For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 2, 2018

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:  Monsignor DiGiovanni, Margaret Jean Velanzon, Christopher Heap, Ruth Schlieper, John Walsh, Kendall Gleason, Frank Seely, Julia Olyveira, Caitlin McNamee, Karin Moberg, Gayle Moore, Tom McKee, Maggie Ward, Bill Baumann, Debbie Valentine, Fr. Richard Hinkley, Bernardo Mieves, Elaine Mellace, Armella Roschella, Geard Roschella, Richard Ridge, George Johnson, Lucy Esposito,  Isaac Georges, Elizabeth Caserta, Ruth Coyle, Yolanda Bove, Agnes Ostrowski, Marva Mitchell, Michael Cole, Wyanna Burke, Janet Caione, Joseph Kung, Michael Scully, Roger Borrelli , Nyal Colies, Dorothy Keyes, Mary Duffy, Pat Farenga, Kenyon Jimmy Valcour, Jennifer Marciano, Timothy Lyons, Gene Gavin, Richard Ridge, June Roberts, Marie Cassis, Patricia Morgan, Vittorio Faugno, Dionysia Oliveira, Mary Ellen Callahan, Louise Wiles, Isaac Lopez, Ron Frasca, Lisa Giugno, Michele Giugno, Helga Pecaric, Maria Trivino, Maria Gabriela Mossa, Paula Bennett, Mildred Beirne.

Please pray for those who have recently died:  Barbara Schuerger, Mary Bauer, Frank Santaro,  John G. Mossa, Sr., Marion Dal Molin, Todd Dowty, Gerald E. Clarke, Rosemarie C. Clarke, Joseph W. Evans, Nicholas Macca, Thomas Mills, Sr.Ellen Mary, Charlee Burns, Martha McRoskey, John R. Glover, Louise Morello, Joevil Basulgan DelaCruz, Glen Nadin, John Mellace, Lucy Hawthorn, Ann Borkowski, Art Reynolds, Lena Cocchia, Dr. Pat Santagata, Elma Hefferna, Anne Mennona, Emile Maignan, Regina Derrisaint, Joanne Santarsiero, Carmen Colon Diaz, Kathryn Anne Marciano, Marilyn VanAuken, Joyce Patten, Katherine Kimberly, Mary Louise Wakin, David Kochosky, Jonathan Shearman, Debbie Schemmel,  Susanne and Suzanne DePreta

Banns of Marriage:   I Banns: Robert Vulaj and Audrey Smart

One Collection. . .There will only be one collection today.  Thank you for your generosity.

Holy Day of Obligation: Saturday, December 8th: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: The Vigil Mass will be offered on Friday, December 7th at 5:15 pm and Masses on December 8th:  8 am and 12:10 pm.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

Men’s Night of Reflection—Men, please join us to hear Fr. Andy Vill present “Living as a Catholic Man in Today’s World” a reflection on Bishop Olmstead’s Into the Breach at 7pm on Thursday, December 6 at St. John’s. This Men’s Night is brought to you by the Knights of Columbus Fr. Miller Council #5833. Contact Bill Nagle with any questions. M: 203-570-2593, email: billnagle@hotmail.com

Handel’s Messiah:Part I & Hallelujah Chorus
Saturday, December 8th, 2018 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.

Save the Date-  March for Life 2019 is Friday, January 18, 2019 in Washington D.C.– The Diocese of Bridgeport Respect Life office will be leading a pilgrimage to the March for Life with a bus stop here at the Basilica.  The bus will pick up participants at 6AM and arrive at the March by 11:30AM.  The cost is $75 dollars per person and please register at www.bridgeportdiocese.org/faith-formation by January 11th.  The bus will depart back for Connecticut at 4:00PM.

Weekly Sunday collection:      

Sunday         November 18, 2018     $  11,551.73 (Parade)
Sunday         November 19, 2017     $  11,108.00(Parade)
Sunday         November 25, 2018     $  15,707.64
Sunday         November 26, 2017     $  14,936.33

 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 9th Sunday ReadingsBAR 5:1-9, PHIL 1:4-6, 8-11, LK 3:1-6

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 confirming your mass attendance by your use of weekly envelopes.

Police: 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 Stamford’s EMS and Fire Department and our military women and men who protect our nation..

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. They are in need of maternity and baby clothes, all sizes and seasons. Call 203-348-4355 or www.birthright.org if you can help.

Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God’s love and mercy. Call 203-895-3554 or  projectrachel@diobpt.org for more information.

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 helped convince expectant mothers to spare their children. Call Noelle at 857-345-0808 for specialized training as a Sidewalk Counselor.

Virtual Tour of the Basilica: Click on the parish website  www.stjohnsstamford.com for a virtual tour of the interior, created and donated by Jonathan Powell.

The Christmas Giving Tree: To benefit pregnant women and their families served by the Sisters of Life Visitation Mission. At Christmas the Sisters celebrate the gift of the Christ Child and every birth of a child is a renewal of this greatest gift. Thank you for helping us to celebrate! For the next four weeks, a basket will be in the back of the church. The name of a gift 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 in the back of the church after each Mass on the weekend of  December 8th starting with the 4PM Mass on Saturday through Sunday’s 5pm Mass. PLEASE DO NOT DROP OFF THE GIFTS AT THE RECTORY OR LEAVE THEM IN CHURCH.For more information. Please call Frank @ 203-975-8833 ext 3004.

Are you interested in becoming Catholic? Join us for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Classes started Monday October 15th and will meet weekly 7:00pm-8:30pm in the Rectory.  Cost is $25.00 for materials.  Open to anyone interested in becoming a Catholicor adult Catholics wanting to receive 1st Communion or Confirmation. To register, call the office at 203-324-1553 x 0 or stop in the parish office between 9am-4:30pm Monday through Friday.

