For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday February 26, 2017

Pastor’s Corner: What do you want from life? That is the basis of another question: What is the goal of Lent? Lenten WreathThis isn’t so arcane as you might think, because, where you fit God into your life determines not just the “what” you want from life, but the “how” by which you achieve what you want from life. Each year we go through these Lenten 40 days; but why? The goal is to turn our minds and hearts—our desires—in a direction that is profitable. By profitable, I mean, towards that which will make us happy. Usually, when one thinks of “desire” for something that will make us “happy”, we imagine the immediate satisfying of some urge or fantasy. We push God out of the way, even in our thoughts, and misconstrue the immediate satisfaction of our bodily urges or ambitions for happiness. Our true happiness comes when we do that which we were designed to do: to please God by doing that which pleases the God who loves us, rather than merely and temporarily satisfying our every desire. St. Paul reminds us of our real status as slaves to our sins [Rom 6:15 ff]. And all the time you thought you were the boss of your own life. Silly Rabbit. . . as the cereal advert once ran. Christ offers liberation from the tyranny of sin and death, and, as an extra bonus of His love, eternal life as His co-heirs in Heaven. All that, just for trying to please Him now, not merely in thought, but in deed. Continuing to sin while claiming to love God is like insisting that you love your wife while continuing to go out with another woman; you can’t insist that you love God, while continuing to sin, acting as if He didn’t exist, or, as if He were not important enough to pay attention to. [I John 2:3-4]

One the Church’s greatest sinners, Saint Augustine, was an expert at this. He sought to “scratch every itch”, as the saying goes. For him, running after women and seeking fame and fortune were the most important things in life, because he believed he was the most important person in his life and, so, he determined that was what he’d do to become happy. He believed in God, but God was not real enough for Augustine to change the way he lived, since Augustine’s God was an idea, and not as real as Augustine’s ego, personal urges or ambitions. That was Augustine’s primary error, and usually ours as well: if we don’t first treat God as God, then we treat ourselves as God, and so we tend to treat other people as things for our benefit. So, we can use anyone, hurt anyone, cheat everyone, simply because we want whatever we want in life, and our desires or agenda justifiy whatever we do. We are first, and everyone else is second, because God really doesn’t exist in our lives, at least not enough to affect how we live. Or, we’ve created an idea of God, and worship that idea instead of the true God. Here’s Saint Augustine:

“The whole life of a believing Christian is, after all, a holy desire. What you desire, you do not yet see, but your desire enables you to be filled with seeing when the time for seeing comes. A comparison: If you want to fill a bag with something very big, you stretch the mouth of it; the object is big and the mouth small, but by stretching the mouth you make it bigger. In like manner, God expands our desire by deferring fulfillment; through desire He stretches the soul and makes it able to hold more. . . What, then, are we to do in this life where we do not yet lay hold of what we desire? St. Paul wrote, ‘I forget what is behind and stretch out to what is ahead, intent on the goal of heavenly calling,’ This is our life’s purpose: to practice desire. But we can cultivate holy desire only to the extent that we detach our desire from the world. You are to be filled with good things from God; you must first empty yourself of evil. Suppose God wanted to fill you with honey, but you were already filled with the vinegar of sin! You must empty yourself of vinegar, be cleansed, even with laborious scrubbing, so that you may be fit to be filled with something better” [Commentary on the First Letter of John, Treatise 4].

Pope Saint Gregory the Great put it this way: “Some people are so simple that they do not know what is right. But true simplicity is marked by genuine innocence, and the non-virtuous do not have it. Simplicity is a passionate enthusiasm for what is good. . . Some people are not simple in their actions, for they seek external satisfaction rather than inner spiritual rewards. We cannot go down two roads at the same time: when we outwardly do what God commands, but harbor worldly desires. A person fully avoids evil and sin when he begins, out of love for God, to sin no more. As long as he does good only out of fear, however, he does not fully avoid evil; for we sin by the very fact that we would like to sin if we could do so without punishment” [Moralia in Job, Book 1].

