Pastor’s Corner . . . Today begins Holy Week: Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the holiest days: Special services begin Wednesday: Tenebrae (8:00 P.M.): a sung service recalling the abandonment of Christ by His Apostles, and His betrayal by Judas.
Holy Thursday’s evening Mass (8:00 P.M.) recalls the Last Supper and Our Lord’s institution of the Priesthood and the Eucharist; Judas’ betrayal; Peter’s denial; Jesus’ arrest in the Garden while his apostles slept.
Judas betrayal of Our Lord for 30 pieces of silver mirrored both humanity’s betrayal of our Creator for the brief satisfaction offered by sin, and Lucifer’s betrayal of God for power.
Jesus’ response to Judas and mankind’s betrayal is to affect our redemption by sacrificing Himself on the Cross, and by instituting the means by which His mercy, the effects of that sacrifice, are meted out in all places and all time: the Priesthood and the Eucharist.
Good Friday (3:00 P.M.) is a memorial service of the Crucifixion. The church altar is absolutely bear; all images and statues covered over; no candles are lit; the church is dark. No Mass is celebrated anywhere today: the only day of the year. We hear the prophecies of Christ’s sacrificial death; the Passion narrative; we venerate the Cross “upon which hung the Savior of the world”; we partake of Holy Communion, consecrated at the Mass of Holy Thursday. All that is before us is God’s response to mankind’s sin: mercy through the suffering of God in human flesh.
Holy Saturday (8:00 P.M.) is the Easter Vigil. The church is in total darkness. We gather at the Tomb of Christ, in a world in which the power of Evil apparently is victorious: Satan has affected the death of God in the flesh! Yet, on Saturday, a fire is lit, representing Christ rising from the grave; a huge Easter Candle representing the Risen Christ is blessed and carried through the church; the ancient Easter hymn, the Exaltet, is sung to the Easter candle; seven selections from the Old Testament outline all salvation history; new converts are baptized.
If we love Our Lord, we should show that love in the way we live our daily lives. He waits to forgive us; if only we humble ourselves and go to Him in the sacrament He gave His Church. Want to do something in preparation for Easter? Go to Confession and make a pilgrimage.
Going on a pilgrimage to a shrine or church is an ancient practice. Early Christians visited the sites of Our Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection in Jerusalem; pilgrimages to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome began immediately following their martyrdom in 64 A.D.; pilgrimages were an essential part of medieval life; Saint Philip Neri, revived the Holy Week practice in the early 1550’s, gathering thousands to visit the seven great basilicas of the Eternal City. The Seven Church Walk on Holy Thursday evening came to America with the Catholic immigrants, and continues to our day, but usually using cars.
Last Sunday the Saint John’s Holy Week schedule, was in the bulletin; on the back side, a small map with the addresses of churches in the area and the times they will remain open on Holy Thursday evening [April 9th] for the pilgrimage visits. Other copies are at the church doors, and on the parish website. Come to Saint John’s for the beautiful Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 8:00 p.m., and then get in your car and make the Pilgrimage to Seven of Stamford’s Catholic churches.
Loving God is about doing something spiritual, not just thinking religious thoughts. So do something: go to Confession; avoid sin and live virtuously; and go on a pilgrimage on Thursday evening. You will become closer to God: you doing something in response to what God has done for you in Christ Jesus. –Mons. DiGiovanni
Please pray for the sick… Ed Koplos, Rosemarie Drexel, John Castellano, Lily Rice, Marion Giordano, Ray Flaharty, Philip Renard, John Mellace, Christine Exantus, Evelyn Flaharty, Diane Ojohanna, Janet Rodgers
Please pray for those who have recently died… Phil DeFelice, Sr., Alice Banning, Paul Eldridge, Antoinetta Fiore, Marie Corcoran, Eugene Rizzi, Denis O’Neil, Cecila Tucker, Edith O’Hara, Vincenzo Giannitti Alverta Sahd
CONFESSION … April 7th is the last Tuesday during which Catholic Churches throughout Fairfield County will remain open for confessions from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., including St. John’s.
A Parish Fundraising Event:
A SPRING GARDEN PARTY
Sunday, May 3, 2009. We hope you will join us for a great event – fabulous dinner, musical charms, exciting auctions. – Individual seats $75 per person, special tables available – Please call the Rectory for more information or for your reservation – (203) 324-1553, ext 21 or register online @ www.stjohnsstamford.com.
