For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday August 30, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: Saturday, August 29th was the Feast of the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist. This may seem an odd subject to celebrate, at least to those who are not familiar with the Catholic Church. In today’s culture, martyrdom of any variety is viewed as fanatical, especially since our society disdains any self denial of food, T.V. or any luxurious pleasure as ridiculous. Likewise, in view of the frequency of Moslem extremists who kill themselves and others for their own purposes against America, all religions and public expression of religion are suspect as crazed. But, because someone claims to die for God doesn’t mean it is so, or that God wants that to happen.

For the Catholic Church, the basic bottom line principals for all actions, public or private, are two:
You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind and strength;
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

This was the foundational outline Our Lord gave when asked about the most important of the Ten Commandments, upon which daily life is based for one who claims to love God [Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31].

So, for the Catholic Church everything must be done first to please God, which means, doing His Will in our daily lives; next, to benefit those around us. True martyrdom, therefore, can never harm others. There are nuts in all institutions and communities. For instance, when, in the early 17th century, Guy Fawkes decided to blow up the British Houses of Parliament specifically to kill King James I, his queen, children and most of the ruling class of England, he claimed to desire martyrdom in order to free the Catholic Church in England! He failed, and caused the British Government to redouble its efforts to stamp out the Church. He was not a religious man, despite his claims, since his evil actions were entirely contrary to Christ. One is not a martyr simply because one dies for a cause he claims to be religious, and which kills the innocent. One is a martyr who prefers to die rather than to deny God by word or deed.

John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets of the Old Testament, the first of the New, was an authentic martyr. He preferred to die for the truth, rather than deny God. He did not take dozens of people along with him when he died. He was beheaded in his prison cell, alone, except for those few sent by King Herod to kill him. Why did he die? What good did his death produce?

The good done was the clear witness he gave by his death that God’s will must be preferred to all else, otherwise, tragedy results. In the midst of every day life, we all fudge doing God’s will; we cheat on what we consider small stuff, or private stuff, because “God understands” the pressures of our daily lives. He does understand, and He knows the truth that “the Devil is in the details” of life. John the Baptist died because he was impolitic enough to continue telling the truth when he had been officially instructed to stop. The topic was the adulterous relationship of the king with his brother’s wife. King Herod, already married, banished his wife and child, and took his brother’s wife for himself; the relationship was also seen as incestuous. These days, our society considers neither adultery nor incest as ranking high on any list of deadly sins—if such a list exist at all. Only the Catholic Church repeatedly reminds the world of the truth: when we sin, we hurt others by using them as things for our pleasure or benefit. But the series of evil events leading to the relationship of King Herod with his brother’s wife were serious, for they broke both of the two Commandments listed above, and, therefore, were highly offensive to God and, therefore, very harmful for others, John the Baptist, included.

The truth John died for was this: the primacy of God, in both private and public life. Once you decide that God’s will is second to your own will, everything—I do mean everything—begins to fall apart. Not because God seeks vengeance because you break a rule; rather, because by doing that which offends God you deny God’s authority, and in so doing, harm yourself and others because you allow yourself to do anything you want. Everyone then becomes a disposable item, whose only value is usefulness to you, right now. Business, government, personal relationships, family bonds, all become meaningless, once we set God’s will aside, and make our own agenda the most important. Why? Because once we judge our agenda to be the most important, everyone else and everything becomes subject to our will and agenda: people and things are good only if they help us attain our goal; people and things are bad if they hinder our attaining our goal. Simplistic? Yes: but accurate. The Devil IS in the details—of everyday life. The way we treat people in private is the way we treat them in public. People are either things to be used to satisfy oneself, or they are the image of God. King Herod saw everyone as disposable, in private and in public: he could kill his brother-in-law, first two wives and his sons, because he wanted his brother’s wife; he could use his brother’s wife to satisfy himself; he could kill the Jews and servants, because he wanted to achieve his political goals. Anything wrong with this?

