8:00 AM and 12:10 PM
4:00 PM (Sunday Vigil)
10:00 AM (Family Mass with Choir)
12:00 Noon (Mass with Chant)
5:00 PM (Mass without music)
8:00 AM and 12:10 PM
– Vigil Masses (evening before): 5:15 p.m.
– Holy Days: 8:00 a.m., 12:10 p.m. & 5:15 p.m.
Schedule varies; please check the Bulletin.
(In English, Français, Español, Italiano, Portuguese)
Saturday: 3:00 – 4:00PM
Sunday: 30 minutes prior to each Mass.
Monday-Friday: 11:30 – 11:55 AM
'The Golden years Never Ended' -
THE HISTORY OF THE PARISH
OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST
St. John’s Parish began in 1847 and was established as an independent Catholic parish in 1854 as the Mother Church for the growing Catholic community of Stamford, Darien, Greenwich and surrounding areas. All Catholic parishes and institutions in this area have their roots in Saint John’s Parish. On July 16, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI granted Saint John’s the dignity and title of Minor Basilica. Today, the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist is the Pope’s church in the heart of the city, and the parish for downtown Stamford.
Saint John the Evangelist Parish was founded 1854 and is the Mother Church of Stamford. Catholics arrived late in Connecticut because of the anti-Catholic atmosphere and laws of the Colony. In order to own property or to have a vote in the Colony of Connecticut, one had to swear a public oath denouncing the Catholic Church and her tenets. The celebration of Mass was prohibited by law, as was the presence of priests.
There were, however, a small number of Irish Catholics within the British colonies prior to the American Revolution, arriving either as transported criminals or as "redemptioners" – indentured servants who exchanged passage to the colonies for a three-year period of servitude. An advertisement in the Connecticut Gazette of January 5, 1764, publicized: "Just Imported from Dublin in the Brig Darby, A Parcel of Irish Servants, both men + women, + to be sold cheap by Israel Boardman, at Stamford."
By the 1830s the number of Catholics was rising in Fairfield County; the largest group were Catholic Irish immigrants in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford. Mass was first celebrated in Stamford in 1842 in the house of Patrick H. Drew by Father James Smyth of Bridgeport for the three resident Catholic families. The Irish population rapidly increased in Connecticut during the 1840’s and 1850’s, primarily because of the Irish Potato Famine, and the need for workers on the canals and railroads.
The Irish Catholic community of Stamford was first attended to by the priests of Saint Mary’s Church in Norwalk. By 1850 the Catholics of Stamford were sufficiently numerous to build a small, clapboard church, blessed by Bishop William O’Reilly, the bishop of Hartford on January 28, 1851. The community continued to grow, and by 1854, during the pontificate of Blessed Pope Pius IX, Saint John’s was formally established as an independent parish to care for the needs of Catholics in all of southwest Fairfield County. Since its foundation, Saint John’s Parish has influenced the lives of citizens in Stamford and surrounding towns. Every Catholic institution in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, and Darien, has its roots in Saint John’s Parish.
In 1860 Saint John’s opened the first parish school in Fairfield County, which continued to educate Catholics and non-Catholics alike until 1972. The present church was built in 1875. The foundation was dug, and the stone dragged from a local quarry by the Irish Catholic members of the parish themselves. They had little cash, but great stores of faith that led them to build Saint John’s, then the largest stone church in southern Connecticut. The stained glass windows form one of the largest collections of American 19th century church stained glass on the east coast, a lasting artistic treasure. Saint John’s today serves as the spiritual center for downtown Stamford.
On July 16, 2009, the Holy Father granted the dignity and title of Minor Basilica to Saint John’s Church, in view of the importance of the parish as the Mother Church for all Catholic institutions and parishes in the southwestern portion of Fairfield County, as well as for the parish’s continued vibrancy as a center for Catholic life in the area.
The Rectory is another historic building in the heart of Stamford’s downtown. Built in 1850 as a private home, it was purchased by the parish in 1868 to house the priests of the parish. It is one of the architectural gems of Old Stamford, being one of the last and finest local example of the Greek Revival style. The rectory is believed to have provided a stop on the Underground Railroad prior to and during the Civil War, operated by James Daskam, a local greengrocer.
The parish, founded by immigrant Irish Catholics, and built by their faith and sweat, is now home to the largest Catholic community in Stamford, whose members hale from dozens of countries. Saint John the Evangelist is the spiritual heart of Downtown Stamford, and is open every day for Mass and confession, or just for a visit to Our Lord and private prayer. All are welcome at Saint John’s, the Mother Church of Stamford.
For more information on St. John the Evangelist please visit these other sites:
- The Stamford Historical Society [http://www.stamfordhistory.org]
- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport [http://www.bridgeportdiocese.com]
- 'The Golden years Never Ended' - THE HISTORY OF THE PARISH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST
At the request of His Excellency the Most Reverend William Edward Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, in his letter of the 19th of May in the year 2009, prompted by the prayers and appeals by the clergy and faithful, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by the unique authority granted by the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, grants to the parish church dedicated to the Glory of God in honor of Saint John the Evangelist in the city of Stamford, in the above-mentioned diocese, the title and dignity of MINOR BASILICA, with all due liturgical ceremonies faithfully observed in accord with the Decree De Titulo Basilicae Minoris of the 9th day of November in the year 1989, in the common estimation.
All things to the contrary notwithstanding
Given at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the 16th day of July in the year 2009, on the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.
The Coat-of-Arms of the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist
Quarterly gules and azure, a cross Or, between I and IV: 1: a shell Or, 2: a lion’s head couped and crowned Or; 3: a fess wavy Argent, below a crescent of the same; 4: an eagle of Saint John Or, carrying a scroll Argent.
The gold Cross overall represents the Redemption by Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of our Faith.
The golden shell in the left top quarter on a red field is taken from the coat-of-arms of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI who named raised our parish to the dignity of a Minor Basilica on July 16, 2009.
The gold crowned Lion in the right top quarter on a blue field is taken from the coat-or-arms of Blessed Pius IX during whose pontificate the parish of Saint John the Evangelist was established in 1854.
The silver Crescent Moon in the left bottom quarter on a blue field represents the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: this dogma was defined by Blessed Pius IX in 1854, the same year Saint John’s became an independent parish.
The wavy silver bar in the left bottom quarter on a blue field represents water: it is found in the coats-of-arms of the Archdiocese of Hartford, whose bishop established Saint John’s in 1854, and in the coat-of-arms of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and also is a symbol of the Port of Stamford and the Mill River.
The gold Eagle holding a silver Scroll in the bottom right quarter on a red field is the traditional symbol of Saint John the Evangelist, patron of the parish, and is taken from Ezra 1:1-14 and Ezekial 10:14.
The motto, "Behold your Mother" [John 19:27], was spoken to Saint John, the Beloved Disciple and our parish patron, by Our Lord as he was dying on the Cross, entrusting His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary to John’s care. The motto is also reminiscent of the traditional title of Saint John’s Parish as the Mother Church of Stamford. The position of the Crescent Moon, symbol of Our Lady, and the Eagle of Saint John, are those traditionally assigned to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John at the foot of the Cross.