For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday October 4, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: On October 7, 1571 the last great naval battle of ships under oars was fought off the Greek coast at Lepanto. The importance of the battle is that it was one of the great triumphs of Catholic forces over those of the Ottoman Empire, which, after the fall of Constantinople to the Moslem Turks in 1453, was an important barrier to the continued conquest of European countries by the forces of Islam.

BoatSultan Selim II threatened to conquer Cyprus in 1570. In response, Pope Saint Pius V formed the Holy League, a coalition of the Catholic forces of Spain and the Venetian Republic who joined those of the Papal States, to thwart the attack. It was hard work to secure support from the “Catholic” kings of Europe, who preferred not to enter into military conflicts that might harm their trading agreements with the Ottoman Empire. The threat was not merely to trade but to European Christian civilization. In 846, Moslem forces succeeded in sacking Rome and riffled the tomb of Saint Peter. It was part of the general Islamic onslaught that conquered Sicily, Sardinia, threatened Naples, and much of the Mediterranean to destroy Christianity and establish Islam; the conquest of Spain and attempts to conquer France were very real. Even though 700 years later, Pope Pius V knew that Islamic forces were still trying to conquer Europe: the battles for Hungary and Vienna later showed that. In 1570, Sultan Selim II told his troops they would “stable our horses at the tomb of St. Peter.” There was more than trade at stake here, and the pope knew it.

The Islamic forces were large with 222 galleys, 60 other vessels, 750 cannon, 34,000 soldiers, 13,000 sailors, and 41,000 Catholic slaves manning the oars as rowers. The Catholic forces had 207 galleys, 30 other vessels, 6 great galleons which “seemed like castles,” 1,800 canon, 30,000 soldiers, 12,900 sailors, and 43,000 rowers, most were convicts who were promised freedom if victorious. The flagship of the Turkish Grand Admiral Ali bore a purple silk standard emblazoned with the name of Allah in gold letters.

The Catholic flagship of Don Juan of Austria bore a dark blue silk standard with an embroidered image of the Crucified Lord. At a consistory on August 27th, the pope instructed the cardinals to fast at least once weekly, to give extraordinary alms to the poor, and to perform other acts of penance in order to obtain God’s mercy and victory for the Catholic fleet over the Moslem Turks. The pope fasted three days weekly, and instructed all churches in Rome to pray for victory.

Our LadyAs word reached Rome that the warring forces were nearing each other, the pope ordered extraordinary prayers be said day and night in all churches and monasteries in Rome, in which he himself participated. As was traditional in Rome, on the first Sunday in October the local Rosary confraternities held their processions around the City. The image of Our Lady of the Rosary was similar to the traditional image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Taken from the biblical Book of Revelation, the Blessed Virgin Mary is seen crowned with twelve stars and standing atop a crescent moon. It was on that day that the battle was fought, and “the forces of the Cross proved victorious over the [Moslem] Crescent,” as one historian described it.

News of the victory of the Catholic forces on the afternoon of October 7th reached Rome on October 22nd. Immediately, the pope attributed the victory to the Blessed Virgin Mary in answer to the Rosaries of tens of thousands of people prayed on the day of battle. The Feast of Our Lady of Victory, or Our Lady of the Rosary, was to be celebrated each year throughout the world to commemorate the Catholic victory at Lepanto, and the temporary halt of the Moslem Turkish advance against Christian Europe. In Venice, in the Palace of the Doges, a painting of the battle was commissioned with the words, “Not our power and arms, nor our leaders, but the Madonna of the Rosary helped us to victory.” And the image of Our Lady of Victory standing atop a crescent moon and crowned with stars was placed above the gates of numerous European cities.

This weekend we encourage everyone in the parish to pray the Rosary, which is a beautiful meditation on the mysteries of salvation brought about by Our Lord’s generosity and Our Lady’s cooperation. Learn to pray the Rosary!! At the church doors you’ll find blue pamphlets with easy instructions to pray the Rosary. Get into the pious habit of praying the Rosary regularly, at least once each week. Start in a simple way: one decade of the Rosary each day. Make October a holier month by becoming closer to Our Lord through devotion to His Blessed Mother, and meditations on the events of Our Lord that bring about the salvation of the world. Join us on Saturday October 10th after the 12:10 Mass for our Rosary procession. Also, join Bishop Caggiano on Tuesday, October 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the parish hall for a lecture about Our Lady of Fatima.
—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Lee Kaplan, 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: Michel Lops, Louise Munro, Rene Lafleur, Victor Lafleur, 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.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: All deceased alumni of St. John’s School

