For the entire bulletin, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday August 23, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: Saint Monica [d. 387] was the mother of Saint Augustine both physically and spiritually, having given him birth and having brought him to Christ, to Baptism and to life in Christ’s Catholic Church, by means of her tears, prayers and constant yet patient and prudent nudging.  Her statue and relics are found on the left side of our high altar; her feast is August 27th.

She was born to Catholic parents in Tagaste, North Africa in 331 a.d.  She developed one fault during her youth, a taste for wine. While not approaching an addiction, her servants were wary, and, after words of correction by one of her women servants, Monica received Baptism and never drank again. She married a pagan minor government official, Patricius by name, whose one fault, other than pagan beliefs, was an uncontrollable anger. Monica suffered because of this, and determined to change his bad habits and convert him to the Catholic faith. She endured much suffering, exercising great patience during his explosive episodes, saying nothing at the moment, but waiting for him to calm down before she gently but firmly corrected him.  By her mildness, prayers and prudent guidance, she succeeded in converting him and her irascible mother-in-law to the faith.  Her strength came from her Catholic faith. She prayed daily and attended daily Mass throughout her life. She helped the poor and needy, and comforted those in trouble.  She had three children, the most famous being Saint Augustine.

Augustine’s father sent him to the best schools of the time, beginning in Carthage at the age of 17. Realizing his own intellectual brilliance, fed by his ego, he immediately entered into a life of moral dissipation and joined an heretical group, the Manichees, that presented him with no challenge to his immoral lifestyle, while permitting him to imagine himself to be religious.  Monica initially forbade him to enter her home, but, after a vision in which she saw Augustine joining her in the Catholic Church, she relented.  After years of his mother’s prayers and tears, Augustine was baptized in Milan by St. Ambrose, who had told Monica, “don’t worry, it is impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost.”

Returning to her native North Africa, she took ill in the Roman port city of Ostia, where she died in the presence of her two sons Navigius and Augustine.  As she lay dying, she made her final request that they “remember me at the altar of the Lord”, at daily Mass and in prayer.  Years later, Augustine recalled his own tears at the funeral of her who had shed so many for his conversion: “If any one think it a sin that I thus wept for my mother some small part of an hour; let him not deride me for it; but, rather if his charity be great, let him weep also for my sins before thee.”  And again, in his Confessions, “For in the mystery of your Providence, my God, your guiding hand did not desert me.  Night and day my mother poured out her tears to you and offered her heart-blood in sacrifice for me, and in the most wonderful way you guided me.” And again, “Could you deny your help to her, when it was by your grace that she was what she was, or despise her tears, when she asked not for gold or silver or any fleeting, short-lived favor, but that the soul of her son might be saved?”

In the church vestibule, please visit reproductions of the fresco series by Benozzo Gozzoli of the life of Saint Monica and Saint Augusting. Painted in 1464-1465, this is one of the great masterpieces in the town of San Gimigniano, Italy. Please pass by and spend a few minutes admiring this wonderful work; there is also a description of this monumental work nearby.

St. Monica’s fidelity to Christ, life of prayer, patience in the face of danger, trials and suffering; her patient and prudent correction and guidance of her husband and children; these were her strengths.  Monica knew that a life lived without God is a life that is dead, leading only to the grave. She wanted her husband and sons to live, and so brought them to Christ by prayer and example. She is the example of Christian wives and mothers, even today.

—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick:  Josh Frank, Mildred Beirne, Joe Brennan, Betty Brennan, Nancy Gallagher, Billy Therriault, Thomas Bernie, Loy Mulyagonja, Ben Castle, Jay Olnek, Catherine Olnek, Lena Cocchia, Alexandre Laurent, John MacLean, John Murray, Karyl Suzanne Bearden, Nellie Taylor-Boltrek, Kevin O’Byrne, Barbara Itri, Victoria Campos, Ro Clarke, Suzanne DePreta, Rita Timon, 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, John Palumbo, Silvana Smith.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Martin Zaremski, Betty Fones, Philip C. Clark, Marie Gedeon, Edward J. Gill, Joseph Runio, Gary DeSalvo, Jeanne Loughlin, Barbara Wolf, Dominick Franco Sr., Barbara Rizzi, Joseph H. Dervil, Elaine Marie Breunich, Patrick Timon, Thomas Mardi, Alfred Candito, Sr.

Air Conditioning Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Air Conditioning collection for the parish.  Your generosity is appreciated.

Banns of Marriage:
II Banns: Homero F. Ribadeneira and Luz P. Romero

WANT TO BE A CATHOLIC? OR, Or are you a Catholic who would like a refresher course in the Faith, or who never received First Holy Communion or Confirmation?
These classes are for you: Classes: Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00 p.m. in the Rectory, beginning in September. This is an eight week course of studies, that repeats throughout the year, so, if you miss a class or two, you can easily make them up.  Please call the rectory for information (203-324-1553, ext. 21).
Special Needs Classes: Contact Michelle O’Mara at 203 540 5381 ext. 2012.