So, John the Baptist refused to stop his public protests. He wasn’t a prude about things sexual. He simply understood that the way the King treated people in private—as if God did not exist—was the same way the King treated people in public—as if God did not exist. And the result was tragedy, great pain and suffering for tens of thousands. John spoke the truth—God’s will must be primary in all aspects of daily life, public and private. Herod privately was attracted by John’s preaching. But, his ego and many lusts for all forms of personal gratification drowned out his longing to follow John’s preaching. Herod’s god was Herod, and the satisfying of his desires became matters of State importance. John paid for Herod’s self-idolatry and life of lies that used people as things. He died for truth and for the God of truth.

Spend some time reading the Gospel accounts of St. John’s work and his martyrdom [Mt: 3: 1-17; 11:1-6; 14: 1-12; Mk 1: 1-11; 6: 14-29; Lk 3; 7: 18-30; Jn 1: 6-9; 1: 19-36; 3: 22-37]. Love the Lord with your whole heart, mind and soul; love your neighbor as yourself. No one gets hurt, and life is better now and for eternity.
—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: Msgr. William Genuario, Fr. Peter DeMarco, Fr. Nicholas Calabro, Rafael Pina, 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.

Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Anthony Tarzia and Lauren Pakkala
III 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 momara@stcatherineacademy.org 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 in the Nagle Hall. 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. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday August 23, 2015 $ 12,029.00
Sunday August 24, 2014 $ 12,375.89

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

September 6th, Sunday Readings: Is 35:4-7a; Jas 2:1-5; Mk 7:31-37.

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 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 203-348-4355 or www.birthright.org.

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 jhoward@maltahouse.org. 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 Erin.Cody@SunGard.com 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: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606:
Next meeting: September 28th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, August 29, 2015
4:00 +Dorothy Van Langen req. Joyce Patten and Lorraine Van Langen
Sunday, August 30, 2015
7:30 Father Audette req. Millie Terenzio
10:00 +Michele Cilifrese req. Cenzina Parisi
12:00 +Elizabeth A. Coughlin req. children
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, August 31, 2015
8:00 +Catherine and Eugene Dzilinski req. Marie Carr
12:10 +John Marshall req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
8:00 Thanksgiving req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Ralph Vagnone req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Rocco Gesualdi req. Catherine and Donna
Thursday, September 3, 2015
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Lucy Espinoza
12:10 +Mr. and Mrs. Auralian Andrades req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
Friday, September 4, 2015
8:00 +Gene Tushaj req. wife Age
12:10 +Ray Carrano req. Catherine and Donna
Saturday, September 5, 2015
8:00 Giuseppe Marchetti req. Parents
12:10 +Frank J. Skehan req. Maureen and Rick Carpinello
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: Fridays, 7:45a.m.-10a.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 NEWS:

THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
130 years ago, or so:
Sept. 4, 1886: STAMFORD. “The mission in this parish was begun by a Solemn High Mass last Sunday by three of the Dominican fathers, Father McKenna and two other priests, and is an opportunity to be deeply appreciated by our people. There have been two Masses every morning, one at 5 and a High Mass at 8 o’clock, followed by a sermon with instructions at the early Mass. Every evening there is a sermon with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The mission will close on Sunday evening with the papal benediction.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
80 years ago, or so:
August 30, 1933: FR. CALLAHAN IS PRESENTED PURSE. “A large gathering of members of the parish and friends throughout the community was present in the basement of St. John’s R. C. Church, last night, when Judge John F. Keating presented to Rev. Henry. M. Callahan, former assistant pastor of the local church, a purse as a testimonial from his well-wishers here. Father Callahan came down from Simsbury, where he is now pastor, for the reception given in his honor. He remained at the rectory over night and returned to Simsbury this morning. Judge Keating was chairman of the committee collecting the funds for the testimonial. He spoke of the esteem in which Father Callahan was held in Stamford, when he made the presentation, Father Callahan responded graciously. A number of priests who had been closely associated with the guest of honor attended the reception.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Callahan served from 1918 to 1933 was the St. John School Principal.)

