For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday January 10, 2016

Pastor’s Corner: Per usual, I am very proud of our parish during the great holidays, especially Christmas, when the entire staff and volunteers drive themselves in their usual generous sharing of their talents to make the holy days special for us all. I take this opportunity to thank everyone now: my staff will have my head for this later. No matter; they should be thanked for their good works.

First and foremost, the Basilica staff spent countless hours during the four weeks of Advent plotting, planning, and preparing to make sure advertising for the Christmas schedule was promptly made around town; the ordering of supplies, flowers and decorations were completed in order that the Basilica be especially beautiful for us all this year. I will, however, refrain from enumerating their individual contributions by name, since they would pillory me. Let me simply state that without Cindy, Millie, Jackie and Irene, the administrative side of the holiday preparations would have been haphazard, at best. Our parish trustees, Dr. Joseph McAleer and Michael Guarnieri played important behind-the-scenes parts, which added much to the holiday reverie, advertising and efficient running of the holiday operation.

The Basilica was another affair: She who must be obeyed, Marion Morris, spurred her troops—Tony, Dominic, Andrew and Ferry, during the scores of hours of preparatory work and scores more spent in the beautiful decoration of the Basilica. The result was the magnificently adorned altars that greeted thousands of parishioners and visitors who attended the Masses, or who simply visited the Christmas Creche to light a candle and offer a prayer, during these Christmas weeks.

I am grateful to David Indyk, our organist and choir master, who shared his musical talents at the organ and trumpet—his preludes and postludes were wonderful complements to the musical accompaniment he provided during the Masses—and he skillfully led the talented members of our volunteer choir—Celia Batan, Juanita Evans, Vicki Johnson, David Moran, and Filumena Weber—who generously shared their musical gifts, leading us in singing our praises to the Newborn King at the solemn Masses during the Christmas season.

This Christmas was one of the most memorable for me of the 18 Christmases I have celebrated at Saint John’s because of the priests. Fathers Al and Andy made the usually hurried and busy weeks of Advent and Christmas delightful by their prayerful dedication, good humor and generous service willingly provided during our Advent parish retreat, during the scores of hours they spent in the confessional, their efforts spent to compose thought provoking homilies, and their prayerful offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass during these weeks. They make life in the rectory a delight, for which I am grateful.

To all the parishioners of the parish, please accept my heartiest thanks for your generosity to the Basilica parish, for your prayers and good wishes that made this season so memorably delightful. Be assured of my prayers for you and your families that Our Lord and His Blessed Mother may shower every blessing upon you during this New Year.

—Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Brianna Petigny, Cathy Itri, Elaine Shoztic, Louise Morello, Chris Seely, Jacqueline Domingue, Mary Churley, John & Joan Kronk, Mary Lena Cocchia, Alexandre Laurent, John MacLean, John Murray, Karyl Suzanne Bearden, Kevin O’Byrne, Barbara Itri, Victoria Campos, Rita Timon, Diane Grant, Mary Bauer, Mary Rose Bauer, Catherine Longo, Paolo Cavallo, Silvana Smith, Josh Frank, Mildred Beirne, Joe Brennan, Betty Brennan, Nancy Gallagher, Billy Therriault, Loy Mulyagonja, Ben Castle, Jay & Catherine Olnek, Marie Augustin.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Fr. Joseph Malloy, Alberico Faugno, Alvaro Paternina, Bonnie Keyes, Anne Duffell, Marian Bissell, Domenic Civitillo, Suzanne DePreta, John Marena, Mary Fahey, Audrey Thorpe, Marie Martin, Doris Byrd, Santiago Collazo, Klebert Lorent, Susanne DePreta, Margaret Lupo, 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.

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

Let us also pray for the safety and safe return of our men and women serving in the USA armed services.

The opening event for the 375 Anniversary of the Founding of Stamford at the Old Town Hall has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 17th. Details to follow.

FAITH ON TAP:
FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS and YOUNG ADULTS 21-39 years old: Tuesday, January 26th at 7-9pm at Murphy’s Townhouse Café on Franklin Street in Stamford. Free admission, cash bar, [ID’s required], with an introductory talk on Relationships: Moving Beyond the Battle of the Sexes by Dr. Greg Bottaro Come and bring a friend!!

Kids Preaching: During the Christmas season, until February 2nd, parish school children who are attending religious education classes are invited to preach to the Baby Jesus. A small pulpit will be erected near the Nativity Set for this purpose. This is a centuries’-old practice begun by Saint Francis of Assisi to encourage children to express their faith and gratitude to the Baby Jesus.

