For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 3, 2017

Pastor’s Corner:   Friday, December 8th, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast day of the United States. In 1846,  the American Catholic bishops asked that the United States be placed under the patronage of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, as their sign of support for Blessed Pope Pius IX in his efforts to define the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  But there was more than the 19th century American bishops being “politically correct” by supporting the pope. They earnestly desired to place the growing nation under the protection of Our Lady: since it was Mary whose obedience had united God to humankind in her womb, and under whose tutelage and protection was placed the salvation of the world in the person of her Son, who was God become man. Mary would be the perfect spiritual mother for our nation. The pope desired to define formally this ancient belief of the faithful: Mary’s parents, saints Joachim and Anne had normal sexual relations as husband and wife. But, it was God’s grace that preserved Mary from the effects of Adam’s Original Sin, from the moment she was conceived in Saint Anne’s womb. This Original Sin is that with which each human being is born, the effects of which are our tendency to want to do wrong, and death. God never created us to die.
Why would the pope so desire to define this ancient belief in the middle of the 19th century? Because Pope Pius IX understood quite clearly that big governments and industry were developing in a way that would urge the world to forget God in favor of “progress”, while re-defining the human person. In 1848, Karl Marx had published his Communist Manifesto, which blossomed 70 years later in the Russian Revolution and the communist states.  The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and would soon enslave millions around the world in the grip of grinding poverty and endless work to benefit the few.  Prussia, France and England were developing their individual excessive nationalisms, growing armies and military industries that would lead to two world wars. In all these movements, Pope Pius IX was the only world leader who spoke out warning that men and women were being re-defined by big governments and growing industry as worthy of life only if they were productive in industry, useful to a political party, loyal to the state, members of a socially acceptable race.  This was and is wrong!   Men and women are more than what we produce; more than  our race,  gene pool, or political loyalties. Pius saw his task as the one leader whose teachings would gain him nothing personally: to remind humanity about who we are: our dignity and right to exist comes from our very essence: created in the Image and Likeness of God, redeemed by God’s Eternal Son-made-man in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  So, in 1854, backed by the Catholic bishops and faithful from around the globe, Blessed Pope Pius IX showed the world the teaching power of the Catholic Church by formally reminding the world that nothing is more important in the world than God; and that nothing is more important to God than us. By forgetting God—in our work, the market place or public life—we are being controlled and used for the profit of others.
Our Lady is the most perfect example of a human being co-operating fully with God. God prepared her from eternity to be the Mother of His Son: she did not create God, who exists from all eternity. But she gave to the Eternal and unseen Son of God  a human mind, heart, soul, will, and body: the ever-existing God entered into human history and became man in the womb of Mary, in order to free us from sin and death. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux described God’s purpose beautifully:
“It befitted God to be born of none but a virgin, and it befitted the virgin that having borne God she should bear no other. The Creator of men, in becoming himself a man, had to choose, indeed even to form, the kind of mother he knew befitted him and knew would please him. Therefore, he wanted her to be a virgin so that from a spotless woman He, the Spotless One, might come forth to cleans away the sins of all mankind. He wanted her to be humble from whom He, as the man meek and humble of heart, would be born; He wanted her to give a salutary example of all the virtues. Therefore He made the Virgin conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, for she earlier offered her vow of virginity to Him but had also won the merit of humility. These were the glorious jewels of mind and body that adorned the royal Virgin. Her beauty was known in heaven, whose citizens gazed on her with admiration; she attracted the eyes of the King to herself and sent down a heavenly messenger to greet her. The angel was sent to a virgin: a virgin in flesh and in spirit, a virgin by deliberate intention, a virgin such as the Apostle Saint Paul describes, holy in mind and body. The Lord did not stumble on her by accident but chose her from eternity; the Most High prepared her, the angels preserved her, the Fathers of  Israel pointed her out, the prophets promised her coming” [Sermon II, In Praise of the Virgin Mary].
And why did the pope accede to the American bishops’ desire that Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception be the patroness of America? Because the pope had great hopes for the United States as the only nation under whose laws and freedoms the Catholic Church might prosper and grow. And he was correct: in all European countries, throughout Asia, and in nearly all the countries of Central and South America, the Catholic Church was persecuted throughout the 19th and 20th centuries: Catholic schools, universities and churches closed, all church property seized, clergy and nuns imprisoned, killed and forbidden to wear clerical attire publicly. It is the same reason Blessed Pope Pius IX blessed the efforts of American bishops to build churches and schools for the millions of immigrant Catholics arriving in the United States, such as our own basilica, established as an independent parish in 1854—the same year of the definition of the Immaculate Conception; and the same reason that blessed pope established the American seminary in Rome in 1859.  The pope’s thoughts were: Nourish America, because it understands humanity’s need for freedom to worship God.
On December 8th, let us recall Our Lady’s faith and virtues, and the fact that the pope who began our Basilica parish gave her to us Americans as our patroness and guide to remind us that nothing should be more important to us than God, through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Roger Borrelli , Nyal Colies, Dorothy Keyes, Joanne Santarsiero, Joevil Basulgan DelaCruz, Mary Duffy, Louise Morello, Joanne Santarsiero, Pat Farenga, Kenyon Jimmy Valcour, Maria Izurieta, Jennifer Marciano, John Mellace, Ann Borkowski, Timothy Lyons, Gene Gavin, Richard Ridge, June Roberts, Marie Cassis, Patricia Morgan, Vittorio Faugno, Robert Strada, Dionysia Oliveira, Salvatore Piria, Mary Ellen Callahan, Louise Wiles, Frank Wruk, Isaac Lopez, Ron Frasca, Lisa Giugno, Michele Giugno, Helga Pecaric, Maria Trivino, Maria Gabriela Mossa, Diane DiNapoli, Gayle Moore, Paula Bennett, Mildred Beirne, Karen Hsu, Silvana Smith, Harriet Lockhart, Joseph Kung, Jacqueline Domingue, William Byrnes, Jonathan Victor.