Lent is the annual season during which we strive to turn our desires from satisfying ourselves in sinful pursuits, and work for true happiness that comes from loving God here and now. After we stop doing evil actions, then we can move on to stop desiring to do evil actions. For sin is not just doing evil actions; a sin is knowing the doing of something is evil, and nevertheless desiring to do it, and then actually doing it. This is a question of real life actions and the real life exercise of your free will for to love God by avoiding evil and doing good. The first thing we should all do is to go to Confession, to repent of our sins, turn our hearts from sin, and receive God’s forgiveness. This is the “scrubbing” out of ourselves of the bitter residue of sin [vinegar, in Augustine’s words above], so that God may fill us with honey, His very life. Try it this year: you’ll be much happier by Easter, having rid yourself of bad and sinful desires and habits, and learned to want to do good, because you love God, and you desire to please Him in everything you think and do. Get into the daily habit of loving God and doing good. Happy Lent! —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Maria Travino, Maria Gabriela Mossa, Anne Touhey, Bill Rice, Diane DiNapoli, 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 Iannazzi, A.J. Barr, William Byrnes, Jonathan Victor, Sophia Petrafesa, Donald Gerbasi, Lyn Geikie-Rice, Addison Byrne, Ruth Coyle, Brianna Petigny, Elaine Shoztic.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Lillian Jacobs, Rosalie Liguori, William DeLeo, Sylvia Ardise, Rosemary Pavia Grasso, Walter Bradley, Paul Hughes, Paul Polotaye, Joyce Simoneau Rybnick, Cathy Itri, Oswaldo Diaz, Maria Imbrogno.

LENT begins on March 1st, ASH WEDNESDAY: Ash Wednesday is NOT a holy day of obligation. Ashes will be given out IN THE BASILICA during the 8 am and 12:10 pm Masses that day; AND in the Basilica at 7 am, 1pm and 7:30 pm, without any ceremony.
ASHES WILL NOT BE GIVEN OUT AT THE RECTORY.

The Lenten rules of fasting and abstinence from eating meat apply on Ash Wednesday & Good Friday: Fasting refers to the cutting back on the amount of food eaten on certain days, and applies to those aged 14-60 years old, unless ill or suffering from a medical condition. Fasting means that only one full meal [on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday] is to be taken and NO snacking between meals. Abstinence from eating meat means that no meat be eaten on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, or on any Fridays of Lent. This is a simple way to begin doing penance for our sins. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence from eating meat for those 14 years and older, unless sickness or medical conditions prevent this. If one is ill, 60 years or older, or suffers from any medical condition, these rules do not apply.

Men of the Parish [ages 18 and up]: Looking for a spiritual boost for Lent—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.

Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent at 4:00pm in English, but NOT on Good Friday.

Annual Catholic Appeal: 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. We have collected to date: $26,772.00. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help. Our parish Appeal leaders are John & Eileen Tarleton, who have led our efforts last year so successfully. Thank you for your generosity.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Saturday, May 6th: The Running of the Roses: the parish annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser. Live broadcast of the Race, plus superb food, live auction, mint juleps, and more. ALSO, to facilitate attendance by young couples, a Kids’ Derby will be held in the parish hall at the same time at a minimal charge, with games, food, and fun—no betting on the race!!!—and experienced adult supervision. Mark your calendar, and stay tuned for further details.
++++++++++++
Sports Tickets: Got season tickets for games? If so, please consider donating a pair to a game as auction items for the upcoming parish Kentucky Derby. Give a call to Cindy at the Rectory: 203-324-1553, ext 21.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday February 19, 2017 $ 13,083.32
Sunday February 21, 2016 $ 13,641.92

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

March 5th, Sunday Readings: Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11.

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’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.

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.

New Covenant House of Hospitality: Saint John’s parishioners staff the kitchens once each month to feed the homeless and less fortunate. For information, please call: 203-324-1553, ext 21.

The Upper Room: March 15—The Ides of March, celebrating the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus—for Adults 39 years of age and up, at Columbus Park Trattoria [the Upper Room], 205 Main Street in downtown Stamford, 7-9pm. Our speaker is David Bonagura, adjunct professor of theology at St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, who will speak on Et Tu, Catholic: Caesar’s Enduring Influence on Western Culture. This is NOT a political discussion, but one about Faith and culture. Come join us—bring a friend or two for a glass of wine, some pasta and a lively conversation.

St. Monica Latin Reading Group: Tuesdays at 12:45 in the Rectory. We are continuing our review of ecclesiastical Latin using Second Latin by Cora and Charles Scanlon. We are also reading excerpts from Ambrosi Epistulae Variae, letters of St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and mentor to St Augustine.  These range from letters to the Emperor to letters addressed to relatives.  An intermediate reading ability in Latin is necessary. Please 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

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.

