For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday January 1, 2017

Pastor’s Corner: Now that December 25th has passed, Christmas is all over, right? Wrong! The Church nativity does not treat one of the most important historic events in cosmic history with such frivolity as to move on so quickly. Since the reality that God the Creator of the Universe became a man in Bethlehem in order to share His Divine nature and life with us men and women is so important, the Church keeps the Divine Child of Bethlehem before our eyes until February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation, when Jesus was dedicated to God in the Temple in Jerusalem. One means of doing this is by observing a very ancient and pious tradition, whose origin is St. Francis of Assisi. It all began in a small town outside Rome, and continues in Rome today.

Atop Rome’s Capitoline Hill, one of Rome’s original seven hills, is a graceful set of stairs, the cordonata, built by Michelangelo in 1536. Its easy ascent leads to today’s city capitol buildings, and in the center of the little square is a recent [fiberglass] copy of the ancient bronze equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The original is now in the museum on the right side of the piazza. If you asked any of the thousands of tourists who mount the stairs to identify the bronze-colored fiberglass statue of the man on a horse, about 99% of them would have no clue! He was once the most powerful man in the world, despite the fact that he was the most powerful man in the world.

To the left of Michelangelo’s staircase is the rough brick Church of Santa Maria dell’ Aracoeli, which sits atop another staircase of graceless design, composed of 122 agonizingly steep steps. It is a very, very difficult ascent! Yet, thousands mount those steps daily, especially during the Christmas season.

The Aracoeli was built over the ancient pagan Altar of Heaven, built by the Emperor Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor who reigned when Jesus was born. Augustus’ Altar of Heaven marked the spot he had a vision of a woman with a baby, promising a new era in human history. It is recorded in Virgil’s Bucolics, in the fourth Eclogue 4-17. The early Church interpreted this to refer to a specific woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to a specific infant, Jesus. The heart of the Church of the Ara Coeli is the tiny wooden statue of the Infant Jesus. Rather ugly, but wrapped in swaddling clothes and, over the centuries, it has become encrusted in jewelry, precious stones, and, in more recent times, Rolex watches, offered by the faithful asking for favors or in gratitude for prayers answered. This statue of the Baby Jesus is credited with numerous miracles, ever since its arrival in the church centuries ago. In fact, up through Mussolini’s time, the statue had its own horse-drawn carriage in which it would ride to the home of the local poor, visiting the sick or attending the deathbed of a pious, impoverished Roman citizen. The story is even told that during a public demonstration when Mussolini was haranguing the crowds, and all traffic was halted, the Duce himself stopped speaking, and the crowds parted to allow the Santo Bambino to pass by on a mission of mercy!

Each year, throughout the Christmas season, thousands of Romans eagerly mount those treacherous 122 steps to reach the ugly brick church on top. The goal of their pilgrimage is to encourage their to mount the pulpit to recite “sermons”, poems, or simply little speeches they’ve composed to the Infant Jesus, thanking Him for blessings, and especially because He—the Son of God—became a baby for them. It’s quite lovely, in a Roman way.

It presents an interesting contrast: thousands mount Michelangelo’s beautiful stairs to stare at the imposing bronze-colored fiberglass statue of a man no one remembers who once was powerful and famous; thousands more mount steeper stairs of lesser design next door to visit an ugly little wooden statue of a baby everyone knows—Jesus the Son of God and Son of Mary, who is the Emperor of the Universe who became a child so we could live in peace on earth—if we listen to Him, and live with Him forever in Heaven—if we choose to love Him.

Bring your children to our Nativity Scene at Saint John’s beginning at Christmas, but also during the subsequent weeks of the Christmas season through February 2nd, and let them give a little speech to the Infant Jesus, thanking Him and His Mother for loving us so much. The religious education children of the parish will be doing that during their classes on Sundays January 8, 22 & 29: parents are most welcome to come and watch their children speak to Our Lord in His crib—you might even thank the Infant King for the blessing of your children as they say their few words of thanks. Merry Christmas! —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Paula Bennett, Mildred Beirne, Karen Hsu, 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 Hughes, 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.

Solemnity of Mary Collection . . . The second collection will be the for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

LATIN LOW MASS: In the Extraordinary Form each Friday at 2pm. 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.: There will be no class on January 2nd. Our next class will be Monday, January 9th at 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Topic: The Essence of Catholic Morality/Human Nature as the Basis for Catholic Morality —Part II: Chapters 1-2.

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. Patrick Donovan of the Diocesan Leadership Institute will be talking about “Ten Ways To Evangelize Every Single Day”. Bring a friend or two!