St. John’s Bible Study … We are using The Bible Timeline Series every Thursday in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. Join us! NO BIBLE STUDY HOLY THURSDAY, April 9th. Next meeting: April 16th .
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies … We will next meet on Wednesday, May 6th in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. to study early Baptismal catechesis of the first centuries of the Church.
The Latin Reading Group… Is translating St. Augustine’s Confessions…And meets every Wednesday in the rectory at 6:15 p.m. high school Latin is all that’s needed. Just walk in.
Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . meets each Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the rectory: NO MEETING HOLY THURSDAY, AP. 9th.. Next meeting on April 16th: Please, review Lessons XII & XIII.
Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin… a goodly number of parishioners have asked about a parish Latin grammar course: I’m willing if you are. We could meet once each week, beginning the first week in June: this could be your summer study course! It will be basic grammar—Dick and Jane—so, don’t be afraid. If you’re interested, please give Monsignor a call: 324-1553, ext. 11. Like all other parish classes/study groups, there will be no charge.
Parish Women’s Society… Meets every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the Rectory for prayer, refreshments and conversation. All are welcome; please, join us: just walk in the first front door. NO meeting on Holy Saturday, April 11th. Our next meeting will be on April 18th.
Religion Classes for Adults … We meet in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. The class is on a 7-week cycle April 15th, April 22nd and April 29th. Please contact Providencia at (203) 324 -1553 ext. 21.
Moms & Tots … A group of moms and their children meet with Fr. Walsh each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in church for Eucharistic adoration, followed by snacks in the rectory. Please join us. Our next meeting will be on April 7th.
The 20’s and 30’s … next meeting April 13th at Columbus Park.
Birthright needs volunteers to help with mothers. Volunteers provide pregnancy tests, listen to client concerns and connect women with needed resources. Schedules are flexible. Please call 348-4355 or www.birthright.org for more info.
Sunday Readings for April 12th: Acts 10:34a; 37-43; Col. 3:1-4 or Cor. 5:6b-8; Jn. 20:1-9 (42) or Mk. 16:1-7 (41) or, at an afternoon or evening Mass, Lk. 24:13-35 (46)
HOLY WEEK: Please note the special Holy Week Schedule, found at the church entrances and on the parish website. THERE WILL BE NO MASSES ON THURSDAY, FRIDAY OR SATURDAY OF THIS WEEK, OTHER THAN THE SPECIAL HOLY WEEK SERVICES.
Marriage Bann: 2nd Lionel Francisco Pina & Jody Ann Fay.
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 60 (2) 67. The Creed for the Noon Mass may be found in the hymnal at No. 289.
Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass . . . Mass Ordinary: Missa quarti toni – Tomás Luis de Victoria, 1548-1611. Offertory motet: Crucifixus a 8 – Antonio Lotti, 1667-1740 (He was crucified also for us, under Pontius Pilate: he suffered and was buried. [from the Nicene Creed]). Communion motets: Vere languores nostros – Victoria (Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. And with his stripes we are healed. Sweetest wood and sweetest iron, sweetest weight is hung on Thee. Thou alone wast counted worthy to uphold the King of heaven and Lord of all. [Responsory 3 at Tenebrae, Wednesday in Holy Week]); Miserere mei – William Byrd, 1540-1623 (Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences. [Ps. 50:1]). The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Antiphon Hosanna filio David (Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.); Tract Christus factus est (Christ became obedient for us unto death, even death on a Cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name. [Phil. 2:8,9]); Offertory Improperium (My heart awaited reproach and misery; and I hoped for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none; I looked for one who would comfort me, and found no one. For food they gave me gall; in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. [Ps. 68:21,22]); Communion Pater, si non potest (Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, thy will be done. [Matthew 26:42]). Postlude: Psalm 50 – Tonus peregrinus.
Calling all 10:00 a.m. Mass Singers for the Adult Choir . . . Rehearsals are Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. in the music room in the basement of the church. For more information, call Scott Turkington 324-1553, ext. 18.
Interested in Reading at Mass? We are in need of lectors for the Saturday 4:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 noon Masses. If interested, please contact Mary Bridget Gaine: 203-978-0249 or MaryBridgetGaine@aol.com
Coffee Hour is cancelled this Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Coffee Hour will resume on April 19th.
St. John’s in The News . . .
. . . 100 years ago, or so:
April 7, 1906: “Palm Sunday will be marked by interesting services in St. John’s R. C. Church, tomorrow afternoon and evening. In the morning, the regular service will be held, at which palms will be blessed and distributed. At 2:30 and at 7:30 p.m., the Passion Play will be presented by the Edison projecting kinetescope, and this will include a large number of splendid views of the famous play at Oberammergau. Aside from this feature, however, there will be special music arranged by the organist and choir director, Miss Margaret Kennedy. This will include the singing of “Calvary,” without accompaniment, by Miss Kennedy. Last Good Friday, Miss Kennedy attracted widespread attention by her rendition of this composition, and is to sing it tomorrow in response to numerous requests. Other soloists will be John A. O’Neill, who will sing “The Palms,” and John P. Reilly, the tenor, whose singing is receiving high praise in critical circles. There will also be Benediction, the music for which will be sung by the full choir.”
April 8, 1911: THE SEVEN LAST WORDS. Passion Music Tomorrow Evening in St. John’s Catholic Church. “The Seven Last Words of Christ, an oratorio by Dubois, will be sung in St. John’s Catholic Church tomorrow evening, by the choir, under direction of Miss Margaret Kennedy, organist. The order of service follows: Introduction, “O vos omnes qui transitis per viam,” (All you who pass by the way), soprano solo; 1st Word, “Pater dimittee” (Father, forgive them), baritone solo and chorus; 2nd Word, “Hodie Hecum Eris” (This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise), duet, tenor and baritone; 3rd Word, “Stabat Mater Juxta Crucem” (By the cross the sorrowful Mother stood), soprano, tenor, bass and chorus; 4th Word, “Deus Meus, Deus Meus,” (My God, My God), baritone solo; 5th Word, “Sitio,” (I thirst), tenor, baritone and chorus; 6th Word, “Pater in Manus Tuas” (Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit); tenor and chorus; 7th Word, “Et Clamans Jesu voce magna dixit” (And Jesus crying out in a loud voice, said “It is consummated), soproano, tenor, baritone, chorus; Adoramus Te Christe (We adore Thee, O Christ), chorus. After a sermon by Rev. C. F. Kelly of Waterbury, the following will be sung: “The Palms,” tenor solo, by Faure, John P. Reilly; “O Salutaris,” tenor solo, St. Saens; John O’Neill; Tantum Ergo, sanctuary choir; Laudate Dominum, Gregorian; recessional, “Hail, Christ, All Glorious,” sanctuary choir. Mrs. James McMahon, soprano; John P. Reilly, tenor; Robert Hamilton, baritone; Miss Margaret Kennedy, organist and director.”
Ladies’ Night Out…Spring into Fashion fundraiser to benefit Trinity Catholic Middle School on Thursday, May 7th. Please join us at The Italian Center for an evening of fashion, dinner, and fun! Great Basket Raffles and Exciting Silent Auction. Door Prizes!! Tickets: $60. For details, or to make a donation to support Trinity Catholic Middle School, please call Ann Waters at 322-8470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Shippan Point Garden Club… May Market Fundraiser: Plant Sale and Tag Sale, Raffle & Silent Auction. There’ll be great food! On Saturday, May 9th, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1200 Shippan Avenue. Proceeds for environmental programs, scholarships and civic plantings.
Sacred Heart Parish Card Party: April 17th, 6:30 p.m. $15. per person. For reservations, call Judy Perugini: 322-1265, after 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 4
4:00 +Elvira Molgano req. son & daughter-in-law Robert & Marion Jordan
Sunday, April 5
7:30 +Robert Rohr req. Dawn Hartnett
10:00 +John & Angelina Pascale req. John & Laura Pascale
12:00 +Teresa Mandera may her soul rest in peace req. Scholastica Nabwire
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, April 6
8:00 Deceased Members of Mazza & D’Ariano Families
12:10 +Eva, Charles, Sr. & Nicholas Kronk & Mary Fedonchuks req. Mary Churley
Tuesday, April 7
8:00 +John Maloney req. wife Mary
12:10 +Virginia Carr req. Marie Carr
Wednesday, April 8
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Wally Thiel 1st Anniversary req. McAleer Family
THURSDAY, April 9: HOLY THURSDAY
8:00 No Mass
12:10 No Mass
8:00 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper: People of the Parish
FRIDAY, April 10: GOOD FRIDAY
8:00 No Mass
12:10 No Mass
3:00 Liturgy of the Passion
SATURDAY, April 11: HOLY SATURDAY
8:00 No Mass
12:10 No Mass
Eucharistic Adoration: Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.
