For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday Sept 4, 2016


September 4, 2016
Dear Parishioners:

Each year as summer draws to a close I write about our Annual Collection for the parish. Your generosity has been extraordinary, and by it you have repaired and restored our Basilica, which has been and continues to be the spiritual home for tens of thousands in downtown Stamford.

During the past calendar year, some work has been done on the 1885 Gothic Revival Basilica, and the historic 1850 Greek-Revival Rectory, funded by your generosity. The Basilica work included the restoration of six of the wooden stained glass window frames in the southern clerestory windows. The wind drives fiercely east to west, and during these past 15 years since we restored the windows, the paint has been weathered, exposing the 1885 wood to the elements. Cost: $44,000. Emergency repairs to the air conditioning system [installed in the 1980s] were also needed, costing $10,000.

The Rectory repairs included emergency plumbing work. Twice during the past 6 months, the 1870 and 1890 vintage sewage pipes in the Rectory burst: the basement was not a pretty place to be. Further restoration work on the Rectory exterior was precluded by the results of lead paint testing and testing by a structural engineer. Those revealed that the house is stable and secure, and that numerous layers of lead paint are present on every part of the Rectory exterior. We cannot simply scrape down the walls and put on a new coat of paint. My hope to remove the clapboarding with its layers of lead paint, replace it with modern clapboarding, and put insulation inside the walls. It would make sense to install new windows throughout at the same time: most are the original 1850s single pane windows!! All this will require much more than the funds you provide by our Annual Collection. As I’d mentioned during Sunday Mass earlier in the summer, I hope to begin a Capital Campaign sometime in the spring, 2017 to repair/restore the Rectory. If all goes well, I hope to complete the Rectory work by the spring of 2018. That being said, there are many other needs requiring more immediate action. Every time something breaks or wears out in our 1886 Basilica or 1850 Rectory, its repair or replacement costs much more than repairs in more modern facilities. We need your continued help!

These are hard financial times for everyone. If you can spare something, please make a contribution to the Basilica using the red envelope that will be mailed to your home, or which you can pick up at one of the Basilica entrances. Your donation is only for the Basilica. The priests are making their contributions just as you are, so please lend a hand. God bless you, and thanks,

Reverend Monsignor
Stephen M. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Dominick Marciano, Jacqueline Domingue, Camille Lindstrom, Eilish Collins Main, Thomas McGuire, Antonietta Cerone, Sylvia Ardise, Sylvia Iannazzi, A.J. Barr, William Byrnes, Jonathan Victor, Sophia Petrafesa, Donald Gerbasi, Lyn Geikie-Rice, Addison Byrne, Ruth Coyle, Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Brianna Petigny, Elaine Shoztic, Joan Kronk, John Kronk, Mary Lena Cocchia, Alexandre Laurent, 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: John D’Agostino, Carol J. Toppin, John MacLean, Muriel Rysinski, Joan Terpack, Nancy Ligouri, Jean Corcoran, Paolo Cavallo, Ralph Bocuzzi, Robert Ix, Carolyn Gerwick, Francimene Morisseau, Denny Levi, Salvator Preziosi, Carmine Longo, Harry Bethea, Suzanne DePreta, Susanne DePreta.

Catholic University of America Collection . . . Please drop your special envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Erik Richard Kremheller and Lauren Christine Wuennemann
II Banns: Dukenson Lauture and Esther Estimable
II Banns: Carlos Roberto Rivera and Viviana Lopez
III Banns: Nicholas Joseph Sarvaideo and Caitlin Mary Duffy

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

Mass Schedule Change: This Sunday, September 4th, will be the last 6:00 P.M. Haitian Creole Sunday Mass at Saint John’s. Over the decades, the number in attendance at the Creole/ French Mass has steadily declined, primarily because the majority of Haitian families attend the regular Sunday Masses at the Basilica. The Sunday 6 pm Creole/French Mass moves to the Hope Street Haitian American Catholic Center.

St. John’s Family Picnic on Sunday, September 25th at Cove Island Park! Food will be served from 12pm-3pm. The event is free; burgers, hot dogs, and soft drinks will be provided, but we are looking for people to bring side salads and desserts. If you would like to help, please contact Judy Defelice at (203) 322-6765. Please note that parking at the Cove and surrounding streets requires a parking permit until the end of September.

