For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 13, 2016

Cardinal KungPastor’s Corner: March 12th marks the 16th anniversary of the death of Ignatius Cardinal Kung.

The young Bishop Ignatius Kung, Pin-Mei pictured at left, was the first native Chinese Bishop of the new Diocese of Soochow, and, soon after was named the Bishop of the Shanghai, by Pope Pius XII. The times were dangerous for all religions in China, but especially for the Catholic Church. Since the rise to power of Chairman Mao Tse–Tung, the Communist Party had pursued an undeclared war against the Catholic Church in China, as in other Communist countries in Eastern Europe. Father Kung was ordained a bishop on October 7, 1949, the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. At the close of his episcopal ordination, Bishop Kung told those gathered that Pope Pius XII’s creation of a new Chinese diocese was heroic, at the very moment the Communists were threatening the Catholic Church throughout the country. He told those gathered at the Mass:
“I thank the Holy Father above all for his confidence in me. Better than anyone else, he knows our situation [the imminent persecution of the Church by the Communist Chinese government ] Despite this, he has created a new diocese. Is this not a palpable proof of his paternal confidence? Yet, it is he who holds the rudder of this new ship [the Diocese of Soochow], as if repeating Christ’s own order, ‘Put out into the deep’, and I confidently respond [as did Peter], ‘At your word I will lower the nets’.”

The Catholic Church in China had been experiencing a great spiritual renewal beginning with the defeat and expulsion of the Japanese military forces from China at the end of World War II. Since then, many robust initiatives were made to evangelize the pagan Chinese majority, especially in Shanghai, and to strengthen the spiritual lives of the Catholics there. The establishment of the Catholic Central Bureau provided coordination to the missionary efforts of the Catholic Bishops throughout the country. The growth of lay spiritual movements such as the Legion of Mary and catechetical groups on University campuses were grass roots efforts for lay Catholics to reach out into society to convert their pagan neighbors. The Church, therefore, was on a trajectory for battle with the growing atheistic Communist party and government for the minds and hearts of China.

These were dangerous times. The Communist government worked to co-opt various religious groups. Most protestant groups willingly co-operated early on and accepted “patriotic” government control of their religions. But the Catholic Church was different: it pursued the largest of all missionary efforts in China, with more than 3,000,000 Chinese Catholics, with the largest number of priests, religious brothers and sisters, both foreign and Chinese-born. It was also international, with headquarters not in China, but in Rome. The government crackdown on the Catholic Church was more virulent than against any other religious institution. As the Communist propaganda machine began working, it painted all non-Chinese influences and organizations as enemies of China. The Communist government quickly began expelling foreign missionaries, especially foreign-born Catholic priests, religious brothers and religious sisters. Any who remained were incarcerated, as were many Chinese clergy. Bishop Kung warned his priests at a retreat, “You must not have any more illusions about our situation. . . You have to face prison and death head on. This is your destiny. It was prepared for you because Almighty God loves you. What is there to be afraid of?” Our church banners display his motto: “Neither fire nor sword can break my faith in God.”

The guiding government principle was the same in their relationship with all religions, but the methods varied. Because the Catholic Church was the largest and most highly organized of “foreign” religious institutions, and because it was structurally dependent upon a foreign “ruler”, the pope, it was targeted more viciously than any others. Attacks in the press, both in editorials and political cartoons, as well as political speeches and organized public demonstrations against the Church were common throughout the country. Likewise, more and more frequent were the number of arrest of Chinese priests, nuns and Catholic lay persons of all ages.

In 1960, Bishop Kung was tried by a Communist puppet court and sentenced to lifelong imprisonment for his steadfast loyalty to the pope and his refusal to submit the Catholic Church to the Chinese government. Suffering from cancer, he was released to his nephew’s family, Joseph and Agnes Kung, and lived in Stamford from the late 1980s until his death in 2000. His faith and courage are demonstrated by the motto he wrote for the young Catholics in Shanghai, which hangs on the large banners in the front of the sanctuary, written in his own handwriting: “Neither fire nor sword can take away my faith in God.” Pray that the Vatican will open the Cause of Canonization for Cardinal Kung, a great witness and confessor of the Faith. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Tom Timon, Jonathan Victor, Sophia Petrafesa, Donald Gerbasi, Lyn Geikie-Rice, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Ann Cody, Julie Breunich, Angeline Kom Simo, 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.

Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Ed and Ann Cody, Bill and Felicitas Cody and all deceased members of the Burns and Cody Family req. Cody Family

St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial: Sp. Int. Gerard Landon req. Josephine Languedoc.

Statues Covered: Beginning this week, our attention is turned uniquely to Our Lord who offered Himself on the Cross for our salvation. So, statues and holy pictures of saints are covered so that we will not be distracted in our prayers from Christ Crucified—not even by the saints.

SAVE THE DATES:
Sunday, APRIL 17th: 3 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Old Town Hall: The opening of the 375th anniversary of Stamford celebrations: the ROLE OF RELIGIOUS FAITH IN THE LIFE OF STAMFORD. Msgr. DiGiovanni is the chairman of the committee organizing this event: Everyone is welcome: Let’s all show up at the Old Town Hall to make a statement:  Catholics are here, and proud of it!!

Saturday, MAY 7th: 4-7 p.m., 2016 KENTUCKY DERBY: 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, like a 65” Samsung curved smart TV. Space limited to 100 guests only; tickets: $125. All proceeds will fund the work on the church’s clerestory.

CHOIR: Anyone having vocal musical talent who 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 Indyk: idorganist@gmail.com

LATIN LOW MASS: In the Extraordinary Form each Friday at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.

Latin: Anyone interested in learning Latin? If so, let Monsignor know [203-324-1553, x 11], since we are considering beginning Latin grammar classes.

Faith on Tap: For young Catholics 21-39 years of age, will be on Tuesday, March 15th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Murphy’s Townhouse Café on 97 Franklin Street. Father John Connaughton will speak on “Rethinking the Ten Commandments.” Join us for a beer and a stimulating discussion.

The Upper Room: For Catholics ages 30 and up, 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: this month’s topic: Religious Persecutions Today.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday March 6, 2016 $ 15,538.68
Sunday March 8, 2015 $ 11,544.51

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

March 20th, Sunday Readings: Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14—23:56.

Behold the Lamb: Join us the third Saturday of every month from 7-8 p.m. for Eucharistic Adoration in the Basilica. The Holy Hour will be accompanied by charismatic songs and confessions will be available. Bring the entire family, children and all! This month’s Behold the Lamb Holy Hour will be on Saturday March 19th, 2016. See our posters in the church for a listing of future dates!

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). We began on Wednesday, March 2nd.

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

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, March 12, 2016
4:00 Joseph Kung req. Family
Sunday, March 13, 2016
7:30 +Peter Medwed – 15th Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families
10:00 Special Intentions
12:00 For the Opening of the Cause of Ignatius Cardinal Kung
5:00 +Peter Pia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 14, 2016
8:00 Thanksgiving to St. Jude req. Diane Strain
12:10 +Edward D’Agostino req. Pinto Family
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
8:00 In Honor of Padre Pio req. Gina Uva
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Jean-Guillaume Family
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Mary and Stephen Churley req. Priests of the Parish
Thursday, March 17, 2016
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +John Mannes – 55th Anniversary req. Munro and DeVivo Families
Friday, March 18, 2016
8:00 +Lucia and Antonio Tana req. Leon Taricani
12:10 Francis Kung req. Parents
Saturday, March 19, 2016
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 Special Intentions Father Walsh 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 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: After the 10a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in the ADVOCATE:

145 years ago, or so:
March 19, 1869: St. Patrick’s Day. “The natal day of Ireland’s patron saint was celebrated in Stamford with more than usual observance. The Roman Catholic Temperance Society turned out in full regalia, numbering about three hundred men—and marched through the principal streets, headed by a drum and fife corps. They made a very creditable display, with their imposing numbers and orderly manner. In the evening, at Seely’s Hall, Mr. James Cosgrove delivered an address on the “Poets and Poetry of Ireland.” The speaker was introduced to the audience by the Rev. Mr. Fagan, who, himself, delivered a short and appropriate address, which was, of course, well received by his hearers. Towards the close of the evening, Dr. J. H. Hoyt, by request, delivered a short address as did also a Mr. Lamb of New York.”

