Pastor’s Corner. . . Bishop Caggiano was in Rome this past March for various meetings at the Vatican. During his few days in Rome, he wanted to have supper with his seminarians, student priests and two priests who work in the Vatican, Monsignors William Millea and Thomas Powers, and with me. During our supper, he asked me to stop by the next day to discuss Saint John’s.
The meeting dealt with various aspects of the parish, the most important of which was Father Walsh, and the fact that the bishop felt it time that he become a pastor. To that end, he informed me Father Walsh would be transferred once I returned to Stamford, and then be named a pastor sometime before Christmas.
While that is wonderful news for both Father Walsh and the parish that will have him as pastor, I asked what that meant for Saint John’s. That is when he told me of his thoughts to send one of two priests to us, and asked me to describe the new projects I had in mind after my return from Rome, to help in his decision. We discussed a few more things regarding Saint John’s, he promised to contact me soon, and thanked me for coming in.
Just two weeks ago I was informed of the bishop’s definitive decision to assign another priest once Father Walsh leaves for Trumbull. Bishop Caggiano has assigned Father Andrew Vill to the Basilica, effective June 30th. That will be a very hectic day on Atlantic Street: Father Walsh leaves that day, Father Vill arrives that day, and I return from Rome that day. We should be very grateful for the nine years the diocese has blessed Saint John’s with Father Walsh, and be thankful for our newest priest.
Father Vill is no stranger to Stamford or to Saint John’s. In fact, his assignment to us is more like a homecoming. His paternal grandparents, Andrew Vill and Angela Chetcuti were married in Saint John’s by Father Joseph Potter on July 7th, 1956. His father, Andrew James Vill and his uncle, Anthony Harold Vill, were both born at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and baptized at Saint John’s in the late 1950’s.
Our Father Andrew Vill was born in 1988 and raised in Ridgefield. His parents Andrew and Angela Vill still live there, and he has two sisters and two brothers. Young Andy attended Ridgefield High School, and, with his family, attended Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and earned the prestigious award and honor of Eagle Scout. Andy attended UCONN Stamford for his freshman year of College [2006-2007] to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. During that year, he attended daily Mass at the Basilica, and decided to pursue a vocation to the priesthood. He entered Saint John Fisher Seminary Residence in the fall of 2007, and completed his BA degree in philosophy at Sacred Heart University. He was then assigned to pursue his major seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in the Vatican, and his graduate studies in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in Saint Augustine’s Cathedral in Bridgeport in May, 2014, and has spent this past year completing his post-graduate degree in Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome. When he arrives in Stamford on June 30th he will just have completed his comprehensive examinations for his licentiate degree, which is equivalent to an American master’s degree and doctoral class work. My first assignment for him is that he take two weeks vacation, so he can attend ordinations to the priesthood of some of his friends around the country. He will return on July 18th to begin work at Saint John’s.
We at Saint John’s should be grateful to our bishop for having allowed Father Walsh to remain with us so long. I am personally grateful to Father Walsh and wish him every happiness and success in Trumbull. We also owe thanks to our bishop for our newest priest, Father Vill. I am sure everyone will take a few minutes during the next weeks to personally thank Father Walsh for his nine years of service at the Basilica. Likewise, knowing the people of Saint John’s, I am sure you will warmly welcome our newest priest on Atlantic Street when he arrives in mid-July.
God bless you all. I’ll see you in just a few weeks. – Monsignor DiGiovanni
Please pray for the sick: Ben Castle, Jay Olnek, Catherine Olnek, Lena Cocchia, Alexandre Laurent, Louise Morello, John MacLean, John Murray, Karyl Suzanne Bearden, Nellie Taylor-Boltrek, Pete Boltrek, Kevin O’Byrne, Barbara Itri, Elaine Mellace, Victoria Campos, 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.
Please pray for those who have recently died: Barbara Wolf, Dominick Franco Sr., Barbara Rizzi, 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, June 8th.
Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration: #19 – Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament has His hands full of graces and He is ready to bestow them on anyone who asks for them. (St. Peter of Alcantara)
Banns of Marriage:
II Banns: Betty Angeline Gabriel and Rigensly Piersaint
III Banns: Shelby Frances Mayor and Robert Thomas Morton, Jr.
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 email@example.com 203 540 5381 ext. 2012.
Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Has begun. Saint John’s goal, set by the diocese, is $110,000. The funds collected for the Bishop are used for the numerous charitable and educational works of the Diocese. We have collected to date: $65,370.00. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.
