For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:  Bulletin for Sunday Sept 20, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: The visit of the Holy Father to the United States this week is of singular importance Papal Keys to our nation, for it is the Successor of Saint Peter who comes to our shores to preach the Gospel of Our Lord. Even though he will not visit Stamford, Saint John’s Parish has a unique bond and relationship with the pope: as a Minor Basilica, we are his parish in Fairfield County.

This honorary title of Minor Basilica is granted by the Holy Father to certain churches outside the city of Rome as special recognition of the unique historic and spiritual work of the people and priests of a parish. Saint John’s is known as The Mother Church of Stamford in that all Catholic parishes and institutions in southwestern Fairfield County have their roots in this first Catholic church of the area. Our parish was solely responsible for the preaching of the Gospel, the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the celebration of the sacraments and care of Catholics in lower Fairfield County during most of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th. As the only Catholic parish in today’s downtown, Saint John’s continues to fulfill its role as the primary center of Catholic culture and the spiritual life in the downtown. As a Minor Basilica, Saint John’s now enjoys a special relationship with the Successor of Saint Peter: in a real way, the Basilica of Saint John is the pope’s church. Our parish has become a center for the promotion of the teachings of the Holy Father and Church’s Magisterium, as well as a center for a deeper devotion to him as the Successor of Saint Peter. St. John’s already offers a wide array of classes in theology, Church history, catechetical formation, Scripture studies, Biblical Greek and Ecclesiastical Latin, the St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies, Faith on Tap for young adults, and the Upper Room for “elders” like me, symposia in liturgical music and Gregorian Chant, and so much more. These already set Saint John’s apart from the other churches of the diocese as an example of the vibrant pastoral life to which Bishop Caggiano and the Fourth Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport call all parishes. Saint John’s was raised to a Minor Basilica for another reason: because of the “particular importance for the liturgical and pastoral life” St. John’s holds within our diocese. The reverent offering of the Mass; the frequency that Confession offered to the faithful; the piety and deep faith of the parishioners; and the superb choir and liturgical music so essential to the worship of God, are the heart of what our parish does: all is designed to lead each person to Christ.

The official Vatican apostolic brief [in Latin] explained our parish’s dignity in these words:
“. . . prompted by the prayers and requests of the clergy and the faithful, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in virtue of special faculties given by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, gladly bestows on the parish church dedicated to God in honor of Saint John the Evangelist in the City of Stamford, the title and dignity of a Minor Basilica, with all the laws and liturgical rites faithfully observed according to the Decree De Titulo Basilicae Minoris. Given this day, July 16, 2009, on the Memorial of The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.”

There are only 82 Minor Basilicas of the nearly 22,000 churches in the United States. By this grant of the Holy Father, the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist was given a real precedence among all the parishes of our diocese: we are second only immediately after the Cathedral of Saint Augustine in Bridgeport. This grant to the parish underscores the unique nature of the Catholic Church: personally established by Our Lord on the twelve Apostles, whom He sent to preach the Truth, to establish the one Church, and offer God’s mercy wherever they went. Our Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist in downtown Stamford is a dramatic sign that, while the church building was created by local Catholics more than 150 years ago, the Faith, the Gospel, the Sacraments, and the life of Grace were not started from scratch by some “guy” here in Connecticut, or by the state. Nor can we change the Church at whim or popular fad. We receive our spiritual lives from Christ through His Apostles, handed down in an unbroken chain of Catholic bishops in communion with the Successor of Saint Peter to our own Bishop Caggiano, who shares his priesthood with the priests of your parish. That means that the lives of Catholics can be enriched by the same forgiveness of sins, the same Body and Blood of Christ, the same life of Grace that Our Lord began when He first sent the 12 Apostles out to extend His work beyond the borders of Israel, 2,000 years ago.

Sharing in this special bond with the Holy Father as we do because we are members of his Basilica of Saint John, let us pray daily during the pope’s visit for his well-being and protection, and for his safe return journey to Rome. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Paolo Cavallo, Silvana Smith, 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.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

WANT TO BE A CATHOLIC? OR, are you a Catholic who would like a refresher course in the Faith, OR have you never received First Holy Communion or Confirmation?
These R.C.I.A. classes are for you: Classes: Wednesdays 7:30-9:00pm in the Rectory, beginning September 30th. This is an eight week course of studies that repeats during the winter/spring; 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).

