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Bulletin for Sunday Sept 13, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: September 14th is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The wooden Cross
Crucifixion of Our Lord changed all world history, because this instrument of mankind’s cruelty has been changed by God into the Tree of eternal life. What is so important about the Cross?

Let’s start with the witness of Saint Paul: He tells us who Jesus is and what the Jesus’ Cross did: “For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself [God] all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the Cross.” [Colossians 1: 19-20].

On Good Friday, the Church chants the Reproaches, a series of quotations from the Prophet Micah. These were God’s questions to the people of Israel, whom God had freed from slavery in Egypt. On Good Friday, the Church places Micah’s words again in the mouth of God—who is crucified on the Cross. Now, however, the words are addressed to us: “My people, what have I done to you? Or, how have I offended you? Answer me. I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Savior to the Cross. I gave you saving water from the rock, but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink. I raised you to the height of majesty, but you have raised me high on a Cross. My people, what have I done to you? Or, how have I offended you? Answer me.”

The coming Feast of the Triumph of the Cross celebrates the Cross as THE instrument of God’s triumph over Satan’s power of sin and death. The evil produced by man’s sin is transformed by the God who became a man in Jesus; the destruction of sin and death comes from His sacrifice on the Cross. This underscores the fidelity of God: While mankind repays God’s generosity by disobedience and sin, Christ repays our ingratitude by mercy, even at the cost of His own life’s blood. As the Feast Day’s Mass tells us: “Sweet the wood and precious the nails that so gently bore so blessed a burden; you alone were worthy to carry the King of Heaven, the Lord.” During the preface of the Mass, Christ’s Cross is described as a tree: since mankind lost eternity through the original, first, sin of the first Adam’s disobedience of God’s command not to touch the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, so now Christ, the second Adam, renews eternal life through His sacrifice of obedience on the new Tree of Life, the Cross: “You decreed that man should be saved through the wood of the Cross. The tree of man’s defeat became his tree of victory; where life was lost, there life has been restored through Christ our Lord.” In the hymn Crux fidelis, the Church continues her reflection on the Cross as the new tree of life:“O faithful Cross, incomparable Tree, the noblest of all; no forest has put forth the likes of your own leaves, your flowers, your fruits. Gentle wood with a gentle nail, to support so gentle a burden! O my tongue, sing of the battle, of the glorious struggle; and over the trophy of the Cross, proclaim the noble triumph; tell how the Redeemer of the world won victory through His sacrifice. The Creator looked on sadly as the first man [Adam], our forefather, was deceived, and as he fell into the snare of death, taking a bite of a lethal fruit; it was then that God chose this blessed piece of wood [Cross] to destroy the other tree’s curse.” There is no other means by which mankind can attain eternal life than the Cross of Christ. That is what the Cross does.

A relic of the True Cross upon which Our Lord suffered and died can be found on St. Joseph’s Altar. At the end of the 12 Noon Mass on Sunday, September 13th, the priests of the parish will offer the Relic of the True Cross for your veneration. Please come forward to kiss Christ’s Cross, as we do each Good Friday. Likewise, on Monday, September 14th, at the end of the 12:10 Mass, the Relic of the True Cross will again be offered for your veneration. Let us contemplate Jesus’ generous love for us.

God works wonders: He transforms a man-made instrument of torture, the Cross, into the new Tree of Life for all, which has the power to transform our sufferings into offerings to God. The Cross is the only Tree of Life, and the only means of eternal life. That is why the Cross is important. God who loves us so much that He became one of us, did so in order to sacrifice that humanity on the Cross, in order to give us life eternal with Him in Heaven. Be grateful to God!
—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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: John Gannon, Richard Saunders, 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, Jeanne Loughlin, Barbara Wolf.

Catholic University of America Collection . . . Please drop your special envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

Banns of Marriage: III Banns: Anthony Tarzia and Lauren Pakkala

September 14th: Triumph of the Cross:
12:10 Mass: Public Veneration of the Relic of the True Cross after Mass.

FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS and YOUNG ADULTS 21-39 years old: This Tuesday, September 15th at 7-9pm at Murphy’s Townhouse Café on Franklin Street in Stamford. Free beer, wine, soft drinks & finger food for our first night [ID’s required], with an introductory talk and fellowship. Just come and bring a friend!!

