For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday November 15, 2015

Pastor’s Corner: THANKSGIVING I:
Cornucopia 1 Thanksgiving is the quintessential American celebration, and reminds us—by loads of delicious uniquely American food—that we enjoy certain rights. Besides the first two “Natural and unalienable Rights” enumerated in the Declaration of Independence as the right to Life and Liberty, there is a third: “the Pursuit of Happiness.” This inalienable right that God has given each of us needs clear definition, lest the reader think that Happiness refers merely to any immediate self-satisfaction of every urge and whim, no matter what the cost. It doesn’t. The Happiness to be pursued is that prosperity beneficial to everyone: the common good for all. The earliest, quintessentially American document is the Mayflower Compact, which explained why English men and women risked life to set sail for the American colonies in 1620: “In the name of God. Amen. Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to. . . The Northern parts of Virginia, do. . Covenant and combine ourselves together into a body politic.” They came here in pursuit of happiness, which was to be had by common sacrifices made together, and hardships commonly endured, for the benefit of all involved: we call that the common good. And the common good is that which Cornucopia 2 benefits all, not just one or two people, and not merely financially, but morally—that which makes us truly happy is that which bolsters our dignity as the image and likeness of God, never debasing anyone for profit, either personal or corporate, or for personal satisfaction of desires or appetites.

There is an even earlier American document, written around 600 AD by Saint Columban, whose Irish monks are believed to be among the first to have landed in America—Long Island to be exact, where can be found today ancient crosses carved in boulders on the beach. St. Colomban wrote: “God makes man from the earth but ennobles him with the impress of his own image. Man’s greatest dignity is his likeness to God, if it is preserved. If man uses his innate powers rightly, he will be like God. . . To love God involves keeping His commandments, and these are summed up in love for one another” [Instructions, 11: 1].

Those monks were exercising their unalienable Right in their Pursuit of Happiness—by which they meant loving and imitating God. Here’s more that Saint Colomban wrote: “Genuine charity takes the form ‘not of words, but of truthful deeds.’ Let us give back to God our Father His image that resides in us, an image kept spotlessly holy, for He is holy; an image spotless in love, Cornucopia 3 for He is love; an image spotless in devotion and truth, for He is devoted and true. Let us not paint an alien image in ourselves; the painter who is undisciplined, angry, sensual, self-centered and proud paints the picture of a tyrant in himself. Therefore, lest we end with the self-portrait of a despot, let us allow Christ to paint His image in us.” In other words, in our pursuit of happiness, we can never gain that happiness by hurting or using others: I cannot find happiness by depriving others of theirs.” [Instructions, 11:2]

That is the essence of Thanksgiving, as well: Thanking God by how we live.
More next week as we approach the holiday. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: John & Joan Kronk, Mary 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, 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 & Catherine Olnek, Marie Augustin, Mary Churley.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Stanton Parrish, Pauline Whitehead, Suor Ada Marchetti, Ilse Pollard, Marge (Longo) DiDonato, Richard Hughes, Michel Lops, Louise Munro, Rene Lafleur, Victor Lafleur, John Gannon, Richard Saunders.

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

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Bill Cody Anniversary req. Cody Family

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 in their 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 pastries 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 to join us with the whole family.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday   November 8, 2015  $ 13,333.17
Sunday   November 9, 2014  $ 13,034.54

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 22nd, Sunday Readings: Dn 7:13-14; Rv 1:5-8; Jn 18:33b-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.

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.

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 5 is a non-profit organization to help motivated 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: Next Monday, November 23rd 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

St. Leo Parish: 24 Roxbury Road, Stamford, announces its 2nd Annual Cash Bingo Night.  Join them Friday evening, November 20 at 7:30pm for a fun evening of Cash Bingo.  Admission will be $15 for 15 games.  Extra games are available for $1 each.  Thanksgiving turkey door prizes and snack bar will be available.  For more information call Denise Esposito at 203-322-1669 x227.

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 this Sunday, November 15th. Your generosity is much appreciated.