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!

R.C.I.A.: Next class: Monday, February 27th at 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Topic: The Eucharist, Part III: Chapter 4, (pages 320-335).

Latin Low Mass: In the Extraordinary Form each Friday at 2pm. 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: 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. For 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.

VIRTUS PROGRAM FOR VOLUNTEERS: – As part of the Diocese’s Safe Environment Compliance Policy, any person over 18 who chooses to volunteer at the Church in any capacity, must take a class regarding child sexual abuse prevention called Virtus. This class is mandatory for every volunteer, even if you volunteer once a year. There are no exceptions to this policy. For more information please call the parish secretary.

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.

St. Augustine Council #41 – Knights of Columbus: 130th Annual Communion Breakfast, St. Augustine Council #41 – Knights of Columbus. Sunday, March 5, 2017,  Knights of Columbus, 507 Shippan Avenue. 8:30 am Mass – St. Mary Church, Breakfast at 10:00 am,  at the Knights of Columbus. Cost: $15.00.  Tickets can be purchased at the Council Center. See Kenny or Dan or contact Tom (203) 249-9644 or Al (203) 940-3651.

Oriental Carpet: Would you like one? We have a beautiful 30 year old, hand woven, golden, authentic oriental carpet, measuring 25 feet by 13.5 feet. This is free to take! In fact, it is the rolled up carpet on the floor in front of the Blessed Mother side altar. If anyone would like it, please speak with Cindy: 203-324-1553, ext 21, come and pick it up. It’s very heavy, so you’ll need to bring muscular help.

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: This 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 25, 2017
4:00 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Margarita Arenas
Sunday, February 26, 2017
7:30 All Souls in Purgatory req. Heloise Nana
10:00 +Esperance Phillips req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
12:00 +Madeline Ghilardi req. Dr. Joe McAleer
5:00 +Antonin Scalia
Monday, February 27, 2017
8:00 People of the Parish
12:10 +Kevin Mullin req. Danny Rainho
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
8:00 +Julia Wynne Breunich req. Rosemary Reid
12:10 Marion Dal Molin req. Mary Jean
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
8:00 +Jeanne Smitherman req. Marc Valois
12:10 +James C. French req. Tom Timon
Thursday, March 2, 2017
8:00 +Ralph Damiano req. Christina and David McAleer
12:10 +James and Adele Henson req. John Pascale
Friday, March 3, 2017
8:00 +Herculano and Gloria Oliva req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
12:10 +Carmine Longo req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Saturday, March 4, 2017
8:00 Sister Ellen Mary CSJ Birthday req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Ann Cody 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:
85 years ago, or so:
Feb. 15, 1934: LARGE AUDIENCE FOR FR. CARROLL IN ST. JOHN’S. “The Rev. James F. Carroll, of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Ferndale, began his series of Wednesday evening Lenten sermons at St. John’s R. C. Church, last night, by telling of the message of the Ashes to those seeking God. He said that the lowly dust and Ashes that were placed in the sign of the Cross on the brows of worshipers after all services in the Catholic churches, yesterday, in observance of Ash Wednesday, called out against pride, avarice, luxury and passion. The church was filled to capacity for the service. Late comers had to go elsewhere, as even standing room was not available. Father Carroll told first of the messages that the imposing and mighty forces of the world brought to mankind. He said that man could learn from the hills, the sea, the sun and the stars, of the eternity and majesty of God. But what of the things that do not touch us, that we carelessly throw aside? He continued. What of the dust and ashes of this world? They also speak to us of God. At this very hour, the dust and ashes bring us a message from heaven and from God, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shall return. At the beginning of the season of Lent, I call up dust to speak to us of God. After naming the four sins-pride, avarice, luxury and passion-against which dust speaks, Father Carroll took up each in turn and set forth the significance of the messages dust and ashes brings concerning them. He referred to pride as the greatest sin against God, and called it an eternal error against the infallibility of God. He explained that all that man became or hoped to become came from God, and that man himself was merely dust, and had no cause for pride in himself. Then Father Carroll took up the sin of avarice. He explained: Dust tells us All this world can give in wealth and profit, will return to me. Yet we toil and slave for things of this earth. We steal and we kill for things that give us momentary pleasure, but which we must give up when death is upon us. He said that however much the human being might gather together of this world’s goods, the time would come when the hand of God and the hand of justice would be raised, and the things of this world would be left behind when man went to his grave. Taking up what he termed the lust for luxury, Father Carroll said that many people sin to break the monotony of life. The most terrible thing in sin is its monotony, he commented. During his discussion of this, he said: It is sin, not age, that makes us old. Christ has the only solution of eternal youth. He set forth that sooner or later would come a day in the life of each individual when he entered into himself, and was alone with God, and at that hour, man would realize that his sinning heart could never rest until it was with God. Taking up the fourth sin against which dust and ashes call out, Father Carroll pointed out that ashes were all that was left after a conflagration. We all know the destitution that follows a fire, he continued. Yet it is as nothing compared to the soul where the fire of passion has burned almost to destruction. In conclusion he said know that you must go back to God.”

