For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday July 31, 2016
Pastor’s Corner: August 2nd is the birthday of the late Ignatius Cardinal Kung, who lived the last years of his life in Stamford following nearly 33 years of imprisonment for the Catholic faith by the Communist Chinese government. He died in 2000, and his funeral was here in the Basilica. So important was the Cardinal for his dedication to Christ and His Catholic Church, that Saint Pope John Paul II sent a Cardinal Stafford to the funeral to represent him.
Ignatius Kung (Gong) Pin-Mei was born to Kung Xin Yuan (1871-1947) and Li Xian Yuing (1878-1958) on August 2, 1901 in Pudong, Shanghai, China. He was the eldest of four children, and was baptized in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tangzhen Village, Pudong, Shanghai, China.
The Kung Family is a venerable Catholic family, practicing the Faith for at least five generations at the time of Ignatius’ birth. His father’s elderly sister, Aunt Martha, presided over a small village school teaching classical Chinese and the Catholic Catechism. The Cardinal credited his vocation to the priesthood to the influence of his Aunt Martha, who also provided him at home with the equivalent of his first five years of primary school education. A Marist brother provided the young Ignatius with his instructions for his First Confession and First Holy Communion. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation at the customary age of eight or nine years. Following graduation from high school, and eight years of seminary training, Ignatius was ordained a priest on May 28, 1930 and began his pastoral work.
He served in parishes and in various Catholic schools during World War II. As the Chinese civil war concluded with the victory of Mao Tsi Tung and the communist party in 1949, Father Kung was named by Pope Pius XII as the first bishop of the new Diocese of Soochow on June 9, 1949. At his Episcopal consecration on October 7, 1949, the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, 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: “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, ‘At your word I will lower the nets’.” As the communist control of the country and its war against the Catholic Church continued to develop, Pope Pius XII transferred Bishop Kung on July 15, 1950, naming him the first Chinese Bishop of Shanghai and Apostolic Administrator of Soochow and Nanking. He was now the bishop of the most important diocese in China with the largest Catholic population, just in time to do battle with the communist government.
The Catholic Church in China had been experiencing a great spiritual renewal beginning with the defeat and expulsion of the Japanese military forces 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. These were dangerous times as the communist central government organized efforts to co-opt various religious groups. Most protestant groups willingly co-operated early on and accepted “patriotic” Chinese forms and control of their religions. But the Catholic Church was different: it was 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 native born. And, it was international, with headquarters not in China, but in Rome. The communist propaganda machine began its work by painting all non-Chinese influences and organizations as enemies. 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 native clergy. Bishop Kung warned his priests,
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?
This was his life, and he urged all Catholics and clergy in his diocese to remain faithful to Christ despite the pressures by the government. On September 8, 1955, he and hundreds of Catholics in Shanghai were arrested. He remained imprisoned for the next 33 years He was released only because he had cancer, and the Chinese government feared his death would be interpreted as martyrdom. While still in prison, Bishop Kung was secretly named a cardinal by Pope Saint John Paul II.
Please pray for the opening of the cause of canonization of Cardinal Kung. I ask that each member of our parish offer one “Hail Mary” daily for this intention. And, please pray for China, and for the underground Catholic Church in China, still persecuted today. —Monsignor DiGiovanni
Please pray for the sick: Phil DeFelice, 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: Joan Terpack, Nancy Ligouri, 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.
LATIN LOW MASS: In the Extraordinary Form each Friday at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.
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.
Saturday, August 6: The 12:10 Mass is CANCELLED, because of the Sisters of Life profession Mass at 11AM.
Plenary Indulgence: Is offered at St. John’s on August 2nd. The “Portiuncula”, referring to the little church in which St. Francis of Assisi began the Franciscan Order. The Indulgence dates from 1277. To obtain the Indulgence, one must visit the Basilica, go to Confession within one week, repent of all attachment to sin, receive Holy Communion, and pray the Creed and one Our Father for the Holy Father.