St. Monica Biblical Greek Grammar: Thursdays at 6:30 pm. 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.

The St. Monica Latin Reading Group:  Meets on Thursday afternoons at 12:45 to read writings from the early Church and will resume meeting in September at a date to be announced. Newcomers are welcome. A basic reading ability in Latin is necessary.   For more information, please call Saint John’s Rectory at 203-324-1553 Ext. 21.

Religious Ed Registration:   will be Sunday August 30th, September 6th, September 13th, after the 10AM and 12 PM Masses.  ALL STUDENTS  must be registered and have paid before the start of classes on September 20.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: September 21, 22 & 23: A Triduum of Prayer in honor of Saint Padre Pio: 7:30 p.m. each night in the Basilica, with Eucharistic Adoration & Benediction; a Sermon; Novena Prayers, and Veneration of the Relics of Saint Padre Pio. September 23rd is the Feast Day of Saint Padre Pio: 7:30 p.m. Triduum Prayers begin inside the Basilica, then, weather permitting, we will have an outdoor Solemn

Eucharistic Procession, with Novena Prayers and Solemn Benediction at our outdoor Shrine of Padre Pio, followed by refreshments.


Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday   August  16, 2015    $ 13,925.23
Sunday   August  17, 2014    $ 11,172.59

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

August 30th, Sunday Readings:  Dt 4:1-2, 6-8; Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27; Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

Baptism/Confirmation Sponsorship Certificate:  When asked to be a sponsor, a certificate is needed from your home parish.  If the parish priest does not know you personally, or by sight, the only other way of knowing you as a practicing catholic is by tracking your contributions by check or envelope.

Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God, who is love and mercy.  Come begin your healing journey and experience God’s hope & mercy! Saturday, November 21, 2015. Please call (203) 416-1619 or

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 203-348-4355 or

Malta House: Every day, 10 young mothers and their babies call Malta House “home”. They are provided a safe, nurturing home environment that enables them to strengthen themselves and prepare for their future. Your gift of time at Malta House can provide the childcare a mom needs to go on an interview, attend a class, or work a few hours to become financially independent. Your help with our Outreach Program or the front office could ensure we receive much needed donations from the community. For more information about our volunteer program, please contact Joan Howard at 203-857-0088.

Saint John’s School Reunion. There will be a reunion for all students, nuns, priests, and lay teachers of St. Johns School in Stamford, CT on October 10th in Stamford.  The reunion will start with 4:00 Mass and a Reception/Dinner to follow.  We already have confirmation from a 1938 graduate and someone who left when the school was closed in 1973. Please spread the word to family and friends, young and old, near and far, the more the merrier.  If you, or someone you know attended St. John’s please e-mail with your first, last (and family) name, contact info (e-mail and home address), and year you graduated.  E-mail is preferred but if you don’t have e-mail please call Ann Cody at (203) 325-3128 and leave your information on the answering machine.  Also be sure to let us know if you would like to join the committee.  Remember to speak clear and slow.  More information will be provided as plans firm up.  In Facebook, please search….  St. John’s School Alumni, Stamford and “like” the page.

St. Leo 34th Annual Parish Fair: at St. Leo Parish, 24 Roxbury Road, Stamford.  Tuesday, Sept 1st through Friday, Sept. 4th, from 6PM to 11PM and Saturday, Sept. 5th, from 2PM to 11PM.  Enjoy rides, games, live entertainment, international foods, bingo and our $10 raffle with a 1st prize 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250C4.  For more information: call Denise Esposito at 203-322-1669 x227.

Job Seekers: There’s no charge.  Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: or 203-866-1606: Next meeting:  This Monday, August 24th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).


Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, August 22, 2015
4:00 +Catherine Cleary Pullen and William H. Cleary req. Family

Sunday, August 23, 2015
7:30   Special Intentions Angela Arias req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
10:00   Domenico Piria req. Grandchildren
12:00 +Tommaso Marena req. Anthony and Josephine Marena
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family

Monday, August 24, 2015
8:00 +Rose D. Sullivan req. Dr. Joe McAleer
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
8:00 +Edita Piedra req. Szele Family
12:10 +Anne O’Sullivan req. Rama Krishna

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
8:00   Joe Pellicci Family req. Scholastica
12:10 +Salvatore Conte req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte

Thursday, August 27, 2015
8:00   Dorothy Edwards req. Mainville Family
12:10   Marion Hinds req. Legion of Mary

Friday, August 28, 2015
8:00   Daphney Wright req. Mainville Family
12:10 +Robert E. Troilo req. his son, Nicholas Troilo

Saturday, August 29, 2015
8:00 +Timothy and Mary Ann Piatnochka req. Richard Filippi
12:10 +Paul Markovits req. Rick Robustelli

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.

Pray to end Legalized Abortion: Wednesdays, 7-10:30a.m., Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St.

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 more information.

Intermediate Biblical Greek: Intermediate Grammar: Thursday evenings at  6:30 pm in a private home. Please call Monsignor DiGiovanni for more information (203-324-1553, ext 11).

