For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 20, 2016

Pastor’s Corner: I have heard it commented that God is cruel since He permitted, even Carrying the Cross required, His Son to suffer. Not true. Jesus died, not because a cruel God required the suffering, but because mankind’s sins are so enormous; our own outrages so cruelly astounding, that they could be paid for and their effects overcome only by the suffering of the Eternal Son. The Creator of the universe humbled Himself to become a creature in order to suffer on the Cross as the only means to raise us up from our own self-inflicted corruption, and to repay us for our crimes–with eternal life in the flesh. Here are two of the clearest narratives of Jesus’ divine generosity in our regard on the first Good Friday, which led to His and our triumph over death: nailed to a Cross in the flesh taken in the womb of the Virgin, buried in a borrowed grave, and raised in the Easter Resurrection of God in the flesh: all done for us. Be grateful! Here are some mediations for your use during Holy Week; join us on Holy Thursday, Friday and Holy Saturday as we accompany Our Lord:

“Jesus freely goes forth to the sufferings foretold for him; indeed he had himself foretold them to his disciples and had been forced to upbraid Peter, who took the prediction badly. The salvation of the world was to hang upon this suffering. Jesus therefore declared himself to those who were searching for him: ‘I am the one you seek.’ When accused, he did not answer; when he could have hidden, he would not, even though he evaded attack on several other occasions.

“Moreover, he weeps for Jerusalem, which by its unbelief was its own downfall, and he condemns the glorious temple to total ruin. He bears patiently a blow to the head from a man who was twice over a slave. He is slapped, spat upon, insulted, tortured, whipped, and finally nailed to the Cross with two thieves to share his suffering. He is numbered among murderers and felons, drinks the bitter sap of an evil vine, is crowned with thorns instead of palm-sprigs and grape-clusters; he is pierced with a lance and finally buried.

“All this he suffered for our salvation. Those who were slaves to sin were also subject to the penalty of sin; he was sinless and the only wholly just Man, but he bore the punishment for our sins and by his death on the Cross lifted the ancient curse [of Adam]. He took on himself the bitter sorrows of mortal, suffering man; he made human deformity his own and restored man to his lofty estate as the Image of God.

“The [royal] purple garb of mockery pointed to Him as the true King; the reed on his head to the weakness of Satan’s power; the slaps he received were the pledge of our freedom. Thus he bore the insults and afflictions that were our due. His side, like Adam’s was pierced, but from it came, not a woman whose mistake brought death, but a fountain of life to enliven the world. A twofold stream flows from the fountain; it give us rebirth in the baptistery and feeds us as children at God’s altar and table [at Mass]” (Saint Theodoret of Cyrrhus, On the Incarnation of the Lord ).

Here is another work, observing the love of God made visible in the flesh:

“The true worshiper of the Lord in his Passion should look upon the crucified Jesus with the eyes of the heart and recognize in Jesus’ flesh your own. For there is no one so weak that the victory of the Cross fails you, no one whom Christ’s prayer cannot help. If Christ did good to his enemies who raged against him, how much more to you when you turn to him? He has pierced through our ignorance and strengthened us in our weakness. . .

“Let us, then not be so arrogantly and anxiously immersed in the business of our present life that we do not strive wholeheartedly to follow the example of our Redeemer and to become like him. Everything he did and endured was for our salvation so that the power inherent in Jesus, the Head, might enter into us, the members of His Body [The Church], as well.

“When God took our mortal substance unto himself in the Virgin’s womb, and ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,’ what person . . . was excluded from his merciful embrace? Can you not recognize your own weakness in Christ’s? Who cannot see that in his nature as our fellow-servant, Christ who ate and slept, was sad and wept in his loving concern for us?

