For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday November 8, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: November is the month during which the Church universal celebrates the dedication of Cross with Wreath
three of the four major basilicas in Rome: November 9th will be the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the pope’s cathedral, as the Bishop of Rome; November 18th will be the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Peter and the Basilica of Saint Paul, built over the tombs of the two greatest Apostles nearly 1,700 years ago.

The November 9th celebration reminds us of the unity we have with the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, as members of the Church founded by Christ. The original basilica was built by Pope Sylvester I, consecrated in 324 AD to Our Savior. By the early 10th century it was rebuilt and dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and rededicated also to St. John the Evangelist in the 12th century. On the façade is a phrase expressing the wish of the Emperor Constantine and Pope Sylvester that the Basilica be The Head and Mother Church of all Churches throughout the City of Rome and the World.

The November 18th celebration reminds us of the central place of the Apostles Peter and Paul in the development of the Church, linking us with the same early Church of Apostolic times. “Oh, Happy Rome, whose stones are consecrated by the Blood of the Martyrs, Peter and Paul”, is an ancient hymn recalling the presence, ministry and martyrdom of these two Apostolic giants. St. Peter, the fisherman, was crucified in 67 AD in the ancient Circus of the Emperor Nero and Gaius, to the left of the present Basilica of Saint Peter, and buried in the cemetery next to the Circus at the base of the Vatican Hill. In 323 AD, the Emperor Constantine began one of the largest construction projects of the ancient world: the leveling of the Vatican Hill, the burying of the cemetery and Circus, and the raising of the first Basilica directly above the tomb of Saint Peter. Both the ancient and present day basilicas were dedicated on November 18th. St. Paul, the tentmaker, was martyred outside Rome, and buried near the port city of Ostia. Constantine began a basilica above Paul’s tomb, but it was not completed until the fifth century by the Emperor Theodosius and Pope Saint Leo the Great. Archaeological explorations beneath St. Peter’s in the 1940s, and beneath St. Paul’s in the 2000, uncovered the tombs of these two Apostles.

It may be difficult for us who live in the 3rd millennium to understand the importance of the celebrations concerning church buildings of another millennium, so far away from Stamford. The celebrations are important to us because we share the Apostles’ faith and are united with them in the sacraments. A priest named Gaius wrote in 200 AD, “If you come to Rome I will show you the tombs [tropaia, Greek for trophies] of the Apostles Peter in the Vatican and Paul on the via Ostiense.” St. John Chrysostom, two centuries later, gives us some idea how important are the lives and tombs of the Apostles: “The sepulchers of those who have served Christ crucified surpass the palaces of kings, not so much in the greatness and beauty of the buildings, as in other things of more importance, such as the multitude of those who with devotion and joy visit them. For the emperor himself, clothed in purple, goes to the tombs and kisses them. . .He who wears a royal crown looks on it as a great privilege from God that a tentmaker [St. Paul] and a fisherman [St. Peter], should be his protectors and defenders.” [Hom. I Cor, 20].

These celebrations are really about the larger universal Catholic Church, whose very essence is the same today as when Christ established it on the Twelve Apostles. Here in Stamford’s Basilica, we are reminded of the Apostle Peter by his bronze statue with the Keys of Heaven, and of our union with His Successor, Pope Francis, by the four bricks from the Holy Year doors of the four major basilicas of Rome. As you face the statue of Saint Peter, the top left brick is from Saint Peter’s in the Vatican; the top right brick, from Saint Paul’s Outside the City Walls; the bottom left brick, from Saint John Lateran, and the bottom right brick, is from Saint Mary Major. These were sent to the parish by Pope Saint John Paul II. Though far from the City of Rome, we are one in Faith and Communion with the Successor of Saint Peter each time we gather at the altar for Mass, through Christ in the Eucharist, sharing Christ’s life with the Apostles and saints through His Church.  —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Thomas G. Maker, Mary Bauer, Mary Rose Bauer, Catherine Longo, 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, John & Joan Kronk, Mary Churley.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Pauline Whitehead, Suor Ada Marchetti, Ilse Pollard, Marge (Longo) DiDonato, Richard Hughes, 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.

Archdiocese for Military Service Collection . . . The second collection today will be for the Catholic priest chaplains in the United States military. 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 Communion or Confirmation? These (R.C.I.A.) classes are for you: Wednesdays 7:30-9:00pm in the Rectory. This is an eleven 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).

