For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Feb 21, 2016

Pastor’s Corner: Every endeavor that includes more than one human being requires Wreath w Cross in Middle organization. That means a structure with some decision-making mechanism. Our Lord, who invented human beings, knew that. That knowledge was reinforced after Adam bit into the apple in response to Satan’s temptation. When God became man at Christmas, He did so to save human beings from ourselves, who are weakened by Adam’s sin so that we are attracted by evil. Jesus continues His saving work throughout the ages and in every country through His Catholic Church, which He established on His Twelve Apostles.

Knowing human beings, since He created us, Jesus knew the Twelve would need a decision-maker. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asked His Twelve who people said He was. Only Peter answered correctly: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” [Matt 16: 13-20] Our Lord knew Keys Peter was not a brilliant scholar, but it was Peter who answered correctly. Since no one knew Jesus’ real identity except God the Father, Peter’s unexpected correct answer must have been prompted by God alone: a sign that Peter was the chosen to be the head of the Apostles and of the Church. Jesus then gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: the power to forgive sins and to determine what is right or wrong. Our statue of St. Peter holds those keys. Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter—a sign that Jesus changed the very reason why Simon Peter lived. The name “Peter” means Rock. So Jesus told Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” [Matt 16: 18] Peter is that rock.

As the Church grew over the centuries, emperors, kings, dictators, and presidents tried to control the Church by controlling the Successor of Saint Peter, the Pope. Some were kidnapped Papal Hat [Popes Pius VI & Pius VII were the last kidnapped popes, taken by Napoleon]; others were imprisoned, exiled into slavery, tortured, or killed [Hitler bombed the Vatican, trying to kill Pope Pius XII; the Soviet Union hired an assassin who shot Pope Saint John Paul II]. To provide some protection and independence, the Emperor Charlemagne gave land to the pope that encompassed central Italy, which became the Papal Hat & Keys Papal States, and lasted from 800-1870 A.D. Since rulers wore crowns, a crown was devised for the pope: a triple crown known as the Papal Tiara. It was more than a king’s crown symbolizing political power, for there are three crowns, and they symbolize the spiritual authority of the Successor of Saint Peter as the Visible Head of the Christ’s Church, the Vicar of Christ. Since the pope shares in Jesus’ three-fold office of Priest, Prophet and King, consequently, the pope also shares in Jesus’ work to sanctify, teach and lead others to the Faith. The symbol of the Pope’s authority as the bearer of the Keys of Heaven, and as the Visible Head of the Church, is the papal tiara and keys.

The Church recalls annually the office of Saint Peter as the Visible Head of Christ’s Church, which Jesus passes on until the end of time through Saint Peter’s Successors, the popes. That annual celebration occurs on February 22nd: the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. In each diocese there is a chair, or cathedra, that is a sign of the local Catholic bishop, who is the local Successor of the Apostles. The Chair of Saint Peter is a sign of the authority of the Pope as the Successor of Saint Peter. Each year, in the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, built originally in 335 on top of the tomb of Saint Peter, the bronze statue of Saint Peter is vested and crowned with the triple crown. So, too, here in Stamford’s Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist—the Pope’s Church in Fairfield County—our exact replica of the Vatican’s bronze statue of Saint Peter is vested and crowned with the tiara. It is a reminder that we are in communion with the Successor of Saint Peter.

Let us pray for the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Francis. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Sophia Petrafesa, Donald Gerbasi, Lyn Geikie-Rice, Ann Cody, Bridget Ormond, Addison Byrne, Ruth Coyle, Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Brianna Petigny, Cathy Itri, Elaine Shoztic, Louise Morello, Chris Seely, Jacqueline Domingue, John 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, Paolo Cavallo, Silvana Smith, Josh Frank, Mildred Beirne, Joe Brennan, Betty Brennan, Nancy Gallagher, Billy Therriault, Loy Mulyagonja, Jay & Catherine Olnek.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Ken Hopson, Mary & Stephen Churley, Deborah Karen Fallacaro, 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

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

The Lenten rules of fasting and abstinence from eating meat: Fasting and abstinence from food are two ancient forms of penance, practiced by Our Lord, the Apostles, and the Blessed Mother. Fasting is the cutting back on the amount of food eaten on certain days. The practice applies to those aged 14-60 years old, unless ill or suffering from a serious medical condition. Fasting means that only one full meal [on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday] is to be taken and NO snacking between meals. Abstinence from eating meat means that no meat is to be eaten on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, or on any Fridays of Lent.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4 p.m. upstairs in the Basilica.

