For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday May 3, 2015

Pastor’s Corner. . . May, the most beautiful of all months, when the icy grip of winter finally loosens, celebrates the most beautiful and most worthy of all women in human history, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. From its very beginning, the Church has revered Our Lady because of her personal holiness and intimate relationship with the Divine Persons of the Trinity. The most popular prayer, the Hail Mary, is based on the words addressed to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee,” recalling the wonders God was about to work in her life for the salvation of the world, by which as Our Lady responds, “all generations will call me blessed.” [Luke 1:46-55] Even during her lifetime, Mary was held in high esteem, as was any mother in Jewish society, but especially the mother of someone famous or powerful. By the end of the first century, Mary is venerated, NOT worshiped, since only God receives worship. Mary is venerated as the New Eve, especially described in the writings of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who had been taught the faith by Saint Peter himself. Mary, the most perfect representative of our human race, now makes up in her own virtuous life of faith for the sins of the first Eve. God the Father recreates all creation through Christ, the New Adam, with Mary as the human co-operator. Saint Athanasius, one of the greatest of the Church Fathers, wrote: “O’ Virgin, your glory transcends all created things because of Christ, O Mother of God the Word. We say that cherubs are sublime, but you are more sublime than they: cherubs support the throne of God, but you support God within your arms. Seraphs are close to God, but you are closer than they: Seraphs hide their faces with their wings, unable to look at the perfect glory of God, but you not only contemplate His face, but caress and suckle Him.” [Virgin Mother of God] The Council of Ephesus in 431 formally defined the role of Mary in our salvation: Mary can be called the Mother of God, since she gave human form to the Eternal God. She didn’t create God, as no mother creates her child, but gave birth to the Eternal God in the flesh. The centuries-old popular devotion to Our Lady then became even more popular. As the Church spread throughout Europe in the 5th century and during later centuries, Mary was held in reverence as the mother of all believers, constantly interceding with Her Son for us while constantly pointing us toward her Son. In Northern Europe, where the winters are harsh, May was the first month of new life, with flowers finally blooming after long winters. Mary, the greatest boast of our race, and the most perfect representative of humankind, who shared her humanity with God in Jesus, was honored in May especially with flowers that represent the new creation by God through Christ, such as the lily, the rose, the marigold, and numerous wild-flowers, lady-fern, lady’s mantel, lady’s slipper, maidenhair fern, lady’s thimble, to mention only a few. Our Lady is the exemplar of the Christian life, of one who is totally dedicated to Our Lord. She is also our mother, the New Eve, who gave birth to a new creation in Christ, who prays constantly for our salvation. May is naturally the most beautiful of months. Let us imitate that natural beauty by dedicating ourselves to follow Our Lady, making our lives blossom in virtue in her honor and for the love of Her Son. – Monsignor DiGiovanni
Blessed Mother

Please pray for the sick: Barbara Hoops, 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: Joseph H. Dervil, Elaine Marie Breunich, Patrick Timon, Thomas Mardi, Alfred Candito, Sr., Mable 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.

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, May 4th.

Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #14 – During Holy Hour our souls are fed in two faculties of the spirit—the Mind and the Will. In the Mind we need light; in the Will we need strength. (Fr. John Hardon)

Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Elizabeth Bello and Christopher Spoust
II Banns: Juliana Oliveira Moura and Joseph Gaetano Barresi

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: This Saturday, May 9th is First Communion at 10a.m.

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.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday April 26, 2015 $ 12,101.00
Sunday April 27, 2014 $ 13,487.65

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 10th, Sunday Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 Jn 4:7-10; Jn 15:9-17.

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.

Lost & Found . . . Please check the Lost & Found in the Rectory for any items you may have left in the church. Feel free to call Cindy at the rectory, M-F, 9AM—1:30PM, 203-324-1553 x21.

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).

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.

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, June 22nd 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Auditions set for new Diocesan Youth Choir: The Diocese of Bridgeport has announced audition
times and places for its new Choir for Youth (C4Y) that will perform at diocesan liturgies with the Bishop
and special events throughout the year. Auditions will be held May 18-21 in Wilton, Bridgeport,
Trumbull Stamford and Danbury. The Choir For Youth is open to all young adults in the Diocese of
Bridgeport in 8th grade through senior in high school as of September 2015. The auditions will be
conducted by Mary Bozzuti Higgins of Wilton, newly named director of the youth choir. She brings 35
years of experience as a choral director, voice coach, musician and opera performer to this new
post. Students will be asked to sing, “My Country Tis of Thee” during the auditions.