Crossroads 4 Christ (C4C) is a community of Catholic young adults seeking to develop a relationship with Christ and one another through Eucharistic adoration, Christ-centered friendship, and the mission of evangelization. Every Thursday they meet from 7:30 – 8:30pm for formation and fellowship in Harbor Point (contact c4cstamford@gmail.com for address) followed by Eucharistic Adoration from 8:30-9:30pm at Saint John Fischer in Stamford. All young adults ages 18-39 are welcome!

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

Not Married in the Catholic Church? Please call the parish (203) 324-1553 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.

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

Catholic Adventures: Join Catholic young adults in their 20s and 30s for adventurous activities throughout the year. Connect with us on Facebook (Catholic Adventures) or email us at CatholicAdventuresStamford@gmail.com for more information.

Job Seekers: No Meeting in December. Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. Meetings are held in Monsignor Nagle Hall on the 4th Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9PM. Topics include Job Interviewing, Resumes, Networking and Job Search Strategies.  THERE IS NO CHARGE, this is free job coaching. Call Melanie Szlucha at 203-866-1606, or melanie@redincllc.com.

Walking with Purpose Registration is now open: WWP 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 begin with the basics, knowing that we can never master the core truths; there is always greater depth to explore. We will meet Tuesday mornings in the Rectory from 9:30am-11:30am beginning on September 25th. Childcare is available. For more information, contact Rosa Federici at: wwptbsj@gmail.com 

Soulcore: Join SoulCore Leader Luisa Mendoza, to nourish body, mind & soul with SoulCore – a prayer experience that combines the prayers of the rosary with core strengthening, stretching and functional movement. No fitness level or experience required. All are welcome! Any question, email luisamendoza1611@gmail.com or visit www.soulcore.com for more information. WHEN: Thursday mornings 9:30 am, and on Saturday Dec. 8th at 9:30 a.m. WHERE: 179 Hamilton Avenue, Greenwich. Suggested donation of $10. Bring a fitness mat if you have one.

Immaculate Conception Novena St. Mary Church in Greenwich will celebrate a Novena in preparation for the Immaculate Conception from November 29th to December 7th. 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.

Diocesan Revised Liturgical Norms- For the next several weeks, we will be distributing catechetical materials related to the celebration of Mass in the Diocese of Bridgeport. These articles will precede the promulgation by Bishop Caggiano of the Revised Liturgical Norms on the first Sunday of Advent. To learn more about the norms, please visit www.formationreimagined.org.  In the meantime, please be sure to take home a copy of this week’s article in the back of the Church.

JOIN THE CONVERSATIONThe Eaglet, the parish blog on our Basilica website, www.stjohnsstamford.com/eaglet.

Mass Intentions

Saturday, December 1, 2018
4:00    +Elizabeth and Thomas Daly req. Leon Taricani
Sunday, December 2, 2018
7:30    + Joseph S. Santagata req. Sal and Angela Gencarelli
10:00  +Marilyn Vanauken req. friends of the Vanauken family
12:00    Prayer Intentions of Padre Pio
5:00    +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, OFM, Cap.
Monday, December 3, 2018: Saint Francis Xavier
8:00    +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10    Healing for Father Richard Hinkley req. priest of the parish
Tuesday, December 4, 2018: Saint John Damascene
8:00      Fernand Constant req. Geralda Constant-Berrouet
12:10  +Laura Pascale req. Pascale Family
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
8:00    +Luz Tushaj req. the Tone family
12:10  + Philip P. Fracassini req. Maria and Antonio Marchetti
Thursday, December 6, 2018: Saint Nicholas
8:00    +Sean Paul Malloy req. the Tone family
12:10  +Gloria Improta req. Lisa and Darrell Ingram
Friday, December 7, 2018: Saint Ambrose
8:00      Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. Saint John Holy Name Society
12:10    Luz Ribadeneira req. Luz Romero and Family
5:15      The Landeche Family
Saturday, December 8, 2018: Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary
8:00      Souls in Purgatory req. Pasquale and Ida Carpanzano
12:10  +Thelma Angeles req. the Angeles Family

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 0). 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. 0, for more information.

FORMED RECOMMENDATIONS
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 Formed is an online platform that provides access to the best Catholic audio talks, movies, e-books, 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. Below are the recommended picks for the upcoming week.

December 2nd- 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Study: YDisciple: Advent, Session 1: Prepare the Way
Study: Advent, Session 1: Prepare the Way
Watch: Christmas in Rome
Ver: Navidad en Roma
Listen: Prepare the Way of the King
Listen: A Journey Through Advent Year B
ST. EDMUND CAMPION
Read: The Young People’s Book of Saints
Listen: Shakespeare and the Grace of Conversion
ST. CHROMATIUS OF AQUILEIA
Listen: Holiness is Always in Season

December 3rd- ST.FRANCIS XAVIER
Watch: Francis Xavier and the Samurai’s Lost Treasure
Ver: Francisco Xavier y el Tesoro Perdido del Samurai
Read: The Book of Saints & Heroes
Read: The Young People’s Book of Saints
Listen: Holiness is Always in Season

December 6th- ST. NICHOLAS
Watch: Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa
Ver: Nicholás

December 7th- ST. AMBROSE
Watch: Restless Heart
Read: The Restless Flame
Read: The Young People’s Book of Saints
Read: Saint Augustine’s Confessions
Listen: Saints for Sinners
Listen: The Restless Flame
Listen: Holiness is Always in Seaso