For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday January 22, 2017

Pastor’s Corner: “A few years ago there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant coming from New York to New Haven, but now the emblem of salvation may be seen in every little village.” These words come from an editorial published in the February 3, 1851 number of The Boston Pilot, the Catholic newspaper of the then-Diocese of Boston. You can read the entire piece if you turn to page 7 further ahead in this weekend’s parish bulletin. The article records the January 26, 1851 dedication of the first Saint John’s Catholic Church in Stamford. [I am indebted to Mr. Lawrence Bolanowski, our parish historian, for his historical newspaper selections that appear weekly in our parish bulletin in the section entitled, Saint John In The News].

The author’s reflection that prior to the 1851 dedication of the first Saint John’s Church “there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant. . .” was quite literal. This is attested to by a number of letters in St. John’s parish archives dating from the late 1820s and 1830s written by Mr. Patrick Walsh in Ballintaylor [Waterford], Ireland to his son, Michael Walsh, then living on Roxbury Road here in Stamford. In his letter of June 19, 1828, Pat wrote that he finally received one of Matt’s letters, and gives us an idea of the contents of his son’s letter in his answer: “You tell me you have no Roman Catholick [sic] Priest nearer to you than New York. Nevertheless, mind your duty to God and your Master, which is the only way to forward yourself, here and hereafter.”

When the elder Walsh wrote to his son Michael in 1828 there was no railroad, so the only methods of transportation then available to the younger Walsh to get himself from Stamford to New York would have been horse or foot—just to go to Church!!?? Today, that seems preposterous advice. Who would go to all that trouble just to go to church on a Sunday? And, yet, that is what Catholics in Stamford and other towns did then: they walked miles and miles on Sunday in order to attend Mass, so important was God in their lives. A report from the early 1840s tells the story of the Catholics of Bethel who would walk the 20 miles to Stamford when there was a visiting priest at Patrick Drew’s house offering Mass every other month. [Patrick Drew allowed his fellow Catholic immigrants to gather in his house when a priest visited. His efforts mark the beginnings of St. John’s] When the priest rode to other towns around Fairfield County to baptize children, hear confessions, marry couples, and offer Mass, they also walked to those towns. Catholics from Stamford and Norwalk walked the 14 miles to Bridgeport to attend Sunday Mass there. A contemporary witness reported that those early Catholics after,

. . . quietly removing the shoes from their feet, trudged zealously on as far east as the old Fairfield and Bridgeport division line, where, before entering the house of God [the old St. James Church], they would replace their shoes, and dust their travel-soiled wardrobe; so that no disrespect should be done the sacred place from whence, after their morning sacrifice [Mass] they would turn their faces toward their fourteen miles westward home.

As you can read in the full 1851 article about the dedication of the first St. John’s Catholic Church in Stamford on page 7 of this bulletin, the little wooden clapboard St. John’s Church, was jammed with over 200 people. For them, the miseries of January cold, wind, snow and ice were nothing compared to the graces to be had by attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is why they sacrificed their pennies to finance the purchase of the land and the construction of their little wooden church as their gift to God in gratitude that He had brought them to America.

We should take a page from the playbook of those St. John’s parishioners of an earlier century: don’t’ let the cold, gray days of January get you down. Rather, smile as you recall the blessings of Our Lord, and the innumerable graces He offers in daily Mass and the sacraments provided to you each day in the second St. John’s Church, our Basilica—built in 1875 by many of the same families who built the first wooden structure across the railroad tracks in 1851. Our Lord invites us to share His life now, and to lead others to Him and to His Catholic Church. There we can discover that lives of faith, hope, charity, and virtue are lives of joy, for we share our lives with the God who became one of us at Christmas, that we might become like Him and be with Him forever. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Gayle Moore, 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: Walter Bradley, 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.

Church in Latin America Collection . . . Please drop your special Church in Latin America envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.

