For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday March 27, 2016

Risen Christ Pastor’s Corner: Today the Church recalls the bodily resurrection of Our Lord from the grave. That means that Jesus walked out of his tomb in the body he took in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which He preached, healed people and performed miracles, and died on the Cross. Jesus was not a ghost, or a zombie. He bore the wounds in his hands and feet where the nails had been driven through to affix Him to the Cross, and the wound from the soldier’s spear through His ribs and heart. He ate with His Apostles after He rose from the grave; He allowed His Apostles to touch His wounds. They saw Him with their eyes, touched His risen body, and heard Him with their ears, as Saint John wrote in his first letter. No ghost, no zombie: Jesus is the conqueror of death for us.

Why should the resurrection be of any importance—if it ever happened!!? First, it did happen, since we have hundreds of witnesses of the resurrected Jesus. The Twelve Apostles, who willingly suffered in imitation of Christ rather than deny the Risen Lord whose body they themselves had seen and touched. They could not deny His resurrection, no matter the threat of torture or death. Jesus had to rise literally from the dead in order to fulfill the promises made by God to Israel. First, that salvation would come through His chosen people: Jesus was Jewish, thus fulfilling that promise; Second, that God would give to His faithful people land to live upon forever. That was no promise of real estate, but a promise that He would restore the natural order of all things that had been disordered through Adam’s sin and our sins. The land God promised through Israel is given us all in Christ: not real estate, but the possibility of eternity in our bodies. Death was not part of God’s creation. God’s promise of a homeland refers to the stuff of which we are made—remember the Book of Genesis, when God formed Adam out of dirt. His promise is that the whole person should be saved to eternal life—both soul and body—the land upon which we would dwell forever is our bodies. But our eternal life begins now, through a life of Grace, in virtue and the Sacraments. The beautifying work of the risen Lord starts in this life in our sanctification, through a life of virtue and by the grace of the sacraments, and reaches its fulfillment in the life to come, in the flesh. Christ, who now beautifies the souls of His saints, will on the last day beautify their bodies. Jesus, the eternal Word of the Father made flesh, is the Head of the Church, as Saint Paul writes, and we are united with Him as His members; His victory over death and sin is our victory, as well. St. Augustine wrote, “The Head of the Church is Christ: the Church is the Body of Christ. Our Head is risen and has ascended [bodily] into Heaven. Where the Head is, there also the members will be.”[De Symbolo, I,9] “It is our lowly nature,” writes Pope Saint Leo the Great, “which in Christ is raised far above all the angels at the Father’s right hand.” [Tractatus, 74] The glory that now belongs to the flesh of Christ is destined to be given to all the just on the last day, when, as St. Paul writes, He ‘changes our lowly body to be like His glorious body.” [Phil. 3:21] The entire human person-body and soul-is destined to share in the beauty and life of the Trinity. St. Thomas Aquinas observed, “Whatever belongs to the nature of the human body was whole in the body of the risen Christ. Now it is obvious that flesh and bones and blood and other such things belonged to the nature of the human body. Therefore, all these things were in the body of the risen Christ.” [Summa Theologiae, 3a 54,3] Christ’s perfect obedience of the Father, even to death on the Cross as payment for our sins, leads to Christ’s triumph over death, for all of us. The Resurrection is an historical fact, which points to the hope we should all have in sharing that eternal life, body and soul. Christ is re-creating all creation, and He begins by dying for our sins and rising to new life in the flesh, preparing eternity for those who love Him.

That’s why Jesus Resurrection from the dead is important: It is everything!
—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.

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

Easter Sunday: There is no 5pm or 6pm Mass on Easter Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday: April 3rd: A Holy Hour 1:00-2:00PM with the Holy Rosary, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

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 11:00 a.m-12 noon 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.

Faith on Tap: For young Catholics 21-39 years of age, will be on Tuesday, April 19th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Murphy’s Townhouse Café on 97 Franklin Street. Father Andrew Vill will speak on “Why Get Married in the Church.” Join us for a beer and a stimulating discussion.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Not Available because of Early Bulletin Transmission Deadlines

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

April 3rd, Sunday Readings:  Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; Jn 20:19-31.

