For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 11, 2016

Pastor’s Corner: One of the most beautiful of all meditations about God becoming Man [the mystery we celebrate announciationat Christmas] is that written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux [1090-1153]. The “mystery” is why God would come to rescue us from sin and death, at all!? The answer: God’s love for us; and His hope that we will learn to love Him in return. That’s what salvation is: understanding that God loves you, and deciding that you will love God in the way you live your life, thereby opening yourself to God’s grace, so you might live with Him forever. Saint Bernard’s meditation is about the response Our Lady made to the Archangel Gabriel, who was sent by God to ask Mary to co-operate with His plan to save humankind from sin and death. As we read Bernard’s meditation, think of yourself as being in Our Lady’s room when the Archangel Gabriel appears: you’re eavesdropping, hiding behind a pillar or the curtains. But, even while you’re doing something sneaky, you become caught up in the scene of the angel before Mary: and as you begin to understand the importance that Mary’s response to God had for YOU and for YOUR future, you begin to hope that Mary will say “yes” , and co-operate with God’s invitation to be the Mother of God, so that you and all humankind might benefit in eternal life—for the first time, you understand the depth of God’s love for you, and, possibly for the first time, you desire to love God in return, just as Mary does.

Saint Bernard’s meditation is based on this Sunday’s Gospel: the Annunciation, which is also one of the most beautiful of the stained glass windows here at the Basilica: it is the on the side wall of Our Lady’s Chapel—to the left of the high altar: Mary kneels in prayer, and the Archangel Gabriel appears before her: and a small white dove can be seen descending upon Mary: the power of the Holy Spirit, by Whom Mary will conceive Jesus, our Savior, in her womb.

Here’s the meditation by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and he begins his narrative the moment after the Archangel invites Mary to be the Mother of God. This is not merely a reflection about something that happened in the past. Bernard writes this to be applied to each of us, now. The narrator is YOUR heart, beating more excitedly, hoping Mary will say “yes” to God’s will, just as God hopes daily that you will the same. Here is Bernard’s work:

“You have heard, Virgin Mary, that you are to conceive and bear a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits your answer, for he must now return to God who sent him. We too await your merciful word, Lady, for we are the wretches whom condemnation threatens. The price of our salvation is offered to you, and if you consent then we shall at once be freed. We were all created in God’s Eternal Word, yet now we are doomed to death because of Adam’s sin; in your short answer we shall be remade and summoned back to life.

Adam and Eve stand here weeping with their poor exiled children and await your answer; Abraham is here and David and all the holy patriarchs who are your fathers but dwell now in the valley of death’s shadow. The whole world is prostrate at your feet and waiting. What else can they do, since on your words depend the consolation of the wretched, the liberation of prisoners, the rescue of the condemned, and, in a word, the salvation of all Adam’s children of your whole race?

Answer quickly, then, Virgin. Answer the angel and the Lord he represents. Give your word and receive the Eternal Word [The Eternal Son of God]; speak the word that passes and embrace the Word who abides forever!

Why the delay and the trembling? Believe, confess, receive. Virginal simplicity must not forget wisdom. Fear not to be presumptuous, for though silent modesty is pleasing, your words of dedication are more needed now.

Blessed Virgin, open your heart to faith, your lips to the praise of the Lord, your body to your Creator. The One for whom the nations yearn is knocking at the door. Delay, and he will pass by, and you shall begin again in sorrow to seek Him whom your heart loves. Rise up, run, open!

She answers: “’Behold the Lord’s servant. Do with me as you say.’” [In Praise of the Virgin Mary, Sermon 4, 8-9]   —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Paula Bennett, 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, Brianna Petigny, Elaine Shoztic, Joan Kronk, John Kronk, Mary Lena Cocchia, Alexandre Laurent, John Murray.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Paul Polotaye, Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Cathy Itri, 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.

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.

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 12th at 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Topic: The Holy Catholic Church—Part I: Chapter 7.

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: January 24th Young adults age 21-39 are invited to join us at Murphy’s Townhouse Cafe , 97 Franklin St., Stamford’s downtown: 7pm-9pm. 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 allows more parishioners 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.

Advent Centers of Mercy: Various parishes have been named “Centers of Mercy” by Bishop Caggiano, and will offer special confession times during Advent:
Tuesdays: 7-8:30 pm: St. Catherine, Trumbull; St. Joseph, Brookfield; Assumption, Fairfield.
Wednesdays: 7-8 pm: St. Pius X, Fairfield.
Thursdays: 7-8:30pm: St. Theresa, Trumbull; Sacred Heart, Danbury; St. Charles, Bridgeport.
Mondays-Fridays: 11:30-12 noon: St. Augustine, Bridgeport.