Banns of Marriage:
II Banns: Michael Wyman Goode, Jr. and Lauren Ann Romanello

Louise Munro: It is with sadness that we announce the death of one of our most faithful parishioners: Louise Munro, who passed away a few days ago. Louise served for years as a lector at the Basilica, assisted Fr. Audette in numerous theatrical pursuits at Saint John’s, supported innumerable parish efforts to deepen our Catholic life in Stamford. She will be greatly missed. Her wake will be Sunday, October 4th, 2p.m.-6p.m. at Knapps Funeral Home on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich [please check the obituary in the Stamford Advocate, since the time for the wake might change]. Her funeral will be at the Basilica on Monday, October 5th at 10 a.m. Please pray for the eternal repose of this dedicated daughter of the parish.

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 Communion or Confirmation? These convert (R.C.I.A.) classes are for you: Wednesdays 7:30-9:00pm in the Rectory. 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).

The Cathedral Choir of Paderborn, Germany: will give a free concert in the Basilica, Thursday, October 8th, at 7 p.m. All are welcome!

Our Lady of Fatima Procession: Begins in the Basilica,
next Saturday, October 10th, after 12:10 mass.
BISHOP CAGGIANO: Will be at Saint John’s, Tuesday, October 13th to give a talk on Our Lady of Fatima: Msgr. Nagle Parish Hall: 7-8:30 p.m. All are welcome.
The Upper Room at COLUMBUS PARK Trattoria:
FOR CATHOLICS aged 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and UP:
Wednesday, October 28th, 7-9 p.m.

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

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday September 27, 2015 $ 13,467.00
Sunday September 28, 2014 $ 13,714.41

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

October 11th, Sunday Readings: Wis 7:7-11; Heb 4:12-13; Mk 10:17-30.

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.

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 4pm 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: Monday, October 26th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Trinity Catholic Middle School: Saturday Open House, October 17, 2015, from 9am—11am at 948 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT. Please contact our Admissions at
203-322-7383 for further information.

PRO LIFE EVENT:  The Gospel of Life Society invites you and your family to participate  in Stamford’s Life Chain, this 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, October 3, 2015
4:00 +John Melfi Sr. and Mary Melfi req. Joseph Melfi
Sunday, October 4, 2015
7:30 +Josephine and Vincent Raschella req. Armelle and Gary
10:00 +John A. Coughlin Jr. req. children
12:00 +Jocelyn, Sydney, Oswald and Kilda Machado req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 People of the Parish
Monday, October 5, 2015
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
8:00 +Blanche Ann Raschella req. Gary and Armelle
12:10 Gerard Raschella Birthday
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Dorothy Lee Richard Baronet req. Beth Freeman Reynolds
Thursday, October 8, 2015
8:00 +Maria Vu req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Mary and Thomas O’Brien req. Barbara O’Brien
Friday, October 9, 2015
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Saturday, October 10, 2015
8:00 +Jan Mortimer req. Jose Bastardes
12:10 +Valencia Lancaster req. Sue Kremheller

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 are welcome. We finish in time for the 8a.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:— Biblical Greek: Intermediate Grammar: Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in the rectory. Call Monsignor DiGiovanni for more information (203-324-1553, ext 11).

Coffee Hour: After the 10a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

125 years ago, or so:
Oct. 6, 1892: “At the services in St. John’s R. C. Church Sunday morning the Rev. Father Keena read the letters of the Pope and of Bishop McMahon, in regard to Columbus Day. Appropriate religious services will be held in the Stamford church. Father Keena made reference to the Stamford anniversary celebration, and heartily encouraged the societies and the people to join in that celebration.”