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? 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 GroupTuesdays 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
HOLY SATURDAY, March 26th
8:00PM Easter Vigil: People of the Parish
Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016
7:30 Special Intentions Terenzio Family req. Millie
10:00 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 All Souls in Purgatory
5:00 No 5PM Mass Easter Sunday
6:00 No 6PM Mass Easter Sunday
Monday, March 28, 2016
8:00 Thanksgiving to St. Anthony req. Diane Strain
12:10 +Alfred Preziosi req. Bill, Richard, Michelle Sagdati and Marion Morris
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
8:00 +Labouze Jean Pierre req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Donna Gerardi DeSalle req. Terri Rizzo
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
8:00 For deceased friends and colleagues
12:10 Antonio Marchetti, Sr. req. Priests of the Parish
Thursday, March 31, 2016
8:00 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Jeanne S. Loughlin req. Lucille Dahm
Friday, April 1, 2016
8:00 Alexandra Laurent Birthday req. Gertha Laurent
12:10 +Peter Pia req. Dr. Joe McAleer
Saturday, April 2, 2016
8:00 +Delfina de Leon req. Blanca Reyes
12:10 +Kathleen Wink req. Joan Fitzgerald

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:

120 years ago, or so:

March 26, 1894:  EASTER IN THE CHURCHES. A Large Attendance at All—Beautiful Flowers and Music.  “It was not the ideal weather for Easter Day, and many ladies postponed the wearing of their spring finery, but all the churches in Stamford were crowded. Many strange faces were seen in each of them. There was a large congregation at St. John’s R. C. Church last night. There were musical vespers and an excellent sermon by the Rev. Peter McClean of the Catholic University of Washington on “The Joys of Easter.” For his text he took the verse, “This is the day the Lord hath made, let us be glad and rejoice therein.” He drew a comparison between the different feasts of the church, as the Feast of the Nativity, and the Feast of the Transfiguration, and showed how Easter was the most joyous feast celebrated by the church. The fact of the resurrection was a proof of the divinity of Christ, and the confirmation of the Christian’s faith and the assurance of his hope of future bliss. He referred to Christ’s resurrection as a pledge of our resurrection. The sermon was listened to with the deepest attention and made a marked impression upon the congregation. The program of Easter music prepared by the director, J. F. O’Brien, was unusually interesting and of a high order. The morning sermon was preached by Rev. J. C. Lynch, the new assistant, and the offertory was, as usual at Easter, devoted to the education of young men to the priesthood.”

 75 years ago, or so:

  March 23, 1940:  Unseasonably Cold Weather To Greet Easter Paraders. “Stamford will join with the rest of the Christian world tomorrow in observing the joyous feast of Easter, commemorating the resurrection of Christ from the dead. In Catholic churches throughout the city, resounding “Alleluias” and music especially ordained for Easter time will signal the world’s rejoicing at the miracle of the Resurrection and the end of the seven-week period of penance. At St. John’s Catholic Church, the church choir under the direction of Miss Irene Kearney and Howard Fagan, organist and choir master, will be heard at the 9, 10 and 11 o’clock Masses. The soloists for the Mass will be Miss Helen Regan, Soprano, and John Lemon, Tenor.”

35 years ago, or so:

  April 5, 1980:  St. John’s announces High Mass for Easter“At 10:15 a.m. a High Mass is scheduled for Easter at St. John’s Catholic Church with the adult choir, performing the Mass of St. Basil by Jules Brazil. Entrance hymn will be Praise Ye the Father, by Charles Gounoud. Other music: God Gave His Only Begotten Son, by J. Steiner.”

Oui à l’esprit                                                    -Fr. Andy Vill

Every year at the Easter Vigil we hear a deacon (or if a deacon is not present, a priest) sing the Easter proclamation called the Exsultet. In this, we hear an overview of salvation history and the telling of the glory of Easter. “O wonder of your humble care for us! O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your Son! O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!” In this song of praise we give thanks to God for the possibility of salvation through His Son Jesus. Nothing we do can earn salvation so we give glory to God for His intervention in our lives.

