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

immaculate-conception Pastor’s Corner: Thursday, December 8th, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast day of the United States. At the end of the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1846, the American Bishops agreed our nation should be placed under the protection of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The American Bishops did this as their sign of support for Blessed Pope Pius IX in his efforts to define the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. They earnestly desired to place the growing United States under the protection of Our Lady: since it was Mary whose obedience had united God to humankind in her womb, and under whose tutelage and protection was placed the salvation of the world, in the Person of Her Divine Son, Mary would prove the perfect spiritual mother for our nation. The Pope desired to define formally the ancient popular faith about the Immaculate Conception: that, while Saints Joachim and Anne had normal sexual relations as husband and wife in order that Anne might conceive, it was God’s grace that preserved Mary from the effects of
Adam’s Original Sin, from the moment she was conceived in Saint Anne’s womb. This Original Sin is that with which each human being is born, some of the effects of which are our tendency to want to sin, and our deaths.

Pope Pius IX wanted to define this as dogma because he understood quite clearly that society was developing in a way that would urge the world to forget God in favor of “progress”, while re-defining the human person. In 1848, Karl Marx had published his Communist Manifesto, which would blossom 50 years later in the Russian Revolution and the horrors of Communism; the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and would soon enslave millions around the world in the grip of grinding poverty and endless work; Prussia, France and England were developing their individual exclusive and hawkish nationalisms, growing massive armies and military industries that would lead to two world wars. In all these movements, early in their development by the mid-19th century, the Pope was the only European world leader who spoke out warning that men and women were being re-defined by big governments and growing industry as worthy of life only by their productivity in industry, their usefulness to a political party, loyalty to the state, their nationality, or their race. This was wrong, for men and women were more than what they produce; more than their race, gene pool, or social status.

Pius saw his task as the one leader whose teachings could remind humanity about who we are: our dignity and right to exist comes from our very essence: created in the Image and Likeness of God, redeemed by God’s Eternal Son-made-man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. No government gives us dignity. So, in 1854, backed by the Catholic bishops and faithful from around the globe, Blessed Pope Pius IX showed the world the power of the Catholic Church by formally reminding the world that nothing is more important in the world than God; and that nothing is more important to God than each of us. And, by forgetting God—in our work, home or public life—we are being controlled and used for the profit of others.

And the Pope acceded to the American Bishops’ desire that Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception be the patroness of the United States because the Pope had great hopes for the United States as the only nation under whose laws and freedoms the Catholic Church might prosper and grow. And he was right: in all European countries, throughout Asia, and in nearly all the countries of Central and South America, the Catholic Church was persecuted throughout the 19th and 20th centuries: Catholic schools, universities and churches closed, all church property seized, clergy and nuns imprisoned, killed and forbidden to wear clerical dress publicly. It is the same reason Blessed Pope Pius IX blessed the efforts of American bishops to build churches and schools for the millions of immigrant Catholics arriving in the United States, such as our own basilica, established as an independent parish in 1854—the same year of the definition of the Immaculate Conception; and the same reason that blessed Pope established the American seminary in Rome in 1859. Nourish the United States of America, because it understands humanity’s need for freedom to worship God.

Our Lady is the most perfect example of a human being co-operating with God. God prepared her from eternity to be the Mother of God’s Son: she didn’t create God, who exists from all eternity. But she gave to the Eternal and unseen God a human mind, heart, soul, will and body: the ever-existing God entered into human history and became man in the womb of Mary, in order to free us from sin and death. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux described God’s purpose beautifully:

“It befitted God to be born of none but a virgin, and it befitted the virgin that having borne God she should bear no other. The Creator of men, in becoming himself a man, had to choose, indeed even to form, the kind of mother he knew befitted him and knew would please him. Therefore, he wanted her to be a virgin so that from a spotless one he, the Spotless One, might come forth to cleanse away the sins of all mankind. He wanted her to be humble from whom he, as the man meek and humble of heart, would be born; he wanted her to give a salutary example of all the virtues. Therefore he made the Virgin conceive, for she earlier offered her vow of virginity to him but had also won the merit of humility. These were the glorious jewels of mind and body that adorned the royal Virgin. Her beauty was known in heaven, whose citizens gazed on her with admiration; she attracted the eyes of the King to herself and sent down a heavenly messenger to greet her. The angel was sent to a virgin: a virgin in flesh and in spirit, a virgin by deliberate intention, a virgin such as the Apostle Saint Paul describes, holy in mind and body. The Lord did not stumble on her by accident but chose her from eternity; the Most High prepared her, the angels preserved her, the Fathers pointed her out, the prophets promised her coming” [Sermon II, In Praise of the Virgin Mary].