Annual Catholic Appeal: Begins the weekend of January 21/22. This is the annual appeal by the Diocese of Bridgeport to fund all the charitable, educational, and faith-based works of the Diocese of Bridgeport that assist thousands of people daily throughout Fairfield County. You will be contacted directly by the Diocese. Our parish goal this year is $110,000, so please be generous in your support. Our parish Appeal leaders are John & Eileen Tarleton, who have led our efforts last year so successfully. Thank you for your cooperation and generosity.

Latin Low Mass: In the Extraordinary Form each Friday at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.

Men of the Parish: Looking for a spiritual boost—with coffee? Every Friday morning, about 30 men of the parish meet in the Rectory at 7 a.m. for coffee, then join together for twenty minutes of prayer and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament: all completed in time to attend the 8 a.m. Mass or to be on time for work. All parish men are welcome: 18 years of age and up. All are welcome without charge: Just walk in the Rectory front door, go down the hall, and you’ll find the coffee.

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

R.C.I.A.: Our next class will be Monday, January 23rd at 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Topic: The First Three Commandments:Duties to God/The Fourth Commandment: Family and Social Morality, Part II: Chapters 5-6.

Faith on Tap: January 24th: Young adults age 21-39 are invited to join us at Murphy’s Townhouse Cafe , 97 Franklin St. in 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!

The Upper Room: January 31st: For Adults 39 and up in “The Upper Room” at Columbus Park Trattorria, 205 Main Street, in Stamford’s downtown: 7pm-9pm for “Stump the Priests.” All are welcome. Bring a friend or two!

Speaking to Baby Jesus: On Sundays January 22 & 29, the parish religious education students are invited to speak to the Baby Jesus represented in the parish Nativity scene on the St. Joseph Altar. These little 1 minute student reflections are the children’s way of thanking the Son of God for becoming a baby in Bethlehem to give them eternal life, and will take place during the regular religious education classes on Sundays. Parents and families are invited to attend. The pious practice was begun by St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century and continues in Rome today.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday January 15, 2017 $ 11,690.74
Sunday January 17, 2016 $ 12,369.49

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 29th, Sunday Readings: Zep 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12a.

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.
Thursday, FEBRUARY 2: Candlemass: The Blessing of candles and procession will take place at the beginning of the 12:10 daily Mass. Everyone is welcome.

Friday, FEBRUARY 3: St. Blaise Day: Throats will be blessed after both 8am and 12:10 pm daily Masses.

Saturday, SEPTEMBER 22 & 23, 2017: Relics of Saint Padre Pio will visit our Basilica at 5p.m. on Friday, September 22nd, remaining all day on September 23rd, as they tour the United States. Please mark your calendar for two days of prayer and blessings. Details to follow.

Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God’s love and mercy. 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 Latin Reading Group: Tuesdays, 12:45 in the Rectory.  We are reading two works of St Ambrose:  De Mysteriis, on Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist [387 a.d.];  Epistula ad Sororem Marcellinam [385 a.d.], an account of Arian and Imperial Party politics to gain possession of a basilica in Milan. An intermediate reading ability in Latin is necessary. Information: 203-324–1553.

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:

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.

Lauralton Hall: invites you to attend Take-a-Look Tuesday on February 7th at 8AM. Join us for coffee and a tour of Lauralton Hall. RSVP to 203-877-2786 ext.144. Lauralton Hall, 200 High Street, Milford.

“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 or 203-536-5480.

Natural Family Planning & Fertility Care: Looking for information to understand and appreciate your fertility? The Creighton Model 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:

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, we can only presume you to be a practicing catholic by tracking your contributions by check or envelope. If you do not attend Mass regularly or practice your Catholic Faith, you cannot be a sponsor.

Catholic Young Adults of Stamford: We are Catholic young adults in our 20s and 30s, We regularly meet for social events and community service projects. Join us for our monthly Sunday dinner following 5pm Mass. Connect with us on Facebook or Meetup, or email us at

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

World Day of Prayer for the Sick: St. Aloysius Church, Saturday, February 11th. Welcome begins at 2:30pm. Mass will be celebrated at 3pm with the Sacrament of the Sick. All, especially the sick, the handicapped and the frail are invited to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Sponsored by the Order of Malta.

