For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 23, 2018

Pastor’s Corner: As we draw nearer to Christmas, our minds turn to the birth of Our Lord in Bethlehem. During the first thousand years of the Church’s life, much emphasis was placed upon understanding who Jesus is: is He God OR is He a man OR is He a man who became God? None of these is correct, nor does any answer the question, Who is Jesus? Our Lord asked His Apostles that question, as seen in the Gospel of Matthew [16: 16-17]: “Who do you say that I am?” And Saint Peter, enlightened by the Eternal Father, correctly answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In other words, there, standing in front of Peter and the other Apostles, was the invisible, unknowable God who existed forever, the Creator of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, in the flesh. While the truth of the two natures—Divine and Human—of Our Lord was believed by all during the early years of the Church, the stronger emphasis upon His divinity, which made Him seem too distant a redeemer, unable to understand the weaknesses or difficulties of our daily lives.  Even though the Christmas sermons by the Church Fathers such as Pope Saint Leo the Great, Saint Augustine or Saint Jerome were popular in tone, the official art and literature of the first thousand years of the Church’s life emphasized the Divinity of Christ, in answer to the various heresies of the times.

Mosaic or painted images of Jesus’ birth existed, but only in cathedrals and huge churches in big cities. Local parish churches were too poor or too small for great art. Saint Francis of Assisi began to change this by his preaching that by the Incarnation–Because God became a man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, born in Bethlehem, He actually does understand us. Why? Because God loved us so much that He became exactly like us, except without sin, in order to make us more like God.  It was Saint Francis of Assisi who gave the Church the first Nativity scene or Crèche, and put it in the local parish church, designed for poor people of small villages, with simple statues of the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, the shepherds with their flocks and the three kings around the Infant Savior. Here is a God who understood human hardship and suffering from the moment of His birth as a human child in a cold stable.  Saint Francis also introduced the Stations of the Cross, as a devotional aid for those people who could not afford a visit to the Jerusalem sites of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. In their own parish church, people could visualize the real human sufferings Jesus endured to give us eternal life.

At the heart of these devotions concerning both the Birth of Jesus and His Death and Resurrection, is the historical fact that at a specific time and place God—1st century Bethlehem—the Creator of the Universe, became man. No myth or pretty story! He took on our humanity with its weaknesses and strengths, free will, rationality, ability to love, and mortality, and intimately joined it to His Divine Nature, with its omnipotence, divine omniscience, and immortality,  to our Human Nature in the man we call Jesus of Nazareth.  Saint John, our patron, wrote that the historical fact that God became Man—the Incarnation—is so essential a reality, that anyone who denies that historic event and fact is the anti-Christ [I John 2:22-23].

In the Basilica sanctuary, the three stained glass windows above the High Altar outline exactly why God became man in Bethlehem [in the left window]: so that He could ransom humanity from sin and death by dying on the Cross [in the center window], and to give humanity eternal life in the flesh by Rising from the Dead on Easter Sunday [in the right hand window] in the human flesh he had taken in the womb of the Virgin Mother. God became man so in His human death all humanity could die to sin; and in His human Resurrection from the dead, all humanity could rise to eternal life in the flesh. And this was in fulfillment of His promise He had made to Adam and Eve immediately after their sin of disobedience. There, God the Creator promised to take on human flesh in the womb of a child of Eve [The Virgin Mary], in order to destroy the power of Satan. Speaking to Satan and to Eve, God said, “I put enmity between you and the woman, and between her seed and your seed: she shall crush your head, and you shall snap at her heel” [Gen. 3:15]. While Satan would snap at our heel by temptation, it would be the daughter of Eve—Mary—who would crush Satan’s head by giving birth to God in the flesh, Jesus. As Adam’s downfall came through the fruit of the Tree of Life in Paradise, now by a new Tree of Life, the Cross, the Second Adam, Jesus, would bring eternal life for the Sons and Daughters of Adam, who would become Sons and Daughters of God  through Baptism and the Sacraments of the Church—the new fruit for a new Paradise, Heaven.

Because God became one of us, we can have a statue or a picture of Him: the Invisible God became visible in Jesus, in Bethlehem in the beginning of the first century. So, too, since God became one of us in Bethlehem, we can, through Christ, become like God, sharing in His everlasting life. So, during the next few weeks, visit our Creche on the Saint Joseph side altar, and let your heart be moved by this invention of Saint Francis, and thank God that the Eternal Son became a man so that we could become like God, through His Incarnation.

Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick:  Monsignor DiGiovanni, Thomas Timon, 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, 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:  Roger Borrelli , 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

Fourth Sunday of Advent- One Collection. . .There will only be one collection today.  Thank you for your generosity.

