For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday June 19, 2016

Pastor’s Corner: Last year at this time I penned a “Pastor’s Corner” while I prepared to return from Rome. It was a report on a 10-month research and writing assignment given me by Cardinal Dolan of New York: to write the history of the American seminary in the Vatican during the turbulent years of 1955-1979. The work was completed after the expenditure of approximately 10 hours daily in the Archives of the Pontifical North American College, in various Roman libraries, and in my room in Rome. Since I completed the first draft late June 2015, I wrote confidently in my “Pastor’s Corner” that it would be published “just in time to serve as a Christmas stocking stuffer!!” While the rewriting was completed with relative alacrity with the editorial assistance of Joseph McAleer, Oxon, a Trustee-Emeritus of our parish, the work to find a publisher proved a more challenging task than was the research and writing of the book, itself.

This was partially due to the size of the finished book: 522 pages, including an extensive index, with a total of 219,098 words and 1,441 footnotes, some of which are annotated. The length and detail are due to the fact that this is the history of record for the American seminary in the Vatican during an interesting period of the Church’s life: 1955-1979. Cardinal Dolan told me he wanted a history that included “warts and wrinkles”, not a coffee table picture book. And so that is what I wrote. It is a history of the American seminary in Rome as seen against the backdrop of events such as the Korean War, the Second Vatican Council, the work and assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and Robert F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and the cultural and sexual revolutions affecting all American institutions, even those training American seminarians, such as the North American College at that time. The number of men ordained at “The College” during those years of study totaled an astounding 1,081 priests. Just as today, the American seminarians of 1955-1979 sent by their American bishops to study in Rome were young, bright, and energetic. Today the College is filled to capacity: it is home to 250 Americans all studying for the priesthood to serve in various dioceses around the United States.

The North American College was founded by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1859, and re-established after World War II in 1946 by Pope Pius XII. It is not a college as we have in the United States, like UCONN, which provides all the classes necessary to obtain a college undergraduate degree. The Pontifical North American College in Rome is a European style college: it is a place of residence. There are no classes given there leading to an academic degree. All academic classes in theology are taken in various universities around Rome. The College is a residence, but one that also prepares men to live and work as priests, with spiritual direction and training in counseling ,and in the celebration of Mass and the sacraments. The men living at the Pontifical North American College have all completed their college undergraduate work before coming to Rome. They are graduate and post-graduate students, most of whom pursue their theological studies at Pontifical Gregorian University, established by Saint Ignatius Loyola in 1551. The “Greg”, as we call it, numbers popes and saints among its graduates! A number of graduates of the Gregorian and the North American have served at Saint John’s: Monsignor Nicholas Coleman, who was the pastor of Saint John’s 1936-1963, Fathers Michael Dogali, Paul Check, and Terry Walsh, Fr. Vill and I are all numbered among those same graduates of the College and the Greg. For me this writing assignment was a labor of love.

So, I’m delighted to report now that a publisher has stepped forward to publish my history of the College: The Midwest Theological Forum will publish my book by September, 2016. While one year later, it will still be completed in time to be a stocking stuffer for Christmas, albeit Christmas, 2016! I only want to be helpful as you consider your Christmas shopping options. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Jean Corcoran, Rosemarie Drexel, Sylvia Ardise, Sylvia Iannazzi, A.J. Barr, Patricia McNamee, Renee Kahn, William Byrnes, Jonathan Victor, Sophia Petrafesa, Donald Gerbasi, Lyn Geikie-Rice, Addison Byrne, Ruth Coyle, Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Brianna Petigny, Elaine Shoztic, Chris Seely, John Kronk, Mary Lena Cocchia, Alexandre Laurent, John MacLean, John Murray, Karyl Suzanne Bearden, Kevin O’Byrne, Rita Timon, Diane Grant, Mary Bauer, Mary Rose Bauer, Paolo Cavallo, Silvana Smith, Mildred Beirne.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Robert Ix, Carolyn Gerwick, Francimene Morisseau, Denny Levi, Salvator Preziosi, Carmine Longo, Harry Bethea, Michael J. Morello, Donald Pontbriant, Thomas Maker, Cathy Itri, Madeline Powers, Joseph Casale, Dorothy Verderosa, Maureen Tilley, Enrico Imbrogno, Sr., Ann Cody.

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

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: In Honor of Fathers req. Joan and John Kronk

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

Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Thomas Francis Bafundo and Denise Klemm

Annual Catholic Appeal: This year’s parish goal set by the Diocese of $110,000 has been reached!!! Thank you to everyone who donated to this diocesan appeal. Since we are actually OVER goal—$111,000, we are done for this year. God bless you for your generosity.

Basilica Bookstore News: Copies of the Basilica Walking Tour are available in our bookstore for $3.00 each. This guide, written by Msgr. DiGiovanni and Dr. Joseph McAleer, with photos by John Glover and published by Greg Duffey, provide a fascinating meditation on the art, architecture, altars, and shrines in our Basilica.