“Our nature was to be healed of its ancient wounds and purified of the infection of sin. Therefore, the Only-begotten of God became one of the sons of men that he might have not only the fullness of divinity but an authentic manhood as well. It was for our sake that he lay lifeless in the tomb and rose on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father’s majesty.” (Pope Saint Leo the Great, Sermon 15, On the Lord’s Passion).  —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.

Palm Sunday: Please pick up your Palms before mass, Palms will be blessed at the beginning of all the Weekend Masses: Saturday 4pm Vigil Mass; Sunday 7:30, 10:00, 12:00Noon, 5:00, & 6:00pm.

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

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Anna Taricani req. Leon Taricani

St. Joseph Votive Light Memorial: +Ed & Ann Cody and Bill & Felicitas Cody req. Cody Family

Statues Covered: During Holy 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 play an important part in the life of Stamford, and we’re 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.

Connecticut Food Bank: Will send a mobile food bank to the Basilica parking lot on March 30th, and will distribute free food from 10:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. Anyone needing food may come and take home what they have, free of charge. No ID’s of any kind are required to receive food.

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.

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 13, 2016 $ 14,857.00
Sunday March 15, 2015 $ 14,550.92
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 27th, Sunday Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9.

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 April 16th, 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).

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 19, 2016
4:00 +George Terenzio req. Family
Sunday, March 20, 2016
7:30 +Jeanne Loughlin req. Eleanore Smith
10:00 Douglas C. Lovell req. Jagodzinski Family
12:00 Special Intentions Hickman Family
5:00 +Peter Pia
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, March 21, 2016
8:00 +Theron and Lena Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 +William Borkowski req. Michael and Ann Borkowski
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
8:00 Souls in Purgatory
12:10 +Ashley Coutermash req. Marie Pinto and Family
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
8:00 Special Intentions Father Walsh req. Lula Blackson
12:10 Special Intentions Father Walsh req. Millie Terenzio
TRIDUUM SACRUM
HOLY THURSDAY, March 24th -The church remains open until 12 midnight for Adoration.
NO 8AM or 12:10PM Masses
8:00PM: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: People of the Parish
GOOD FRIDAY, March 25th
NO 8AM or 12:10 PM Masses
3:00PM Liturgy of Lord’s Passion
HOLY SATURDAY, March 26th
NO 8AM, 12:10PM or 4PM MASSES
8:00PM Easter Vigil: People of the Parish

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:

150 years ago, or so:
March 30, 1866: Local Matters. Fast Day. “Friday next being Good Friday, also the day appointed for a general fast day in this state, there will be the usual services in the Roman Catholic Church.”

115 years ago, or so:
April 4, 1901: A SOLEMN SEASON—Church Services from Now Till Easter. “The services in St. John’s Roman Catholic Church last evening and this morning were attended by very large congregations. At the Tenebrae service, last evening, every seat in the church was taken and the vestibules were filled with people standing. The service was very impressive. The singing of the Lamentations by John A. O’Neil, Joseph Greeney and Peter H. Morgan, and the singing of the sanctuary choir, was excellent. The latter were trained for the ceremony by Rev. Father Dolan. This morning, solemn High Mass was celebrated at 8 o’clock. The celebration of the Mass ended with a procession in which the Blessed Sacrament was carried from its resting place on the principal altar to a repository on a side altar. The sacrament was carried under a canopy, and in the procession were the members of the various children’s societies of the church. Flower-girls walked before the sacrament and strewed the pathway with delicate flowers. The sacrament will rest in its repository all day for adoration. The Good Friday service will be of a solemn nature. It will commence at 9 a.m. During the service the passion will be sung by three priests in the sanctuary. At 3 p.m. service of the Stations of the Cross will be held, and at 7:30 in the evening a sermon will be preached on the passion of Christ. The services Saturday will commence at 7 a.m. and will continue until about 9 o’clock. The service will consist of the blessing of the paschal fire, blessing of the paschal candles, singing of prophecies, blessing of the baptismal font, followed by the celebration of Solemn High Mass.”