PARADE: Stamford’s Annual Thanksgiving Parade will be held on Sunday, November 22nd. This is one of the most important annual Stamford events, organized by the Stamford Downtown Special Services District. This parade draws tens of thousands to the city each year. Because of this, the 12 noon Mass will be cancelled, since the parade passes directly in front of Saint John’s. Those who attend the 10 AM Mass can pick up a PINK parking pass at the church entrances. Please place one on your dashboard when coming to Mass on November 22nd, and the police will allow you to pass through the barricades. Then, stay for the parade: the rectory front yard and porch offer a great vantage point for families: gated and safe.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, November 14, 2015
4:00 +Andrew Warren Blackson, Jr. req. Luann Blackson
Sunday, November 15, 2015
7:30 Forgotten Souls in Purgatory req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
10:00 +Lucien Mandeville req. Joan and John Hagan
12:00 +Teresa Lombardo req. Brooke Morris and John & Lindsey Ciglar
5:00 +Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi, SDB
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, November 16, 2015
8:00 +Grace Gibson Lovell req. Hope and Jim Jagodzinski
12:10 +Arthur Penta Jr. req. Armelle
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +George Terenzio req. family
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
8:00 Special Intentions Alexandra Laurent req. Mom
12:10 Special Intentions Rev. Andrew A. Vill req. Ferry G.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 +Louise Munro req. Thomas Cycon
Friday, November 20, 2015
8:00 Padre Juan Pineda req. Maria Trivino
12:10 +Frank Tarzia req. Pugliese Family
Saturday, November 21, 2015
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Joseph Touri req. Frank and Beth Carpanzano

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. 20, 1863: PIANO FORTE WANTED. “Wanted: A second hand piano, six or six and a half octave, for which a fair cash price will be paid. Apply to Patrick O’Reilly, Organist, St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, Stamford.”

85 years ago, or so:
Nov. 19, 1929: STAMFORD GIRL SCOUT TROOPS AWARDED MERITS AND BADGES AT ANNUAL RALLY “At the Stamford Girl Scout Rally which was presided over by Mrs. Clayton Hotchkill, Girl Scout Commissioner in Community Hall at Glenbrook, Saturday, Mrs. Joseph A. Ewart acted as chairman of the Standards Committee in the absence of Mrs. O. E. Lowell. Assisting during the afternoon in awarding the merit badges to the following Scouts, was Mrs. Harold P. Newton of Greenwich: Troop 18—Captain, Miss Carolyn Smithson. Bernice Harkin, red and white ribbons, scholarship; Claire Boisfeuillet, white ribbon; Catherine Pledgie, scholarship (2), second class, scribe, home service badge; Helen Vagedes, scholarship (2); Anna Schwartz, interpreter, scholarship (5); Betty Wynkoop, white ribbon.”

50 years ago, or so:
Nov. 21, 1963: Use Of Modern Languages For Sacraments Sanctioned. “In a major development, the Roman Catholic assembly voted to allow the use of modern languages throughout the sacraments, such as baptism and marriage, without even retaining Latin for key phrases.”

35 years ago, or so:
Nov. 23, 1978: St. John’s Fair. “St. John’s Catholic Church on Atlantic St. will hold the annual fair Dec. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mrs. Michael Ganino and Mrs. William P. O’Kane, chairman, plan a variety of gifts, religious articles, books, used treasures, food and baked goods. Assisting committees will be headed by Miss Agnes Barrett, Miss Margaret Powers, Mrs. John Caraszi, Mrs. John A. Coughlin, Mrs. Alfred Gautrau, Miss Therese Doumenjou, Mrs. Edward Esposito, Mrs. Peter Ligouri, Mrs. James McGrath, Mrs. Jospeh Miller, Mrs. Thomas McTigue, Mrs. Patrick Magee, Miss Theresa Melsopp, Mrs. William A. Sanislo, Mrs. Asa Scanlon, Mrs. George Waterbury, Mrs. Frederick F. Miller and Miss Nancy Zerrenner. Also assisting are Frank Black, John Flynn, Russell J. Tuson, Sam Florentine and Joseph Melfi. George Waterbury will provide music on his Baldwin organ.”

Looking Back
-Fr. Andy Vill

This past Tuesday, November 10th, marked 9 years to the day since I heard God’s call to be a priest. While most of you have known me only since I have been ordained, I used to write letters as a seminarian to let people know how I was doing. This week was a bit nostalgic for me thinking back to the early days of my vocation so I wanted to share with you an excerpt from a letter I wrote my home parish in the Fall of 2010 which spoke of new beginnings at the Seminary in Rome. The following has been republished with permission from the original author… me.

After a long flight – eight hours – over the Atlantic I arrived at Fumincino Airport in Rome on July 19th. By that point, I had been up for over twenty-one hours and I was tired. Having visited Lourdes, France, last summer with the Knights of Malta, I know how international travel works: we arrive tired; and are kept awake by our group leaders until evening to adjust to the time change.

We gathered our luggage and boarded our waiting bus. Then, it was an hour ride to the Pontifical North American College (NAC). On the bus, I sat next to Rob Wolfe, my brother seminarian from Bridgeport. We have spent the last three years studying together. Rob and I will continue our journey to priesthood over the next four years in Rome.

