For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday July 9, 2017

Pastor’s Corner: During these warmer months, I thought I’d offer some lighter summer fare for your weekly consideration, rather than the more heady stuff of past articles. Let’s do a type of walking tour of our basilica. We have the largest and oldest church building in the area. But I think few parishioners or visitors really notice the quality of construction or detail of artwork that makes Saint John’s so unique a treasure in Fairfield County and the Diocese of Bridgeport. Here we go.

Let’s start from the outside and work our way inside during the next weeks. The property was purchased in 1868, and had been excavated in 1869 by Michael Coughlan, whose firm also laid the footings for the new church, all free of charge. The church is built of granite, quarried from Leetes Island off the New Haven coast, the same quarry that supplied the granite used in the construction of the plinth for the Statue of Liberty. The exterior of our church was the design of James Murphy, one of the leading church architects in New England. When the church was completed in 1886, the press trumpeted the building as the largest stone church and “undoubtedly one of the very finest ecclesiastical edifices in the state” [The Stamford Advocate, June 1, 1886], and “In general style the new edifice is said to resemble the cathedral at Milan” [The New York Times, May 31, 1886]. Obviously, the reporter had never been to Milan! Nevertheless, the sentiment is appreciated, and, truly, the church exterior is imposing and impressive. Set in our magnificent gardens, it provides a true oasis in today’s downtown of high rise buildings.

The church is designed in the form of a Latin Cross: the central aisle and sanctuary run on an east-west axis [the front door faces east, just like Saint Peter’s in Rome], and the transept crosses on a north-south axis. The design allows the altars to be illuminated by the rising sun through the choir loft window. When Mass was offered by a priest facing the altar, the rising sun provided him the light sufficient to read the large Mass book known as the Missal. Likewise, it shines through the choir window with the image of Christ, the light of the world, literally.

There are three impressive front doorways before which are pink granite stair cases on either side of which are pink granite side risers. Each riser is formed by a single 8-ton block of pink granite, which the press judged “not only beautiful, but durable.” [The Connecticut Catholic, September 27, 1884]

Originally, the bell tower was planned to be the tallest in the state, rising 250 feet and forming a pointed wooden steeple. Never completed because of a lack of funds, the tower was merely capped in 1886, slightly above the height of the lowest large tower window. In 1886, the most imposing element of the façade was the choir window, rising above the central door. To its left [south] are two smaller stone turrets: that nearest the central door is decorative; the larger one, closer to the rectory, houses the original circular brick staircase leading to the choir loft. At the base of this southern-most turret is a granite block carved with a Greek Cross. The lower course of the façade is pierced by three small lancet windows, and, above, between the turrets, a quatrefoil window. This window was the gift of Fanny Meredith: a parishioner who was a washer woman, who saved her pennies to give the best she had to God in the form of a beautiful window. Each early morning as the sun rises, this window daily lights up the Blessed Mother altar, just as Fanny intended in the 1880s!

The bell tower was finally completed by Fr. James O’Brien in the 1920’s in English Perpendicular Gothic style. You can see eight carved angels: two on each side of the tower. The smaller angels each hold an open Bible with the Chi Rho, the first two Greek letters for Christ; four larger angels, nearer the top, pray with folded hands. More next week. —Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Debbie Schemmel, June Roberts, Marie Cassis, Patricia Morgan, Vittorio Faugno, Robert Strada, Dionysia Oliveira, Salvatore Piria, Mary Ellen Callahan, Louise Wiles, Frank Wruk, Erin Wiggin, Isaac Lopez, Richard Ridge, Debbie Schemmel, Ron Frasca, Lisa Giugno, Michele Giugno, Helga Pecaric, Kimberly Rice, Jimmy Berube, Maria Trivino, Maria Gabriela Mossa, Bill Rice, Diane DiNapoli, Gayle Moore, Paula Bennett, Mildred Beirne, Karen Hsu, Silvana Smith, Harriet Lockhart, Joseph Kung, Jacqueline Domingue, Eilish Collins Main, Antonietta Cerone, Sylvia Iannazzi, William Byrnes, Jonathan Victor, Sophia Petrafesa, Lyn Geikie-Rice, Ruth Coyle, Elaine Shoztic.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Joseph Verrilli, Peter C. Schmitt, Sr., Joseph Prendergast, Msgr. Peter Dora, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, A.J. Barr, John Kronk, Joseph Esperance, Terence Leydon, Maureen Flanders, Ann Touhey.

