Pastor’s Corner: The heart of the church is the sanctuary. On the morning of the church’s dedication, May 30, 1886, the walls were simply whitewashed, the only color came from the stained glass. The original altar rail was carved wood, and there was no woodwork on the sanctuary walls, which was added in the 1930s. But the three windows in the sanctuary and the high altar were there, along with the heavy wooden bench or sedillia for the priests, a carved wooden “throne” for the bishop and a small wooden table as a credence table, presently in the rectory. Today’s altar is original.
The altar and tabernacle formed the centerpiece of the church: everything in the building leads to this. Designed and constructed by the firm of Theis and Trueg, and costing a whopping $4,500 in 1886,
[equal to $112,140.00 in 2017 dollars] the altar and tabernacle were marveled at by the local press and citizenry of Stamford. Periodic payments began on July 6th, and the first shipment of marble began arriving in Stamford train station by September. As the altar was being built, it was opined that, “when completed, the altar will be second to none in New England” [The Connecticut Catholic, September 12, 1885]. Until the church dedication in May, 1886, nearly every edition of The Advocate and The Connecticut Catholic ran articles on the progress of the church, construction, with particular interest in the altar. The Advocate’s writers had front row seats, since the paper’s original offices were housed in the Italian neo-Renaissance building still directly across from the church on Atlantic Street. By November, 1885, the interior of the church was nearly completed, and it was opened for inspection by the general public, who flocked to visit the largest stone church in the state. The Advocate noted that “Competent judges pronounce this ‘the most beautiful altar in the United States’” [November 20, 1885]. Originally the altar statues were not provided, since the parish could not afford them until years later.
The high altar is gothic in design, of carved white Carrara marble with columns and inlaid panels of golden Mexican onyx, rising to fill the church apse, and framed by the massive triumphal sanctuary arch. The unifying decorative motif is of grape vines intertwined with shamrocks on the capitals of the pillars and architraves of the altar. This motif is a sign of the power of the Eternal Love of Christ which nourishes and supports us in the Eucharist. It was that Divine Love that strengthened and united the beleaguered founding Irish Catholic community of Stamford around its parish church in the 1880s, protecting itself from the decades of often violent intolerance by the local Protestant majority. The central image in the hear of the “table” or mensa of the altar, is the Lamb of God, as described in the Book of Revelation. Resting on the Book of the Gospels with seven seals, and bearing the banner of the Resurrection. The Lamb is Christ, triumphant over death, who reveals the truth of God through His Church in Scripture and living Tradition. On either end of the altar are carved arches, decorated with flowers and shamrocks, that originally served as credence niches for the altar servers.
Resting on the altar is the tabernacle, in the form of a castle with decorative turrets. A central marble baldacchino rises above the tabernacle. This canopy is a splendid piece of carved marble work. Open on the front side, its sole support is provided by two lithe golden pilasters at the rear of the canopy; the baldacchino supports an elegant structure designed originally as a throne for the exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It now houses the magnificent cast brass altar crucifix with chiseled sterling silver corpus of Our Lord, from the original 1851 church. The marble reredos rises above the tabernacle. Raised on two steps, the reredos is composed of four niches between three taller towers. The niches were originally empty, but are now occupied by four marble angels, each 5 feet in height, with downcast eyes, leading the worshippers’ gaze to the tabernacle and altar table. The angels carry cruets of wine and water or an incense thurible, as if serving the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered on the altar mensa below them. The niches are gabled in marble, flanked with golden onyx pilasters and crowned by a forest of turrets, graceful finials caped by fleurs-de-lis, and crocketed roofs. Flanking the two far ends of the reredos are two fifteen foot towers, likewise of white marble with golden onyx pilasters, inlaid panels and columns, crocketed roofs, turret, finials and fleurs-de-lis. The entire altar is crowned by a central 30 foot tower, within whose niche a four foot marble state of the Archangel Gabriel sounds the trumpet of the Last Judgment. The tower is crowned by a marble cross. The sanctuary lamp dates from 1896, a gift from the Brennan Family to commemorate Fr. William Roger’s 25th ordination anniversary.
Whenever we enter our beautiful church, the Mother Church of all Catholic churches and institutions in southern Fairfield County, we should offer a little prayer for the parishioners, religious sisters, and priests who built this beautiful church for the glory of God and for the strengthening of the faith of subsequent Catholics of Stamford, like our own. We owe them a great debt, and praying for them is a good way to repay them.