2016 Public Square Rosary: The Holy Rosary, at the Corner of Atlantic St. & Tresser Blvd. (near Rich Forum), Saturday, June 25 @ 12:00 Noon. For more information, contact: John Mossa, 203-329-1318.

Thursday, July 14th thru Saturday, July 16th: A Triduum of Prayer in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On Thursday and Friday, beginning at 7:30 pm, Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, a homily, and Triduum prayers, with the opportunity for confession.

Saturday, July 16th at 9:30 am: A Solemn Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form, offered by Father Cyprian LaPastina. All are invited. July 16th marks the 7th anniversary of Saint John’s being raised to the dignity of a Minor Basilica. On July 16th, a Plenary Indulgence is offered to all the faithful under the usual conditions. The Triduum prayers will be offered at the end of the 12:10 pm Mass. Please join us.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday June 12, 2016 $ 12,551.42
Sunday June 14, 2015 $ 12,591.99

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

June 26th, Sunday Readings: 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62.

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.

Practice for Heaven: True Stories from a Modern Missionary: is a new collection of writings by Cardinal Edward Egan, just published in form by Sophia Institute Press and edited by our own Dr. Joe McAleer. Filled with practical advice and priestly wisdom for all ages: available in our bookstore, in all bookstores and on

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

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

St. Monica Biblical Greek Grammar: Thursdays at 6:30 pm, in the Rectory. An intermediate grammar/reading class. We are translating the Acts of the Apostles. Basic grammatical knowledge of Biblical Greek is required. Call the rectory for information or Monsignor at

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 Code of Canon Law. An intermediate reading ability in Latin is necessary. Call the Rectory for information.

Baptism/Confirmation Sponsorship Certificate: When asked to be a sponsor, a certificate is needed from your home parish. If the parish priest does not know you personally, or by sight, the only other way of knowing you as a practicing catholic is by tracking your contributions by check or envelope.

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:

Help End Legalized Abortion: Abortions take place daily at Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 35 Sixth Street. To join the local prayer group or be trained as a Sidewalk Counselor contact Noelle at (857) 345-0808.

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: or 203-866-1606: There’s no charge. Next meeting: Monday, June 27th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Cub Scouts: Our next Pack 1227 meeting will be this Thursday June 23rd, 2016 in the Msgr. Nagle Hall from 7-8pm. Cub Scouting is open to boys entering grades 1-5 in the fall of 2016. For information on joining our Pack, please email Fr. Vill at

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, June 18, 2016
4:00 +Charles and Josephine Davis req. Joe Melfi
Sunday, June 19, 2016
7:30 Special Intentions Sophia Hickman req. mother
10:00 +Frances Delaney Birthday Remembrance req. Arthur Wargo
12:00 Deceased Family Members of Vincent and Theresa Kung
5:00 Poor Souls in Purgatory
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, June 20, 2016
8:00 +Robert IX req. Monsignor DiGiovanni
12:10 +Christopher Vill
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
8:00 Deceased Members of the Catarella Family
12:10 +Salvatore Rotante req. Ann Borkowski
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Dila Camaj req. Age
Thursday, June 23, 2016
8:00 +Cecilia req. Bento Mascarenhas
12:10 Deceased Members of the Lockhart Family req. Harriet Lockhart
Friday, June 24, 2016
8:00 All Souls in Purgatory req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Saturday, June 25, 2016
8:00 +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10 +Maria Bueno req. Lenny Mabel Coste

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: Starts again in September, after the 10:00a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in the ADVOCATE:

The Advocate: June 26, 1872: . “On Sunday last, June 23rd, the corner stone for a new Roman Catholic church on Atlantic street, in this village, was laid. The Right Rev. Bishop McFarland was present and performed in person the most important part of the ceremonies. A number of Catholic clergymen from neighboring towns and cities were also present, including Rev. Father Hewett of New York, Smith of Norwalk, Cooney of Providence, one of the first pastors on the Stamford mission, Gaffney of Thomastown, Walsh of Meriden, Sheridan of Danbury, Drew of Bridgeport, Sheridan of Collinsville, Duggett of Providence, and Dowling of Port Chester. With these gentlemen were Mr. Healy of New Haven and Mr. James Murphy of Providence, the architect of the church, besides the local clergy, Rev. Father Fagan and his assistant, Father Healy. The ceremony was most impressive and was witnessed by a large contingency numbering perhaps three thousand people. At half past three o’clock, the strains of martial music denoted the coming of the procession which had been formed in the neighborhood of the old church. It was headed by the Howe Band of Bridgeport, numbering twenty musicians and drum major. The band was immediately followed by the Willis Guard, a cadet company numbering one hundred and presenting a neat appearance. These were followed by the various religious benevolent societies connected with St. John’s R.C. Church, and by its members generally. When the procession reached the new church, the clergy, with their attendants and others invited, mounted a platform which had been erected on the massive foundation of the main tower. The platform was shaded by a large American flag, and in its center a stand was erected for the convenience of the speaker. The services were opened by an address from Rev. Father Hewett of New York in which he congratulated his hearers on the occasion which had brought them together, and contrasted the religious liberty they enjoyed with the alleged persecutions endured in Ireland by the grand parents of most of those present. A basket wreathed with flowers was placed on the corner stone and the people were invited to place their contributions in it. A large number came forward and placed envelopes, bearing their names and containing their contributions in the basket. The following is a list of the articles enclosed in the corner stone: The parchment with a proper inscription in Latin; the different U.S. coins, bills, currency, etc. of the circulation of the present day; gold and silver medals, and old Roman coins; copies of the Stamford Advocate, The New York Freeman’s Journal and Catholic Register, and the Hartford Daily Times.”