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 Relic 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!

Our Lady of Fatima Procession: In the Basilica, Saturday, October 10th, after 12:10 mass.

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.

The Upper Room at COLUMBUS PARK Trattoria:
Wednesday, October 28th, 7-9 p.m.

Discussions about our Catholic Faith, and
the Columbus Park Bar will be open. Bring a friend!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday September 13, 2015 $14,648.00
Sunday September 14, 2014 $13,863.93

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 27th, Sunday Readings: Nm 11:25-29; Jas 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48.

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: begins this Sunday, September 20th, at 8:30AM. ALL STUDENTS  must be registered and have paid before the start of classes on September 20th.

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:  The Gospel of Life Society invites you and your 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 for this annual Life-event: 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. For details, call Frank Carpanzano at 203-975-0074.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, September 19, 2015
4:00 +Curioni Family req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, September 20, 2015
7:30 +Hedwig Figura Jagodzinski req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
10:00 +Richard Wargo Birthday Remembrance req. Family
12:00 Thanksgiving of Favors Received req. Marion Morris
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, September 21, 2015
8:00 +John Gannon req. Priests of St. John’s
12:10 +Anne O’Sullivan req. Margaret Scally
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
8:00 +Magnora A. Griffith req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
8:00 +Gaskov Clerger req. Marie Lubin
12:10 In Honor of Saint Padre Pio 47th Anniversary req. Marion Morris and Family
Thursday, September 24, 2015
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 +Bill Morris 6th Anniversary req. Marion, Bill, Ricky, Jimmy & Michelle Sagdati and grandchildren
Friday, September 25, 2015
8:00 +Joseph and Margaret Curtis req. Mary Maloney
12:10 Special Intentions Barbara Schuerger req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
Saturday, September 26, 2015
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 +George Rundag req. Sharon Gannon

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 this Sunday, Sept. 20th, after the 10a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

160 years ago, or so:
Sept. 26, 1857: “On the 6th inst., the Catholics of Stamford had the pleasure of witnessing the dedication of their neatly finished church, by Very Rev. William O’Reilly, Vicar General of the Diocese of Hartford. A large congregation attended, and were well pleased with the sermons of Rev. Mr. Hart, of New Haven, and Very Rev. James Hughes, of Hartford. The piety manifested showed that the people fully appreciated what had been done in the behalf, and many prepared themselves for the solemn occasion by approaching the sacred tribunal of confession and the Holy Table. The day will be long remembered by the inhabitants of this place; and those who heretofore have been careless for the beauty of God’s temple, felt a new impulse of religious pride in the decoration of our fine church. Rev. Father Cooney is the pastor, and to his zeal and efforts the new church is due.”

145 years ago, or so:
Sept. 24, 1869: “The Catholic picnic at Woodside Park last week, though not as largely attended as that of July 5th, was very successful and proved to be an occasion of great enjoyment to all present. A good band of music was in attendance, and in fact all the arrangements were made with that liberality and enthusiasm which distinguishes that class of our citizens. A large number of boys in uniform, including a company in the picturesque costume dress, were a prominent feature in the procession.”

The Connecticut Catholic:
130 years ago, or so:
Sept. 27, 1874: STAMFORD. “The members of St. Joseph’s Temperance society and the Children of Mary will receive Holy Communion in a body at 9 o’clock tomorrow. A collection will be taken up at all the Masses tomorrow for the benefit of our fair to be given in the church next month. The fair this year is expected to surpass any given in former years, and will be the last one held in the church. The success of the enterprise depends largely on the co-operating with our pastor and efforts equal to the present demands should be made to bring about a result, more enjoyable and satisfactory than before. The steps at the entrance to our church are completed, and no finer piece of work can be seen in the state. Each step is one entire piece of granite. Taken altogether, the work is not only beautiful but durable.”

White Smoke Rises
-Fr. Andy Vill

(In honor of the visit of his Holiness Pope Francis to the United States this week, I wanted to share with you the article I wrote back when Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio was first elected Pope.)