Bishop Announces New School!
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano recently met with Catholic school parents to unveil Imagine 2020, a three-year plan for Catholic elementary education in Stamford that will create a single, new flagship PreK-Grade 8 school. The four schools involved in the plan are Holy Spirit School, Our Lady Star of the Sea School, St. Cecilia School, and Trinity Catholic Middle School. The new school, which will open in September 2017, will be re-named and a new board will be formed in order to involve representatives from all four parishes.
According to the bishop, the new school will provide a superior education, in a renovated facility, located on a single campus in the heart of the city, whose mission will be enhanced by a rejuvenated and prospering Trinity Catholic High School. The new school will allow for more differentiated instruction and new models of teaching such as blended learning that will make classrooms more innovative and contemporary.
Priority registration for current school families will run until February 15, after which will open to new students. Applications for the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund will be accepted until April 1. The diocese has set up a hotline for anyone to call in and have their specific questions answered. The number is 203-209-2894. For
more information, including tuition rates and how to register, please visit www.catholicschoolsstamford.org.

Stamford Lenten Adult Bible Study: The Scriptural Roots of the Sacraments will be a six-week Bible Study held at Trinity High School every Thursday in Lent, starting March 2nd, from 7-8:30pm. The study, led by Fr. Joseph Gill, will examine how the Sacraments of our Catholic Faith, such as the Mass and Confession, are grounded in the Word of God, both prefigured in the Old Testament and then coming in fullness in the New. Cost is free. All adults who want to grow in their faith are invited to join us! For more information, please contact Fr. Joseph at frjosephgill@gmail.com.

Lenten Pasta Dinner & Stations: Trinity Catholic High School is hosting two Lenten pasta dinners to help raise money for our teens to do a week-long service trip in Boston! Come and join us on March 10th and March 24th any time between 5:30pm-7:30pm for some delicious food, donated by Columbus Park Trattoria and cooked by their expert chefs! We will then celebrate the Stations of the Cross in the chapel at 7:30pm for those who wish to stay. The dinners are open to the public, and cost is $10 per person or maximum $40 per family.

Trinity Catholic Presents Fiddler on the Roof: TCHS Crusader Players present Fiddler on the Roof, our in- house school play, scheduled for performances from 3/24/17 through 3/26/14.

Trinity Catholic Legacy Gala: Friday, April 28th, 2017, at The Italian Center. Honoring The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport for his Legacy of Purpose, The Sam Cingari Family for their Legacy of Commitment, Art ’81 & Donna Mossa ’84 Murphy P’11,’14,’17 for their Legacy of Encouragement. For more information contact Betsy Mercede at bmercede@trinitycatholic.org.

2017-18 Admissions at Regina Caeli Academy: Looking for an amazing resource center devoted to a classical education and the Catholic faith? Regina Caeli Academy meets at Wilton Baptist Church, Wilton, CT, serving Prek-3 – 12th grade. Students attend Socratic and hands-on classrooms two days per week and are home schooled the remaining days. Our Open House will be on Saturday, March 4th, from 3-5pm at Wilton Baptist Church. Please contact Mary Grunbok at (203) 701-9154 or mgrunbok.fcc@rcahybrid.org to schedule your family tour or make reservations for the Open House.

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

Lauralton Hall: invites you to attend Take-a-Look Tuesday on March 7, 2017 at 8:00a.m. RSVP to (203)877-2786 ext.144. Lauralton Hall, 200 High Street, Milford, CT.

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.

ignatiusSM