New Girls Catholic Academy: Pre-K-High School: The religious Sisters of the Company of The Savior operate girls academies in Spain and in the United States. The mission of the Sisters is to provide faithful Catholic education to young and teen-aged girls. They hope to open a new girls’ academy in lower Fairfield County within the next few years. The priests of the Basilica parish support this project. If you are interested and would like more information, please contact Sr. Maria:

Villa Maria School: in Stamford has proudly inspired students with learning disabilities for more than 40 years, and will host a series of Open Houses on Sunday, January 22: 2-4 pm; Monday, January 23rd, 9:30-11:00am & 6:30-8:00pm. Contact Stephen Bennhoff, Assistant Head of School at Villa Maria School, at 203-322-5886 ext 104, or at

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: or 203-866-1606: There’s no charge. Next meeting: This Monday, January 23rd at 7:30PM – at Stamford Corners, 1455 Washington Blvd, Stamford. Walk up the stairs, past the concierge to the club room. Go around to the left to right side conference room.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, January 21, 2017
4:00 +Dr. Vincent and Mrs. Theresa Kung req. family
Sunday, January 22, 2017
7:30 Lillian and Anthony Merola
10:00 +Nellie Gray req. Josephine
12:00 +Marian Flannery Pearson req. Dr. Joe McAleer
5:00 +Bryan Washington
Monday, January 23, 2017
8:00 +Mary Churley req. Mary Petrizzi
12:10 +John Currie req. Pascale Family
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
8:00 +Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10 People of the Parish
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
8:00 +Doris McMahon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +John Dalton req. Dalton Family
Thursday, January 26, 2017
8:00 Thanksgiving req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Ann Cody Birthday req. Cody Family
Friday, January 27, 2017
8:00 +Norman Olivere Hamilton req. Maria Swaby-Rowe
12:10 +Michael Calomino Jr. req. Marion Morris
Saturday, January 28, 2017
8:00 +Liege Merino Demelo req. Lucy Espinoza
12:10 +Michael Calomino Jr. req. Bill and Richard Morris & Michelle and Jimmy

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.
Baptisms are offered in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

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 Latin Patristic 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 BOSTON PILOT: February 3rd, 1851: Connecticut. STAMFORD. “Mr. Editor: From a conviction of the interest which your truly Catholic paper has always taken in communicating through its columns the progress of our holy religion, I take pleasure in informing you of the dedication of our Church in Stamford, on Sunday, January 26th, by the Right Reverend Bishop O’Reilly.
Old ChurchThe First St. John’s Catholic Church, Stamford

The morning was beautiful and it would appear that the cross shone with more than usual luster: from an early hour in the morning the hills and valleys were literally covered over with the sons and daughters of the emerald isle, whose hearts and souls were overflowing with joy that the time at length arrived when they had a church to be dedicated to the service of Almighty God. This church has been commenced and completed by the indefatigable zeal of our pious and exemplary pastor, Rev. John C. Brady, with the cooperation of the whole-souled Catholics of Stamford. The Church was dedicated to Almighty God under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist, after which confirmation was conferred on a considerable number, who were duly prepared by their Rev. Pastor; then High Mass was sung by the Pastor, and after the first gospel the Bishop ascended the platform and preached a very eloquent and persuasive sermon on the gospel of the day to a crowded congregation, many of whom were not of our religion, yet they were much delighted by the mild and charitable sermon. In the afternoon at vespers he preached one of the most powerful and practicable sermons we ever heard. On the following Tuesday he dedicated another Church, erected by the same pastor, under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary , and administered confirmation to those who were prepared here; he was assisted by the Rev. Mr. Lynch of Bridgeport, and Rev. Mr. Brady of Middletown. So now Mr. Editor you must think that our holy religion is flourishing rapidly along the Sound. A few years ago there was no cross erected to cheer the heart of a poor Irish emigrant coming from New York to New Haven, but now the emblem of salvation may be seen in every little village. Yours truly, J. T. O’R.”