We new arrivals at the College were greeted by applause from the second-year seminarians who comprise the early orientation team. We left the bus and entered the college as the orientation team grabbed our luggage and led us to our rooms. I am happy to report I have one of the best rooms in the college. It features a view of St. Peter’s Basilica to my left and the “Cortile dell’ Arance” (The Courtyard of Oranges) which is nestled in the center of the college building. Through the morning, I grew more and more tired and increasingly intimidated by the impressiveness of the college. But by lunch time, I was more at ease. And now – four months in – I am happy to report that the college feels like home.

Throughout the next week we attended “early orientation.” This is for those of us who arrived in July for Italian study rather than arriving at the regularly scheduled time at the end of August. About three fourths of the men in our class (which totals fifty-seven) were there for this week. We made pilgrimages to many places including the cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran Basilica and the Basilica of San Clemente (a medieval Basilica dating from the first millennium, built on an earlier church from the 4th century which was built on a church dating back to the 1st century). We also explored the Catacombs of San Priscilla which has painted on one of its ancient walls the oldest depiction of the Madonna and Child, dating to the 2nd century. Outside of St. John Lateran, there is a 35-hundred year old Egyptian obelisk. We were told that Moses would have seen this while leading the Jewish people out of Egypt. Isn’t that awesome?! By now, I seldom pay attention to structures built after the 13th century. “Hey Andy, we’re going to see a church from the 16th century!” “Yawn… Okay, I guess I’ll come and see that modern church.” But, it has been such a blessing for me to see these beautiful places.

At the end of the orientation week, we headed to Assisi where I spent the next month studying the Italian language. As the bus began to climb the mountainside to reach the hometown of Saint Francis, I again began to feel intimidated by what lay before me. That month was such a blessing as I began to study Italian with my new brother seminarians. Our growing bonds of friendship are the real benefit of my time there.

In my Italian class, I was called by one of my professors a “chiacchierone” which, roughly translated, means “chatterbox.” Talk about coming out of left field! Who would ever have guessed that I talk a lot (never mind someone figuring it out within moments of meeting me)? Nevertheless, my alleged talkative nature did serve to help me as I spoke with local shop keepers – mainly at the gelateria (ice cream store). My favorite flavor so far is “bacio” (which means “kiss”). It is a chocolate and hazelnut gelato (with hazelnut and chocolate pieces throughout). By accident I said, “Vorrei un bacio!” (“I would like a kiss!”); but, the woman behind the counter thought nothing of it and served me my ice cream. The locals have an ear for faulty Italian and ignore the mistakes we Americans make, even if they are a bit funny.

It was moving to be so close to the tombs St. Francis and St. Clare, whose basilicas are on opposite sides of the town. The holiness of these two saints really brought the Church in Italy alive for me. By the time I left Assisi, I felt comfortable there. It had become “my town.” The best part is that it is only a two and a half hour train ride north from Rome. On the night we returned to Rome I joined friends from New York and Iowa and ventured into the city for dinner to grab, yup, you guessed it, a burger and fries at the Irish pub!

We were welcomed back from Assisi and “clapped in” by the orientation team as we – officially – started our year in Rome. We resumed our Italian studies in Rome (four hours each day at the NAC). At this point I went on a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica (both on the inside and as a part of the “Scavi Tour” where we viewed the bones of St. Peter himself). The current basilica is situated on the burial site of St. Peter – where in the last century, his remains were found in an archeological excavation under the basilica. The highlight of orientation was the trip to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence. We toured the papal gardens and got to see Pope Benedict XVI and – as a class – sing to him when he greeted us at the Angelus. You can see us singing in middle of the YouTube video of the Angelus from August 29th, 2010. To end the regular orientation period we went on a weeklong silent retreat. That is right, you read correctly; I, Andy Vill was able to SUCCESSFULLY make a week long silent retreat! Why is that so difficult to believe?

After I made a weekend visit to the country of Malta in early October, our classes began at the Pontifical Gregorian University. My day begins at 4:50 a.m. I am up for nearly four hours by the start of my first class at 8:30 a.m. The walk to school, I am told is nearly two miles, which means I walk four miles every day …whether I like it or not. Forget the freshman fifteen here! (I made up for that my first two times as a freshman; Ridgefield High and UConn). Besides, everything is metric over here and since they use kilograms in Europe, I weigh “half as much” here as I did back in the States! Classes are challenging – conducted, as they are, in Italian. But my course load was lightened when I was able to test out of a whole year of Ancient Greek (for having studied it at St. John Fisher last year).