Auditions times will be held at the following times and locations: Monday, May 18, 4:30 to 6 pm at Our
Lady of Fatima Parish Center, 229 Danbury Road, Wilton; Tuesday, May 19, 4:30 to 6 pm at The
Catholic Center Diocese of Bridgeport, Queen of Saints Hall, 238 Jewett Avenue, Bridgeport; Tuesday,
May 19, 7 to 8:30 pm, St. Joseph High School Chapel, 2320 Huntington Turnpike, Trumbull (Park in
Back, enter through Gym); Wednesday, May 20, 4:30 to 6 pm, at Trinity Catholic High School, 926
Newfield Avenue, Stamford; Thursday, May 21, 4:30 to 6:30 pm at Immaculate High School, 73
Southern Boulevard, Danbury. Rehearsals will begin the week after school closes for the summer. The
rehearsal locations will be same as above. The Choir is open to all incoming freshman through seniors in
High School. All current 8th graders and up to high school juniors can audition the week of May 18,
2015.

The Diocesan Youth Choir is scheduled to perform at the Closing of the Synod Mass on Saturday,
September 19th in Bridgeport’s Harbor Yard Arena as well as a Christmas Concert t in December at
Norwalk Concert Hall, date to be announced.

BIO: MARY BOZZUTI HIGGINS, a soprano who has performed for professional opera companies, has
extensive experience in choir direction and conducting large music ensembles for schools and civic
groups. She is currently serving as choir director of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton, a post she has
held since 1992, and as music director of the Treblemakers, an all-women choral group sponsored by the
Wilton Parks and Recreation.

In the past she has been interim choral director at Wilton High School, where she led the 250-voice
concert choir, the 80-voice girls chorus and 24-voice Madrigal Singers. She has also been associate
professor of voice at Boston University (1993-96), and music director of the Fairfield County Student
Operetta Workshop. Bozzuti made her professional opera debut with the St. Louis Opera in the world
premiere of The Vanishing Bridegroom. She was also often seen on stage at Symphony Hall in Boston,
Mass., where she was a featured soloist at many Christmas Pops concerts with the Boston Symphony and
Boston Esplanade Orchestra.

She is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., Class of 1984, where she earned a bachelor
of arts in music education. She was awarded a master of arts in voice performance and an Opera Institute
Certificate from Boston University.

She and her husband, Jory Higgins, are the parents of three daughters. They are members of Our Lady of
Fatima Parish in Wilton.

Auditions and weekly Rehearsal schedule will also be posted on the website, www. c4ysings.com. For
more info and for those who cannot make any of the five scheduled auditions and would like to
participate, can go to www.c4ysings.com, email c4y@diobpt.org or Twitter: @c4ysings.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, May 2, 2015
4:00 Special Intentions Monsignor Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. Anita Fasanelli
Sunday, May 3, 2015
7:30 Special Intentions Heloise Nana
10:00 +Liliana Pappa req. Angela Giannitti
12:00 Jimmy and Michelle Sagdati 14th Wedding Anniversary req. Mom, Billy, Ricky, Brooke Morris & John and Lindsey Ciglar
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 People of the Parish
Monday, May 4, 2015
8:00 +Vassilia Voyatzis req. Linda Zachariadis
12:10 +Barbara Del Gatto req. Barbara Bayne
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Lewis R. M. Hall req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Thursday, May 7, 2015
8:00 +Juana Mazariegos req. Blanca M. Reyes
12:10 +Mr. and Mrs. Sandy Ingram req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Friday, May 8, 2015
8:00 +Agnes Joseph req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Caterina Annetta req. Pugliese Family
Saturday, May 9, 2015
8:00 +Gregoria T. Gloria req. Angeles Family
12:10 +Susan Flynn req. Tara Seeger

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: Starts again in September, after the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

THE Connecticut catholic:
140 years ago, or so:
May 6, 1876: STAMFORD. “A new house of the Sisters of Mercy, has just been founded here and a great want of the people in facilities for Catholic education promises to be supplied. Three Sisters from Mt. St. Joseph’s Convent, Hartford, have arrived and are installed in the old parochial residence which has been fitted up to answer the purpose of a convent. One poor school house is all that is available now, but ere long, with the blessing of God, another and larger one will be erected..”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
125 years ago, or so:
May 9, 1890: “The School Committee of this Diocese visited St. John’s R. C. parochial school this week Wednesday. The pupils were examined, as is the usual custom, and the committee reported the school to be in a prosperous condition. This Committee consists of Fathers Walsh of Norwalk, O’Brien of Bridgeport; and Treanor of Waterbury.”

80 years ago, or so:
May 6, 1935: Children of Mary’s Mother-Daughter Party Is Enjoyed. “About 200 persons attended the mother-daughter social given by the St. John’s Children of Mary Society, Sunday afternoon, in St. John’s social hall. Miss Marion McRedmond was in charge of the entertainment. Miss Anna FitzGibbon, president, welcomed the guests. Rev. Charles A. Corcoran, chaplain, spoke. The following society members participated in the series of tableaux called “High Ways,” Antoinette Pocograno, Rita FitzGibbon, Betty Scott, Margaret Cherds, Mary Duplex and Marion Hogan. Musical numbers were played by Irene Kearney. Vocal solos were given by Helen Regan, accompanied at the piano by Dorothy McClelland, and Agnes Ludwig for whom Miss Kearney played.”

