For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday July 3, 2016

Fireworks Pastor’s Corner: My long-past youth provides me with few memories of July 4th celebrations, since my family didn’t celebrate the holiday. No parades, no firecrackers, no visiting of relatives. It was simply the first official holiday during the first sweet weeks of summer vacation from school. There was only one unvaried action each July 4th. My father would annually pronounce, “The summer is over!” This augury was received by all in my family with a respectful silence, after which all returned to the leisurely holiday tasks at hand. July 4th continued to be a non-festive national holiday for me until my first journey and prolonged absence outside the United States of America in the summer of 1973, when I was assigned to study theology in Rome in preparation for the priesthood. Then, July 4th became akin to Christmas, since all American students longed for home.

Being an ex-patriot can be a tricky business. An American tourist’s initial fascination being away from home, and first frustration living in a “foreign” land, wears off quickly, knowing that a return home is only a few days or weeks in the offing. Living outside the United States for an extended period of time is very different, for the realization becomes immediate that home is not here, no matter how comfortable, for more reasons than that one is living under a different flag.

To appreciate the glories of the United States of America, one need travel abroad and experience how everything works differently in strands Americans term “foreign”. The ex-patriot understands quickly that there are very different foundational principles at work in societies not American. Prescinding from questions of efficiency in postal systems, quality of air and water, smoking in public places, and the near ubiquitous presence of beggars, gypsies, and thieves insisting upon immediate charity, living abroad slowly makes one more patriotic for Old Glory. That patriotism is more than mere nostalgia or homesickness; it is not mindless xenophobia, either. I do mean that being patriotic means being in possession of a subtle interior appreciation for the principles and human rights enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate on the Glorious Fourth.

Is the United States a perfect society? No. But it is a society offering more possibilities than any other on the planet. That is why so many strive to come here; for work and the almighty dollar, certainly. But there is a more foundational reason, even if unspoken by the immigrant or misunderstood by the native-born citizen. It is the existence of a near level field offered everyone by the unalienable rights given us by God, recognized and protected by the law of this land: the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The United States government does not give us these rights, nor does it create these rights. They are God-given to everyone on the planet. For the most part, these are unrecognized and certainly unprotected by governments beyond our Golden Shores, yet they are defended and protected as natural rights under the laws of our country.

This makes all the difference, and this is the basic part of life essentially longed for by the American ex-pat, no matter the quality of life, elegance of accommodations, or level of privilege enjoyed while living abroad. The way societies and governments operate depends on their official approach to God and the protection of the rights He gives everyone, so determinative of who we are. It took my moving to Italy 43 years ago this summer and living there for 10 years to learn that lesson.

My father taught me many things, including that “The summer is over” on July 4th. But he and my mother also taught my sisters and me an appreciation for home. It’s a great country, this U.S. of A. So, let’s thank God for it! It preserves and defends those unalienable rights God gave each of us when He knit us in our mother’s womb in His image and likeness: the Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And the USA is the only nation on the planet that preserves those individual, God-given rights. Pray our country becomes more perfect. In the meantime, and on the Glorious Fourth, let us join in singing and praying, God bless America! —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Joan Terpack, Thomas McGuire, Antonietta Cerone, 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, Silvana Smith, Mildred Beirne.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Jean Corcoran, Paolo Cavallo, Ralph Bocuzzi, 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.

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

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

Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Alessandro Mazzola and Maryann Schinella
III 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.

SAVE THE DATES :
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 with choir, 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 in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be offered at the end of usual the 12:10 pm Mass. Please join us.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday June 26, 2016 $ 12,500.51
Sunday June 28, 2015 $ 12,792.97

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

July 10th, Sunday Readings: Dt 30:10-14; Col 1:15-20; Lk 10:25-37.

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 Amazon.com.

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.

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 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 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: fmoran@futurefive.org

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: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606: There’s no charge.
Next meeting: Monday, July 25th 7:30PM Location: Cosi at 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, July 2, 2016
4:00 Terese Kung req. Parents
Sunday, July 3, 2016
7:30 +Jeanne Loughlin req. Eleanore Smith
10:00 +June Hall Lovell req. Jagodzinski Family
12:00 +Canio and Kelly Paul Romaniello
5:00 Needs of parishioners, especially the sick
6:00 People of the Parish
Monday, July 4, 2016
8:00 Veterans of the Parish
12:10 +James Hensen req. John Pascale
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
8:00 +Patrick Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Lovel DeCaro req. Joan
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Gavin Samedi Birthday req. Anne Marie Samedi
Thursday, July 7, 2016
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 Special Intentions of Donna O’Brien and Family req. Beth Carpanzano and Family
Friday, July 8, 2016
8:00 +Veronica and John Buckheit req. Leon Taricani
12:10 +Patsy Cappiello req. Duffy Family
Saturday, July 9, 2016
8:00 +Jayson Jarrett req. Norma Jarrett
12:10 Patricia Ridge req. Michelle Sagdati

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:

150 years ago, or so:
July 9, 1869: THE FOURTH IN STAMFORD. “Although no official action was taken by our Borough authorities to celebrate the national anniversary, it was made a gala day by our citizens generally. The various bells were duly rung at sunrise and sunset, guns were fired, and an unusually large quantity of pyrotechnic contrivances, from the modest “cracker” to the sky-rocket, were used; the display in the evening being very fine indeed. Many of the private residences were handsomely decorated with Chinese lanterns, colored lights, etc. and the omnipresent stars and stripes met the eye at every turn. A large number of persons found recreation and pleasure at Shippan Point; many went to view the regatta at Mianus harbor, others wandered here and there at their own sweet will, and on the whole, it can be truly said the day was well observed as a holiday, and proved a season of much enjoyment to our citizens generally.