Calling all Teens! Join us for Fan the Fire Youth Rally on Saturday August 13th, 2016 from 9am-9pm at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Newtown, CT! This event is open to teens in grades 8-12 for the 2016-2017 school year. The cost for the event is $40 per person, and will include lunch, dinner, and transportation to and from Newtown. Please make checks payable to “The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist”. To download the registration form go to http://www.fanthefirerally.com/Fan_the_Fire/FTF_CT.html and click on “Minor Liability Form 2016” or stop by the parish office to pick one up. Please submit the forms to our parish office by Friday July 29th, 2016. Contact Fr. Andy Vill (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Pilgrimage site: Saint John’s is now listed on the Web as an official Catholic Pilgrimage Site:
Please let your friends and family know they can check this website for useful information about our Basilica’s special events and about Catholic pilgrimage sites throughout the USA and Europe.
Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday July 24, 2016 $ 12,676.08
Sunday July 26, 2015 $ 12,557.50
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
August 7th, Sunday Readings: Wis 18:6-9; Heb 11:1-2, 8-19; Lk 12:32-48
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.
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—$113,285, we are done for this year. God bless you for your generosity.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.
Religious Ed: Please register now for 2016-2017 classes. Last day to register will be August 22nd. Forms are available in the church or you can register online or call the office, 203-324-1553 x21.
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, August 22nd 7:30PM at Cosi: 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, July 30, 2016
4:00 Ignatius Chu req. Kung Family
Sunday, July 31, 2016
7:30 +Anthony Ramos req. Lilian and Alvina
10:00 +Michael Toth req. Nick and Ann Lepore
12:00 +Michael and Mary Windsor req. Kung Family
5:00 Needs of parishioners, especially the sick
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, August 1, 2016
8:00 Deceased members of the Bushel Family
12:10 Mary Kung req. Parents
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
8:00 Alexandra and Gertha Laurent
12:10 +Rose Astrid Jean-Guillaume req. Parents and Siblings
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Octavius and Venilia Méhu and Family req. Grand and Great-grandchildren
Thursday, August 4, 2016
8:00 +Patrick Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Carmine Iantorno req. Pasquale and Ida Carpanzano
Friday, August 5, 2016
8:00 Priests of the Parish req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 Special Intentions Mirek Birthday req. Sister
Saturday, August 6, 2016
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 NO MASS (Sisters of Life Solemn Vows at 11AM)
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.
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:
145 years ago, or so:
August 5, 1870: Sacred Concert. “We understand that a sacred concert will be given under the direction of our townsman, Mr. Charles W. Smith, in St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, August 15th. Artists from St. Mary’s church, Norwalk, together with resident talent, have kindly volunteered their services for the occasion. As to Mr. Smith’s musical ability, that is sufficiently well established, and known, especially among his own townspeople. Selections from Mercadante, Verdi, Baggiola, Ruzio, Millard, and other eminent composers will be given. The managers are confident that their concert will be well worthy of the patronage of the general public, and hope to receive a liberal patronage.”
125 years ago, or so:
August 2, 1889: New R. C. Prayer Book. “The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, which met in 1884, authorized the preparation of a new prayer book. It is about ready to be published, and is so arranged that the entire service of the Mass for every Sunday in the year can be followed by the congregation just as it is said by the clergyman. It has had the approval of Cardinal Gibbons, and will have the unanimous endorsement of the Hierarchy.”