Please pray for the sick: Pat Farenga, Kenyon Jimmy Valcour, Maria Izurieta, Jennifer Marciano, John Mellace, Ann Borkowski, Timothy Lyons, Gene Gavin, Richard Ridge, Debbie Schemmel, June Roberts, Marie Cassis, Patricia Morgan, Vittorio Faugno, Robert Strada, Dionysia Oliveira, Salvatore Piria, Mary Ellen Callahan, Louise Wiles, Frank Wruk, Erin Wiggin, Isaac Lopez, Richard Ridge, Ron Frasca, Lisa Giugno, Michele Giugno, Helga Pecaric, Maria Trivino, Maria Gabriela Mossa, Diane DiNapoli, Gayle Moore, Paula Bennett, Mildred Beirne, Karen Hsu, Silvana Smith, Harriet Lockhart, Joseph Kung, Jacqueline Domingue, William Byrnes, Jonathan Victor, Lyn Geikie-Rice, Elaine Shoztic.
Please pray for those who have recently died: Antonietta Cerone, Mary A. Gaine, Grace Steele, Benita Rebula, Sylvia Iannazzi, Anne Hieronymus, Julia Fabrizio, Msgr. Joseph Kohut, Steven Bates, Catherine Dolan, Cesidro Piselli, John & Joan Kronk.
Banns of Marriage:
I Banns: Justin Ross Abate and Sandra Cordoano
I Banns: Kevin Michael Baker and Nancy Alison Clayton
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
October 13th: 7:30 pm: Rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima during this centenary year of the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal.
October 20-28: Novena in honor of St. Jude daily after each 12:10 Mass.
The Upper Room: For adults between 30 and 95 years of age resumes on November 8th at 7:30pmin The Upper Room at Columbus Park Trattoria on Main Street in Stamford. Our speaker: Fr. George Rutler, Pastor of Saint Michael’s Church in NYC will be our speaker. His topic: The Church as the Communion of Saints. All are welcome.
Are you or someone you know interested in becoming Catholic? Join us for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Classes started Monday September 18th and will meet weekly 7pm-8:30pm in the Rectory. Cost is $25.00 for materials. Open to anyone interested in becoming a Catholic, or adult Catholics wanting to receive 1st Communion or Confirmation. To register, call the office at 203-324-1553 x21 or stop in the parish office between 9am-4:30pm Monday through Friday.
Children’s Choir: Ages 8-18 who are interested. Please speak with our choir master, David Indyk or leave your contact information in the parish office, 203-324-1553, ext 21.
Men’s Choir: Men who can even just hum a tune are welcome: contact David Indyk in person, or leave your contact information at the parish office, 203-324-1553, ext 21.
DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY: Interested in reading Dante? We could begin during Lent with the Inferno, which is not a torture tour many view the work to be. Rather, it is a meditation on God’s plan for human happiness by loving Him, and humankind’s search for happiness that too often leads away from God to sin, which is real life folly that ends invariably to unhappiness, pain and suffering. We could begin reading the Divine Comedy in Lent, then continue if people would like. NO Charge: you’d simply have to purchase the books. Interested? Call Msgr. DiGiovanni, 203-324-1553, ext 11.
Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday October 1, 2017 $ 14,258.39
Sunday October 2, 2016 $ 13,877.89
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
October 15th, Sunday Readings: Is 25:6-10A; Phil 4:12-14, 19-20; Mt 22:1-14.
Police: As 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 members of 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. Call 203-348-4355 or www.birthright.org.
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 even helped convince expectant mothers to spare their children. To join us, or for specialized training as a Sidewalk Counselor, call Noelle at 857-345-0808.
Let us pray: for the mothers and children of Good Counsel Malta House, who have been wounded from the affects of abortion or any physical, mental or sexual abuse, that they may they seek hope, forgiveness and God’s Divine healing.
Job Seekers: Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., is a leader in helping find jobs. Jobseeker’s Group in the Monsignor Nagle Hall the 4th Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9PM. Topics include Job Interviewing, Resumes, Networking and Job Search Strategies. Next meeting: Wednesday, October 25th. THERE IS NO CHARGE, this is free job coaching. Call Melanie Szlucha at 203-866-1606, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SilverSource: Formerly Senior Services of Stamford, 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 check out their website: silversource.org.
The Catholic Academy of Stamford : will be hosting a Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Open House on Sunday, October 22, 2017, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. It will be held at the lower school campus, 1186 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT. You will have an opportunity to meet the Head of School, Ms. Patricia Brady, the Principal of the lower school, Mrs. Natalia Cruz, and the Teachers and their Assistants. This is a wonderful opportunity to see for yourself the great things that are happening in this wonderful community. Please mark your calendar!
Volunteers: FUTURE 5 is a non-profit organization to help motivated low income high school students in Stamford to improve themselves and their future. We need volunteers to do one-on-one student work, such as college coaches, job prep coaches, and teachers. We also need tutors. For more information or to volunteer and/or tutor, please contact Fanny Moran: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homeplace Wisdom: Is a Catholic women’s organization promoting friendship and vocational development with monthly speakers and gatherings, play dates, and a daily email list for sharing ideas, prayer requests, parenting or home-place questions, and reading material. To join: email@example.com
Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God’s love and mercy. Call 203-416-1619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Not Married in the Catholic Church? Please call Fr. Vill at (203) 324-1553 ext. 130 to make an appointment. Meet with Fr. Vill 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.