90 years ago, or so:
Oct. 8, 1925: SCHOOL PUPILS TO HONOR COLUMBUS. “Columbus Day and Fire Prevention Day will be observed together, tomorrow, by the pupils of the eighth grade of St. John’s Parochial School with a fitting program. In addition, the parents and friends of the pupils of the school are invited to visit the school, tomorrow afternoon, and inspect the classrooms and methods of teaching in the school. This will be the first time that “Parents’ Day” has been observed in the school. In honor of Columbus the following program has been prepared: Singing of America by the class, accompanied by C. Stevens on the piano, W. Clark, A. Deyulio and C. Sotire on violins, and D. Poranto on the cornet. The members of the orchestra are all members of the class. “The Landing of Columbus,” a reading, will be given by C. Stevens. C. Schwartz will speak on “The Character of Columbus.” “Help It On,” a musical number, will be rendered by M. Murphy at the piano, with the rest of the orchestra remaining as in the first number. W. Clark will talk on “Fire Prevention” as the feature of the Fire Prevention Day program. A playlet “Mother, a Teacher,” will be given by the following cast: Mother, F. Valario; Jane, R. Pinto; Marg, M. Wuasnoski; Jean, C. Quinn. “Of Columbia The Gem of The Ocean” will be sung by the class accompanied by the orchestra with M. Murphy at the piano.”

25 years ago, or so:
Oct. 9, 1992: SATURDAY STAMFORD COLUMBUS CELEBRATION. “9 a.m.—4 p.m.: Softball at Scalzi Park. Noon—6 p.m.: Soccer at Scalzi Park. 5 p.m.: Italian organist Luigi Celeghin, trumpet soloist Mauro Maur of the Rome Opera House and the Canticorum Jublio of Rome will perform in concert and accompany Mass at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, Atlantic Street.”

My Side of the Confessional
-Fr. Andy Vill

One of the greatest joys I have as a priest is hearing confessions on an almost daily basis. As I have mentioned in a previous bulletin article, my own experience as a penitent going to confession had a huge impact on my relation with our Lord and His Eucharist Presence. As a seminarian I was excited to begin my training as a confessor in spite of the sometimes weird roleplaying we had to do as our priest instructor would set up the scene for us, “Okay, all you know about me is that I am a woman in my early thirties whom you have seen at Mass before…” It is hard to take the mock confession seriously when the priest instructor plays the role of every sort of penitent, from the eight year old boy making his first confession to the eighty year old lady making her weekly Friday devotional confession; not to mention the fact that three other seminarians would be sitting in the room with us critiquing my approach in giving advice and administering an appropriate penance!

Now that I hear confessions for real I can say that it is a true privilege to be an instrument of God’s mercy and grace. People often ask priests if they remember particular sins which they hear or if, after hearing the sins of someone they, know they think differently about that person. I can say, without being too dismissive, that most sins are not unique enough to be remembered.

When someone jokes to me that they need to go to confession but that their sins would be too much for me, I will usually offer on the spot to hear their confession right there. “Oh Father, it would take weeks for you to hear my confession!” My response is typically, “I have the time, that’s what I was ordained for!” No offense to anyone’s pride who is reading this, but don’t think you’re that special that you have sins so bad that a priest would be overwhelmed to hear them. Besides, the priest is simply the instrument; Jesus is the one who forgives sins.

With regards to the question about whether I think differently about people after confession I can say yes, I often do. Not in the way you think though. I can honestly say that I have never (in my year and four months as a priest) thought less of a person after hearing their confession. Most often I will have a greater respect for a penitent after I hear them confess their sins. It takes a tremendous amount of humility to confess your sins to another human being; to acknowledge before God and man that you have done wrong. The true beauty in this is that a person comes to begin anew with their relationship with the Lord and their brothers and sisters. How often the Lord has forgiven me as a sinful man and how beautiful it is for me to facilitate that same forgiveness now as a priest.

People also ask if the seal of confession is difficult to maintain. I remember a man confessing to me one time that he had… Just kidding! I’m not going to risk being excommunicated from the Church and going to hell by breaking the seal. It can be tempting to discuss ask a priest “What’s the worst thing you have heard in confession?” or something along those lines, but we take the seal of confession very seriously. It is important that we never speak in such a way as to reveal the sins of a particular person and we as men never know how much someone else knows, and how little information they would need to connect the dots and figure out who the priest is talking about. The priest is granted privileged access to a person’s interior life in the confessional and it is not for him to take that outside of the confessional. If it weren’t for his ability to forgive sins, he would never be given such access to someone’s heart and that person’s past. If it came down to it, I would go to prison rather than reveal a person’s sins, even if those sins were minor ones.

I realize that confession can seem like a daunting endeavor, especially if you haven’t gone for years or don’t remember how to confess well. In next week’s bulletin article, I will speak about making a good confession, clearing up some confusion and providing some tips to make you more comfortable the next time you go.