, we come to know Christ a little better. Each time we pick up the Rosary and reflect on one of the Mysteries of our Lord, our hearts expand in appreciation for what he has done for us. When we simply take a few moments to talk with Him in a heart to heart conversation, we prove our ‘living faith’ and bring joy to Him. Consequently, we begin to understand the ‘spiritual language.’ These spiritual exercises lead us to a faithful examination of our conscience and ultimately to the Sacrament of Confession where we allow our Lord to sanctify us and so prepare our souls to receive Him worthily in Holy Eucharist. The Mass is truly Heaven on earth and there is nothing more exciting. Think of it! All the Angels and Saints are present. God the Father is receiving the sacrifice of his Son who has laid down His life so that we could be free from death. The Holy Spirit is at work. This is real!

Through our faithful, humble effort, God draws us into his life. We’ll come to contemplate the meaning of our very existence, the wonder of creation, the hope of eternal happiness. St. Paul reminds us: “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’”(2 Corinthians 6:16). He likewise teaches us the meaning of preparedness: “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the Gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”(Ephesians 6:14-18a).

The graces flowing from the side of Christ provide all we need to conquer sin and ultimately attain our goal, union with God in Heaven forever. It’s important to remember that we receive these fruits in proportion our desire for them – we all receive the very same Eucharist but we do not receive the same measure of grace. There is work involved. Are our hearts and minds fully engaged or have we allowed ourselves to quietly turn our inner gaze toward more earthly concerns? Ah, preparation. We are called to pick up the Cross every day and through it, grow in holiness: to root out faults and failings and at the same time grow in virtue. Like Joshua, we rely on God’s help. We enter the Promised Land when we cross the Threshold and enter the Church. As we dip our fingers into the Holy Water, we remember that we too have ‘crossed the Jordan’ at baptism and are constantly seeking to sanctify ourselves through our fidelity to Christ and our baptismal promises. As we bless ourselves with the sign of the Cross, we remember the cost of our salvation and look up to the great stained glass window high above the Altar and consider the depth of the love of our Lord. This is no ordinary event – it is the Mass. Jesus is there to greet us, looking upon us with love, examining our hearts. You are ready. You have prepared. You are focused. You want to be there! You are eager to talk with Him and seek a deeper more abiding relationship with Him. There is a deliberateness to your actions. You begin to genuflect with a renewed purpose. You are dressed appropriately and are eager to hear the Word. All this before the priest even enters the Sanctuary. At Mass, we are not mere spectators relegated to the sidelines to watch others engaged in activities striving toward a goal. No! At Mass, we are active participants. And the moment finally arrives: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…”