Wine into Water: One of our parishioners and his family own a superb wine shop. During the past years they have dedicated a percentage of their profits to Catholic Relief Services to dig wells in Ethiopia. A lack of adequate clean drinking water is a severe problem in parts of Africa. Last September, Bishop Nicholas Djomo, President of the Congo Catholic Bishops’ Conference, visited the Rectory and spoke of this good work. I think our parish should support these efforts to help Catholics in Ethiopia obtain clean drinking water. Anyone interested in joining in this good work would be welcomed as part of a Saint John’s initiative to help the needy in Stamford and around the world. Please call Monsignor [203-324-1553, ext 11] for more details.

Rugby Anyone? Since we have many men in the parish who were Rugby players during their youth, I thought it might be an interesting project to begin an inter-parish league. If you are interested, please contact Monsignor: 203-324-1553, ext 11.

Life Runners: Are you a runner interested in joining the fight against abortion through LIFE Runners ((http://www.liferunners.org/)? Meet ups will consist of a monthly group run starting with prayer outside a local abortion clinic. No previous running experience is required. Please contact Diane Kremheller at diane.kremheller@gmail.com for additional details.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Christmas December 25, 2015 $ 45,717.00
Christmas December 25, 2014 $ 38,694.00

Sunday December 27, 2015 $ 13,268.00
Sunday December 28, 2014 $ 15,210.04

Sunday January 3, 2016 $ 12,463.00
Sunday January 4, 2015 $ 12,447.63

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

January 17th, Sunday Readings: Is 62:1-5; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11.

Interested in Cub Scouting? We are considering establishing a Cub Scout Pack here at the Basilica. If you are an adult who would like to be involved as a scout leader, or you have a brother, son, nephew, cousin or grandson of elementary school age who is interested in becoming a Cub Scout, please email Father Vill at frvill@diobpt.org with the subject Cub Scouts to express your interest.

MEN of SAINT JOHN’S: Looking for a spiritual boost? Come to the Rectory each Friday at 7 a.m. and join with 30 other men of the parish for coffee, prayer, Eucharistic adoration and Benediction. Out by 8 a.m. Due to Christmas and New Year’s, our next Friday meeting will be on January 15th. Come join us!

Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God, who is love and mercy. Please call (203) 416-1619 or projectrachel@diobpt.org.

Project Rachel – Entering Canaan Day of Prayer and Healing Saturday – January 16, 2016 – For women suffering from a past abortion. Come begin your healing journey and experience God’s hope and mercy. For more information and confidential registration contact Maureen at Project Rachel at 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: 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

New Covenant House of Hospitality: St. John’s will be volunteering at the local Catholic soup kitchen the first Wednesday of every month, from 10:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. for the noon meal. If you are interested in lending a hand [food shopping, food preparation, help serve the meal and/or clean up], please call the Rectory and speak with the parish secretary, Cindy: 203-324-1553, ext. 21 or Monsignor at ext. 11. Let’s discuss how you can help the needy of Stamford.

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, January 25th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

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 or Monsignor at spqrnac@gmail.com.

St. Monica Latin Reading Group:  Thursdays at 12:45 in the Rectory.  We are continuing our review of ecclesiastical Latin using Second Latin by Cora and Charles Scanlon.  Currently, we are reading excerpts from the Summa Theologica  of St Thomas Aquinas.  An intermediate reading ability in Latin is necessary.  Please call the Rectory for information.

Religious Ed News: Sunday, January 17: No Class for Martin Luther King holiday. Sunday, January 24: No Class. Classes are cancelled due to a change in the schedule.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, January 9, 2016
4:00 +John H. Hall req. Jagodzinski Family
Sunday, January 10, 2016
7:30 Lori Longo Birthday req. Aunt Millie
10:00 +Frances Delaney 8th Anniversary req. Arthur Wargo
12:00 +Catherine Morris 32nd Anniversary req. your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
5:00 +Peter Pia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, January 11, 2016
8:00 +Joseph McGarry req. Mary Francis and Kieran Malone
12:10 All Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +Richard Inzitari req. Marie Pinto and Family
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Thursday, January 14, 2016
8:00 +Monsignor William A. Nagle req. Jolina Clerveaux
12:10 +John Scalise and son req. Pinto Family
Friday, January 15, 2016
8:00 Sp Int. Monica Czytowska req. Eva Czytowska
12:10 +Caterina Nardo req. Dacres children
Saturday, January 16, 2016
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 Joy, Jayson and Emma Magnarella req. Diane Strain

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. For more information, 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: 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.

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).

St. Monica Latin Reading Group: Thursdays at 12:45 in the Rectory.

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

St. John’s in THE NEWS:

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
155 years ago, or so:
Jan. 11, 1861: FAST DAY. “Last Friday was observed here in accordance with the proclamation of the authorities as a day of fasting and prayer. The places of business were closed. There was Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Father O’Neil read the Pastoral letter of the Bishop of the Diocese and made a brief address, evincing no sympathy with secession.”