Christmas Day Collection . . . The second collection on Christmas will be the for the parish.  Your generosity is appreciated.

Our Lady’s Altar Votive Light: +Ed and Ann Cody, Bill and Felicitas Cody, members of the Burns and Cody families req. Erin Cody

New Years Eve Holy Hour at St. John’s– Ring in 2019 with a Holy Hour at 11PM on December 31st followed by Midnight Mass celebrated by Fr. Vill. Midnight Mass will be a Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This will fill your obligation for the Holy Day on January 1st, 2019.  The Solemnity of Mary Mass Schedule will be in Next Weeks Bulletin!

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 Anne Marie at religioused@stjohnsstamford.com.

Reception at BV’s: Following the 4PM Mass on January 5th, Bobby Valentine will be hosting a reception for the We Stand with Christ campaign at BV’s. All are welcome to attend!

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:   

                               Not Available because of Early Bulletin Transmission Deadlines

 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 30th Sunday ReadingsSIR 3:2-6, 12-14, COL 3:12-21, LK 2:41-52

Saints’ Relics: During the Christmas season, two gilded relic towers will be displayed on the high altar:
Left Relic Tower: contains the relics of Saint Constantine, a early fourth century bishop and martyr from the area around Naples, Italy;
Right Relic Tower: contains the relics of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parent of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint Stephen, the first martyr to die in witness to Christ soon after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Christmas Gift: The parish is offering a free book The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity by Matthew Kelly this Christmas! Please feel free to take a copy home with you after the Christmas masses. This gift is made possible by supporters of Dynamic Catholic.

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.

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.

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 

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!

The Crusaders for Life, a pro-life high school group at Cardinal Kung Academy, is raising funds to travel to this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. Help us witness to the whole world that we are the pro-life generation! No donation is too small- thank you for your generosity. To donate, please go to: https://bit.ly/2AOIloC

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

Mass Intentions

 +  Denotes Deceased

Saturday, December 22, 2018
4:00   +Elizabeth McNamara req. daughters
Sunday, December 23, 2018
7:30   +Kevin Nadin req. Glenn and Lynda Nadin
10:00 +Ed & Ann Cody, Bill & Felicitas Cody, members of the Burns and Cody families req. Cody            Family
12:00 +William Borkowski req. Michael and Ann Borkowski
5:00   +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, OFM, Cap.
Monday, December 24, 2018
8:00   +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10 +Feroze Aslam req. Abdul and Sarah Aslam
4:00   +Vito and Josephine Melfi req. Joseph Melfi
MIDNIGHT – People of the Parish
Tuesday, December 25, 2018: The Nativity of the Lord
7:30      People of the Parish
10:00    People of the Parish
12:00 +Mary Audette req. her son
5:00     NO Mass
Wednesday, December 26, 2018: Saint Stephen
8:00   +Nang Nguyen req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Catherine Olnek and Evangeline Drought req. Sharon Gannon
Thursday, December 27, 2018: Saint John
8:00     Sp. Int. of the Jagodzinski Family
12:10   Anthony Briganti req. Carol Cummings
Friday, December 28, 2018: The Holy Innocents
8:00     Sp. Int. of the Jagodzinski Family
12:10   Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. Saint John Holy Name Society
Saturday, December 29, 2018
8:00   +Wladek and Willemina Falek req. daughter
12:10   Maria Trivino 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 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 23rd—4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Study: Advent, Session 4: The Gift
Study: YDisciple: Advent, Session 4: The Gift
Watch: Christmas in Rome

December 25th—SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD (CHRISTMAS)
Watch: Mary of Nazareth

December 26th- ST. STEPHEN, DEACON & MARTYR
Study: Lectio: Evangelization, Session 7: Leadership in the Church
Study: Lectio: Evangelization, Session 9: Joy in Persecution
Read: Golden Legend of Young Saints
Read: Holiness is Always in Season

December 27th- ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE
Study: Jesus
Study: Lectio: Eucharist, Session 7: Bread of Life Discourse
Study: Lectio: Eucharist, Session 10: Revelation
Study: Lectio: Evangelization
Study: Lectio: Prayer
Study: Symbolon: Knowing the Faith, Session 3: The Bible
Study: Symbolon: Living the Faith, Session 2: The Eucharist
Watch: Lost Gospels or False Gospels?
Read: You Can Understand the Bible
Watch: Lost Gospels or False Gospels?
Read: You Can Understand the Bible
Read: Sacraments in Scripture
Read: Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories
Read: Sacraments in Scripture
Listen: Searching the Scriptures: The Gospel of John
Listen: Lectio Divina
Listen: Answering Common Objections: The Eucharist
Listen: The Lamb’s Supper
Listen: Right Here, Right Now