Is that the backbone or bicuspid?
-Fr. Andy Vill

This past week we had the honor of hosting a first class relic of St. Anthony of Padua here at the Basilica of St. John’s. While I have not conducted an in-depth survey of the over eighty parishes in our diocese, I would venture to say with great confidence that the Basilica houses the largest number of relics in the Diocese of Bridgeport. When people see our relics, the first question that they ask is often, “Who is that?” (i.e. from which Saint does that come?) and then “What is it?” (i.e. what type or class of relic is it?)

The history of relic veneration goes back to the early church when the first Christians would go to the catacombs to celebrate Mass at the tombs of the martyrs. Just as we offer Mass for the dead today, they would offer Mass for those who had died and seek the intercession of those who are in heaven. When Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire under the rule of Constantine in the early part of the 4th century and churches were being erected, the relics of the saints were brought out of the catacombs and placed in altars in the churches. The catacombs had not been well maintained and were increasingly becoming unsafe and the placing of relics in the churches also helped to promote communal Christian worship in these new buildings.

To the non-Catholic (and even some of us Catholics) the tradition of veneration of relics might seem a bit odd. The head of St. Catherine of Siena is venerated in Siena, but if you want to venerate her body, you need to go to the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome where it is enshrined. The remains of saints are often separated and venerated throughout the whole world. If you think about the application of this practice in the secular world it does not seem so foreign. How many people go to a concert to see their favorite band and leave overjoyed having received a guitar pick from the lead guitarist. What about receiving an autographed ball from one’s favorite athlete? How often do we hold on to the favorite sweatshirt or perhaps a child’s stuffed animal of a loved one after they have passed away? We associate objects from a person’s life with the people we admire or miss having around and these objects bring us some comfort. The veneration of relics in the Church can serve the same purpose.

The relics which we venerate are broken down into three classes; first class, second class, and third class. A first class relic is a piece of the saint’s body; that is a piece of bone, hair, blood, etc. There are certain saints whose entire bodies are relics and others who have had pieces of their bodies broken up and distributed as relics for individual veneration. The bodies of saints like Pope Pius X, Pope Innocent XI, and Pope John XXIII which are all entombed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome are known as “incorrupt” which means that the bodies have been preserved from the normal rate of decomposition. Some incorrupt saints “look better than others,” but nevertheless the preserved state of the body of a saint is considered miraculous and can count towards the two requisite miracles to be named a saint in the first place.

Some saints have only parts of their bodies which remain incorrupt. In Padua the incorrupt tongue of St. Anthony is venerated. The first class relic of St. Anthony which was brought to our basilica from Padua was a piece of his skin. The incorrupt relic of St. John Vianney’s heart was venerated at St. Mary parish in Greenwich just a few weeks ago. There are three different vials of blood from Pope Saint John Paul the Second that are venerated in Rome and in Poland.

A second class relic is something which was touched by a saint in their lifetime. Some people have entire garments worn by saints like a nun’s habit or accessories like a bishop’s pectoral cross. I have a second class relic of Pope John Paul II which is a 4mm square piece of white cloth that has been affixed to a holy card, most likely taken from one of his papal cassocks.

A third class relic is the easiest to obtain because one can actually “make” a third class relic of a saint. An object which has been touched to a first class relic is considered to be a third class relic. Most people will touch a rosary, medal, or prayer card to the first class relic. These items of devotion are often used in daily private devotions such as the prayer cards kept as place cards in a bible or prayer book.

With the veneration of relics, like most practices of private devotion in the Church, I have the following advice; if it is helpful do it, if not, don’t. If prayers before these objects elevate your mind and heart to God then they serve their value. If it is hard to bring yourself to use these items of devotion, that’s okay too, there are many methods of devotional prayer that can help you to worship God better.

For a full listing of the relics we have in possession at the Basilica, see the booklet kept on the left hand side of pulpit at the front of the church.