For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday December 30, 2018

Pastor’s Corner: Once God became a man, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, everything changed: the relationship between creation and the now Incarnate-Creator became the heart of all existence, and the way we live should become different than if He had never become a man. Since the first Christmas, the personal happiness and fate of each person is now determined by our daily response to this God become man in each of our lives.

God would touch the hearts of each human person born, and their response to that Divine intervention  would be seen, not merely in words theological, but in lives spiritual, clear and distinct in their bearing witness either that God became a man to change us into sharers of His eternal life, or witness that we really don’t care about God or eternity, but only about our personal here-and-now.

The saints give us such examples of men and women who succeeded in responding to the Incarnation actually, in daily lives and not merely in daily words or pretty religious sentiments. They are God bearers in their unbelieving centuries and cultures; their love for God formed their very thoughts and motivated their every deed. Since we are blessed in the parish with numerous relics of saints—rather real proofs that living to please God was possible in years past and is possible in the present, I would like to point out some rather interesting saints during this Christmas season.

On the high altar are two tower-like reliquaries: 19th century English works of superb craftsmanship of carved brass, donated by a parishioner. Each bears relics of saints: that on the left contains a large bone of Saint Constantine: the more imaginative of his biographers said he was the nephew of King Arthur! Actually, he came from Scotland, married the daughter of the King of Brittany and, after her untimely death, renounced his crown to become a monk, worked with Saint Columba in Ireland and St. Kentigern in South-West Scotland. He was elected abbot of his monastery and bishop on the Island of Kintyre, and while preaching God’s Incarnate mercy in Christ to local pagans, he was  martyred in 576 A.D.  He spent his life preaching God’s mercy, hoping that those who heard him would respond in faith and charity.

In the right-hand reliquary, are the relics of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Our Lady, along with the relic of Saint Stephen, the first martyr. The legend of Joachim and Anne is that they were an elderly couple, who were unable to have children. Mocked by their neighbors, they separated, and prayed for divine guidance. Their prayers heard, and sent back to each other by God, their love and God’s grace finally accomplished the seeming impossible: Saint Anne conceived, and her daughter, Mary, would become the Mother of Our Lord, whose birth as a man we celebrate on December 25th. They trusted entirely in God and His promises, and found happiness by being able to participate in bringing salvation to the world.  Saint Stephen, a contemporary of Our Lady’s parents, of Our Lady, Our Lord and the Apostles, Stephen was one of the first deacons, as spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles, 6-7. Because of his forceful preaching and charity, he converted many. The Temple leaders were unhappy with his successes, had him dragged outside the walls of Jerusalem, and stoned to death. As he was dying, he prayed for the one who led his murderers: Saul, who changed his name to Paul. Stephen’s prayers, witness of God’s mercy in the flesh and charity towards his persecutors, even as he was dying, are said to have brought Paul to conversion. Saint Paul would work with Saint Peter as the two Princes of the Apostles, the founders of the Church in Rome. Stephen’s feast is December 26th, to remind us the day after Christmas that the birth of the Savior is serious business: neither Satan nor many people like the reality of God coming into the world, because it makes God too real, and demands an equally real personal response by us to God: we accept Him and live to please Him; or reject Him, and ignore Him in our daily lives.

These people, not really different from ourselves, understood that because God had become a man at a certain time and in a certain place, everything is changed: the Creator had become a man to reconcile all creation with the Father. These saints knew that their lives would bear immense importance by doing one thing: loving the God who took on human flesh, in their words and deeds, in order to share in the victory of the Christ born in Bethlehem, crucified and risen from the dead in Jerusalem. These saints are remembered around the world by millions of people throughout the centuries to the present today. Can you remember the names of the kings, princes or presidents who ruled when these saints lived? Can you name any public figures of their times, or politicians or any of the shakers and movers who lived in the same cities where these saints lived? No. Yet it is these saints who are remembered because they responded to the Divine Generosity manifest at Bethlehem: they lived to please the God who became man, so that one day they could share God’s very life. Let’s do the same: kneel at the altar rail after Mass today, and say a prayer to Saints Joachim and Anne the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to the martyrs Saints Constantine and Stephen: we share the same Faith with them, and are part of the same Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, in which they are still members with us. Pray to imitate them in the New Year, since they imitated Christ perfectly, so we may all meet one day in Heaven.