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 ADVOCATE:

140 years ago, or so:
August 25, 1876: Borough Government. “A regular meeting of the Warden and Burgesses was held on Aug. 7th, 1876, R.  Swartwont, Warden, presiding.  All the members present except Mr. Hawley. Minutes of last meeting read and approved. Resolution by Walton Ferguson, that the side and cross walk committee be authorized to employ Mr. A. J. Bell to construct a concrete cross walk on Atlantic Street, near the Roman Catholic church, at a cost not exceeding $30. Adopted.”

125 years ago, or so:
August 28, 1891: Rescued by a Young Lady. “The rescue from drowning of a man over six feet tall by a young girl under twenty years of age is the decidedly novel incident reported from Shippan Point the other day. Prof. Amos, of the Merrill College, is the gentleman referred to, and the young lady is Miss Annie Ennis, daughter of John Ennis, whose bathing pavilion is a well known landmark at the south end of the Point. A number of persons were in bathing, including the Professor, who not being a swimmer, was supporting himself on one of the floats used by learners. In some way the float got out of position in such a way that instead of performing its proper function, it was holding the Professor with head down in the water. Miss Ennis, seeing his dangerous predicament, boldly swam out to the rescue, and by her help, aided later by that of Mr. Edward Bell, the Professor was successfully brought into shallower water. But for this timely help he would in all probability have been drowned, unless his situation had been observed in time by others equally prompt and willing to aid him.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Annie Ennis was the daughter of John Ennis, architect of the upper chapel of St. John’s Church.  John Ennis himself was a champion swimmer.)

50 years ago, or so:
August 29, 1962N. E. CYO Champs To Attend Dinner Slated For Tonight. “The New England CYO Boys’ Champion St. John’s Boys’ Baseball Team will be honored at a dinner sponsored by parents and friends in the Knights of Columbus Hall tonight at 7. There have been reservations made by some 150 supporters of the team. Bob Lynch, Stamford Catholic High School football coach, will be the principal speaker, with Chico Vejar, former middleweight boxer, the emcee. Rev. John Filip, Bridgeport Diocese CYO director is to be a guest, as will Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, St. John’s R.C. Pastor.”


I Woke Up to a Call
-Fr. Andy Vill

(Story continued from the August 9th, 2015 bulletin

It was November 10th, 2006; the feast of St. Leo the Great. It was a Friday morning. I had a Chemistry lecture that day. It was the day God called me to be a priest. It wasn’t as if I had received the answer to a question I had been asking, nor a major revelation or surprise, but rather it was a peaceful realization of God’s will for my life. “God wants me to be a priest.”

I remember going to the lecture at UCONN and with a huge smile on my face looking around the room at my classmates. People there were worried about the upcoming exam. Others were worried about whether or not they would get jobs once we graduated. None of that mattered to me since I knew what God wanted me to be for the rest of my life; His priest! Before leaving school that afternoon, I began to search the internet for websites which might help me to figure out my next step. Let’s just say that the Catholic Church today has come a long way in its online content from what was available in 2006. Almost every site I found was protestant; some containing helpful tips about discernment (prayer), while others offered online seminary courses to become a protestant minister. I wasn’t sure who I could turn to with my newly discovered vocation.

That Sunday I went to the 5pm Sunday Mass at St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield where I had been helping with youth ministry. The parochial vicar Fr. Paul Murphy (currently serving as pastor of St. Thomas More in Darien)  was celebrating the Mass and in his homily preached about his first night in seminary and how he knew that that is where God wanted him to be. I had never before heard a priest speak about his time in seminary and on THE weekend I felt called to be a priest, Fr. Paul was preaching about it. What a coincidence! I would have to keep my eyes open if I was going to see some sign of confirmation from God for my priestly vocation.

The following day, I had a meeting after school at the Boy Scout Council office in Milford, CT. Normally, I would take the Merritt Parkway since it was more direct, but on this particular Monday I decided to take I-95. As I was driving through Stratford with my eyes more on advertisements than on the road, I spotted the following billboard:      Vocations

“Do you know what you want to be? Have you asked me? -God” I was looking for a sign and God had given me a 30-foot billboard! The advertisement had a website on it,, which I visited later that night. In seeing the monstrance displayed on the left, my first thought was “Wow, I didn’t know that Protestants had Eucharistic adoration!” because my second thought was, “Certainly Catholics would never use roadside advertising…”

The website ended up being that of the Office of Vocations for the Diocese of Bridgeport. As I looked around the site I soon discovered that there was a seminary (St. John Fisher Seminary on Newfield Ave) only 10 minutes from my university campus! When I looked at the list of priests involved with the seminary, I didn’t recognize a single one until the very bottom. FR. NICK CIRILLO–SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR– ST. JOHN FISHER SEMINARY. Fr. Nick was the very same priest whom I had met back in the Spring on my Emmaus retreat! I had known that he was a high school chaplain, but a seminary spiritual director as well? I just had to give him a call…

(Stay tuned for next week’s article about my phone call to Fr. Nick and first visit to the seminary.)