October 8th: Annual Rosary Procession, with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Rosary, following the 12:10 Mass. We will also renew our consecration of the Basilica and its families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The preparation for this begins on September 4th, continuing through October 7th, using the small book “33 Days to Morning Glory,” available in our parish bookstore. Please join us during this holy month of prayer and consecration.

Saint Padre Pio Shrine: A new shrine has been completed to house the beautiful mosaic of the saint, near the altar of Our Lady, attached to the front Confessional, next to the votive candles. The mosaic is the generous gift of an anonymous donor, and the shrine the work of Phil DeFelice—our parish master cabinetmaker. Please say a prayer of thanks for our donor and Phil and their families.

Are you a student at UCONN Stamford? Please contact Fr. Andy Vill ( We are looking for some help/interest in some on campus activities this fall!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday August 28, 2016 $ 11,744.22
Sunday August 30, 2015 $ 12,261.96

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

September 11th, Sunday Readings: Ex 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Tm 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-32.

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

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.

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 that you are regularly attending church 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:

Birthright of Greater Stamford: is looking for very special people to volunteer. On Sunday September 25th, we will be holding an open house at our office at 388 Summer Street, Stamford, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please come and see if your talents can help women in crisis give life to their unborn babies.

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, Sept. 26th 7:30PM at Cosi: 230 Tresser Blvd, (in front of the Stamford Mall).

Caravan for Peace: September 11th—the 15th anniversary of 911: Help spread the message to Pray for Peace. A caravan beginning at Boston’s Logan Ariport at 8:30 a.m. will drive through Connecticut with stops in Hartford, Newtown, Bridgeport and Greenwich, ending at 5:30 pm at Ground Zero in New York City, praying for peace. Please join us. For more information: or

Young Adult Mass and Holy Hour: Calling all young adults! Join us this Thursday, September 8th, 2016 for our monthly Young Adult Mass and Holy Hour! Holy Hour begins at 6:30pm and Mass begins at 7:30pm. Fr. Andy Vill will be the main celebrant and Sarah Kroger will be the featured Catholic music artist this month! Drinks at a local restaurant to follow the Mass. We’ll see you there!

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, September 3, 2016
4:00 +Hedwig Mary Figura Jagodzinski req. Jagodzinski Family
Sunday, September 4, 2016
7:30 +Adrian Patten req. Joyce Patten and Lorraine Van Langen
10:00 +Mr. and Mrs. Auralian Andrades req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 +Orestes Huayta req. Family
5:00 Needs of parishioners, especially the sick
6:00 People of the Parish
Monday, September 5, 2016
8:00 Thanksgiving to God req. Fabiola
12:10 +Frank J. Skehan req. Maureen and Rick Carpinello
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
8:00 +Patrick Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +AJ Hoenig req. Family
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Carmen Trivino req. Maria Trivino
Thursday, September 8, 2016
8:00 +Helen Carr – Birthday Remembrance req. Marie Carr
12:10 Special Intentions Father Walsh
Friday, September 9, 2016
8:00 +John Joseph Gannon req. Dr. Joe McAleer
12:10 People of the Parish
Saturday, September 10, 2016
8:00 Gertha Laurent Birthday
12:10 Special Intentions Marion Morris req. Jo Mitchell

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 September 18th, after the 10:00a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

140 years ago, or so:
Sept. 10, 1875: “We hear that Rev. Father Tierney has purchased Mr. Candee’s residence on Atlantic Street, just south of the new church, for a parsonage.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: This residence is currently St. John’s Rectory.)

130 years ago, or so:
Sept. 6, 1884: STAMFORD. “The people of this parish were surprised and grieved to learn on last Sunday the death of Rev. Eugene Gaffney. Father Gaffney, after his ordination, came to Stamford in 1867 and remained here about four years acting as assistant pastor under Father O’Neil and Father Fagan. He had been energetic and untiring in his devotion while performing the duties of his sacred calling and during his short stay in our parish, many can testify to his zealous labors as a priest and to his noble acts of friendship and goodness.”

115 years ago, or so:
Sept. 5, 1901: Choristers at Pleasure Beach. “The members of the choir of St. John’s R. C. Church, accompanied by Rev. Eugene Sullivan and Prof. Elmer Joyce, the church organist, went to Pleasure Beach, today, on a trolley ride.”

