For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 5, 2017

Pastor’s Corner: Well, we’ve made it to February. To cheer you up even more, in just three weeks, Lent begins!!! Oh, boy. How fun is it to be Catholic??

By this point, everyone should have had their fill of ice and cold. Stuck inside because it’s too cold and gruesome outside, one can become too introspective and seethe about nonsensical, humdrum and aggravating things, which are of little import in the greater scheme of things. In the Inferno, the first section of his Divine Comedy, Dante proposes that the lowest circle of Hell is a frozen wasteland—it’s perpetual February—with Satan at the very lowest point of Hell, frozen solid, stuck in ice, forever. He’s entirely paralyzed by the ice; frozen and isolated from everything and everyone, his mind seething with frustration over his defeat by God and his eternal punishment. Having refused to serve God in Heaven, Satan rules in a Hell which is its own punishment—his frozen isolation with only his perpetual hatred of God and everyone, and his frustration not being able to move, produce only a repulsive bloody froth, seeping from his tear ducts and mouth for all eternity. Talk about winter cabin fever!!

My suggestion to avoid this fate—turning in on yourself, seething in frustration, isolated from everyone because of the ice and frigid temperatures outside, even for the short 28 days of February–is to do a few things:

— Practice charity: get out of your house and help someone: a relative or neighbor who needs a little assistance. Or, you might even volunteer at a local not-for-profit charitable institution; Check out the call for homebound assistance on the next page of this bulletin;

— Volunteer at the New Covenant House of Hospitality, 90 Fairfield Avenue, behind the Yerwood Center at 964-8228. This “soup kitchen”, run by the Diocese of Bridgeport, is always looking for those who want to help;

— Volunteer at the Ferguson Public Library, the main library downtown or one of the many branches in the suburbs;

— Volunteer at the Senior Nutrition Center, run by the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Catholic Charities, located at 888 Washington Blvd [Government Center], 203-977-5151. This is also the location for the Stamford Senior Center, which could use some help;

— Read a little Scripture: try the Gospel of Luke and Saint Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians. Both great reads that should inspire gratitude to God for His generosity to each of us.

These are a few ideas to get you out of yourself during these bleak February weeks of winter. Forget the groundhog, Valentine’s Day, the gray days of cold and ice, and concentrate on doing what you were designed to do: act more like God in charity and be grateful to Our Lord for your blessings received. So, buck up your spirits: despite the weather, God has done a lot of hard work to make sure you don’t end up in that perpetual February freeze of Hell, as Dante imagined in his Divine Comedy. Bring some warmth into someone else’s life by volunteering, and some warmth into your own life by reading about God’s love for you in Scripture.

While Ash Wednesday is not until March 1st, in anticipation, let’s consider Lent briefly.

Lent is much more than a time of increased piety. It is NOT designed for you to break bad habits or to lose weight. Lent is the Church’s annual season of struggle against Satan. That struggle began at the beginning of time when we turned our backs on God in disobedience in Eden. The final struggle began over 2,000 years ago when the eternal Son of God, creator of the universe, took on human flesh of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. The Creator became a creature, joining humanity to Himself, in order to free the only creature made in His image and likeness-US-from the power of Satan and from the sway of his most potent weapon, death. As one of the prayers for Christmas Mass reads: “Hasten, Lord our God, do not delay, and free us by Your power from the devil’s fury.” What is “the devil’s fury”? Moviegoers might imagine a scene from The Exorcist, as Satan possesses a young girl. The devil’s fury is subtler and more boringly mundane than anything Hollywood might imagine. The devil’s fury is daily temptation, which Satan ratchets up as we seek to fight it off by the practice of virtue. By falling into sin, Satan wins, and his hatred of God bears fruit in the eternal damnation of God’s image and likeness—US. Temptation is easier for Satan than demonic possession.

Lent is the Church’s great annual spiritual exercise with its focal point on the mystery of Christ’s redemptive mercy, foretold in the Old Testament, realized in the earthly life of Jesus, especially in His passion, death, resurrection and ascension; and which is realized in us by our worthy and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, and then in prayer, fasting, acts of mercy, spiritual reading, and a more intense practice of the Christian virtues in our daily lives. In other words, we open ourselves more readily to Christ’s transforming grace by living a more intense Christian life. Lent is the time to begin anew to live that more intensely Christian life. We start by repenting of our past sins, and working to avoid repeating them. Then we move on to the positive aspects: according to Saint Peter Chrysologus, “Three things sustain faith, devotion, and virtue,”. . . “prayer, fasting, and mercy to others. Prayer knocks at God’s door, fasting wins us what we need, and mercy is the hand cupped to receive . . . Let him who prays also fast; let him who fasts have pity on others; let him who wishes to be heard hear those who ask his help, for such a person alone has God’s ear whose own ear is not closed to the needs of others.” [Sermon 43]

