For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 9, 2018

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:  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:   II Banns: Robert Anthony Vulaj and Audrey Maureen Smart

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.

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.

Christmas Mass Schedule:

Christmas Eve:  December 24th:  4 pm: Christmas Vigil Mass
Christmas Day: December 25th: 12 midnight, 7:30 am, 10:00 am & 12Noon

THERE WILL BE NO 5PM MASS ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

Christmas Confession Schedule:

Christmas Eve: December 24th: 3-4 pm.
Christmas Day: December 25th: 7-7:25 am, 9:30-9:55 am, 11:30-11:55am

Weekly Sunday collection: 

Sunday         December 2, 2018     $  15,545.74
Sunday         December 3, 2017     $  15,172.75

 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 16th Sunday ReadingsZEP 3:14-18A, PHIL 4: 4-7, LK 3:10-18

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.

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.

Volunteers: Become a Future 5 College Prep Coach: Future 5’s College Prep Program ensures that low-income, motivated high school students receive the preparation needed to transition successfully from high school to college. They offer students a full array of help, including guidance on navigating college and financial aid applications, college visits, scholarship help, and detailed advice on college selection. A coach is matched one-on-one with a student, becoming a partner and mentor for the academic year. Future 5 will provide training in all aspects of the college application process. Time commitment: 2-3 hours per month (includes training and independent meetings with students) For information, please contact Peg Atchue at  patchue@futurefive.org.

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

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. WHERE: 179 Hamilton Avenue, Greenwich. Suggested donation of $10. Bring a fitness mat if you have one.

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.

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!

Mass Intentions

 +  Denotes Deceased

Saturday, December 8, 2018
4:00   +Paul Hughes req. Hughes Family
Sunday, December 9, 2018
7:30   +Bryon D. Womack req. Monrique Martinez and family
10:00 +John Tompson req. his children and grandchildren
12:00 +Lillian Janesch req. the Brennan family
5:00   +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, OFM, Cap.
Monday, December 10, 2018
8:00     Mary Spetland req. Thomas Cycon
12:10 +Jean Pharamond Lochard req. The Lochard Family
Tuesday, December 11, 2018: Saint Damasus
8:00   +Valarie McIntosh req. Allen and Elisabeth McIntosh
12:10 +Alfredo Rojas req. Maria Pena
Wednesday, December 12, 2018: Our Lady of Guadeloupe
8:00     Deceased  members of the Churley family
12:10 +Noemi Isidro req. daughters
Thursday, December 13, 2018: Saint Lucy
8:00   +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10 +Eduardo Nino req. Nino Family
Friday, December 14, 2018: Saint John of the Cross
8:00   + Anne Rockwell req. Eveline Lauture
12:10   Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. Saint John Holy Name Society
Saturday, December 15, 2018
8:00   +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Nicholas Devito req. the Mossa 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
Sign Up at BSJE.FORMED.ORG
Access Code WWT2NF 

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 9- SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Study: YDisciple: Advent, Session 2: Trust in God
Study: Advent, Session 2: Trust in God
Watch: Christmas in Rome
Read: Advent of the Heart
Read: Cradle of Redeeming Love
Listen: A Journey Through Advent Year B
Listen: The Mystery of Christmas
Listen: Come, Lord Jesus

December 12- OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

Watch: Guadalupe: The Miracle and Message
Ver: Guadalupe: El Milagro ye el Mensaje
Watch: 1531
Ver: 1531
Listen: Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego
Escuchar: Guadalupe y el Misterio del Verbo Encarnado
Listen: The World’s First Love

ST. FINNIAN

Read: Twenty Tales of Irish Saints

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Read: Married Saints and Blesseds

December 13- ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

Study: True Reformers: Session 5, St. Teresa of Avila
Read: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer
Read: Fire of Love
Read: Fire Within
Listen: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer