From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of our Lord. This feast day brings the Christmas season to a close. When you come back to church next week, all of the Christmas trees, decorations and poinsettias will be gone. We will return to the liturgical ordinary time of the year. What a beautiful way though to end the Christmas season by recalling the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. We hear in today’s gospel that John the Baptist proclaims that one mightier than he is coming. Everyone thought that John was the messiah, when he adamantly says to the people it is not I, but Jesus. As Jesus is baptized, the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descends upon him as the voice of God proclaims, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”.


Baptisms are moments of great joy and grace. We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of our own Baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit, we are reborn in Christ Jesus. In a very real sense, we are a new creation in Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, we recall the promises made at our own Baptism, to profess our faith in Jesus and his most holy Catholic Church. May we continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as we preach and teach in the name of Christ our Savior and King.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Service

Each year, the Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns sponsors a prayer service commemorating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year, that prayer service will take place on Monday, January 21, 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church located in Queens Village. There will be a bus leaving from St. Gregory the Great Church in Crown Heights that day. The cost per person for the bus will be $10. The homilist will be Father Peter Damian Harris, O.P. He is a Dominican priest located in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas. There will be a reception following the prayer service. Our parish choir will provide the music for this Diocesan celebration. All are invited.


Parish Black History Month Celebration

During the month of February, we commemorate Black History Month. We give thanks and praise to God for the gifts and talents of African-Americans throughout the world and within our Church. We also recall our ancestors who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. Here at St. Martin de Porres, we will have a number of activities planned for Black History month. We will continue to custom of showing a film on Saturday evenings at St. Peter Claver following the 5:00PM Mass. Each film depicts a theme related to Black History. Our Mass of Thanksgiving for Black History Month will take place on Sunday, February 10 at Holy Rosary Church beginning at 12:00Noon. We will welcome Father Anthony Bozeman, SSJ as the celebrant and homilist. There is a flyer in this week’s bulletin for more information.


Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Q. Cox


From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Our gospel passage today depicts the visit of the three Magi, who come to pay homage to the newborn King, Jesus Christ. They do not come empty handed though. They come to Jesus bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These three gifts reflect the kingly status of the baby Jesus. The three Magi know who they are in the presence of! They know that Jesus is the true and eternal King, who will grow in grace and favor before God and man. The Magi know that this little child will grow to free humankind from their sins, by his sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. On this Epiphany Sunday, we give the gift ourselves to Jesus. He wants our whole selves, not just a mere part.


Traditionally in many Latin American countries, Epiphany Sunday is the actual day that gifts are exchanged amongst loved ones. Just as the Magi brought gifts to the baby Jesus, we bring gifts to our families and friends. As I mentioned in my homily on Christmas Eve, the one gift that I long for is peace! Peace in our world, peace amongst our families and yes, peace within our parish. We pray that the Lord will continue to bestow his peace to us, as we strive to do the will of our Heavenly Father.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Service

Each year, the Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns sponsors a prayer service commemorating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year, that prayer service will take place on Monday, January 21, 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church located in Queens Village. There will be a bus leaving from St. Gregory the Great Church in Crown Heights that day. The cost per person for the bus will be $10. The homilist will be Father Peter Damian Harris, O.P. He is a Dominican priest located in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas. There will be a reception following the prayer service. All are invited.


Prayers for the Bishops of the United States of America

This week, all of the Bishops of the United States will gather for a retreat at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. This retreat was called for by Pope Francis himself. It was at his request that all of the Bishops come together for prayer and reflection, most especially as we pray for victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. The retreat master is Father Raniero Cantalamesa,OFM. He is the preacher to the Papal Household. In your kindness I ask all of you to say a special prayer for our Bishops on retreat this week. We pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to hover over them as they shepherd our Holy Roman Catholic Church. May the Lord grant them the strength and the courage to be good and holy shepherds.


Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Q. Cox


From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

I hope that each of you had a beautiful Christmas Day! We continue to bask in the joy of Christmas, giving thanks and praise to God for the gift of the newborn King, Jesus Christ. Today, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. We are given the image of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as an example of a family rooted in God’s love and mercy. We don’t get to choose the families that we are born into, God does that for us. I am sure that members of our families irritate us, push our buttons or anger us to a point where we stop communicating with each other. Families are a great gift from God. On this feast day of the Holy Family, let us pray for our families today. If you haven’t spoken to a family member in a while, I invite you to lift them up in prayer, and maybe even lift up the phone to call and reconcile. We are reminded in today’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians to let go of all hate and bitterness. St. Paul says, “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection”. Let us continue to live by these words, as we build up the Kingdom of God here in Bedford Stuyvesant.


New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day Masses

Tomorrow, December 31, is New Year’s Eve. On the liturgical calendar, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. Confessions will be available beginning at 10:00PM at Our Lady of Victory Church. There will be a Holy Hour and Night Prayer beginning at 11:00PM followed by Mass at Midnight, that will take place at Our Lady of Victory Church. The next day, January 1 Mass will be celebrated at 10:00AM at Our Lady of Victory Church. Only one Mass will be celebrated on January 1. As we begin the new year, 2019, we pray that through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, we will continue to keep Christ at the center of our lives.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Service

Each year, the Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns sponsors a prayer service commemorating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year, that prayer service will take place on Monday, January 21, 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church located in Queens Village. There will be a bus leaving from St. Gregory the Great Church in Crown Heights that day. The cost per person for the bus will be $10. The homilist will be Father Peter Damian Harris, O.P. He is a Dominican priest located in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas. There will be a reception following the prayer service. All are invited.