100 years ago, or so:
March 17, 1913: PALM SUNDAY
VESPERS. “A large congregation in St. John’s Catholic Church listened with reverent attention, last night, to some excellent singing by the church choir, augmented for the occasion to 30 voices. Margo’s solemn vespers were sung, and there were incidental solos, notably “The Inflammatus,” from Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” the “Cujus Animan,” by Rossini and Haydn’s “Laudate Dominum.” Mrs. William R. Troy, who sang “The Inflammatus,” with chorus, and also the “Tantum Ergo,” was in especially fine voices. The comparative ease with which she attained high C and held the note was remarked after the service. She is a pupil of Theodore Van York of New York.”

No One Has Greater Love Than This…
-Fr. Andy Vill

“The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death. We adore you O Christ and we praise you…” It was my first year of theology studies and I was with a group of about twenty seminarians at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz just outside of Krakow, Poland. It was Good Friday and we began praying the Stations of the Cross at Auschwitz II, the overflow camp built once the first site was too small to hold all of the prisoners who were being sent there. The first station was prayed in front of a cattle car that transported people from all over Europe to that evil place. The solitary car was positioned in the location where people would descend and immediately be judged for their fittingness to work. Those who were healthy enough would go the left to work and die at a later time in the near future. Those who were injured, elderly, or too infirm to work would be sent to the right where they would meet their end in a gas chamber designed to efficiently extinguish large numbers of people with relative ease. They like Jesus were innocent men and women being condemned to their death.

Earlier that morning, on the guided tour of the death camp, I came to know about the great saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe. In 1941three prisoners went missing from the camp and the remaining prisoners were lined up on a curb outside. Ten prisoners were selected from among these men by the guards to die by starvation as an example to the rest of the camp. Not having been selected Kolbe, a Polish Catholic priest, stepped forward volunteering to take the place of a man who had a family. Kolbe had not yet turned forty-seven years old at the time.

On our tour we were taken inside of a building to see the room where these chosen men all starved to death; all except Maxamilian Kolbe. After two weeks of starvation and dehydration, Maxamilian Kolbe remaining alive had to be executed by lethal injection. Kolbe had retained his priestly dignity even as a prisoner and encouraged these men on by leading them in prayers to Our Lady. Our tour guide brought us from the small room inside to the curb where the men were first chosen for death. Standing in the spot our guide told us the following, “Inside you saw where Maxamilian Kolbe died. This is where he gave up his life.” Most often a martyr is recognized as someone who died in odium fidei, that is, because of hatred for the Faith. The man or woman gives up their life in order to stay true to their Faith. Kolbe is called a Martyr of Charity since his witness was in his willingness to lay down his life for another out of love.

“The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross. We adore you O Christ and we praise you…” We were now standing outside of the bombed out gas chamber of Auschwitz II. The Nazis had tried to cover up the atrocities which they had committed before the camp was liberated by Allied Forces at the end of the war. Contemplating the death of so many people as the result of evil men was very sobering for us that day. How could we as a people have allowed this to happen? Naturally the meditation led us to contemplate how our own sinfulness contributes to Christ’s death on a Cross.

“The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb. We adore you O Christ and we praise you…” We concluded the Stations of the Cross in the field near a slightly wooded area. This was the place where the cremated remains of the executed prisoners were scattered after they had been killed in the gas chamber. This brought me to think of my own death. One day, I will be laid to rest also. I don’t know how I will die, but I know that I will. Jesus tells us that no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). Everyone must die, but not everyone will give up their lives for something.

What do you live for? Whom do you live for? As we begin this Holy Week, let us take St. Maxamilian Kolbe as our patron. He is called a martyr of charity not because his life was taken from him, but rather because he laid it down freely for another. We need to ask ourselves; how is Jesus calling me to be a martyr of charity? We are all going to die one day. How are we choosing today to give our life? Whom do you I for? Am I willing to die for Him as well?