THE NEW YORK TIMES:
60 years ago, or so:
Sept. 3, 1953: Pope Elevates Hartford Diocese; 2 Named Auxiliary Bishops Here. “The elevation by Pope Pius XII of the Diocese of Hartford to an Archdiocese and designation of Bishop Henry J. O’Brien as Archbishop were announced today by the Most Rev. Amleto Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States. The creation of the dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich, Conn., also was announced together with the promotion of Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence J. Shehan of Baltimore to be Bishop of the new Bridgeport Diocese and the appointment of Msgr. Bernard J. Flanagan, now Chancellor of Burlington, VT., to be Bishop of the Diocese of Norwich. The Diocese of Bridgeport, which takes in Fairfield County, includes sixty-one parishes, 140 priests and more than 200,000 parishioners. The cathedral of the new diocese has been designated as St. Augustine in Bridgeport,”

Meeting with Fr. Nick

-Fr. Andy Vill
(Story continued from the August 23rd, 2015 bulletin)
 
I had called him once and never got a call back. The message I had left Fr. Nick was as follows, “Hey Fr. Nick, it’s Andy Vill here. I don’t know if you remember me from the Emmaus retreat, but anyways… There is something important I need to talk to you about. If you could give me a call, that’d be great.” Then I left my number and waited with anticipation for a follow-up. It felt like months without hearing anything from him. (I think it was ACTUALLY less than 24-hours that I waited, but it felt like forever…) I called Fr. Nick a second time. Voicemail again! This time I left my message with more urgency. “Fr. Nick, it’s Andy calling back; I’m not sure you got my first message, but I think God wants me to be a priest… Give me a call. Thanks.” Ten minutes after I had left that message, my phone was ringing; it was Fr. Nick calling! I excused myself from the class I was in and took the call.

Trying not to scare me I suppose, Fr. Nick began with the typical pleasantries saying, “Hey Andy, how’ve you been? Good to hear from you…” “So yeah,” I interrupted, cutting to the chase, “I think God wants me to be a priest!” Fr. Nick suggested we meet up to talk about it. “We could go to the Borders Bookstore to grab a coffee or if you’d like you could come by the seminary to chat.” He wouldn’t be able to meet until the high school got out. It turns out that the reason he hadn’t yet called me back was because while he lived at the seminary (where I had left him the voicemail) he worked at the high school next door (Trinity Catholic) and hadn’t gotten the message until I had called him the second time. “The seminary sounds good.” I told him. “You know where it is, right?” He asked. “Of course I do!” I lied. This was 2006 after all and MapQuest was available. I could look it up.

I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to see the seminary where I could potentially be going to study. Besides, if I met him now for coffee and then wanted to see the seminary, that would be two meetings with him. If I didn’t like the seminary and wanted to back out of this, they would already have my number and let’s be honest, after the level of interest I had shown, they wouldn’t let me go so easily, right? After all, I was involved in Boy Scouts, I knew how recruitment worked!

We made plans to meet that afternoon after class. I am not sure that I even knew that the seminary was in Stamford when I looked it up. What a surprise for me then when I found out that it was only ten minutes from UCONN! I was giddy with excitement for the rest of the afternoon. I didn’t want to go back to class. I just wanted to talk to a priest about this. I had only told one person about this so far, Laura the youth minster.

When I pulled up to the St. John Fisher Seminary Residence, Fr. Nick was waiting in the reception area for me. We met in the sitting room and I told Fr. Nick about my experiences the previous week and how I had felt called to the priesthood. I talked in general about my involvement in the Faith since my experience at my Emmaus weekend and the Steubenville retreat. I felt such peace talking to Fr. Nick about this. Like Fr. Paul’s experience on his first night at Fisher, I too felt like I had found the place where God wanted me to be.

Before leaving I asked Fr. Nick for a copy of an application to apply to the seminary. “Hold on,” he told me, “first you need to meet with the rector and vocation director, they have to get to know you and make sure you’re not crazy, and then they will invite you to apply.” Okay, that seemed fair enough. I don’t remember if I met the vocation director Fr. Lynch that day or not, but I was able to set up a meeting with him for the following week to talk about the next steps to take.

I left that evening elated! I cannot believe that God could be calling me to be a priest. What an incredible experience!

(Stayed tuned for next week’s article where I will talk about my meeting with Fr. Lynch and the tour of the seminary.)