PARISH LENTEN RETREAT: Sunday, February 21 thru Tuesday, February 23rd, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Please join us for a three–night Lenten meditation IN the Basilica about our response to God’s Mercy: Repentance, a change of heart. Each evening will include a Eucharistic Holy Hour, Sermon, Benediction & Confession. Bring the whole Family.

CHOIR: Anyone who has vocal musical talent, and would like to offer your talents to God, please consider joining our parish choir. The choir rehearses each Friday evening, and sings at the 12 noon High Mass each Sunday. If you are interested, please contact our organist, David Indyck: idorganist@gmail.com

Faith on Tap: For young Catholics 21-39 years of age, will be on Wednesday, February 24th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Murphy’s Townhouse Café on 97 Franklin Street. Bishop Caggiano will speak “The Call to Mercy.” Join us for a beer and a stimulating discussion of our Faith.

The Upper Room: For Catholics 39 and up in age, will be on Tuesday, March 29th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Columbus Park Trattoria’s Upper Room on Columbus Park in downtown Stamford. Join us for a glass of wine and a stimulating discussion of our Faith.

SAVE THE DATE: 2016 KENTUCKY DERBY: Save the date and join us! Saturday, May 7th, 4-7 p.m., in the Rectory. Our annual fundraiser features a simulcast of the “Run for the Roses,” fabulous food and drink, and the chance to win some spectacular prizes. Space limited to 100 guests only; tickets: $125. All proceeds this year will fund the painting/restoration of the wooden frames of the clerestory stained-glass windows in the Basilica. Details to follow.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday January 14, 2016 $ 13,341.48
Sunday February 15, 2015 $ 11,904.25

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

February 28th, Sunday Readings: Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15; 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12; Lk 13:1-9.

Interested in Cub Scouting? 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 at the Basilica please email Father Vill at frvill@diobpt.org with the subject Cub Scouts .

MEN of SAINT JOHN’S: Looking for a spiritual boost? Try something new during Lent: Our Holy Name Society is it! Come to the Rectory each Friday at 7 a.m. and join with 30 men of the parish for coffee, prayer, Eucharistic adoration and Benediction. Out by 8 a.m. in time for daily Mass. Just walk in the front door of the Rectory. Come join us!

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 classes are for you: Wednesdays 7:30-9:00pm in the Rectory. This is an eighteen week course of studies. Please call the rectory for information (203-324-1553, ext. 21). The next series begins on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:30 p.m.

Police: As policemen and women are under attack throughout the country, we ask that you Please remember the members of our Stamford Police Department in your prayers. Likewise, remember in your prayers members of Stamford’s EMS and Fire Department, and our military women and men who protect our nation.

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.

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.

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.

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

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:  Tuesdays 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.

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: This Monday, February 22nd 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, February 20, 2016
4:00 +Mildred/JoAnn and Felix Fiore req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, February 21, 2016
7:30 +Rosina and Dante Spagnoli
10:00 Guy Edward Lambert req. Jagodzinski Family
12:00 Marion Morris req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
5:00 +Peter Pia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, February 22, 2016
8:00 Michael Kravar req. Fabiola
12:10 +Marie Loprinzo req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
8:00 Special Intentions Elizabeth Urban
12:10 +George Moore req. Bill Christiaanse
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
8:00 +Estera Alsenas
12:10 Special Intentions Lisa Ingram req. Maude and Paul Hughes
Thursday, February 25, 2016
8:00 +Joseph Gallucci req. Michael Guarnieri
12:10 +Natale Sposato req. Mossa Family
Friday, February 26, 2016
8:00 Fr. Andrew A. Vill req. Diane Strain
12:10 +Reggie Johnson req. PCS Staff
Saturday, February 27, 2016
8:00 +Laureen Bogdan req. Lawrence Bolanowski
12:10 +James Duffy req. Duffy Family

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 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, 35 Sixth Street.