100 years ago, or so:
March 17, 1916: IRISH FAITH LASTING. “St. John’s Catholic Church was filled last night with Catholics and non-Catholics come to listen to Very Rev. J. J. O’Rourke, a noted Jesuit preacher, lecture on St. Patrick. Father O’Rourke was no stranger here, having preached a course of Lenten sermons a year ago. On that occasion, he impressed people deeply with his wonderful eloquence and powers of word photography. He was somewhat hoarse last night, but he had lost none of his oratorical power and the story he told of the Irish people and their steadfastness, in the faith of St. Patrick was such a story as thrilled every Irish heart and impressed every open-minded hearer in the large congregation. Father O’Rourke pointed out that while Ireland was being Christianized, no hand was raised against its Apostle and no blood was shed unless it was Patrick’s blood, in his penances. He contrasted this fact with the fact that the spreading of the Gospel has so often been attended with bloodshed and martyrdom. How deeply in their hearts was planted the faith of Christ, the speaker said, was evident in the fact that for three centuries, the Irish endured the worst persecutions in the history of nations and men, rather than abandon that faith.”

75 years ago, or so:
March 16, 1941: Hibernians Plan Dance to Observe St. Patrick’s Day. “The annual entertainment and dance in Hibernian Hall, Main St., tonight, under the auspices of the Gen. Philip Sheridan Branch, A.O.H., will lead the city’s observance of St. Patrick’s Day. The program sponsored by the Hibernians will get under way at 8 p.m. and will include singing and dancing, with Irish and American music, and other features. Thomas F. Harding is general chairman of the committee on arrangements.”

Behold the Lamb
-Fr. Andy Vill

This bulletin article is one part shameless plug and one part an encouragement to Eucharistic devotion and adoration. So let’s begin by getting the shameless plug done with. Next Saturday on the Feast of St. Joseph (03/19/16) we will be having our second “Behold the Lamb” night of Eucharistic adoration and praise! The time of prayer goes from 7pm-8pm and confessions will be available throughout. Our thought on the timing this: It is late enough to give you time to grab a bite to eat after the 4pm vigil Mass and finishes early enough for those of you who would like to go out for a drink or bite to eat afterwards. That’s it; the shameless plug is over.

So what is “Behold the Lamb”? As I mentioned above, it is an hour of adoration accompanied by praise music with an opportunity for confession. We begin the hour with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by prayer with music and meditations led by the musicians and priests respectively. We conclude the evening with benediction, the Divine Praises, and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. For some of us this is very familiar and welcome. For others, this is new and perhaps raises a few questions.

As I shared in some of the first bulletin articles I wrote, the devotional practice of Eucharistic adoration played a big role in my conversion and growth in a relationship with our Lord. I consider myself a “big-tent” Catholic in that I think there is a place for everyone in the Church which includes a wide variety of experiences and forms of prayer. The experience of Eucharistic adoration I had as a high school and subsequent college student was threefold.

The first type was silent adoration in the Adoration Chapel at St. Mary’s in Ridgefield. It is a blessing that anyone can sit with our Lord in prayer there at any time day or night.

The second experience I had was upon returning to Ridgefield on Thursday evenings after work during my freshman year of college. I would stop in the chapel and pray the sung rosary with a prayer group which gathered there from 8-9pm. Easily distracted in general, I found this meditative repetition of the Hail Marys and our Fathers to help me to enter into prayer even better than with just silent adoration.

The third experience of Eucharistic Adoration occurred mainly during my time at the Steubenville Youth Conferences offered in the summer as well as the nights I assisted with the youth group at St. Rose in Newtown, CT. This experience of adoration was with praise and worship music which helped me to further enter into prayer and meditation before our Eucharistic Lord. Praise songs are most often based on scripture (“Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher with its heavy references to the Pauline letters) or the writings of great Christian saints (“Restless” by Audrey Assad which gives a nod towards St. Augustine famous line “My heart is restless until it rests in you”).

I really want to encourage everyone to come; and I mean everyone! If your kids can make it through an hour at the church I would encourage you to bring them as well. There is no need to worry about your kids being too loud since we will have the praise music going. Perhaps people will think that they are being slain in the Spirit! (Please come see me if you need me to explain that joke about charismatic prayer…)

It is an opportunity to experience yet another form of devotional prayer offered by the Church at large and by the Basilica in particular! Who knows, maybe you’ll see me out for a bite to eat after the event is over!