110 Years ago, or so:
August 2, 1907: Portiuncula in Catholic Church. “The devotion of the Portiuncula or Grand Pardon, was begun in St. John’s R. C. Church at 3 yesterday afternoon and closes at sunset today. The “Grand Pardon” dates from the early years of the thirteenth century. St. Francis, praying for the conversion of sinners, was told to ask a favor of heaven, and it would be granted. Whereupon he promptly begged that all who would come to the little Church of Our Lady of Angels at Assisi, the Portiuncula of St. Francis and his brethren—having confessed, would receive full pardon of their sins and full remission of all the punishment due to their sins. The favor was inaugurated with due solemnity by Pope Honorius III. The annals of the thirteenth century tell of the throngs that bore down on the little hill town of Assisi from the evening of the day of “St. Peter in Chains” to the evening of the next day. All night the procession went in and out the little church and next evening contentedly filed out from Assisi again, singing Te Deums as they went home, some of them great distances. This continued for 200 years. So great did the crowd grow each year that the Pope extended the indulgence to the churches that had branched out from the Portiuncula. The devotion is held in only a few churches in this diocese. The privilege was obtained for St. John’s Church by the Franciscan fathers.”
The Church Is Not A Museum For The Saints But A Hospital For The Sinners
Upon returning home from college during the summer of 2008, I started to look for jobs in chemistry. Once home, I ran into many people who were once adult youth ministers when I was in high school. They asked me how I was and told me I should come back to the youth group as a youth minister in my home parish. I responded with a quick, “We will see…” They did not realize how far I walked away from the faith. I was not practicing the faith or planning to return to the Church. Though there was a small opening in my heart that was opened through the work of my friends the Christmas season before coming home.
I was home on Christmas break during my senior year of VMI, when I received a phone call to go out to dinner with a bunch of friends I knew from youth group. They were all still practicing the faith and there was one friend I had known since seventh grade who convinced me to go to dinner. The only deal was to go to Mass with them before since they were leaving from the church to go to dinner. I tried to get out of Mass, but looking back it was all part of God’s plan. Like a “good Catholic” I sat in the last pew. I did not receive communion and my friend leaned over to me and said, “Shane, you should go to confession. Father goes in the confessional directly after Mass.” I responded with, “No, not today but thanks.” My friend, looking out for my soul, convinced me to go.
Mass ended and Father went directly into the confessional, and I made my way in. I went face-to-face, sat down, and told him it had been a while and that I had forgotten what to do. The priest was very gentle and advised me that he would guide me through it, and it was great that I was there. After going over all my sins and after many tears were shed, he raised his hand over my head and recited the prayer of absolution. I walked out of there after almost a half an hour with many people looking at me. I did not care about the people looking at me because it felt like one of the biggest burdens had been lifted from me. I was so drained that I did not even go out to dinner with my friends that night since I had a lot to reflect on. My friends smiled and were just happy for me that my relationship with God had been restored. The priest told me something that day that will always stay with me. He said, “The Church is not a museum for the saints, but a hospital for the sinners.” It reminds me that there were only two perfect people who walked on this earth, Jesus and His mother Mary. We are definitely neither of them, and this is why Jesus left us these Sacraments for the “nourishment” of our souls to reach Salvation. Once again though, I thought I knew best and did not need these Sacraments; thus I returned to doing my own thing within a matter of time. Though, not realizing it, God’s grace helped bring me back to the Church.
It was these friends who helped bring me back to the Church. I ended up going to Confession, returned to weekly Mass, and surrounded myself with a lot of these old friends in Christ. This was certainly not overnight and it took much time, but it was during this time where God was forming me. I had struggles with my faith, and it was God who intervened. God allowed things to happen so I would rely on Him instead of myself.
I returned to be a youth minister in the youth group that I had grown up in. I loved working with the youth and tried to show them Christ in my own actions. Being surrounded by others who loved Christ as much as I did, made practicing the faith so much easier. We truly become like the company we keep.
During this time, I went on a vocations retreat at St. John Fisher Seminary, here in Stamford, in 2009 which brought back the point of entering the seminary to figure out if I was called or not. I felt it was not time to enter the seminary and instead backed out. In the meantime, I was still working with the youth group, dating, and working for a great company. I started to obtain the things that I thought would make me happy such as moving into a house, having a girlfriend, working at a well-paying job, and actively living out my faith. It was during this time that I was asked to lead a retreat, which led me to a whole new place…