Please pray for those who have recently died:  Mary Louise Wakin, David Kochosky, Arthur DiGiovanni, Jonathan Shearman, Debbie Schemmel, Ralph Dante Puzzuoli, Sr., James Tarzia, Sr.,  Antonietta Cerone, Mary A. Gaine, Grace Steele, Benita Rebula, Sylvia Iannazzi, Anne Hieronymus, Julia Fabrizio, Msgr. Joseph Kohut, Steven Bates, Catherine Dolan, Cesidro Piselli, John & Joan Kronk.

FORMED: Donated by a parishioner, this is a revolutionary online platform, provides access to the best Catholic audio talks, movies, ebooks, and video-based studies from trusted providers like the Augustine Institute, Ignatius Press, Catholic Answers, Sophia Institute Press, and St. Paul Center– right at your fingertips, without cost. Learn more at app.formed.org/ Access Code WWT2NF.

Children’s Choir: Ages 8-18 who are interested. Please speak with our choir master, David Indyk or leave your contact information in the parish office, 203-324-1553, ext 21.

Men’s Choir: Men who can even just hum a tune are welcome: contact David Indyk in person, or leave your contact information at the parish office, 203-324-1553, ext 21.

Not Married in the Catholic Church? Please call the parish 203) 324-1553, and speak with either  Msgr. DiGiovanni (ext. 11) or Fr. Vill at (ext. 130) to make an appointment, to discuss the Church’s teaching on marriage and the possibility of getting married in the Church. This also applies to those who want to learn more about seeking an annulment.

DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY: Interested in reading Dante? We could begin during Lent with the Inferno, which is not a torture tour many view the work to be. Rather, it is a meditation on God’s plan for human happiness by loving Him, and humankind’s search for happiness that too often leads away from God to sin, which is real life folly that ends invariably to unhappiness, pain and suffering in this life and in the next.  We could begin reading the first part of the Divine Comedy, The Inferno in Lent, then continue if people would like. NO Charge: you’d simply have to purchase the books. Interested? Call  Msgr. DiGiovanni, 203-324-1553, ext 11.