Employment: Malta House in Norwalk is a transitional residence to promote the dignity of God-given life by providing a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills for pregnant and parenting mothers of all faiths and their children. Looking for a House Manager , anyone may apply for this position by forwarding a cover letter/resume to: John Hinshaw: John_Hinshaw@goodcounselhomes.org. We are located at: 5 Prowitt Street, Norwalk, CT. 06855.
Men’s Night of Reflection: @ 7pm, Holy Spirit on Tuesday, Oct 10. Men, please join us to hear Msgr. Nick Grieco present “Continuing to Make Christ the Center of All” which will include further guidance on evangelization and the importance of the church community. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking with Purpose: 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 will meet Tuesday mornings in Msgr. Nagel Hall from 9:30am-11:30am. Childcare is available. Registration is now open! Register at: tinyurl.com/WWPTBSJ2017. For more information, contact Rosa Federici
at: email@example.com or 203-536-5480.
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, October 7, 2017
4:00 +Joseph Peter Young req. Family
Sunday, October 8, 2017
7:30 +John Melfi Sr., Mary Melfi and John Melfi Jr. req. Joseph Melfi
10:00 +Maria Vu req. Thang Nguyen
12:00 +Jocelyn, Sydney, Oswald and Kilda Machado req. Lilian and Alvina Ramos
5:00 +Robert and Karen Velline
Monday, October 9, 2017
8:00 +Dorothy and Fred Wahlstrom req. Leon Taricani
12:10 +Bill Morris Birthday Remembrance req. Marion Morris and Family
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
8:00 +Mary O’Toole req. Larry Hayes
12:10 +Valencia Lancaster req. Sue Kremheller
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
8:00 +Patrick Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 +Dila Camaj req. Age
Thursday, October 12, 2017
8:00 In Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus req. Maria
12:10 +Audrey Coppola req. Pinto Family
Friday, October 13, 2017
8:00 Deceased Members of the Seixas Family req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
12:10 Deceased Members of the Kolenberg Family req. Tom and Olga Kolenberg
Saturday, October 14, 2017
8:00 +Hope and Joseph McAleer req. McAleer Family
12:10 +Israel Noriega req. Carpanzano 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 Cindy, (203-324-1553, ext 21). 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, Cindy, 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: Tuesdays at 12:45 in the Rectory.
St. John’s in THE ADVOCATE:
125 years ago, or so:
Oct. 11, 1889: . “On last Friday evening, at 7:30 o’clock, a very beautiful and touching ceremony took place at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church. The badges of the League of the Sacred Heart were blessed at that time and conferred on some 450 members. The sermon was preached by Rev. William H. Rogers, and the act of consecration read by Miss Jennie Terry. The children of the school, under the direction of Sisters Alexnis and Peter, rendered several beautiful hymns in a very creditable manner.”
110 years ago, or so:
Oct. 15, 1906: Good Singing in Catholic Church. “At the principal service in St. John’s R. C. Church, at 10:30 yesterday morning, an attractive feature of the musical program was a duet by Rossini which was sung by Miss Minnie C. B Hickey and Miss Josephine B. Hickey, pupils of Carl Odell, who are making constant advancement in their work.”
80 years ago, or so:
Oct. 12, 1938: Children of Mary At St. John’s Hear Rev. C. E. Hagearty. “An important meeting of the senior division, Children of Mary Sodality of St. John’s Catholic Church was held on Monday evening in the church. Rev. Charles E. Hagearty, chaplain, spoke to the group, Miss Kathryn Leonard presided. Plans were made for activities of the society including a skating party, play, lecture and a harvest masquerade dance for member and guests, which will be held in the school hall on November 10. A bowling team has been organized under the chairmanship of Miss Ann Hanrahan. Those interested in participating may attend the meeting to be held in the rectory of St. John’s church on October 14, at 7:30 p. m. Miss Ann Matutis is chairman of the dramatic group, which will present a play during the month of December. There will be a meeting of this group tomorrow evening at 7:30 in the rectory. Miss Jeanne Lois Grumbley is chairman of the skating party. She will report on a location at the next meeting to be held November 7. At this meeting the speaker will be Michael J. Nagurney, principal of St. Basil’s Preparatory School.”
35 years ago, or so:
Oct. 9, 1984: Rosary Altar Guild of St. John’s Catholic Church, Stamford. “The guild maintains the church altars and arranges the annual Christmas Fair. Meetings are held first Sundays after the 9 a.m. Mass and all women over the age of 18, who attend St. John’s may be members. Josephine Ganino is the pro tem president; Rosemary Finn, vice president; Agnes Barrett, secretary and Therese Doumenjou, treasurer.”