The most exciting and interesting features of the observances of the day is due to the public spirit and enterprise of our Irish-American citizens, who celebrated the fourth by a grand excursion and picnic to Woodside Park. Before proceeding to the park, a procession was formed which moved through the principal streets. The procession was headed by the Marshals of the day on horseback, after which came a carriage containing the local [St. John’s Parish] Catholic clergy, with Capt. J. H. Willis, of Stamford, and Col J. H. Barrett, late of Stamford, but at present, we believe, of Albany, New York. Next came the City Band, of Bridgeport, the members of which wore handsome uniforms, and showed a marked improvement in their playing. This band is, at present, under the leadership of Mr. H. H. Blish, whose ability as a musician is only equaled by his gentlemanly address and manner. After the band came three or four companies of cadets in gray uniforms, who marched well and presented a unique and attractive appearance; these were followed by a large number of young boys dressed the picturesque Zocave costume. The hook and ladder and hose company were also a prominent feature in the procession. Then came the various temperance and benevolent societies connected with the [St. John’s] Catholic Church. Last but not least, was a wagon drawn by four horses, on which were grouped a number of young girls dressed in white, with red and blue favors, representing the several States in the Union. The procession reached the park about 10 1/2 o’clock. From that hour till six or seven in the evening, amusement was the order of the day. The string band discoursed eloquent music, and a large number enjoyed the pleasures of the dance. Nothing occurred to mar the enjoyment or to disturb the friendly and social character of the picnic; and, indeed, the whole affair was highly creditable to all concerned.”

A Ministry of Getting Out of the Way
-Fr. Andy Vill

On Saturday June 25th the Diocese of Bridgeport ordained two men to the priesthood. Father Eric Silva and Fr. Philip Lanh Phan have respectively been assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Brookfield and St. Mary Parish in Bethel and began their ministry this past week. At 25 years old, Fr. Eric Silva has now taken the title of youngest priest in the diocese, bumping me, at 28 years old, to the number three spot.

Attending the ordination was a special occasion for me since it was the first ordination at St. Augustine’s Cathedral which I have attended since my own ordination in 2014. It caused me to reflect on my own priesthood as I am sure it did many other priests. I thought of all that being a priest has allowed God to do through me. I reflected on the over fifty people whom I welcomed into the Church through baptism, the numerous Masses offered, the many anointings of the sick and communion calls I have made, and the countless confessions I have heard. In all of these things I am reminded that it is not my priesthood, but rather the one priesthood of Jesus Christ in which I participate.

The longer I am a priest, the less impressed I become with myself and with the men who are ordained. Yes, reread that last sentence and then continue reading on to hear me out. In the Rite of Ordination the deacon assisting the bishop says the following: “Let those who are to be ordained to the Order of the Priesthood come forward.” Then he calls out the name of each deacon who is to be ordained a priest that day. At my ordination they said, “Andrew Armand Vill…” to which I responded, “present.” The extent of the individual’s greatness is his ability to dispose himself to God’s working in his life. He does not present himself at ordination saying, “ready,” but rather, he simply acknowledges that he has shown up!

Don’t get me wrong, there is a beauty in the simplicity of that action, but what is really impressive is what the man is not doing. The holy priest does not preach with his own words, but seeks the Holy Spirit to inspire him with Christ’s words. The saintly priest does not give the counsel in confession, but allows Christ to speak through him when he speaks to the penitent. The loving priest does not love with his heart alone, but loves rather with the heart of Christ. In a sense, for the individual man, the priesthood is a ministry of “getting out of the way.” We men are priests, but before anything else, we are Christians. As such, we are called to that same humility as everyone in which, as John the Baptist exhorts us, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

God is the impressive one in our lives. How is it that God decided to make man in His own image and likeness? Why did he choose us to be His disciples? Why did He choose me to be His priest? I am not saying that the clergy of this diocese or in the Church at large should not be held in great esteem. Grace builds on nature, so we have a responsibility to cultivate the gifts and talents which God has given us, but, as Msgr. DiGiovanni likes to remind me, “If you weren’t a priest, you’d probably be a plunger repairman!” Meaning that many of the lives we are privileged to be a part of is because of our being priests rather than our being “impressive men.” People shouldn’t want to see Andy up on the altar, but Jesus. They shouldn’t want to encounter Al in the confessional, but Jesus. They shouldn’t want to hear Steve preach, but Jesus. The esteem we should have for our priests is not because of the individual man, but rather in the fact that he participates in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ. Through his words and his hands, Christ speaks and acts in this world. The Sacraments are provided by the Church in Her priests and for the sake of the Church so as to sanctify the world.

When I reflect on my ministry as a priest and my own ordination day, I see it as the day that God brought me to the altar to present myself and promise Him that I would spend the rest of my life, trying to “get out of the way”, striving to live a life of holiness which gives glory to God. That task is not easy for anyone. Please pray for Msgr. DiGiovanni, Fr. Al and me. Pray not just for us, but for all clergy. We need your prayers. Pray that we might remember the commitments we made at our own ordinations and renew our effort to allow God to be the one who is at work and not us.