Have a great week and Happy New Year!

Father Alonzo Q. Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today is the 4th and last Sunday of the Advent season. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I hope that these last weeks of Advent have been a time of spiritual preparation as we celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. We continue to give thanks and praise to God for the gift of Jesus, his Son, who comes to us as the incarnate word made flesh. Our gospel passage today tells us of the visitation Mary made to her cousin Elizabeth. We hear how the child in the womb of Elizabeth, who is John the Baptist, leapt in her womb upon hearing the voice of Mary. It is from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary that we encounter Jesus the Savior. On this last Sunday of Advent, we pray that God will continue to bless us with the many graces that we need to carry out the mission that Christ calls each of us to, that is to preach the gospel by the very example of our lives. May this Christmas season be one of joy and peace, that by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, we will bring the light of Christ to this world in darkness.


This past Tuesday evening we celebrated Advent Lessons and Carols. We had the great privilege of welcoming His Excellency, Most Reverend James Massa as the presider and homilist. It was an absolutely beautiful celebration of sacred scripture and music. I was moved to tears by the voices of our phenomenal parish choir. I take this opportunity to thank our music ministry team, under the direction of Mr. Rasaan Bourke and Mr. Joseph Murray. We are truly blessed here at St. Martin dePorres to have gifted and talented musicians who lift our hearts, minds and voices to heaven, not just on special occasions as this, but each and every single Sunday. I also take this opportunity to thank Father Daniel Kingsley who organized the Lessons and Carols liturgy. I am grateful for his dedication and hard work over these last few weeks.


I am indeed blessed to be the Pastor of 3 beautiful churches! I thank each of the decorating teams at our churches for their beautiful work in decorating the sanctuaries for the season of Christmas. On behalf of the entire parish staff, I wish each of you a blessed and holy Christmas season. Allow me to end with the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis. In his homily for Christmas last year, he spoke of the season as one of hope, leading us to Christ. He said, “Christmas has above all a taste of hope because, for all the darkness in our lives, God’s light shines forth. His gentle light does not frighten us. God, who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, by being born poor and frail in our midst, as one of us. He is born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread”. In this way, he seems to tell us that he is born as bread for us; he enters our life to give us his life; he comes into our world to give us his love. He does not come to devour or to lord it over us, but instead to feed and serve us. There is a straight line between the manger and the cross where Jesus will become bread that is broken. It is the straight line of love that gives and saves, the love that brings light to our lives and peace to our hearts.”


Have a great week and a Blessed Christmas,

Father Alonzo Q. Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,


We have reached the midpoint of our Advent season. Today is the third Sunday of Advent. You may have noticed that we have lit our rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath. You will also notice that the priest will be wearing a rose-colored vestment. Traditionally, the third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday. The word Gaudete is Latin, which means rejoice. The rose color is produced from a mixture of the Advent purple and the Christmas white. It is a clear sign that Christmas is coming soon! We rejoice that the Lord, the Word made flesh will come to us as a child. St. Paul reminds us today in his letter to the Philippians to rejoice always. The Lord is near! We must not worry or be anxious, because the Lord will come to bring us salvation. For that my sisters and brothers, we rejoice! On this Gaudete Sunday, let us pray that Christ will continue to bestow his abundant blessings upon each of us as we prepare to celebrate his glorious birth. We are invited to bring that joy to all of God’s people this Advent and Christmas season. This weekend there will be prayer cards available with the schedule of Masses for Christmas on it. I invite you to take one for yourself and maybe another few for friends and family. I would like to ask each of you to invite someone to Mass this Christmas. We get a lot of invitations during this time of the year, but this invitation may save someone’s life. Let us invite people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior and King.


Advent Lessons and Carols

We will have Advent Lessons and Carols this Tuesday December 18 at Holy Rosary Church beginning at 7:30PM. Lessons and Carols during the season of Advent is a traditional ceremony with readings from sacred scripture and Advent carols, preparing ourselves for the birth of the Savior. This year we will welcome His Excellency, Most Reverend James Massa, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn as the presider. Please be sure to join us.


Christmas Pageant

The children of our parish Faith Formation Program will perform the story of Christmas at the Family Christmas Eve Mass which will take place at St. Peter Claver Church at 5:00PM. Rehearsals have begun for this pageant. Any child who would like to participate in our Christmas pageant can contact Ms. Michelle Joseph or Ms. Tamika Daniel for more information.


Christmas Flowers

During the Christmas season, each of our three churches are beautifully decorated with colorful poinsettias. Each of you are invited to have a poinsettia donated in memory or in honor of a loved one. Christmas flower envelopes are available at the doors of each of the three churches. You can fill out the envelope and place it in the collection basket or bring it to the parish office.


Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Q. Cox


P.S. I mentioned at the Masses that I celebrated last week that I am in California this weekend. I am officiating a wedding for a college friend at the former Crystal Cathedral (now Christ Roman Catholic Cathedral). It has always been a dream of mine to see this amazing place! I grew up watching Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. Please keep me and this awesome couple in prayer!