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: Tuesdays at 12:45 in the Rectory.

Coffee Hour: There is no Coffee Hour until Sunday, April 3rd, when the Altar construction is finished.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

140 years ago, or so:
February 26, 1875: “Rev. Dr. McGlynn, who was to have lectured at the Town Hall Wednesday evening, in aid of the new Catholic church, unfortunately failed to put in an appearance. A thousand auditors were disappointed—not having even the satisfaction of a dispatch to state the reason of his detention. Father Tierney, however, was equal to the occasion, and having expressed his regret at the disappointment, told the audience to receive their money back or to retain their tickets for the lecture next week. It is creditable to the parties to say that without a murmur, almost every man of them kept their tickets and seemed to take their disappointment good-naturedly. P.S. Since the above was written, we learn that the gentleman left the train at Riverside by mistake. The Lecture will now be given on Monday evening, next, at the Town Hall.”

100 years ago, or so:
February 26, 1916: “Prizes for the euchre to be given next Tuesday evening, by the Children of Mary of St. John’s Church, are on exhibition in the window of Mrs. N. F. Knapp’s millinery store.”

90 years ago, or so:
February 26, 1927: CATHOLIC CHURCH TROOP OF SCOUTS GETS ITS CHARTER. “Stamford Troop 22, Boy Scouts of America, sponsored by St. John’s Recreation Club of St. John’s Catholic Church, was formally presented with their Boy Scout Chartertroop charter at the installation ceremonies at the indoor track meet at the armory last night. The public ceremony was a feature of the athletic meet conducted by the St. John’s Recreation club. The ceremony included acceptance of office by the troop committee composed of Herman C. Rheaume, the Rev. Henry Callahan, and William J. O’Connell. John B. Quinn, chairman of the Stamford Council troop organization committee, outlined the responsibilities of the troop committee.”

The Gift of Presence
-Fr. Andy Vill

We conclude our discussion about the three Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving with this week’s article about almsgiving. Traditionally, almsgiving means giving money or food to the poor as an act of charity. Why do we give? Scripture puts it the best: without cost you have received; without cost you are to give (Matthew 10:8b). There is nothing we can do to merit the gift of life which God has given us. We need to share the blessings we receive with others.

The heart that does not love grows cold from introversion. The generous heart widens and becomes capable of even greater love. The image of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is a perfect one to describe this. The Sea of Galilee is full of life, teeming with fish and rich in aquatic life. The aptly named Dead Sea is so salty that nothing can live in it. What is the difference between these two? The Sea of Galilee both receives from the Jordan River in the north and gives to the Jordan River in the south. The Dead Sea only receives from the Jordan River in the north. It receives without giving and is therefore dead.

Okay Father! Fine, I get it, I need to give! In what ways is God calling me to give this Lent? Jesus warns his disciples about giving ostentatiously. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:2-4). We are called to give in silent ways that doesn’t seek recognition. What does that mean practically for me this Lent?

I would suggest the following. It is always good for us to give money if we can. Why is that? When we give money away to someone in need, a charity, the Church, a particular needy person or family; we are not only paying them an act of charity, but we are learning not to be controlled by our wealth. St. Paul gives us the example of being content with relying on God to satisfy us and not on the things we do or do not have. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need (Philippians 4:12). If we give financially, let it be without the fanfare. There is no need to post about how generous you are on Facebook; in doing so, you have received your reward.

More important than the money we might give this Lent is the love we give through the gift of presence. Not only can we volunteer in helping strangers (which is very laudable), but we can begin at home by being present to those in our own families. Spouses: go on a date this Lent. This might not sound penitential, but God is calling you always to give yourself more and more to your beloved. Parents: let this Lent be a time in which you make a point of spending more time with your children. Friends: make time for friends this Lent. We can be generous with our time and attention in silent ways as well. Simply being present to someone for a conversation is enough. (A warning to spouses: if you tell your beloved that the date you are taking them on is a Lenten penance, it will not go over well!)

Ultimately, Lent is about growth; not decline. If we lose weight by having given up chocolate, but don’t grow wider in God’s love; we will have wasted our time this Lent. Let us give freely this Lent. Let us love our Lord; and show Him that love by giving ourselves in love to one another more fully.