On December 8th, let us recall Our Lady’s faith and virtues, and the fact that a Pope gave her to us Americans as our patroness and guide to remind us Americans that nothing is more important than God; and nothing is more important to God than us, through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Mildred Beirne, Karen Hsu, Paul Hughes, Silvana Smith, Harriet Lockhart, Joseph Kung, Jacqueline Domingue, 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.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Oswaldo Diaz, Maria Imbrogno, James Saunders, Margaret Potolicchio, Richard Hughes, Israel Noriega, Dennis Winski, Msgr. Robert McCormick, Camille Lindstrom, Catherine Olnek, Dominick J. Marciano, John D’Agostino, Carol J. Toppin, John MacLean, Muriel Rysinski, Joan Terpack, Nancy Ligouri, Jean Corcoran, Ralph Bocuzzi.

Holy Day of Obligation: Thursday, December 8th: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: The Vigil Mass will be offered on Wednesday, December 7th at 5:15 pm and Masses on December 8th: 8 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.

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

December 17th: A special Advent Mass at 6:00 a.m. in the Basilica: The Solemn Sung Rorate Mass in honor of the Blessed Mother will be offered in English with choir. Light breakfast to follow in the parish hall. Everyone is welcome.

NEW BOOK: The publication of Monsignor DiGiovanni’s newest book is finally completed: Aggiornamento on the Hill of Janus: The American College in Rome, 1955-1979. It is the fascinating story of the American Bishops’ seminary in the Vatican during the turbulent years immediately before and after the Second Vatican Council. Cost is $35.00 on Amazon Books by title, or $20 in St. John’s Bookstore.

Are you a student at UCONN Stamford? Please contact Fr. Andy Vill (frvill@diobpt.org). We are looking for some help/interest in some on campus activities.

R.C.I.A.: Our next class will be Monday, December 5th at 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Topic: Holy Spirit—Part I: Chapter 6.

Advent Concert: The Diocese of Bridgeport Youth Choir—C4Y—is hosting a Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 18th at 6pm in the Klein Memorial in Bridgeport. Christmas hymns, carols, scripture readings and prayers will make up the concert. For information and to purchase tickets: www.theklein.org or (800) 424-0160.

Faith on Tap: December 13th Young adults age 21-39 are invited to join us at Murphy’s Townhouse Cafe , 97 Franklin St., Stamford’s downtown: 7pm-9pm. “Stump the Priests”. Pose a question on the Catholic faith to our expert panel. Bring a friend or two!

2018 MASS BOOK:  The 2017 Mass book is full. The 2018 Mass book is now open. There will be a new limit: 10 Masses per individual/family, and the donation will be $20 per Mass. This will provide more parishioners the opportunity to reserve Masses for their loved ones and intentions.

Trinity Catholic High School: Grades 8 thru 12 – First Friday Fest – Every First Friday of the Month -Games, Adoration, Friends, Food – 7PM – 9PM.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday November 20, 2016 $ 11,131.76
Sunday November 22, 2015 $ 11,371.96
Sunday November 27, 2016 $ 13,366.69
Sunday November 29, 2015 $ 14,623.19

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

December 11th, Sunday Readings: Is 35:1-6a, 10; Jas 5:7-10; Mt 11:2-11.

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.

St. Monica Biblical Greek Grammar: Anyone interested in beginning to learn the basics of Biblical Greek, OR Biblical Hebrew, please phone the Rectory [203-324-1553, ext. 11]

St. Monica Latin Reading Group: Tuesdays at 12:45 in the Rectory.  We are reading two works of St Ambrose:  De Mysteriis, a treatise on the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist cir a.d. 387;   Epistula ad Sororem Marcellinam, an account of the frustrated attempts of the Arian and of the Imperial Party to gain possession of a basilica at Milan, a.d. 385. An intermediate reading ability in Latin is necessary.  Call the rectory for further information.

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 or for training as a Sidewalk Counselor, call Noelle at (857) 345-0808.

Young Adult Mass and Holy Hour: Calling all young adults! Join us for our next monthly Young Adult Mass and Holy Hour, Thursday, December 8th! Holy Hour begins at 6:30pm and Mass begins at 7:30pm. We’ll see you there!

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, January 23rd at 7:30PM – Stamford Corners, 1455 Washington Blvd, Stamford. Walk up the stairs and past the concierge to the club room. Follow it around to the left to the conference room on your right.

Regina Pacis Academy: Don’t miss EWTN’s Patrick Coffin! Regina Pacis Academy invites you to the “Light up the Night” annual gala on Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 5:30pm to 10pm at The Shore and Country Club in Norwalk, CT. Join us for dinner, dancing, and inspiration. For more information, please visit www.reginapacisacademy.com. To purchase tickets, please contact Michael Duchon at mjduchon@yahoo.com.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Saturday, December 10th: Handel’s Messiah, Part I & the Hallelujah Chorus presented by the Stamford Symphony and the Pro Arte Singers, HERE at the Basilica at 8pm – One night only!—Tickets start at $25. Limited number of tickets available.  Call today 203-325-4466 or go to www.stamfordsymphony.org.

Saturday, December 17th: Candlelight Rorate Mass in honor of the Blessed Mother at 6 am in English with choir. Coffee and refreshments will be offered after Mass in the Msgr. Nagle Hall. All are welcome.