Preaching to Baby Jesus: On Sundays January 8, 22 & 29, the parish religious education students will be invited to preach to the Baby Jesus, represented in the parish Nativity scene on the St. Joseph Side Altar. These little 1 minute student sermons will take place during the regular religious education classes on Sundays. Parents and families are invited to attend. This pious practice began in the 13th century by Saint Francis of Assisi, and continues to be practiced in the Roman parish church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, near the Roman Forum. School aged children are invited to mount a small pulpit and say a few words thanking the Son of God for becoming a baby in Bethlehem so we could have eternal life. Parents and families of the children are welcome to join us.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Not Available because of Early Bulletin Transmission Deadlines

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

January 8th, Sunday Readings: Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12.

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 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!

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

“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.

Electronic Giving – Offertory Donations Made Easy…Consider using your credit card to make your weekly or monthly donation to St. John’s. Easier for you, and less costly for the parish than the printing and mailing of weekly envelopes, credit card giving automatically sends your weekly offering to the Basilica of St. John’s. Call the parish secretary (324-1553, ext. 21).

Our Lady Star of the Sea School: Will be having Open Houses on Sunday, January 29, 2017 10:00a.m.-12noon and Wednesday, February 01, 2017 from 9:00a.m.-11:00a.m. For more information, please contact Mary Margarone, Director of Admissions, admissions.olss@gmail.com.

Villa Maria School: located in Stamford and proud to have over 40 years of success in inspiring students with learning disabilities, will host a series of Open Houses in January. Dates and times are Sunday, January 22 from 2-4 PM, Monday, January 23 from 9:30-11:00 AM, and Monday, January 23 from 6:30-8:00 PM. To RSVP for Open House, contact Stephen Bennhoff, Assistant Head of School at Villa Maria School, at 203-322-5886 ext 104. Or email him at sbennhoff@villamariaedu.org.

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.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, December 31, 2016
4:00 +Ed & Ann Cody, Bill & Felicitas Cody and members of the Burns and Cody Family req. Cody Family
Sunday, January 1, 2017
7:30 +Charles Cycon req. Thomas Cycon
10:00 Thanksgiving to God req. Saint Preuve Family
12:00 +Suzanna Donovan 22nd Anniversary req. Marion Morris
5:00 +Bryan Washington
Monday, January 2, 2017
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 +John “Jay” O’Meara req. Tom Kolenberg
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
8:00 +Mary Ellen O’Keefe req. Oniffrey Family
12:10 +Bonnie Keyes req. Tom Kolenberg
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
8:00 +Mary Price req. Melanie Szlucha
12:10 Colleen Sharkey Kung req. parents
Thursday, January 5, 2017
8:00 +Nancy Russo req. James and Lori Rubino
12:10 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Friday, January 6, 2017
8:00 +Felicetta Di Carlo req. Bill and Richard Morris & Michelle Sagdati
12:10 +Beth Pesiri-Solomita req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Saturday, January 7, 2017
8:00 +Gertrude Mullin req. Rainho Family
12:10 Special Intentions Donna Disapupil req. Ferry G.

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: There is no Coffee Hour this Sunday, January 1st, because of New Year’s Day. Coffee Hour will resume Sunday January 8th, after the 10a.m. Family Mass in the Monsignor Nagle Parish Hall.

St. John’s in the ADVOCATE:

155 years ago, or so:
January 4, 1860: “New Year’s day passed off quietly, so quietly that we, who have always been accustomed to the noise and gaiety and rushing about of one half the city calling upon the other half, could hardly bring ourselves to believe that this was the veritable “Happy New Year.” It being the feast of the Circumcision, there was Mass in the Roman Catholic church.”

145 years ago, or so:
January 8, 1869: “The Roman Catholic choirs are generally found to excel. This is true of the choir in the Catholic church in this town. Additional good voices and other improvements have been lately added, and though they appear to need a good organ, yet they produce very pleasing music.”

110 years ago, or so:
January 2, 1907: New Parochial School Opens. “St. John’s parochial school took up its quarters in its new building this morning. There were about 500 children present. They attended Mass in the church at 9 a.m. and then went over to their new school. There was some inconvenience in getting the session under way, because all the work on the interior was not entirely completed. By Monday, everything will be done, it is expected, and from that time on things will move along smoothly. There were a number of visitors in the school yesterday, and all were well impressed with it.“

100 Years ago, or so:
January 7, 1916: “The Holy Name societies of St. John’s Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Church of the Holy Name are to assemble in St. John’s Catholic Church, on Sunday evening, at 7:30, to listen to a lecture by Rev. Joseph Byrne of Norwalk, who is superior of the Holy Ghost school.”

65 years ago, or so:
January 8, 1948: CYO Ends Half Tonight, Johnnies Upset Holy Names. “The first round in the Catholic Youth Organization Leagues ends tonight when four more games will be put on at the Columbus Hall. Last night, the feature game of the evening provided a thriller, with the St. John’s upsetting a favored Holy Name five by the score of 43—39. It was one of the closest games played this season, with the score changing hands no less than 10 times. The South Enders gained an early lead in the first quarter and maintained a one point lead at intermission. With but two minutes to go, the Johnnies held onto a three point lead which gave them the victory.”