Mark your Calendars:
Faith On Tap: Tuesday, November 17th: 7:00 pm in Murphy’s Townhouse Café on Jefferson Street. Discussions about the Faith for young Catholics 21-39.
The Upper Room: Thursday, November 19th: 7:00pm in Columbus Park Trattoria. Discussions about the Faith for Catholics 30s and up. Join us.

Thanksgiving Day Family Mass, November 26th: 10am in the Basilica. The ONLY Mass on Thanksgiving. Bring the Family!

Rorate Mass, Saturday, December 12th: 6am in the Basilica: a candle-lit High Mass of Our Lady in English with our parish Gregorian Choir. Coffee and croissants in the parish hall immediately after Mass.

Handel’s Messiah, Saturday, December 12th: 8pm in the Basilica, performed by the Stamford Symphony and Choir: A wonderful event! Limited number of tickets available. For tickets: Call today 203-325-4466, or go to www.stamfordsymphony.org.

Parish Advent Retreat, December 14, 15, 16: 7:30-8:30 pm in the Basilica. Prepare for Christmas by spending some time with Our Lord in our parish: the evenings will include Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, inspiring sermons, and Confession. Plan join us with the whole family.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday November 1, 2015 $ 13,094.84
Sunday November 2, 2014 $ 12,325.47

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

November 15th, Sunday Readings: Dn 12:1-3; Heb 10:11-14, 18; Mk 13:24-32.

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.

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.

Volunteers Virtus Training: The Diocesan mandated Virtus Training is ongoing for all volunteers who have not completed their certification or recertification. Recertification can be done online by going to www.virtusonline.org. Please contact the office if you do not know your user ID or password. If you have never attended a Virtus training session, you must attend a live session. Session dates and times are listed on the diocesan website www.diobpt.org.

St. Monica Biblical Greek Grammar: Thursdays at 6:30 pm, in the Rectory. 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.

Volunteers: FUTURE 4 is a non-profit organization to help motivate low income high school students in Stamford to improve themselves and their future. We need volunteers to do one-on-one student work, such as college coaches, job prep coaches, and teachers. For more
information or to volunteer, please contact Fanny Moran: fmoran@futurefive.org

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606: There’s no charge. Next meeting: Monday, November 23rd 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Canned Food Drive: The Religious Education Program is sponsoring a Can Food Drive to help the hungry in our community as Thanksgiving approaches. There are boxes in the back of the church. (Please do not bring cans with expired dates). Canned and non perishable foods will be collected through next Sunday, November 15th. Your generosity is much appreciated.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, November 7, 2015
4:00 +Federico Garcia req. Aurea Garcia
Sunday, November 8, 2015
7:30 +Mabel Lewis req. Westport Weston Health District Staff
10:00 Special Intentions Elizabeth Deluca req. Anthony Briganti
12:00 Pray for the Opening of the Cause of Ignatius Cardinal Kung req. Cardinal Kung Foundation
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, November 9, 2015
8:00 +Marge DiDonato req. Priests of the Parish
12:10 Deceased members of the Preziosi Family req. Marion Morris and Family
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
8:00 +Mrs. Maria Onorato req. Pugliese Family
12:10 Deceased members of the Morris Family
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Albert Bernard Hall req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
Thursday, November 12, 2015
8:00 Thomas Cycon req. Ferry G.
12:10 +Amy Lancaster req. Sue Kremheller
Friday, November 13, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Robert and Martine Assie
12:10 Nicholas and Therese Troilo 50th Wedding Anniversary
Saturday, November 14, 2015
8:00 +Ann DiGiovanni req. Monsignor DiGiovanni
12:10 Special Intentions Stevens Jeff Marcel

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:

150 years ago, or so:
Nov. 15, 1867: “The Fourth Annual Ball of St. John’s Roman Catholic Benevolent Association will be given at Seely’s Hall, Nov. 27th, and arrangements are being made which promises to make it exceed any of the former balls given by this Society. The object is a good one, and no doubt the treasury will be largely replenished by the proceeds. Dodworth’s band will be in attendance.”

140 years ago, or so:
Nov. 13, 1874: “On Thanksgiving evening, Rev. M. J. O’Farrell will deliver a lecture in Seely’s Hall for the benefit of the St. John’s Church. Subject: “The Life and Times of Oliver Plunkett, Ireland’s martyred Primate.” The subject embraces one of the darkest phases of Irish history.”