The Basilica of Saint John: while not a diocesan Center of Mercy, continues to offer the Sacrament of Confession every day of the week: Monday-Friday:11:30-11:55 am; Saturday: 3-4 pm; Sunday: 7-7:25am; 9:30-9:55am; 11:30-11:55am.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday December 4, 2016 $ 12,386.00
Sunday December 6, 2015 $ 14,794.38

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 18th, Sunday Readings: Is 7:10-14; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24.

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, January 5th! 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.

Successful Canned Food Drive: The Religious Education Program, Thanks you for another successful Canned Food Drive! More than 100 bags of food were packed for the St. Joseph’s Parenting Center in Stamford as well as other families in need. Thanks to all of our generous parishioners for making a difference in the lives of many families this Thanksgiving! Thank You!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Rorate Mass
In English with Choir

mary-rorate-mass

Saturday, December 17th at 6 a.m.
Breakfast to follow in the Monsignor Nagle Hall
Everyone is 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
++++++++++
“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. To schedule a free introductory session: Angela Marchetti: angelamarachettifcp@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.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 10, 2016
4:00 +Suzanne DePreta req. Virginia Gerardi
Sunday, December 11, 2016
7:30 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Maria Trivino
10:00 +Rev. Joseph J. Malloy req. Carpanzano Family
12:00 Prayer for Priests req. Marion Morris
5:00 Needs of parishioners, especially the sick
Monday, December 12, 2016
8:00 +Joseph and Margaret Curtis req. Mary Maloney
12:10 Jaiden Kravar req. Fabiola
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
8:00 Special Intentions Rev. Albert D. Audette, Jr.
12:10 Alexandra and Gertha Laurent
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Noemi Isidro req. daughters
Thursday, December 15, 2016
8:00 +Rose Donahue and Mary Hynes req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Scholastica Lloyd req. Carmen Lara
Friday, December 16, 2016
8:00 +Patricia O’Connor req. Mary Bridget Gaine
12:10 +Charles and Matthew Austin req. parents
Saturday, December 17, 2016
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Nicholas Rosa Jr. req. Iris Rios and Julia Rosa

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 ADVOCATE:

150 years ago, or so:
December 15, 1865: “Second Annual Ball of St. John’s Roman Catholic Benevolent Association of Stamford, will be held at Hoyt’s Hall, on Friday evening, Dec. 29, 1865. Committee of Arrangements—John Kenealy, Robert Welch, Matthew Fagan, Thos. Hollarn, Jeremiah Riordan. President—Patrick McKeon: Vice President, Wm. Brennan: Treasurer, Michael Coughlin: Secretary, Nicholas Donohue. Floor Managers—Patrick Manon, Wm. Hickey, Eugene Drew.”

115 years ago, or so:
December 17, 1903: “There was a large congregation present at the opening service in the triduum for men, which commenced in St. John’s Roman Catholic Church last evening. The service was conducted by Rev. Father Fitzgerald of Greenwich. The services at 5 and 8 this morning were also well attended. The triduum will be continued this evening and tomorrow. The men of the parish are taking much interest in it. The sermon tonight will be preached by Rev. Father E. J. Beary of New York.“

100 Years ago, or so:
December 17, 1917: Service Flags for Catholic Churches. “St. John’s Catholic church will soon be among the churches of the country that fly service flags. One has been ordered, and it will be put up as soon as it arrives, which ought to be before Christmas. A roll of honor will be placed in the vestibule of the church. It will contain upwards of 225 names. A complete list of the names of the members of the parish who are in the service is now being compiled. It is estimated there are about 230 and the number will, of course, be increased later.”

65 Years ago, or so:
December 17, 1953: “The pupils of the eighth grade of St. John’s Parochial School visited the Cedar Rest Home, South St., this week, where they sang Christmas carols and distributed gifts. They also presented gifts to the patients at the Heagney Convalescent Home, Fairfield Ave.”

50 Years ago, or so:
December 18, 1965: AT THE TOP. “Daniel Shaub is the most recent Stamford Boy Scout to receive the Scout’s highest award, the Eagle Badge. He is a member of Troop 22, sponsored by St. John’s Roman Catholic Church. With him at the recent presentation were his brother, who is his assistant scoutmaster, David Shaub, his Mother, Mrs. Eugene Shaub, and his scoutmaster, Edwin Iacovo Jr.”