How to begin? Don’t make crazy resolutions you’ll never keep. Decide to set sin aside, instead, and to open your heart to doing God’s will as the most important guide for all you do in your daily life. First: go to Confession and use the weeks of February as preparation. During the first week of Lent, meditate on the Passion of Christ: look at His sufferings for what they are—Jesus suffering to save you from Satan and eternal death. Another saint wrote:: “There is no greater stimulus to love our enemies [in which fraternal charity finds its perfect form] than the contemplation of the marvelous patience of Him who . . . offered His face to be spat upon and endured the other torments of His Passion . . . Did anyone hear those sweet and loving words of Christ from the Cross: ‘Father forgive them. . ?” Blessed Abbot Aelred continues, “If you are to love yourself correctly, you must not yield to carnal pleasure, by which is meant self-centeredness. If you do not to yield to carnal pleasure, center your affections on the loving person of the Lord.” [The Mirror of Charity, 3]. Express that gratitude in acts of charity, fasting, prayer and penance.

Let us prepare for Lent by using February to love God more in our lives by charity; perfect that throughout Lent, and make it the way you live throughout the rest of your lives. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Evan Fernandez, 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: Rosemary Pavia Grasso, Walter Bradley, Paul Hughes, Paul Polotaye, Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Cathy Itri, Oswaldo Diaz, Maria Imbrogno, James Saunders, Margaret Potolicchio, Richard Hughes, Israel Noriega.

Annual Catholic Appeal: Began 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. Each parish in Fairfield County is given a goal: ours 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 [ages 18 and up]: 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 go off to work. All parish men are welcome: 18 years of age and up. Just walk in the Rectory front door, go down the hall, and you’ll find the coffee.

Cardinal Ignatius Kung: was one of the great heroes of the Catholic faith, having suffered imprisonment in China for more than 30 years because of his faith. He died on March 12, 2000, and his funeral was here at the Basilica. To commemorate the anniversary of his death, and to promote interest in Cardinal Kung’s saintly life, the Basilica bookstore will offer a special sale of my biography of the Cardinal: Ignatius, The Life of Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei, for $5.00 per copy, beginning this weekend until March 12th. I think you will find the book of interest, and the Cardinal’s life fascinating and inspirational.

Diocesan Synod: During the past year, the Diocese of Bridgeport has asked parishes to begin implementing the Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport. Each parish developed a pastoral plan to in response to the Synod. The Basilica’s pastoral plan can be found at www.bridgeportdiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/St.-John-the-Evangelist-Basilica-Stamford-Parish-Pastoral-Plan.pdf

Looking for work? Parishioners seek someone to serve as an aide for a homebound Alzeheimer patient: their mother. No medical experience or training required, since this is primarily to monitor the safety of the elderly lady, making sure she doesn’t wander off. Duties would include preparing lunch, helping her to the toilet, praying the Rosary, putting movies in the DVD, and the like. Monday, Wed, Friday, 12 noon to 6pm; Saturday from 7-11 am. Pay is $13.50 per hour, with sick days and holiday pay. The lady lives in Port Chester. Please call the rectory if interested: 203-324-1553, ext 11.
Are you a student at UCONN Stamford? in some on campus activities. Please contact Fr. Andy Vill (frvill@diobpt.org). We are looking for some help/interest.

R.C.I.A.: Next class: Monday, February 6th at 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Topic: The Seventh and Tenth Commandments: Social and Economic Morality/The Eight Commandment: Truth, Part II: Chapters 9-10.

Faith on Tap: February 21st: Young adults age 21-39 are invited to join us at Murphy’s Townhouse Cafe , 97 Franklin St. in Stamford’s downtown: 7pm-9pm. Bishop Frank Caggiano will speak about “For I Was Hungry And You Gave Me To Eat”. Bring a friend or two!

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday January 29, 2017 $ 12,429.87
Sunday January 31, 2016 $ 14,167.21

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

February 12th, Sunday Readings: Sir 15:15-20; 1 Cor 2:6-10; Mt 5:17-37.

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’s love and mercy. 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 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: fmoran@futurefive.org

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.

Young Adult Mass and Holy Hour: Calling all young adults! Join us for our next monthly Young Adult Mass and Holy Hour, Thursday, March 2nd! Holy Hour begins at 6:30pm and Mass begins at 7:30pm. We’ll see you there!

The Learning Academy: at Trinity Catholic High School, Open House Monday February 13th, 6:30PM-8:00PM, a new learning academy for 9th & 10th graders for the 2017-2018 school year. A new & innovative approach for students with specialized learning needs. For more information please contact Jon DeBenedictis, Director of Admissions, jdebenedictis@trinitycatholic.org, 203-322-3401, ext. 302.

Ash Wednesday: Falls on March 1st this year, marking the beginning of Lent. What will you do for Lent? Those 40 days are the Church’s annual spiritual retreat, a time for spiritual battle against Satan. Use these weeks in anticipation of this holy season to consider how best to improve your relationship with Our Lord, through repentance for past sins, active charity, and deepened prayer.