Baptism/Confirmation Sponsorship Certificate:  When asked to be a sponsor, a certificate is needed from your home parish. If the  priest does not know you personally, or by sight, the only other way of knowing you as a practicing Catholic is by tracking your contributions by check or envelope.

Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form: Is offered every Friday at 2pm on the Saint Joseph Altar.

Immaculate Conception Novena: St. Mary Church in Greenwich will celebrate a Novena in preparation for the Immaculate Conception from November 30th to December 8th. Each evening a guest homilist will offer a special reflection on the role of the Virgin Mary in our lives. This year the younger clergy will speak on the Marian devotion of some particular saint. We will close our Novena with a Solemn Mass on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Choir will sing Mozart’s “The Sparrow Mass” with Orchestra. A light reception will follow. Visit stmarygreenwich.org for more details.

Trinity Catholic High School is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. They will hold an entrance exam on Saturday, December 16th, 2017, at 9am. Check out the website for details www.trinitycatholic.org/admissions.

A Christmas Carol at Trinity Catholic High School:  Join us in celebrating the holidays this year, as the Trinity Catholic High School Crusader Players present A Christmas Carol, Friday, December 8th, and Saturday, December 9th, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 10th, at 2:00 pm. To order your tickets online, go to www.trinitycatholic.org/student-life/crusader-players

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday November 19, 2017 $  11,285.98 (Parade)
Sunday November 20, 2016 $  11,131.76 (Parade)
Sunday November 26, 2017 $  14,936.33

Sunday November 27, 2016 $  13,366.69

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

December 10th Sunday Readings:  Is 63: 16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

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.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Handel’s Messiah
:Part I & Hallelujah Chorus
Saturday, December 9th, 2017 at 8PM in our Basilica

Directed by New York’s Famed Ted Sperling and the Stamford Symphony with the Master Voices in this Special Holiday Performance:  For tickets: call today 203-325-4466 or go to www.stamfordsymphony.org.

Rorate Mass: Saturday, December 16th at 6:30 am
Solemn Choir Mass in honor of Our Lady in English
Followed by light breakfast

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

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

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.

The Christmas Giving Tree: To benefit pregnant women and their families served by the Sisters of Life. For the next three weeks, a basket will be in the back of the church. The name of an item is written on each tag in the Christmas basket that would benefit the woman in need. Please take a tag (or tags) and purchase the item on the tag. We will collect the unwrapped gifts after each Mass on the weekend of December 10thstarting with the 4PM Mass on Saturday. Call Frank Carpanzano @ 203-975-8833 ext 3004. Thank you!

DO NOT DROP OFF THE GIFTS AT THE RECTORY OR LEAVE THEM IN CHURCH.

Xavier Society for the Blind will celebrate our annual St. Lucy Feast Day Mass on December 13th at 10 a.m. in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City. St. Lucy is the patron saint of the blind. All are welcome.

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. We also need tutors. For more  information or to volunteer and/or tutor, please contact Fanny Moran: fmoran@futurefive.org

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

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: lisakotasek@gmail.com

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

Employment: Malta House in Norwalk is a transitional residence to promote the dignity of God-given life by providing a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills for pregnant and parenting mothers of all faiths and their children. Looking for a House Manager , anyone may apply for this position by forwarding a cover letter/resume to: John Hinshaw: John_Hinshaw@goodcounselhomes.org  We are located at: 5 Prowitt Street, Norwalk, CT. 06855.

Walking with Purpose: Reaches out to women who desire to grow in their faith using a Scripture based program that is fresh, relevant, and focused on conversion of heart more than intellectual development.  We  meet Tuesday mornings in Msgr. Nagel Hall from 9:30am-11:30am. Childcare is available.  Registration is now open!  Register at: tinyurl.com/WWPTBSJ2017.  For more information, contact Rosa Federici at: wwptbsj@gmail.com or 203-536-5480.

SilverSource: SilverSource is available to St. John’s parishioners both as a place to volunteer or an important resource to help parishioners as we age. SilverSource is looking for volunteers to help older adults live as independently as possible by reaching out to say “hello”, reading and visiting a senior, or running to the market. St. John’s parishioners who are seniors and require some help can receive financial assistance for housing stability, for eye glasses and hearing aids, or for transportation to and from doctor’s appointments. Call Michael Feighan: 203-324-6584, or website: www.silversource.org.

Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. Jobseeker’s Group will not be meeting during November and December, but please call or email Melanie Szlucha for a free 30 minute consultation. Meetings will resume in January 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, January 24th.  THERE IS NO CHARGE, this is free job coaching. Call Melanie Szlucha at 203-866-1606, or melanie@redincllc.com

Mass Intentions

 +  Denotes Deceased

Saturday, December 2, 2017
4:00   +Elizabeth and Thomas Daly req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, December 3, 2017
7:30   +Giuseppe Mastroluca req. Frank and Beth Carpanzano
10:00 +Claire Laginestra req. The Legion of Mary
12:00 +Edna Holt and Son req. Marion Morris & Family
5:00   +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, OFM, Cap.
Monday, December 4, 2017
8:00   +Fernand Constant req. Geralda Constant-Berrouet
12:10 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
8:00   +Anthony and Betty Pierne req. Elizabeth
12:10 +Laura Pascale req. John Pascale
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
8:00   +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Penny Vitolo req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
Thursday, December 7, 2017
8:00     Deceased members of the Churley and Kronk Families
12:10 +Claire Laginestra req. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Ingram
5:15   +James F. Hurley req. Mark and Deborah Dalton
Friday, December 8, 2017
8:00   +Virginia and Eileen Carr req. Marie Carr
12:10   Special Intentions Gail Piria req. Family
5:15     For the opening of the cause of Cardinal Kung
Saturday, December 9, 2017
8:00     Souls in Purgatory req. Nelly Contreras
12:10 +William Morrell req. Diane Costello

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 Keri, (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, Keri, 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: The St Monica Latin Reading Group meets on Tuesdays.  Please call St John’s Rectory, 203 324 1553, ext. 21, for more information.

St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:

150 years ago, or so:
Dec. 5, 1879: THE A.O.H. BALL. “This season’s ball by the Ancient Order of Hibernians society, which took place on Thanksgiving Eve, in Military Hall, was a very successful affair financially, and as a means of furnishing much enjoyment to all attending. Good music, which  is the life and soul of an entertainment of this kind, was not wanting , for the band of the famous 69th gave unlimited satisfaction. The spacious floor was well covered with dancers, whose energetic movements testified to their good spirits. The managers performed their several duties in a creditable manner, and left no cause of complaint from any. As for the supper, it is enough to say it was furnished by Melhongail. While the best of order was maintained in the room, there were more than one of the young fellows outside who seemed to be looking for a battle, and were usually able to find it.”

115 years ago, or so:
Dec. 8, 1903:  “Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and is observed as a Holy Day by Roman Catholics. In St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, a High Mass was celebrated at 9 this morning, by Rev. Father O’Brien, who spoke briefly on the significance of the day. There were two earlier Masses. At all the services, large congregations were present.”

110 years ago, or so:
Dec. 7, 1908: Junior Holy Name Society. “The Junior Holy Name Society of St. John’s R. C. Church, which was recently organized, held a meeting yesterday afternoon. The membership of the society includes for the most part working boys, and the principal aim of the society is to avoid swearing and loose talk generally, and to discourage such habits among others.”

100 years ago, or so:
Dec. 8, 1914: Church Feast Day Observed. “Special Masses in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception were celebrated at the Catholic Churches here today, with a good attendance. At St. John’s Catholic Church, the Masses were 5, 7, 8 and 9 a.m.”

35 years ago, or so:
Dec. 3, 1981:   Annual Bazaar to take place this weekend at St. John, arranged by Church Societies. “The eighth annual bazaar at St. John Church, Atlantic Street is planned for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring Christmas gift items including hand-knitted and hand-sewn clothing, hand-crafted decorations and stocking fillers, religious articles and books for children and grown-ups. A luncheon will be served throughout the day and baked goods and beverages will be available. There will also be a garage sale and awards. The event is sponsored by the Rosary Altar Guild, St. Anne’s Society and the Holy Name Society.”