A Triduum of Prayer in Honor of Saint Padre Pio
September 21, 22 & 23: 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.

The Upper Room at COLUMBUS PARK:

will begin on Wednesday, October 28th, 7-9 p.m.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday September 6, 2015 $ 12,497.00
Sunday September 7, 2014 $ 11,948.17

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 20th, Sunday Readings: Wis 2:12, 17-20; Jas 3:16—4:3; Mk 9:30-37.

Police: Please remember the members of our Stamford Police Department in your prayers.

Baptism/Confirmation Sponsorship Certificate: When asked to be a sponsor, a certificate is needed from your home parish. If the 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.

Religious Ed Registration: will be this Sunday, 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.

Special Needs Religious Ed. 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.

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

Saint John’s School Reunion. October 10th here at St. John’s. The reunion will start with 4:00 Mass and a Reception/Dinner to follow. 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.  In Facebook, please search…. St. John’s School Alumni, Stamford and “like” the page.

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: or 203-866-1606: There’s no charge. Next meeting: September 28th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

PRO LIFE EVENT:  Gospel of Life Society invites you and your whole family to participate  in Stamford’s Life Chain on Sunday, Oct 4, 2015: 1pm-2:30pm. Please join us on Atlantic Street in front of the Basilica Of St. John’s for the annual Life Chain: a peaceful witness of Americans praying for the end of abortion. Participants display signs (will be provided) urging passers-by to
support the pre-born, reminding them of the sanctity of human life and join in prayer. For details, call Frank Carpanzano at 203-975-0074.

BISHOP CAGGIANO: Will be at Saint John’s on Tuesday, October 13th to give a talk on Our Lady of Fatima: Parish Hall: 7-8:30 p.m. All are welcome.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, September 12, 2015
4:00 +Michael Perrotta req. Dr. Joe McAleer
Sunday, September 13, 2015
7:30 +Adrian Patten req. Joyce Patten and Lorraine Van Langen
10:00 Special Intentions Norma Jarrett
12:00 +Michele Cilifrese req. Antonio and Maria Marchetti
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, September 14, 2015
8:00 +Erzulia Joseph req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Francesca Pugliese req. Pugliese Family
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 In Honor of Our Lady of Sorrows req. Armelle
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
8:00 +Maryellen and Joseph Santoro req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Francescantonio Pugliese req. Pugliese Family
Thursday, September 17, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
12:10 +Mariano Garcia Jr. req. Dr. Joe McAleer
Friday, September 18, 2015
8:00 +Raymond Wilhelm req. Dr. Joe McAleer
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Saturday, September 19, 2015
8:00 +Selina Brocklebank – 11th Anniversary req. Louise Munro
12:10 +Fortunato Operario req. Judy Jordan

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

Coffee Hour: Starts again next Sunday, Sept. 20th, after the 10a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

145 years ago, or so:
Sept. 16, 1870: “A Catholic temperance society from Bridgeport had a picnic at Woodside Park on Monday. They were accompanied by the Bridgeport City Band, H. H. Hiiah, leader. Between thirty and forty of the Bridgeport members, only, were present, but they were joined by many of their Stamford brethren, and in the afternoon, quite a large party had assembled in the Park. They amused themselves in feasting, dancing, etc. for several hours, and the affair passed off very happily. No intoxicating liquors were allowed on the grounds, but some enterprising members set up a “bar” just outside the Park gates, which it is said was well patronized. A few ruffians accompanied the Bridgeport party, and they got into a fight at the depot while waiting for the cars.”

125 years ago, or so:
Sept. 19, 1890: “Members of the different societies in town have been invited to attend the St. John’s fair in the following order: St. Patrick’s and St. John’s T. A. B., Monday night; Father Matthew T. A. B., Tuesday night; St. Joseph’s T. A. B., Wednesday night; A. O. H., Thursday night; Knights of Columbus, Friday night; Catholic Benevolent Legion, Saturday night.”

