For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 10, 2017

Pastor’s Corner:   One of the most beautiful meditations about God becoming Man [the mystery we celebrate at Christmas] is that written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux [1090-1153]. The “mystery” is why God would come to rescue us from sin and death, at all!? The answer to that is God’s love for us; and His hope that we will choose to love Him in return.  That’s what salvation is: understanding that God loves you, and deciding that you will love God in the way you live your life, thereby opening yourself to God’s grace, so you might live with Him forever. Saint Bernard’s meditation is about the response Our Lady made to the Archangel Gabriel, who was sent by God to ask Mary to co-operate with His plan to save humankind from sin and death.  Mary’s response changes the fate of all humanity: from being slaves to death,  to become free sons and daughters of God through Christ. As we read Bernard’s meditation, think of yourself as being in Our Lady’s room when the Archangel Gabriel appears: you’re eavesdropping, hiding behind the curtains. But, even while you’re doing something not so very nice, you become caught up in the scene of the angel before Mary: and, as you begin to understand the importance that Mary’s response to God is to YOU and to YOUR future, you begin to hope that Mary will say “yes” , and co-operate with God’s invitation to be the Mother of God. Her co-operation with God was essential  that you and all humankind might benefit in eternal life. This is what Christmas is all about.
Saint Bernard’s meditation is based on the Gospel account of  the Annunciation [Luke 1:26-38], which is also one of the most beautiful of the stained glass windows here at the Basilica: it is the on the side wall of Our Lady’s Chapel—to the left of the high altar: Mary kneels in prayer, and the Archangel Gabriel appears before her: and a small white dove can be seen descending upon Mary: the power of the Holy Spirit, by Whom Mary will conceive the savior in her womb.
Here’s the meditation by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and he begins his narrative the moment after the Archangel invites Mary to be the Mother of God. This is not merely a reflection about something that happened in the past. Bernard writes this to be applied to each of us. The narrator is YOUR heart, beating more excitedly, hoping Mary will say “yes” daily to God’s will, just as God hopes daily that you will. Here is Bernard’s work:

“You have heard, Virgin Mary, that you are to conceive and bear a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits your answer, for he must now return to God who sent him. We too await your merciful word, Lady, for we are the wretches whom condemnation threatens. The price of our salvation is offered to you, and if you consent then we shall at once be freed. We were all created in God’s Eternal Word, yet now we are doomed to death because of Adam’s sin; in your short answer we shall be remade and summoned back to life.
“Adam and Eve stand here weeping with their poor exiled children and await your answer; Abraham is here and David and all the holy patriarchs who are your fathers but dwell now in the valley   of death’s shadow. The whole world is prostrate at your feet and waiting. What else can they do, since on your words depend the consolation of the wretched, the liberation of prisoners, the rescue of the condemned, and, in a word, the salvation of all Adam’s children of your whole race?
“Answer quickly, then, Virgin. Answer the angel and the Lord he represents. Give your word and receive the Eternal Word [The Eternal Son of God]; speak the word that passes and embrace the Word who abides forever!
“Why the delay and the trembling? Believe, confess, receive. Virginal simplicity must not forget wisdom. Fear not to be presumptuous, for though silent modesty is pleasing, your words of dedication are more needed now.
“Blessed Virgin, open your heart to faith, your lips to the praise of the Lord, your body to your Creator. The One for whom the nations yearn is knocking at the door. Delay, and he will pass by, and you shall begin again in sorrow to seek Him whom your heart loves. Rise up, run, open!
“She answers: ‘Behold the Lord’s servant. Do with me as you say’.”
[In Praise of the Virgin Mary, Sermon 4, 8-9]

Monsignor DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick:  Cade Landeche, Joyce Patten, Marilyn VanAuken, Michael Scully, 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:  Katherine Kimberly , 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.

Retirement Fund for Religious Collection . . . Please drop your Retirement Fund for Religious envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory.  There will only be one collection today.

Banns of Marriage:  I Banns: Scott Oberst and Kristina Byrne

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.

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.

Trinity Catholic High School is now accepting student 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.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday December 3, 2017 $ 15,172.75
Sunday December 4, 2016 $ 12,620.30

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 17th Sunday Readings:  IS 61:1-2A, 10-11; 1 Thes 5:16-24; Jn 1:6-8, 19-28

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

DECEMBER 27TH, at 7:30pm: Chanted Vespers of Saint John: This is our parish patronal feast, followed by traditional mulled wine and pastries in the parish hall.