Holy Name Society … For all men of the parish: The rectory every Friday morning for coffee, Eucharistic adoration benediction & prayer, from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Pray for an end to abortion every Wed. 7:00 -10:30 a.m., Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St, Stamford.
Are you a registered parishioner? …If not, please visit the parish office Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. or call the office for more information [ext 21 or 17] or Register On-Line at our Website: www.stjohnsstamford.com.
Credit Card Offertory…Make weekly or monthly donations by credit card. You can set up recurring credit card donations with the church secretary. She can take your information over the telephone. Call (203) 324-1553 x21.
St. Maria Goretti Society…For the spiritual formation of young ladies from 8th – 12th grades. Questions, please contact Rosa Marchetti at 348-0232.
Sponsor Certificates for Baptism or Confirmation…Are happily given to parishioners of St. John’s, i.e. Those who are registered members; those whose regular Mass attendance is known to the priests, or whose parish membership can be verified by the records of the weekly offertory (envelopes).
The Stations of the Cross
– Fr Terry Walsh
Reflecting on the Passion of our Lord, we are drawn into the path he traveled for our sake. As we contemplate each station we begin to experience in our hearts the pain he endured. At the same time, we are able to offer him our sufferings, our daily trials. Our suffering has value. When we offer it to our Lord, we participate in the redemption of the world. St Paul once said, “I will make up for what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.” At first glance, one might wonder, what could possibly be lacking in the sufferings of Christ. After all, he offered the perfect sacrifice on the Cross. Indeed, all the suffering ever known or endured by mankind taken as a whole pales by comparison to the suffering the Innocent Victim endured. What was Paul talking about? Jesus tells us, “Pick up your Cross and follow me.” In other words, open your heart to a more perfect love. Be willing to go the extra mile for those in need. In this, we become more perfect reflections of Divine love.
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we die with Christ. In other words, we are meant to turn away from selfishness and instead humbly seek to live the Gospel, the Word of Life. In a general sense, we accomplish this by carrying out the ordinary daily circumstances of our lives with an eye toward Heaven. In providing for our families and encouraging one another in all our various activities as if we are attending to Christ Himself. Love God in our neighbor. More specifically, as we encounter the Cross through illness, loss of a job, struggles and disagreements with friends and family, the loss of a loved one, and so on, the Cross becomes heavier and more difficult to manage. Like Christ at the 1st Station, we are judged. Like Christ, we receive the Cross; we stumble, we fall under its weight. Yet, it is precisely in these circumstances that we receive the help we need to carry our Cross, to endure it – if we ask. Our Lord is most near us when we are put to the test. He promised he would never abandon us; he would always provide whatever we need in every circumstance- joyful or sorrowful – if we pray to him and give thanks for His generous love. We may encounter the Cross in many ways. Often times, the Cross comes to us. It might be light and temporary. It might be heavy and sustained. Others may lay the burden on our shoulders, or perhaps we willingly seek the Cross; that is, we go out of our way to satisfy the needs of others. Any sacrifice we make is an encounter with the Cross. And there is joy in it. It’s not that there is joy in suffering, which is always an evil. Rather, the joy comes in knowing we are growing in holiness – even in the midst of suffering and sacrifice; we are being made new through the graces we are receiving through our cooperation with the Holy Spirit as we fulfill our Baptismal Promises. Recall the 4th Station, where Jesus meets our Lady, Mary: “Behold, I will make all things new!” he tells Her. He accomplishes it through the Cross. We’re able to participate in His journey at each station. He allows us, indeed beckons us, to walk with Him. Jesus said, “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” As we seek to love our neighbor as Christ loves us, we will find a joy and peace that can only come from God. The little sacrifices that we can offer to our Lord each day – the kind word, the pat on the back, the errand done generously, the prayer offered for another’s intention – these unite us to the Cross. What Station are you experiencing today?