130 years ago, or so:
THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
Jan. 16, 1886: STAMFORD. “On the 4th inst., an anniversary High Mass for the repose of the soul of John Ryle was celebrated by Rev. Father Ryle, of New Haven, son of the deceased. The singing last Sunday at High Mass was considered by many to have been well rendered and we think they were about correct in their definition. Fifteen members were admitted into St. Joseph’s Temperance society at the last meeting.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES:
110 years ago, or so:
Jan. 12, 1904: PAYING OFF CHURCH’S DEBTS. “STAMFORD. Conn. The annual report of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, which has just been announced, shows that its debt was decreased $11,000 during the last year. The previous year it was decreased $10,000. The standing debt now is $45,000, and it is hoped this may be paid in three years. There are no rich people in the parish. Nearly all the members of the church belong to the working classes, and there is not one that could be said to be of independent means. The total receipts of the church from all sources last year amounted to $30,000, and the expenses were $18,500. The reduction of the debt during these two years was due largely to the efforts of the Rev. James C. O’Brien, the pastor.”

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
85 years ago, or so:
Jan. 13, 1931: AWARDS AT JANUARY COURT OF HONOR. “The January Court of Honor session was held recently at Scout Headquarters, 36 Summer Street. At this Court of Honor, Scouts Joseph O’Donnell and James Strachan, of Stamford Troop 22 (St. John’s R. C. Church) qualified for advancement to Star Scout rank. Other promotions were: Second class rank to first class rank, Joseph Tyrczyk of Troop 22 and tenderfoot to second class rank Joseph Coppola, also of Troop 22.”

Cleaning Out the House
-Fr. Andy Vill
I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently who has just begun a new job and is feeling overwhelmed. He has what seems like an impossible job and it is hard for him to know even where to begin. When he considers all that is being asked of him, he experiences the pressure of it more and more. How do we cope with what seem to be impossible tasks?

It doesn’t matter whether we are married or single, a priest or religious, a husband or wife; we all encounter tasks in life which seem overwhelming at times. Some of these tasks are short term, like projects at work or school. I remember the weight of my licentiate thesis hanging over me for the entirety of my final year in Rome. I would work during the day either by going to class or spending time in the library reading and researching. After dinner I would go to the student lounge to unwind and would feel guilty because I could be spending that time doing more to get my project done. How could I sit and watch a movie or play a game with friends when I had this thesis to write? Feeling the urgency of the thesis, it was easy to let prayer life slip as well. “I haven’t prayed daytime prayer yet, but I should go to the library while it is still open and get some work done. After all, I can always pray later.” How often does “later” never come? We put off what is really important and, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that it will never happen later.

The reality is; we need to have balance in our lives. We cannot always spend every waking hour working on our projects, whatever they may be, but we need to take time to rest. There are occasions in which we have certain deadlines and sometimes we might need to cram or pull “all-nighters”, but that should not be the norm of our lives. Our ability to rest and relax properly can actually help us to be more creative with our projects.

We often hear about how Jesus would go to a deserted place to pray. Jesus had a mission that literally consumed his life and yet He was able to take time away to be with the Father. He did not see the time that He spent away from His disciples as a “waste” because He “wasn’t doing anything.” The only things that are worth our time are those things which God wills for us. It may sound simple, but if we are made for love and eternal joy, anything that does not lead us to that is not meant for us. If we are convinced of this, we can realize that our time spent with the Lord is never time wasted.

That might be okay for short term tasks, but some of our projects are so long term that they last our lifetime; namely, our vocations. If we look at the reality of what God is calling us to; it can seem like an impossible task. Your marriage is a project that you can’t simply take a break from; I certainly can’t take a break from the priesthood. So what are we to do?

This is the advice which I gave to my friend who is starting his new job. Look at the project as if it were the house of someone who has died which needs to be cleaned out in order to be prepared for sale. If you look at the cluttered house as a whole, you may become overwhelmed by the immensity of the project. How does someone even begin to clean out an entire house? To make it manageable, I suggest that you start with one room. If you can work in the room that you are in, in this moment, then the project will be manageable. There is no use stressing about how dirty the attic is when you find yourself in the playroom downstairs.

With our vocations we can proceed the same way. We move forward calmly by addressing what God has placed in front of us in this moment. Recognizing that our vocation comes from God, it is important that we stay close to Him. Our question should not be, “How am I going to handle this?”, but rather, “How do You want me to handle this Lord?” or even better yet, “Lord, how are we going to handle this.” The Lord does not make us responsible for anything beyond our capabilities, but we need to recognize that we need to ask God for His help and we can handle any project.