“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: Natural Family Planning / Fertility Care – Are you seeking a family planning method that is natural, effective, and morally sound? The Creighton Model System is based upon a couple’s knowledge and understanding of their naturally-occurring phases of fertility and infertility.  Engaged couples preparing for marriage, as well as married couples, and couples who are experiencing infertility issues, can all benefit from using this system. The teachers of the Creighton Model System are trained allied health professionals, and specifically-trained physicians have been educated to incorporate the Creighton Model System into their medical practice.  If you would like to schedule a FREE introductory session, please contact Angela Marchetti at angelamarchettifcp@gmail.com.

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 catholicyastamford@gmail.com.

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: bridgeport@ciasalvador.org

Help End Legalized Abortion: Abortions take place daily at Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 35 Sixth Street. Help us stop this. To join us, or for training as a Sidewalk Counselor, call Noelle at 857-345-0808.

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606: There’s no charge.
Next meeting: Monday, February 27th 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, February 4, 2017
4:00 +Vito and Josephine Melfi req. Joseph Melfi
Sunday, February 5, 2017
7:30 +Nick Lionetti req. Beth and Anne Marie Carpanzano
10:00 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 John Ignatius Kung req. parents
5:00 +Antonin Scalia
Monday, February 6, 2017
8:00 +John Maloney req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +Roger Taranto req. Diane Strain
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
8:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
12:10 Deceased members of the Churley and Kronk families
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Augustine and Barbara Young
Thursday, February 9, 2017
8:00 +Mary Brennan req. Barbara Bayne
12:10 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
Friday, February 10, 2017
8:00 +Mary Churley req. Mary Petrizzi
12:10 +Vito Longo Birthday Remembrance req. family
Saturday, February 11, 2017
8:00 +Mr. and Mrs. George Talbot
12:10 +Frank Bongermino req. Nick and Ann Lepore

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 ADVOCATE:

110 years ago, or so:
Feb. 11, 1909: In Parochial School. “The Lincoln centenary was observed with appropriate exercises in St. John’s parochial school, this afternoon. These included the reading of the Gettysburg address and various recitations suitable to the occasion. The program was as follows: Song, “Hail to Thee”; “Tribute to Lincoln,” N. Merriman; “The Story of Abraham Lincoln,” boys of Grades 8 and 9; “Little Blossom and Abraham Lincoln,” Mary Flynn; chorus, “Flag of the Free”; “Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” George O’Brien; “Abraham Lincoln,” class exercise; Voice, S. Synch, old gentleman, J. Convery, pupils: Lincoln’s favorite poem, “O, Why Should the Spirit of Mortal be Proud?” A. O’Neill: chorus, a medley of national airs.”

100 years ago, or so:
Feb. 10, 1917: Parochial School Alumni Dance. “Held in the beautiful ball room of the Hotel Davenport, the first dance of St. John’s Parochial School Alumni Association could be nothing else but successful last evening. Although the cold weather kept away many who would otherwise have attended, there were about 250 present before “Home, sweet home” was played, at midnight, by Smith’s orchestra, which furnished music for the dancing.”

85 years ago, or so:
Feb. 12, 1935: More Than 1,000 at St. John’s Holy Name Card Party and Dance. “More than 1,000 people attended the card party and dance, last night, at the Burdick Junior High School under the auspices of the Holy Name Society of St. John’s R. C. Church. Almost the entire number of people present played either euchre, pinochle, bridge or bingo. For the card players there was an assortment of approximately 150 prizes, donated by friends and members of the society. At the completion of card playing, dancing was enjoyed to the music of a six-piece orchestra. The affair was under the general direction of William H. Brennan, while the bridge section was supervised by Frank Creagh; pinochle and euchre by Daniel McInerney; bingo by John P. Reilly and Mathew Seller; William R. Troy acted as general announcer.”

50 years ago, or so:
Feb. 18, 1965: Bishop Curtis Gives Crosses To Boy Scouts. “The Most Rev. Walter W. Curtis, S.T.D., Bishop of Bridgeport, presented Ad Altare Dei Crosses to Boy Scouts this morning at the 12th annual Bridgeport diocesan presentation. The Cross is presented to Catholic Boy Scouts for advancement in the spiritual content of the program of Boy Scouts. Recipients of the Cross from the Alfred W. Dater Council were William Boffa, Robert Gaynor, Noel Hanrahan, Douglas Harry, Donald Memale, Dennis Moriarty, James Otis, Charles Russo, and William Thompson of Troop 22, St. John’s, Stamford.”

Below, please find the financial statements for the first six months of this Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2016. The fiscal year ended with a profit of $28,622. The parish has no debt, other than a few current normal bills. We still have much needed repairs. I am very grateful for your generosity. Msgr. DiGiovanni

Comparative State Activities 12-31-16 Adj

Comparative State of position 12-31-16 Adj