The smoke was supposed to be black. Or that is what we thought as we made our way to St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, March 13th …the second day of the Conclave to elect our new Holy Father. It was raining and I had planned to dine with friends from home who were on pilgrimage to the Eternal City. I glimpsed Deacon John, a brother seminarian from the Diocese of Bridgeport, with a group of Missionaries of Charity (MCs). My friends and I waded through a sea of umbrellas towards them. As we waited for the black smoke to billow from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel, I learned that the MCs were friends of a priest I know in Madrid. I love being Catholic! I come to Rome from the United States and meet a group of religious sisters from all around the globe who know a friend of mine in Spain! Even gathering to see black smoke was exciting for Catholics young and old who live in the city of Rome.

Just after 7 p.m. people began to point to the roof of the Sistine Chapel where we saw white smoke billowing from the chimney! The ocean of people in the piazza erupted in shouts of joy! We have a Pope! The Cardinals have selected a pope! People began to shout, “Viva il Papa! Viva!” (“Long live the Pope! Long may he live!”) We didn’t yet know who he was but we loved him because his was our pope. The MCs began to sing the Salve Regina and those of us who were near joined in. Songs of praise and shouts of joy could be heard from all over the piazza and down the Via della Conciliazione (the main street leading to Vatican City State).

All sorts of people rushed to the piazza as word spread that the smoke was white. Men in chef hats and aprons emerged from restaurant kitchens, white-haired folks ran with their grandkids in tow towards St. Peter’s. As we waited, the giant bells of the Basilica rang and church bells sounded throughout the city. Soon the Swiss Guards – clad in the most regal dress I had ever seen them wear – marched with a band from the side of the colonnade up the steps just under the main balcony of the Basilica where the pope would presently emerge. Everyone was excited in happy anticipation to see the new pope!

After forty-five minutes of waiting and speculating who had been elected, the Cardinal Protodeacon stepped out onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to proclaim: Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam! (“I announce to you a great joy: We have a Pope!”). Again, the piazza overflowed in a wave of emotion and excitement! In his announcement, the Cardinal Protodeacon told us the baptismal name of the Cardinal who had been elected and the name he has chosen for himself as pope. The crowds were still cheering when the announcement was made so no one could clearly hear him. Some thought that the Pope was named “Gregory” (likely mishearing Cardinal Bergolio’s last name). Others though it was a French Cardinal who had been elected (mishearing the pope’s name in Latin: “Franciscus”). I heard people shouting behind me that it was a Cardinal from Argentina and repeating in Italian, Che un regalo per la Chiesa! (“What a gift for the Church!”) I did not know who this man was, but I did know that he was my pope.

Ten minutes passed before our new Pope, Francis, emerged from the Loggia onto the balcony. Again, a joy as I had not experienced, sounded throughout the area in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. We were able to see a close view of the pope on the big screens throughout the piazza He looked a bit startled. He stood there taking it all in. After a few minutes of the throngs cheering, the pope spoke his first words to the world, Buona sera! (“Good evening!”) The crowds cheered again! How genial this man is! He began by leading us all in prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. As you have likely read, the pope spoke to us all …but especially to the people of the Diocese of Rome.

Before he gave his blessing to the world, Pope Francis asked that we take a moment to pray for him in silence, the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. As he got on his knees to pray, the 200,000 people fell absolutely silent and began to pray earnestly for him. I have never heard such profound silence. I marvel at how this one man, who sits upon the Chair of St. Peter, can bring so many people to silence and to prayer. Finally, after blessing us, he closed by saying, Buona notte e buon riposo! (“Good night and sleep well!”) All of us, who had awaited with fervent prayer the election of a new Pope, did sleep well that night!
Pastor’s Corner: Per the directives of the Diocese, parishes must regularly publish their financial reports. Below, please find the financial statements for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2015. The fiscal year ended with a loss. Gross Income was down from last year by $158,543, but I am very grateful for your generosity. Expenses were less but not enough to offset the loss of income. The parish has no debt, other than a few current normal bills which were paid in July. —Msgr. DiGiovanni

Comparative State Activities 06-30-15 Adj

Comparative State of position 06-30-15 Adj