65 years ago, or so:
May 8, 1952: Gov. Lodge Lauds Sisters of Mercy, In Conn. 100 Years. “Gov. John Lodge today hailed the “shining diligence and devotion” of the Sisters of Mercy, whose order was established in Connecticut 100 years ago. Theirs has been a ministry at once “firm and tender,” the Governor said in a statement calling the attention of “all our citizens to this significant anniversary. The four sisters whom Mother Mary Catherine McAuley of Ireland sent to Connecticut in 1852 laid the foundations of a service which has influenced every facet of life in our state.”

The Mass: Open the Door of your Heart
– Fr Terry Walsh

“In the Church’s liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1082

Do you believe in Angels? Do you believe that one is sitting beside you at this very moment? Your Guardian Angel was sent by God to watch over you, so much does God love you. Yes, angels are real beings created by God and are constantly looking upon the Face of God while at the same time looking upon us. The gift of Faith allows us to contemplate those things we simply cannot see with our natural vision; we cannot perceive them with the senses. Yet, we are able to believe these spiritual realities through Divine Revelation: God Himself has told us. Quite naturally we ponder these supernatural realities in our prayer. Of course, the highest form of prayer is the Mass. We come to Mass to pray. We come to offer our thanks and our praise to God. Thoughtful preparation before the Mass begins helps to facilitate a deeper reflection on the meaning of everything we do – from the simple sign of the Cross to the awesome reception of Holy Communion. Our faith is so rich! It is filled with such majestic beauty and inspiring mystery. We are actually able then to perceive what awaits us in heaven when we lift our hearts and minds to God in the Mass – if only we humble ourselves and ‘become like little children’ as our Lord instructs us in the Gospel. It is the only way to see God.

Once we begin to perceive the Presence of God in our very midst, we’ll begin to perceive the “language of the angels” in our soul. In other words, we’ll be better able to receive the rich graces He pours upon us at Mass. Jesus invites us into a deeper relationship with Him and then He waits for our reply. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”(Revelation 3: 20). If the door to our heart remains tightly closed we might pry it open with prayer and soften its hinges with the graces of the sacraments, especially Confession. It’s like wiping fog away from a window. Each faithful encounter makes it a bit easier to grasp the mystery and so enter the portal of the Mass: Heaven on earth. “In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with him in glory”(CCC 1090). Faithful preparation is the key to that Door. Is the door of your heart open or shut? We are not entering the Basilica to watch the Mass; rather, we have come to be actively engaged. Our interior joy at each Mass should resemble a child’s joy on Christmas morning and so we are able to relate more faithfully to the joy of the shepherds, the zeal of the Apostles, and our Mother’s love. Eager anticipation for this mysterious encounter with God beckons a joyful countenance as we ascend the steps and walk through His Door! Perhaps as you stretch your fingers into the Holy water and bless yourself, you happily recall the knowledge that you are already in Christ by virtue of your baptism. Acknowledging His Presence in the Tabernacle, you genuflect before the King with child-like wonder and profound respect. You take your place in the pew and immediately turn your attention to Him. The bell rings and the procession begins. What thoughts come to mind as the Priest raises his hand to make the Sign of the Cross: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!” We need only raise our eyes to the scene of the Crucifixion above the High Altar to recall what love made possible for us to address God as Father. It was the humility of Christ. As we make the sign of the Cross, we might reflect on the words of St. Paul who said: “Jesus humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”(Ph 2: 8). Or perhaps our mind’s eye might contemplate the Roman soldier being washed in the blood flowing upon him from the open wound as he gazed up at Jesus on the Cross. Calling to mind these events deepens our prayer of the Mass. We are not simply “remembering” the crucifixion; rather, we are actually about to enter the “re-presentation” of the actual Crucifixion in a mysterious way that took place in time 2000 yrs ago but in truth, is ever-present, infinitely efficacious. We are at the Cross, participating in it, provided our hearts and minds are actively engaged. Our Lord makes it easy for us. We don’t see his disfigured body. Instead, he comes to us in utter simplicity through ordinary bread and wine. All of Heaven has come to adore Him and we are joining the celestial company in the Mass. Ah, if we could only see with our natural eyes what the eyes of faith declare: all the Angels and Saints surround us in the Holy Mass, mysteriously present to worship God in a chorus of love. In this one powerful moment, we acknowledge our hope of eternal beatitude with this simple, yet profound gesture that is in fact a declaration of faith: the Sign of the Cross. Reflecting on the power of the Cross, St. Leo the Great remarked: “The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of one ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ’s priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?”(Sermo 4, 1: PL 54, 149; Catechism 786). “The Lord be with you!”