CHRISTMAS: December 25th is a Monday this year and people have asked about weekend and Christmas Mass attendance. Since Mass is essential to the Christian life, all are obliged to attend two Masses: one Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent[on either the evening of Saturday, December 23rd or on Sunday, December 24th]  AND one Mass  for Christmas [on either the evening of Sunday, December 24th or on  Monday, December 25th]. Here is the schedule for the Masses on December 23, 24 & 25:
Saturday, December 23: 4pm Vigil for Sunday Mass of Sunday;
Sunday, December 24: 7:30am, 10am, 12noon for Sunday Masses; 5pm Christmas Vigil;
Monday, December 25: 12 MIDNIGHT, 7:30am, 10am, 12noon for Christmas Mass.

Campaign Committee: A brief meeting of the capital campaign committee will be held in the Rectory on Wednesday, December 20th at 7:30pm.

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.

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.

Sacraments for students in Catholic School: If you have students in Catholic school in Second Grade hoping to receive First Confession and First Communion this Spring, please contact Fr. Vill at religioused@stjohnsstamford.com.

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 9, 2017
4:00   +Israel Noriega req. Noriega Family
Sunday, December 10, 2017
7:30    Mary Spetland req. Thomas Cycon
10:00 +Ilario Altamura req. Giannitti Family
12:00   Prayer for Priests req. Marion Morris
5:00   +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, OFM, Cap.
Monday, December 11, 2017
8:00     Souls In Purgatory req. John and Jennifer Marciano
12:10 +Mr. and Mrs. Marcial Gloria req. Angeles Family
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
8:00   +Carmine V. Longo Sr. req. Lucille Longo and Family
12:10   Special intentions of Dureid Khamo
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
8:00   +Patrick Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10   Souls in Purgatory req. Nelly Contreras
Thursday, December 14, 2017
8:00   +Rose Donohue and Mary Hynes req. Marie Carr
12:10 +Penny Vitolo req. Mary Long
Friday, December 15, 2017
8:00   +Mary Churley req. Mary Petrizzi
12:10 +Julie Paul Beauzil req. Eveline Lauture
Saturday, December 16, 2017
8:00   +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Frank Mulreed 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:

(Editor’s Note:  In July,1891, the Reverend Thomas J. Keena, Assistant Pastor of St. John’s from 1887 to 1897, led a group of St. John’s parishioners to the Shrine of St. Ann in Canada. On their return, the St. Ann’s Society was organized. Two years later, in 1893, it boasted of a membership exceeding 250. It is the oldest of St. John’s Societies still in existence.)

100 years ago, or so:
Dec. 14, 1914:  “St. Ann’s Society of St. John’s Catholic Church met yesterday and elected officers for the ensuing year as follows: President, Mrs. Mary Hubert; vice-president, Mrs. P. Larkin; financial secretary, Mrs. W. H. Thompson; treasurer, Miss Anna Picker; chaplain, Rev. J. C. O’Brien; executive committee, Mrs. M. Gallagher, Miss E. Rose, Miss K. Donahue, Mrs. Sarah Grant, Mrs. Mary Hart, Mrs. B. Nichols and Mrs. M. Tynes.”

95 years ago, or so:
Dec. 14, 1922:  DISTRIBUTE CHRISTMAS CHEER. “St. Ann’s Ladies’ Aid Society of St. John’s Catholic Church, which society, for a number of years, has distributed Christmas baskets among the needy people of the city, will continue the custom this season. It is estimated that the society will distribute about 125 baskets this year. There are families who need clothing, and wearing apparel will be included, this year, in the gifts the society makes. These Christmas baskets will go out on Saturday, Dec. 23. People who desire to help in this charity should send their donations to the office of St. John’s parochial school on Dec. 21. A Christmas basket sent out by this society usually contains one or more chickens, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee, sugar, candy where there are children, cake and clothing where there are children.”

45 years ago, or so:
Dec. 14, 1973: St. Anne’s Society Card Party Plans Discussed. “The annual card party of St. Anne’s Society will be held February 13 in St. John’s parish hall. Plans were discussed and committee chairmen appointed at a meeting of the society this week. Miss Margaret Power will be chairman, assisted by Mrs. Ellen Troy, raffle; Mrs. Katherine Morgan, prizes and Miss Bridie Madigan, refreshments. A Christmas party followed the business session.”

25 years ago, or so:
July 22, 1992: ST. JOHNS’ CATHOLIC CHURCH, ST. ANNE’S DAYS. “St. John’s will have a Triduum in honor of St. Anne and St. Joachim, the parents of Mary, and the Grandparents of Jesus. The Triduum will take place at the 12:10 Mass Wednesday, July 22nd , Thursday, July 23rd and Friday, July 24th. Each day a brief homity will be preached as we honor St. Anne and St. Joachim. Veneration of the relic of St. Anne will take place each day at the Triduum.”