Last year I was in Spain during Holy Week preparing to hike the last 110km of the Camino de Santiago. We spent the week in southern Spain; Seville in particular for the majority of the Triduum. Our plan was to be with a group of nuns in Madrid for the Easter Vigil before leaving for northern Spain on Easter Monday to begin the Camino. My friend Matt and I had taken as a sort of mantra for our trip a phrase that our spiritual director from the North American College had told to us. He had taken a pilgrimage group to France and kept repeating to them, “Oui à l’esprit!” (“Yes to the Spirit!”) Being that our trip to Spain was a sort of pilgrimage we thought it fitting to adopt that phase for the two weeks. When it came time to make decisions we would always ask, “Is the Spirit leading me to do something new? To encounter this person? To try that experience?” By saying yes to the Spirit, it helped us to live Holy Week a bit more stress free. God had always been so good to me, why shouldn’t I be practicing greater trust in Him?

On the morning of Good Friday I received a phone call. “I have a surprise for you Father,” the mother superior of the convent in Madrid told me, “would you be willing to sing the Exsultet for us tomorrow night in Spanish?” Oui à l’esprit! I thought. After all, I knew all of the sisters in the convent so I would be among friends, right? “Yes, I can sing the Exsultet at the Vigil Mass tomorrow.” I replied. “Good,” she said, “I’ll tell the pastor.” The pastor?!? “Wait, where are we celebrating the Vigil? Not at the convent?” “Oh, you will be concelebrating at a local parish!” You mean a real parish with real people? Oui à l’esprit…

On Saturday Matt and I made the five hour drive north to Madrid arriving at the convent in the late afternoon. I immediately went with one of the musically talented sisters and spent three hours practicing singing the Exsultet. I had heard it before, but had never sung it; especially not in Spanish. For those of you who have never been to the Easter Vigil, know that the Exsultet is long. It is about five pages of musical notation. To give you an idea of the time it takes to sing, know that the preface, when it is sung at the Noon Mass is only one page long. The intervals in the music were new to me and it wasn’t coming to me as easy as I thought it would. “I know how to sing and my Spanish is pretty good; I got this,” I told myself. “After all, oui à l’esprit…”

We departed the convent for the parish and I was still nervous. I’ve trusted Him all week. God won’t let me down, right? Before the Mass began I said the prayer I make before every Mass I offer. “Lord, send down your Spirit to be with us, that You may be glorified and Your people here might be sanctified. Amen.” As I mounted the ambo, I took a deep breath. I looked out at the over five hundred people assembled and began to sing.

Oh no, I started too high! I can correct this. Wait, was that interval supposed to be a third or a fifth? I didn’t pronounce that word right! Wait, where am I now? Perhaps I can switch to Recto Tono and finish out with some dignity. Oh no, there are still three and a half pages left! I could see the group of forty sisters in the pews to the right all uncomfortable as I continued the train wreck that was this year’s Exsultet.

When I finally finished, all of the blood had drained from my face and I felt very clammy. I descended the ambo and took my seat. I had screwed up royally. I have never bombed so terribly in front of so many people in my life. So much for my great talent… When I sat down for the first reading however, a feeling of sincere peace came over me. I had been so convinced of my own ability to sing and speak Spanish that I was convinced that God’s being present to me meant a guarantee of my success. Was God glorified in my singing? I think so. I had said yes to the mother superior’s will and through her I had said yes to Him. Were the people sanctified? Absolutely! Though me God was able to provide his Faithful with a last minute Lenten penance. Five minutes of listening to quite possibly the worst rendition of the Exsultet that parish will ever have to endure must be sanctifying! One of the Polish sisters from the community assured me that they were sanctified when she informed me, “People were definitely united to God in prayer; we were ALL praying for you as you sang!”

Oui à l’esprit. I have learned that it is important to say yes to God in all things. He doesn’t need us and yet He still invites us into His life and love. May God be glorified in all things; even if that means being humiliated and humbled before complete strangers. This Easter season, let us bear the light of Christ in the world and in our willingness to say yes to Him; let Him be glorified that we might be sanctified.