Sunday, December 25th: MIDNIGHT MASS at 12 MIDNIGHT: Our solemn Christmas Choral Mass in English. Everyone is welcome.

Tuesday, December 27th: Solemn Sung Vespers, procession and veneration of the first class relics of Saint John at 7:30pm on the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist, the patron of our parish. A light reception to follow in the Msgr. Nagle Hall. Everyone is welcome
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“Walking with Purpose”: A program of prayer and Bible Study for Catholic women, Tuesday mornings beginning at 9:30 am in the parish hall. For more information, contact: Rosa Federici at wwptbsj@gmail.com or 203-536-5480.

Natural Family Planning & Fertility Care: Are you looking for information to help you understand and appreciate your fertility? The Creighton Model System is based on a couple’s knowledge and understanding of their naturally occurring phases of fertility and infertility. This system deals with the complete dimension of procreative ability. It can be used in conjunction with NaProTechnology to assist with infertility and sub-fertility issues in a natural way. Teachers of the Creighton Model System are trained allied health professionals and specifically trained physicians. If you would like to schedule a free introductory session: Angela Marchetti: angelamarachetticp@gmail.com

Catholic Young Adults of Stamford: We are Catholic young adults in our 20s and 30s, committed to strengthening community ties through regular meetings to growth in our faith, social events, and community service projects. Join us for our monthly Sunday dinner following 5pm Mass. Connect with us by joining our group on Facebook or Meetup. For more information, please email catholicyastamford@gmail.com.

The Christmas Giving Tree: To benefit pregnant women and their families served by the Sisters of Life. A basket will be in the back of the church. The name of an item is written on each tag in the Christmas basket helpful to a woman in need. Please take a tag (or tags) and purchase the item on the tag. We will collect the unwrapped gifts after each Mass on the weekend of December 4th. DO NOT DROP OFF THE GIFT AT THE RECTORY OR LEAVE IT IN CHURCH. Any questions, please call Frank Carpanzano @ 203-975-8833 ext 3004.Thank you!

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 3, 2016
4:00 +Elizabeth and Thomas Daly req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, December 4, 2016
7:30 +Fernand Constant req. Geralda Constant-Berrouet
10:00 +Laura Pascale req. John Pascale
12:00 +Edna Holt and son req. Marion Morris and Family
5:00 Needs of parishioners, especially the sick
Monday, December 5, 2016
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 +Gregoria and Marcial Gloria req. Angeles Family
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
8:00 Special Intentions Monsignor Stephen M. DiGiovanni
12:10 Thanksgiving to Immaculate Heart of Mary req. Kung Family
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
8:00 +Margaret M. Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Alberico Faugno req. Giannitti Family
5:15 +Kathy Rogers req. Mary Jean Dal Molin
Thursday, December 8, 2016
8:00 +Virginia and Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 Special Intentions Suzanne and Alex Seges
5:15 Father Terrence P. Walsh
Friday, December 9, 2016
8:00 +Aldo Iantorno req. Pasquale and Ida Carpanzano
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Maria Trivino
Saturday, December 10, 2016
8:00 Mary Spetland req. Thomas Cycon
12:10 +Anna Corbisiero req. Mary Bridget Gaine

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). Baptisms are offered for parishioners only.

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. Weddings are offered for parishioners only.

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:— Introduction to Biblical Greek or Biblical Hebrew: 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 NEWS:

THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, DECEMBER 8TH.

New York Freeman’s Journal and Catholic Register, as quoted in The New York Times, January 5, 1855: “The glorious news has reached us that on the 8th of December, Pope Pius IX, of immortal renown, in the presence of the Cardinals and Princes of the Church, declared it an Article of Divine Faith that the Mother of God, our Most Blessed Lady, was Conceived Without Original Sin.”

The New Haven Journal, as quoted in The Stamford Advocate, January 16, 1855: “On the 8th inst., the ceremony of the declaration of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, was performed at Rome, in the presence of an immense number of Romish Prelates, assembled from every county where the Church of Rome has gained a foothold. The substance of the decree to be promulgated is, to declare that the Blessed Virgin Mary was, from her very conception and birth, as free from all taint of Original Sin as her Divine Son Himself, and therefore as little in need of a Savoir as He. To Protestants, such a thing seems, if not blasphemy, at least a solemn mockery of a bigoted Church; but to the believers in Rome it is made an occasion of universal rejoicing and festivity. Indulgences are freely granted in honor of the event, to those who say a certain number of prayers at certain times and places, and incidentally, we presume, contribute to the funds of the Church. Looking at the subject with un-Romanized eyes, it would seem that the same reason which prove the sinless conception and birth of the Virgin Mary, would prove the same exemption from worldliness, to her remotest ancestry through all the Jewish history to the fall of Adam. Perhaps this enormity is left for a future decision by the Holy Father at Rome, and another assembly of Cardinals, Bishops and Priests may be called to hear the renunciation of a race of sinless women, from the days when gates of Paradise were shut against mother Eve, and even her submission to the tempter may be explained in such a manner satisfactory to the Church, whose head assumes the power of an Immaculate decision of such points of belief.”