115 years ago, or so:
Sept. 8, 1900: Transfers of Roman Catholic Priests. “Bishop Tierney of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hartford, has made the appointments and transfers of priests: The Rev. Bernard Donnelly is made assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in this city. Mr. Donnelly was born in Stamford and was ordained at St. Joseph’s Cathedral about a year ago.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Donnelly was a vocation from St. John’s parish.)

100 years ago, or so:
Fr DrennanSept. 5, 1916: Father Drennan Goes to Hartford.
“Rev. Thomas J. Drennan of St. John’s Catholic Church will leave next Wednesday, to take up a new field of work in St. Thomas’ Seminary, Hartford, where he will be an instructor in Greek and Italian. He has been in Stamford for about 15 months, and has been principal of St. John’s School.”

The Final Days

On the plane ride home this past June, I was nervous and did not know what to expect returning to Connecticut after two years in Rome. The day before the flight, I felt that I would rather stay in Rome. This was not a bad sign since I was fully engaged in my studies, and my life is centered in Rome. Well the next thing I knew, the jet touched down, and I went through customs. Nothing had changed; I still do not like customs in JFK! I went outside and waited anxiously for my father to arrive. There he was! He pulled up, I gave him a big hug and we were on our way home. Nostalgia!

I went out to dinner with my family that night. It was a marvelous time since we had not seen each other in two years. After a couple of weeks of catching up with my friends, I headed down to Stamford to start my assignment, and I was greeted warmly with a nice meal from the priests here at the basilica. I unpacked everything in my room and went upstairs in the rectory chapel to pray. The weekend came, and I was to be introduced at all the Masses. I was still amazed to be in such a beautiful church. So how were the people going to treat me?

After each Mass, I could not have felt more welcomed. All of you were the ones who came up to me to welcome me to my new home for the next two months. I could not believe the warmness I felt and was proud to be with down-to-earth people. I thank you for all your kind remarks and for welcoming me into this parish community. I will always have a piece of St. Johns in my heart and will not forget about you.

As I return to Rome, I am looking forward to being ordained to the diaconate. These are very exciting moments as I will finish up my first graduate degree this year and begin another one in 2017. In September of 2017, God-willing, I will be ordained as a deacon with my classmates from the NAC in St. Peter’s Basilica. God has given me a thirst this summer where I look forward very much to taking the promises of obedience, prayer, and celibacy. I can not wait! Then in June of 2018 I will return home to be ordained to the priesthood.

So I am sure many people wonder how it is to live with three priests. Well, I will give you a small peek inside the life of the rectory, and my feelings. The examples of the priest here have inspired me in my own vocation. First the reverence during the Mass along with the preaching astounded me. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist is truly God’s Liturgy, evidenced by the manner the priests here celebrate it. The preaching is the Truth and not a “feel good,” which reflects in all of the parishioners. I love to see the reception of the Sacraments, especially confession, since Jesus left us these to nurture our souls to reach Heaven….and they are being used! I look at the example of good parents wanting to set up their children for success. They are not going to lie to them, but instead encourage them to do certain things for success. This is the example of the spiritual fathers, the priests, here as they would never want to lie to their children, all of you! It is an inspiration for me that I will carry with me into my ministry.

Inside the rectory is no different than what you see at Mass. Everyone in the rectory treats each other with respect and encouragement. The fraternity living here has been the best I have encountered thus far in a rectory, which is attributed to the openness of the priests here. We laugh very often. We have many great spiritual and theological discussions as well. Eating together at least four times a week makes all the difference and the pastor’s lead proves this. Msgr. DiGiovanni is always open to advice or opinions, which I feel makes for a great leader. He loves the priesthood and the parishioners, which comes across in many ways. I have been blessed to live with such holy priests who have all taught me a lot.

In writing these weekly stories about my life, it has shown me as well of how God worked in my life. The point I would like to make is that God is always doing something in our lives. He always answers our prayers, sometimes just not the way we want or expect. Being open to His will for my life has taught me a lot. I hope you can look back in your life and see where God has blessed you and been with you. Never be afraid to pray and ask for something, this is a lesson I learned in my own path. Sometimes we want things and we want them quickly. As a wise person once said, “We want a microwave, but God uses a crock pot and it always comes out better.”

I thank you for all your prayers and please be assured of mine as I return to Rome. As I return to my studies know that I will carry your intentions with me to the Mass of Canonization of Mother Theresa of Calcutta and will be praying for you there. Until our paths cross again may God bless each and every one of you.
-Shane Nunes