Banns of Marriage: II Banns: Christopher Xavier Fernandez and Lauren Michelle Strawn

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

HOLY COMMUNION: We welcome all visitors and guests to our basilica. For those who are not Catholics, know that you are welcome here, but we ask that you not come forward for Holy Communion. Receiving Holy Communion signifies full membership in the Church founded by Our Lord, called “Catholic” since the end of the first century. Those who are not Catholics are not in full communion with the Church, so please remain in your seats and pray during the communion rite of the Mass. God bless you.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: “The Eaglet,” the new parish blog on our Basilica website,, is up and running, featuring a variety of thought-provoking articles on the Catholic Faith and Church, posted weekly. Feedback is welcome and discussion is encouraged, via a comments form at the end of each article. Please bookmark the page, visit often, and share the link with your family and friends.


July 13, August 13, September 13, & October 13: 7:30 pm: Rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima during this centenary year of the apparitions at Fatima.

PLENARY INDULGENCE: May be obtained on Sunday, July 16th, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is also the eighth anniversary of St. John’s being raised to the dignity of a minor basilica. To obtain the indulgence on the day, you must be in the state of grace, having repented of sin and gone to Confession, visit the Basilica and receive Holy Communion worthily on July 16th, and pray one Our Father for the Holy Father, and the Apostles’ Creed.

Monsignor’s New Book: IS now an EBOOK, as well as in hardcover. You can purchase the Ebook version of AGGIORNAMENTO ON THE HILL OF JANUS from the publisher, Midwest Theological Forum on line: OR The book is the modern history of the American Bishops’ seminary in the Vatican—the Pontifical North American College—1955-1978. Great beach reading!!! Of course, you can still purchase the hardcover in our Basilica bookstore or in the parish office in the Rectory.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday July 2, 2017 $ 12,253.00
Sunday July 3, 2016 $ 10,035.60

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

July 16th, Sunday Readings: Is 55:10-11; Rom 8:18-23; Mt 13:1-23.

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.

Adult Education: Some parishioners have asked for more opportunities to study the Church’s teachings. We plan a Bible study to resume in September. For years we studied the Church Fathers with the St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies. If you have any suggestions for new adult programs, such as studying the Church Fathers, or the social teachings of the popes, or anything, please let Monsignor know: 203-324-1553, ext 11.

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

Help End Legalized Abortion: Abortions take place daily at Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 35 Sixth Street. Help us stop this by joining parishioners in front of the facility on Wednesday or Friday mornings, 8am-10:30am, or even just for 30 minutes. We pray and silently bear witness to the sanctity of human life. Our presence has even helped convince expectant mothers to spare their children. To join us, or for specialized 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.

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 and reading excerpts from Ambrosi Epistulae Variae.  An intermediate reading ability in Latin is necessary.

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:

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

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. Jobseeker’s Group in the Monsignor Nagle Hall the 4th Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9PM. Topics include Job Interviewing, Resumes, Networking and Job Search Strategies. Next meeting: Wednesday, July 26th. THERE IS NO CHARGE, this is free job coaching. Call Melanie Szlucha at 203-866-1606, or

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

Project Rachel: Are you or someone you know hurting from a past abortion experience?  There is help and hope.  Project Rachel is offering an Entering Canaan Day of Prayer and Healing on Saturday, July 15th for women who are suffering from a past abortion.  Please contact us at 203-416-1619 or for more information or confidential registration.

Homeplace Wisdom: Is a Catholic women’s organization promoting friendship and vocational development with monthly speakers and gatherings, play dates, and a daily email list for sharing ideas, prayer requests, parenting or home-place questions, and reading material. To join:

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

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).