115 years ago, or so:
Sept. 20, 1900: Here is a Story About Father Rogers. “Several good stories regarding Rev. Father Rogers have been going the rounds recently, and among the best of them is the following, which does not come from Father Rogers, but is vouched for by at least one member of his church. When enjoying solid comfort in the house, Father Rogers, as a rule, wears slippers. One cold winter’s day he was having a quiet hour, with his slippers on, when a poor man applied for aid. Father Rogers noticed he had scarcely any shoes on, and reached down by the side of his chair, picked up the pair of shoes he had a short time previously taken off, and handed them to the man. Now, as a usual thing, Father Rogers has several pairs of shoes, but it seems about that time he had had several more or less shoeless callers, and all of them were well supplied before leaving the house. Some time later, on the day in question, Father Rogers wanted to go out, and then he found that he didn’t have a pair of shoes in the rectory. He had to send his man out to buy a pair.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. William H. Rogers was Pastor of St. John’s from 1877 to 1900.)

The Discernment Retreat

-Fr. Andy Vill

(Story continued from the September 6th, 2015 bulletin)

For the next several weeks after meeting the Vocation Director Fr. Lynch, I followed his advice and began to attend daily Mass and make a regular confession. It was during this time that I first began to visit St. John the Evangelist. I remember going to confession one time with Monsignor (behind the screen of course) and having him tell me to keep my voice down so that the whole church wouldn’t hear my sins. (Now sitting on the other side of the confessional as a priest, I can appreciate how thin those walls are!)

If I couldn’t make it to confession at St. John’s I would attend my maternal grandparents’ parish of Sacred Heart in Danbury where twenty minutes of confession were offered each morning before the 7:30am Mass. I would only go to Mass there on mornings I needed to go to confession, confessing behind the screen with the pastor Fr. Dennis. This was so evidently the case that one time I arrived at about 7:25am and, as I was about half way down the side aisle, I saw the light turn off above the confessional and Fr. Dennis exit. Upon seeing me in the church, he turned right around, got in the confessional and turned the light back on!

In January I had the opportunity to go on the Men’s Discernment Retreat with the Bishop at St. John Fisher Seminary. This weekend-long retreat was meant for college-aged men and older who were considering the priesthood. There I would meet fellow discerners (Fr.) Ralph Segura and (Fr.) John Connaughton, as well as some other good men who would go on to enter seminary during my time in formation, but would leave before ever being ordained.

The weekend gave us all a time for prayer, fraternity among ourselves, and conversation with priests, seminarians, and the bishop himself. I remember playing billiards with a few guys in the lounge and realized that there was a lot of talent in that group. “Maybe for the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, we could send seminarians to the pool halls to hustle for some money…” I joked. Fr. Lynch heard what I said and when the bishop was around repeated my comment. “Great!” I thought, “What kind of impression will Bishop Lori have of me now that I made a stupid joke like that?!”

The bishop was very gracious and met with each of us who were on that retreat individually. When he met with me, I told him the story of hearing God calling me and upon mentioning the billboard, he exclaimed, “Have you told Fr. Lynch yet? We just put a LOT of effort into starting that ad campaign! You are proof it was worth it!” I told him of how I was drawn to the idea of servant leadership in scouting and saw that present in the priesthood. “I’m not sure who coined the phrase (scouting or the Church), but I totally agree!” he told me.

The whole retreat was a great experience and I couldn’t wait until my next experience with the guys at the seminary. Even though I had been to Mass with the Bishop on the retreat, I wanted to go to the 5pm Mass at St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield to tell my friends at the youth group about my experience that weekend. That weekend happened to be the vocations weekend where all of the seminarians had been sent out to speak at parishes. It was at that Mass that I would meet (Fr.) Robert Wolfe who would become my close friend and seminary classmate. For the last eight years, from when I moved into the seminary that Fall until this past June, Fr. Robert and I have been together in formation.

After a few more visits to the seminary, I would be invited to apply to the diocese as a seminarian that April. Following an extensive application process which included a clergy interview and a psychological exam, I would be accepted that July. A month later, I moved into the St. John Fisher Seminary Residence and, striving to be faithful to God’s Will, went through seven years of seminary formation (and a eighth year of final studies) to become a priest in May of 2014.

Now as a priest, after celebrating Mass each day, I give thanks to God for the blessings which He has poured out upon me and I ask that He continue to bless me that day, as I know He does every day, and to keep me in His love.