130 years ago, or so:
Nov. 9, 1883: “The large stain glass windows for the new Catholic church have been handsomely provided for by the self-sacrifice and liberality of the various temperance and benevolent associations connected with the parish. The front window will be supplied by St. John’s Benevolent society. The North window by St. John’s Temperance and Benevolent society, and the south window by St. Patrick’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent society. These gifts will aggregate in value about $1,500. The clerestory windows will also be put in shortly, and the general interior work continued through the winter.”

120 years ago, or so:
Nov. 11, 1897: “An event of considerable interest in Catholic circles in the town and vicinity, Sunday, was the opening services of a two weeks’ mission in St. John’s R. C. Church by the Augustinian Fathers Gerachty, Kennedy and Nugent, from Villanova College, Delaware County, Pa. The services began with a celebration of solemn High Mass at 10:30 a.m. The services for this week will be for women.”

115 years ago, or so:
Nov. 13, 1902: Football Notes. “The Altar Boys of St. John’s R. C. Church will open the rugby season next Wednesday with the Tarrytowns, on King’s field. This game should be interesting, for the teams are evenly matched. Friday of next week they will play the Glenbrooks, on King’s field. The Altar Boys would like to play third King’s. The lineup will be: W. Greeney, r.e.; A. Ward, r.t.; D. Troy, r.g.; J. Daly, c; L. Conroy, l.g.’ J. Condon, l.t.; and r.b.; E. Mullen, l.e.; M. McDonnell, g.b; F. Houlihan, f.b.; J. Griffen, r.h. and l.t.; H. Nevins, l.h. They would like to play any team under thirteen years of age.”

The Game Changer -Fr. Andy Vill

The priests of the Basilica live in an old house. In old houses, there are uneven floors. Our house is no different. On the third floor of our Greek Revival home there is a private chapel where we are able to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament and recite the Divine Office. Along with the altar, that small room with the slanted roof contains three hard wooden benches and a couple of chairs. In this chapel the floor boards are sloped toward the door, so much so, that I would guess that if you placed a ball on one end of the room it would roll to the other end without any assistance.

A few months ago, when I had just arrived at St. John’s, I chose a spot in the chapel where I could leave my books and journal, the place where I pray and often prepare Sunday homilies. The spot I chose was on the left side of the middle bench. The benches are bolted to the floor and cannot be moved. The uneven floor made the bench tilt a bit and therefore slightly uncomfortable to sit there. We all need a bit more penance though, right? Trying to sit upright with my hands on my lap and feet flat on the floor has not always easy in that seat and I found myself slouching. Sometimes (don’t tell anyone) I would fall asleep due to the poor position in which I would find myself.

This past Monday I brought a warm mug of green tea with me to the chapel to enjoy as I wrote in my journal. Realizing that my middle bench was tilted too much to support the mug, I looked around the small room for another surface on which to rest my mug. In the back are the two chairs; those wouldn’t do with their rounded seats. The front pew is perhaps more crooked than the middle one. Finally, I set the steaming mug down on the pew in the back to see if it would balance properly. Alas, success! I sat down on the pew and discovered something I hadn’t noticed the past four months; the floor under the back pew is level! I can sit down without any trouble and, as petty as having a level seat may be, I can actually pray better! “Oooh, game changer!” I marveled out loud to myself. This new seat has made it easier for me to pray. What I had been doing for all of these weeks hadn’t been working well and all that I needed to do was to change my seat in the chapel!

Often in the confessional people will confess habitual sins with which they have struggled for quite some time. My advice is usually the same. It is important to look at the circumstances surrounding your falling into a sin and see how you can change them. Perhaps it is the time of day or the location which you are in. Maybe it is the people with whom you choose to surround yourself or the mood you are in. When you sit back and examine these things, look at the circumstances which you can change and do it! If it means avoiding certain people, or going outside for a run when you are angry, or shutting off your computer before 10pm; whatever the circumstances are which lead you to a particular habitual sin, see what little things you can do to change the surrounding circumstances. If you do the same thing day after day and make no changes, how can you expect to be any different? If you can identify these circumstances of your sins, be mindful of when they occur and make changes where you can, you too can have a game changer!