The Face of Prayer: For all young Catholics of all ages [under 18 will need parental consent]: www.thefaceof Will you join the movement of prayer? Bishop Frank Caggiano invites you to be the face of prayer. Text your picture, a prayer intention, or the word “prayer” to 55778. Then follow the prompts to complete your registration and commit to being the face or prayer! Participants will receive a prayer from Bishop Frank either every day or three times a week [your choice] as well as a weekly video from our bishop, access to great resources online, and the opportunity to pray together with friends from all around the Diocese of Bridgeport. This project is a partnership between the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Mater Ecclesiae Foundation. Privacy protections are in place.

Connected Catholics: Catholic young adults, Summer Social Nights, Thursdays at 7PM, Stamford, CT. July 13th at Dinosaur BBQ. Official Facebook account of CONNected Catholics. Accompanying Young Adults in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, July 8, 2017
4:00 Special Intentions Mobilio, Fauci and Marotta Family req. Sally Mobilio
Sunday, July 9, 2017
7:30 +Rolando Garcia req. Irsa Garcia
10:00 Patricia Ridge req. Michelle Sagdati
12:00 Magdalene Young req. Family
5:00 +Alphonse and Lucy Alagia
Monday, July 10, 2017
8:00 Deceased members of the Berger Family
12:10 +Pacifica Operario req. Judith Jordan
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
8:00 +Julia Weglarz req. Steven Terenzio
12:10 Deceased members of the Churley and Kronk Families
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
8:00 +Patrick Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Nancy Ligouri req. Marion Morris & Family
Thursday, July 13, 2017
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Maria
12:10 Thanksgiving to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Friday, July 14, 2017
8:00 +Joseph and Margaret Curtis req. Mary Maloney
12:10 +Joan Terpack req. Diane Strain
Saturday, July 15, 2017
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Mark Harris req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos

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: Starts again in September, after the 10:00a.m. Family Mass in the Msgr. Nagle Hall.

St. John’s in the ADVOCATE:

July 12, 1907: Alumni Association Formed. “St. John’s Parochial School Alumni Association was organized last evening at a meeting in the convent of St. John’s Catholic Church. The association began its career with 50 charter members. Only those pupils of the school who passed entrance examinations for the High School were considered as eligible for membership. The following officers were elected: President, Miss Jennie Terry; vice-president, John A. Maher; secretary, Miss Agnes Hanrahan; treasurer, Sister Mercedes. The association will meet every two weeks. The next meeting will be on July 25.”
July 15, 1907: Lawn Fete at Shippan Point. “A lawn fete for the benefit of St. John’s parochial school is to be given in the course of the summer, at Leopold L. Barzaghi’s place at Shippan. A number of the summer families at Shippan are Catholics, and they are going to take this way of showing their interest in their summer parish. The details have not been arranged yet, but the affair promises to be quite a social event at the Point.”
July 16, 1908: Italian Colony Celebrates. “The local Italian colony or that portion of it which is Catholic (and on feast days and funeral days this includes nearly all of it), is observing today the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which is always marked by the greatest devotion on the part of Italians. There was a parade this morning, in which several Italian societies took part, and at 10 a.m. Solemn High Mass was celebrated in St. John’s R. C. Church. Rev. Antonio Rizzo was the celebrant; Rev. Father Leary of New Canaan, deacon; and Rev. Father Sullivan sub-deacon. Father Rizzo preached a sermon in Italian. A quantity of fire crackers were set off in the street during the service.”

July 12, 1922: NEW CROSS PLACED ON ST. JOHN’S CATHOLIC CHURCH. “A new cross, replacing that blown down several months ago, was placed in position on the top of St. John’s Catholic Church, yesterday, by Edward Gorman, the sexton, and his assistant Harry Young. The former cross, which had been in position for 10 or 15 years, came down with a crash in the Spring, and was broken into hundreds of fragments on the stone steps at the south entrance to the church. The new cross is made of wood, sheathed with copper and gilded. A support, imbedded in the stone of the church, holds the cross firmly. It stands six feet high and has a span of four feet.”

July 15, 1946: St. John’s Wins From Hearts, 3:0. “It is the St. John’s who are the toast of the Twilight League fans today, after defeating the Sacred Hearts for the second time, 3:0. It was Gene O’Connell who spun a neat four hit game to pitch the Johnnies to a brilliant triumph over the Lionmen.”