Celebration Mass of SYNOD 2014 – Saturday, September 19, 2015 @ 11:00 AM
At the Webster Area at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bishop Frank Caggiano cordially invites you to join 9,000 faithful throughout the diocese for Mass, Music and Thanksgiving. Doors will open at 9:00 AM with Praise and Worship music and the debut of the new Diocesan Youth Choir. The Basilica of St. John‘s will have bus transportation to this event. Registration will be available this weekend after the following Masses: 4PM (SAT 6/6) and 7:30 AM, 10 AM, and 12 Noon (SUN 6/7).
IMPORTANT – There will be no parking at the arena!!! Please secure your seat on the bus and free entry ticket by JUNE 28TH. For additional information, please email Frank Carpanzano firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday May 31, 2015 $10,347.11
Sunday June 1, 2014 $17,147.06
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
June 14th, Sunday Readings: Ez 17:22-24; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34.
Home Schooling Families: All ages are welcome. For information, please contact Bridget Bethray: email@example.com, or Janet Lancaster: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Saint John’s School Reunion. A committee is organizing a reunion for all who attended St. Johns School over Columbus Day week-end, October 10-11th 2015. If you attended, or know anyone who did, please e-mail the following information to Erin.Cody@SunGard.com or call (203) 325-3128 and leave a message (please speak slowly and clearly). Full name (including maiden name), e-mail, phone, mailing address, year graduated or left SJS, and if you would like to join the committee. Alumni should go to Facebook and search “St. John’s School Alumni, Stamford” and Like the page. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who may have attended: siblings, parents, cousins, aunt and uncles, grandparents, friends.
Famous British Catholic Boys Choir to sing at St John the Evangelist: The Schola Cantorum, the renowned boys choir of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in London, England, is to sing a concert at St John the Evangelist at 7 pm on Thursday 2 July. Cardinal Vaughan is one of the most famous Catholic Schools in the UK and the school’s choir is highly regarded for its fine singing, often heard at London’s Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. You may have already heard the boys sing without realising as their voices are also heard on many movie soundtracks – recent films on which they have sung include the Harry Potter series, Paddington, Life of Pi and The Age of Adaline. The boys also sing in the chorus at London’s Royal Opera House. On this trip the Schola are performing in four US cities, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New York and the concert here in Stamford on 2 July when they will perform a varied program of beautiful sacred music.
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).
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, June 6, 2015
4:00 Lucy Chow req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Sunday, June 7, 2015
7:30 +Jack Van Langen req. Joyce Patten and Lorraine Van Langen
10:00 +Antonio Lepore req. Rose Lepore
12:00 +Tommaso Marena req. Anthony and Josephine Marena
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Dominick D. Franco Sr.
Monday, June 8, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions David Lancaster
12:10 Special Intentions Monsignor Stephen M. DiGiovanni
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Special Intentions Monsignor M. DiGiovanni req. Millie Terenzio
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
8:00 +David Espinoza req. Lucy Espinoza
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Thursday, June 11, 2015
8:00 +Joseph Richichi req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
12:10 +Ted Belytschko req. Bill Christiaanse
Friday, June 12, 2015
8:00 +Virginia and Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 Special Intentions Linda Turturino req. Diane Strain
Saturday, June 13, 2015
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 Special Intentions Edward and Chris Strain req. Diane Strain
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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 STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
125 years ago, or so:
June 14, 1889: “The annual census of St. John’s R.C. parish is now being taken by Fathers Rogers, Keena and Carroll. There are evidently some wealthy people in this parish, for last Sunday they contributed about $200 in aid of the Johnstown sufferers.”
THE Connecticut Catholic:
120 years ago, or so:
June 9, 1894: STAMFORD. “On Tuesday evening the Catholics of Stamford gathered at the parochial residence on Atlantic street to manifest, by their presence and enthusiasm, their love and respect for their former pastor, Rt. Rev. Bishop Tierney. It was his first visit to Stamford since being elected Bishop and he received a right royal welcome. All the societies connected with the parish headed by St. John’s band, marched to the residence of Father Rogers, which was decorated in a very beautiful and artistic manner with American flags, bunting and Chinese lanterns. The moment the Bishop and visiting clergymen appeared, cheer after cheer broke forth. Father Rogers introduced the Bishop in his usual cheerful way. Bishop Tierney declared that such a demonstration and reception was entirely unexpected and was only another token of the many which the people of Stamford ever manifested to him. Music and fireworks closed an evening which will long be remembered by all who were present.”
THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
55 years ago, or so:
June 14, 1960: St. John’s School Diplomas To 79. “Seventy-nine pupils of St. John’s Parochial School have been graduated in ceremonies held in the church. The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, V.N., P.A., pastor of St. John’s Church, conferred the diplomas and awards. The address to the graduates was delivered by the Rev. William A. Nagle, assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, South Norwalk. The following received awards, at the exercises Sunday, for general excellence in all studies, in the order named with the donor’s name in parentheses: Room 15—Joanne M. Manccinelli (Francis M. Harrison, M.D.); Theodore R. Breunich, (Holy Name Society); John J. Connolly (Mr. and Mrs. James Convery). Room 16—Albert Ryle Kezel (Mr. and Mrs. Leo P. Gallagher, Sr.) Patrick M. Lynch (St. Anne Society) Eugene M. Dunkin (St. Augustine Council 41, Knights of Columbus).”
The Solemnity of Corpus Christi: The Body of Christ
– Fr Terry Walsh
I remember when I was a teenager, perhaps 13 or 14 years old, our parish priest came down from the Sanctuary area during his homily and spoke to the people in the aisle. He explained that the Church was now offering the opportunity to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Up to that time, we were to receive only on the tongue. He recognized that this new way would be very difficult for people. After all, the Church had only allowed Communion on the Tongue. No one in the Church had received Communion in the Hand. He encouraged us to “try it”. I don’t recall the whole homily—it was 40 years ago after all. I just remember in a general sense that the congregation seemed a bit stunned.
Looking back on that moment so many years later, it seems to me that we might ask a different question. Have you considered perhaps receiving our Lord on the Tongue? It is your option, after all. And, I might even go a step further. Have you considered receiving Communion at the Communion Rail, on the Tongue? It seems to me that it is a worthy question to reflect upon. There would be a few very obvious advantages even from a very practical point of view. First, when a person comes to the Communion Rail, the posture is kneeling. For those who are able, it is a very humble posture. Of course, God knows the humble heart whether one is standing, sitting, or kneeling. But just from a practical point of view, if one is able, it might be a posture worth considering. What’s more, there are some moments to prayerfully meditate on the gift of the Eucharist and a quiet moment to offer an interior prayer with a degree of stillness, rather than movement, that is, walking forward until it’s “one’s turn.” At the rail, one can gaze upon the Tabernacle and contemplate the Empty Tomb, or perhaps how the Blessed Virgin Mary became the Living Tabernacle at the Incarnation and how we, likewise, become “Living Tabernacles” when we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Her Son in the Host. We might gaze upon the Altar, where moments earlier, Jesus became present—for our Salvation—and our thoughts might drift back to the “Altar of the Cross” on Calvary—the very Sacrifice we are entering into in the Mass—and consider our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We might consider the Mystery of this supernatural encounter with Almighty God as we kneel at the rail, calling to mind the myriads of angels surrounding us just as Isaiah was blessed to witness in his extraordinary vision at the time of his calling. They are, of course, all present—for wherever God is, there the angels are too. In those beautiful moments of anticipation as the priest draws near to us holding the Ciborium filled with the Eucharist, we might gaze on the windows high above the altar and see Mary holding the Child Jesus, the Light of the world, being adored by the wise men who are kneeling before him. They are pagans—yet they are prostrate in humble adoration. They have come bearing gifts. What gift have I brought to him? As I kneel before him, I can offer my joys and my sorrows; I can give Him my day and ask that He help me to live it according to His holy will. I can bring Him my struggles and pains and ask for His help. In short, I can give Him everything. After all, He has given everything to me. I might have an extra moment to turn my gaze to the right and contemplate on the window of His Kingship and humbly ask Him to reign in me. Yes, there are many such considerations that can help me prepare to receive my King, my Lord, my God, and I will have those “extra” quiet, still, moments to prepare for that encounter with Him while kneeling at the rail.
Now, certainly one can contemplate the glory of God walking up to the priest to receive standing. Indeed, we all quite naturally are praying in those moments. I am merely suggesting that if one is able, it might be worth considering the option of approaching the Communion Rail and kneeling for a few moments in prayer—in stillness—and then, after receiving, remaining there at the rail, in stillness, as you consume the Host, in stillness for a few precious moments, offering a brief prayer of praise and thanksgiving rather than meandering back to one’s pew while still consuming the Host and at the same time trying to negotiate the aisles with lines of people moving in a variety of directions. It just seems to be a practical consideration. Each of us longs to relish that uniquely powerful moment of great peace and awe and wonder—that the Great God, the Loving God, the Almighty One, has humbled Himself to enter into us so that He draw us closer to Himself.
Our goal is holiness, of course, and reverence is essential. And, as eager souls always seeking a deeper and more abiding love for God, we are, for all practical purposes, open to opportunities that will help us realize that desire. Perhaps this is one simple way that might help. It seems to me that it is at least worth considering. Why not give it a try…