Monsignor 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

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

New Year’s 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.

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!  
January 1st, 2019 — The Solemnity of Mary IS A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. The schedule is:

New Year’s Eve, Monday December 31st: 5:15 pm. And Midnight

New Year’s Day, Tuesday,  January 1st: 8:00 a.m., 12:10 pm, 5:15 pm.

NEW YEAR’S CONFESSION SCHEDULE:

January 1st:  11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

A Plenary Indulgence is offered on December 31st: for those who visit a Catholic church and recite the hymn, Te Deum, in gratitude for the blessings of 2018. One must also be in the state of grace, go to confession, and receive Holy Communion on December 31st for the Indulgence.

Weekly Sunday collection:

Sunday         December 16, 2018     $  12,696.30
Sunday         December 17, 2017     $  14,971.37

 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

January 6th Sunday Readings:  IS 60:1-6, EPH 3:2-3A 5-6, MT 2:1-12

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.

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.

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.

Domestic Church Evangelization Retreat: March 28th-31st at the Blue Army Shrine in Ashbury, NJ:A retreat for Sacramentally married couples that provides them with an opportunity to begin their spiritual journey together (or deepen it if it already exists) as well as an introduction to Domestic Church for those interested in beginning formation in a Domestic Church circle.   Register at: https://nolacatholicfla.regfox.com/domestic-church-evangelization-retreat-march-28-31-2019-blue-army-shrine

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: Next Meeting: January 23rd. 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 29, 2018
4:00   +Michal Giedroyc req. Dr. Joe McAleer
Sunday, December 30, 2018: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
7:30   +Ugo Ceretti  Birthday Memorial req. by niece Rosemary Rebula
10:00   Msgr. DiGiovanni req. Ann and Mike Borkowski
12:00   Kristina & Scott Oberst on their First Anniversary
5:00   +Bryan Washington
Monday, December 31, 2018: Saint Sylvester I
8:00   +Nick Laginestra req. his family
12:10 +Kevin McDonald req. Camille Laginestra
Tuesday, January 1, 2019: Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
8:00   + Amanda Piper req. the Day Family
12:10   Deceased members of the Kolenberg and Seixas families req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
5:15     Deceased members of the Cole and Oliva families req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
Wednesday, January 2, 2019: Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen
8:00   +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10   John Fisher req. Erin and Chris Fisher
Thursday, January 3, 2019: The Most Holy Name of Jesus
8:00     Keri Landeche
12:10 +Lou Chiappetta req. John Pascale
Friday, January 4, 2019: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
8:00      Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. St. John’s Holy Name Society
12:10 +Charles Edstrom req. Basilica of St. John Greek Class
Saturday, January 5, 2019: Saint John Neumann
8:00     In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Joevil Delacruz req. Greenwich Woods Healthcare Center

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
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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 31ST FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Study: Beloved: Mystery and Meaning of Marriage
Study: Symbolon: Living the Faith, Session 8: A Love that Lasts
Listen: Marriage and Family
Listen: Three to Get Married
Listen: For Love and Marriage
Listen: Green Sex
Listen: Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Annulments
Listen: From Love, By Love, For Love
Listen: No Imitations
Listen: Counting Your Blessings
Listen: Discipline that Lasts a Lifetime
Listen: How to Apply Faith to Our Families
Listen: Feminism Misunderstood
Listen: Pure Fatherhood
Listen: The New Sexual Revolution
Listen: Love or Lust?
Listen: Defeating Satan’s Deadly Weapon Against Men
Listen: Women Made New
Listen: Be a Man!
Listen: Extreme Makeover

JANUARY 1ST- SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
Study: The Bible and the Virgin Mary, Lession 7: The Promised Mother
Study: The Bible and the Virgin Mary, Lession 12: Always a Mother
Study: 33 Days to Morning Glory
Study: Symbolon: Knowing the Faith, Session 9: Mary and the Saints
Read: The World’s First Love
Read: A Mother’s Rule of Life
Read: Understanding Catholic Teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary
Listen: Mary: Handmaid of the Lord
Listen: Mary: Indispensable Mother of God
Listen: The World’s First Love
Listen: Answering Common Objections: Mary