From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving. On behalf of the staff here at St. Martin dePorres Parish, I want to wish all of you a very happy and holy Thanksgiving holiday. In whatever way you spend this holiday, I hope that each of you will enjoy the gift of the day giving thanks to God for all of the many blessings bestowed upon us. As we gather with friends and family this holiday, let us continue to pray for one another. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to take root within us, that we will give thanks not just for this one day during the year, but every single day of our lives.

Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, which is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. With the first Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year in the Church. As we prepare to begin this new liturgical year, I invite us to pray for a deeper sense of unity within our parish community. As I mentioned in my homily two weeks ago for the Feast of St. Martin dePorres, I pray for all of you every day! Along with that prayer, I ask the Lord to unite all of us more deeply, and much more closely. Bringing three communities together, with their own history and charism can be a challenge, but I look at the fruits of what could be born, when we all come together as one, building up the body of Christ here in Bedford Stuyvesant.

May Christ the Lord give us the strength that we need to go out and proclaim his Good News, in all that we say and in everything that we do.

Thanksgiving Luncheon

Today, Sunday November 19 we will have our parish Thanksgiving Luncheon, which will take place at St. Peter Claver school immediately after the 11:30AM Mass. All parishioners from each of the three churches are invited to attend this luncheon and it’s completely free! Please be sure to join us for an afternoon of fellowship and Thanksgiving.

Annual Catholic Appeal

You have heard much about our 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal. I thank all of you for your generosity, in giving of your time, talent and treasure for the support of St. Martin dePorres Parish. The Annual Catholic Appeal supports the various ministries of the Diocese of Brooklyn along with the continued mission of the parishes. The key to having a successful appeal is full participation. We have 941 registered families who have participated in the ACA in years past. In this year’s appeal, only 71 families have participated. If each family were to participate in this year’s ACA, we would definitely reach our goal. It is also important to know that both Father Kingsley and I participate in the ACA. I have always made it a promise of mine that I would never ask my parishioners to do something that I myself would not do. Next weekend we will have an in pew opportunity for those who have not had an opportunity to participate in this year’s ACA. I cannot thank all of you enough, from the bottom of my heart for your love, support and generosity.

 

Have a great week & Happy Thanksgiving!

Father Alonzo Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Words cannot begin to express how grateful I am for each of you! We had a beautiful celebration last Sunday as we commemorated the feast of our parish patron, St. Martin dePorres. I had the opportunity to welcome many new families to our parish community over the weekend. The work of evangelization has begun to take root here in Bedford Stuyvesant. As I mentioned in my homily at Mass last weekend, we still have a lot of work to do, but the spirit of the Lord is very much alive here in our community. On behalf of Father Kingsley, I thank you for your continued love, support, and most especially your prayers.

Two weeks ago, I con-celebrated the funeral Mass for baby Samantha Hope. She was only 3 days old. I met her parents about 10 years ago, when I was a seminarian assigned to St. Sebastian parish in Woodside. I was privileged to be at their wedding and to bless their new home a few years ago. Unfortunately, these two young parents were told by doctors that their baby, their first child, would not live long. As you can imagine, this was a devastating blow to this beautiful family. Baby Samantha Hope was born October 25 and died October 27. On the day of her funeral, there was not a dry eye in the church, mine included. Throughout the Mass I reflected on the words of our Lord that are spoken in today’s gospel, “stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour”. I truly believe that heaven gained a beautiful little angel a few weeks ago, but the words of Christ are so real! We know neither the day nor the hour.

In just a few weeks, we will begin the season of Advent. Advent is a time to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. We must be spiritually ready for the coming of Christ, for we know neither the day nor the hour of his coming. As Christians we trust in his love for us, knowing that he continues to provide for all of our needs.

All Souls Remembrance

During the month of November, we remember in a special way the souls of those who have died. There will be a book of remembrance at each of the three churches for all of you to write the names of those family members and friends who have died. You may also use the envelopes that are in the back of the three churches to place the names of those you want remembered along with the offering. The names will be placed on the altar during the month of November.

Annual Catholic Appeal

Over the last few weeks you have seen a lot of information placed in the bulletin regarding the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal. I thank all of you for your continued generosity as we look to make our goal for this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal. As I have mentioned, our goal is $59,519. To have a successful ACA we need to have full participation. Next weekend we will have an in pew pledge process for those who have not yet contributed to the ACA. I thank you for your continued support, generosity and prayers.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today we commemorate the Feast of St. Martin dePorres. His actual feast day on the liturgical calendar is November 3, but as is the custom here at the parish, we celebrate as a community on the Sunday closest to the day. I take this opportunity to wish each of you a very happy feast day! As patron of our parish community, we pray that through the powerful intercession of St. Martin dePorres, he will continue to guide us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579. Martin was the illegitimate son to a Spanish gentlemen and a freed slave from Panama of African descent. At a young age, Martin's father abandoned him, his mother and his younger sister, leaving Martin to grow up in deep poverty. After spending just two years in primary school, Martin was placed with a barber/surgeon where he would learn to cut hair and the medical arts. As Martin grew older, he experienced a great deal of ridicule for being of mixed-race. In Peru, by law, all descendants of African or Indians were not allowed to become full members of religious orders. Martin, who spent long hours in prayer, found his only way into the community he longed for was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a volunteer who performed the most menial tasks in the monastery. In return, he would be allowed to wear the habit and live within the religious community. When Martin was 15, he asked for admission into the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received as a servant boy and eventually was moved up to the church officer in charge of distributing money to the poor.

Martin's life reflected his great love for God and all of God's gifts. He had many extraordinary abilities, including aerial flights, bilocation, instant cures, miraculous knowledge, spiritual knowledge and an excellent relationship with animals. Martin also founded an orphanage for abandoned children and slaves and is known for raising dowry for young girls in short amounts of time. As we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist today, let us continue to keep this holy saint in our minds and hearts, as we strive to be good and holy disciples of the Risen Lord.

On November 4, 2014, I moved into this parish to become your Pastor. Three years have passed, and I must say that the Holy Spirit is very much alive and at work in this beautiful community. Over my 7 years of priesthood, I have always viewed a parish as a family. Families are close knit, united thorough a bond of love, that is Jesus Christ. As in any family, there are going to be disagreements, butting of heads, and yes even anger. As in all families, there are times that members of the family will say and do things that may cause friction and division. But as in any family, we come together to work out our disagreements and friction, because we are a family! We may not be related by human DNA blood but the sacred Blood of Christ unites all of us together as one loving family!

It is my prayer on this our parish Feast Day to always remember that we are a family, never looking to hurt one another, but to lift each other in prayer.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today is the last Sunday in the month of October. We have seen record breaking warm temperatures that is seems more like summer than Fall. The colder crisp weather is on its way though! This week we have two big liturgical feast days, but before we get to those, we have Halloween. Halloween has been extremely commercialized. The origins of Halloween are built upon a Christian foundation. Halloween was known as All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day. Traditionally children would dress up as saints, praying through their intercession. Now we see something completely different. As a kid growing up, I enjoyed the activities of Halloween but I do recognize the negative aspects that now have been associated with the holiday. I pray that our young boys and girls enjoy Halloween this year and that they will trick or treat safely through our neighborhood.

All Saints Day and All Souls Day

This Wednesday, November 1 is All Saints Day. We give thanks to God for the saints in heaven who intercede for us. On the day of our Confirmation, we were asked to choose a saint to imitate. I invite all of us to pray to that saint on this special day, asking for their guidance and strength to live as faithful and holy witnesses of the Lord. It is a Holy Day of obligation. Masses will be celebrated at 8:00AM at OLV, 12:00Noon at SPC and 7:30PM at HR. The next day, November 2 is All Souls Day, in which we remember the faithful departed. Masses that day will be celebrated at 8:00AM at OLV and 7:30PM at HR.

Parish Feast Day Mass

Next Sunday we will commemorate the Feast of St. Martin dePorres, our parish patron. As is the custom, we will all gather together for Mass next Sunday, November 5 at Our Lady of Victory Church. Mass will be celebrated at 10:30AM. There will be just one Mass celebrated next Sunday. There will be a Saturday night Vigil Mass at 5:00PM at St. Peter Claver Church.

Phantom of the Opera

This Friday, November 3 we will have a special live musical presentation and silent film screening of Phantom of the Opera. Our parish music director, Mr. Rasaan Bourke and colleague Jason Moncreif will provide the music with the silent film. It will take place at Our Lady of Victory Church beginning at 7:30PM. There will be refreshments provided both before and after the film. Please be sure to join us and bring a friend.

Annual Catholic Appeal 2017

Inserted into this week’s bulletin is another flyer about the Annual Catholic Appeal. It is a chart highlighting how each family in our parish can contribute towards achieving our ACA goal of $59,519 by the end of the year. Again, I thank each of you for your continued support and generosity here at St. Martin dePorres.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

The month of October is flying right past us! Although we have not has Fall like temperatures, we know that many of the signs of the season are upon us. Fall is my favorite season of the year, not just because of the weather, but the holidays and feasts that we celebrate during this season. The major holiday of course during the Fall season is Thanksgiving. For us as Catholics, Thanksgiving is not just the 4th Thursday of the month of November, but it’s actually every Sunday that we approach the sacred altar to receive the Eucharist. The word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving. We give thanks and praise to God our Father for the gift of the Eucharist. We do so as a community. I thank God every day for allowing me to celebrate the Eucharist, with and for his people. Let us continue to give thanks to God for all he has bestowed upon us, not just once a year, but every single day of our lives!

One of the challenges of being Pastor of a parish with three churches is the fact that I am unable to be at everything all the time. It’s a challenge that I have struggled with over the last three years of my pastorate with you. In my first assignment at St. Clare parish, I was able to be at every Sunday Mass, Religious Education classes and to be present in the parish grammar school. Unfortunately, because of the dynamic of our parish I am unable to be at every single event and all the masses. I thank each and every one of you for your prayers and your patience with both Father Kingsley and I. I think the two of us have tried very hard to be present to all of you and

the ministries of our parish. I continue to ask for your prayers for the two of us. Know that we pray for all of you every day!

Jazz Café

Our first fundraiser commemorating the 150th Anniversary will be a Jazz Café that will take place on Saturday October 28 beginning at 7:00PM in McGuinness Hall. It will be an evening of live Jazz music, cocktails and light refreshments. It promises to be a beautiful evening that I hope all of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. You can purchase a ticket from the rectory office, or via our website at smdpp.org/ticket-sales/jazzcafe. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. Please be sure to take one and tell your friends and family too!

Annual Catholic Appeal 2017

The Annual Catholic Appeal helps support the various ministries of the Diocese of Brooklyn such as Migration services, Catholic Charities, Catholic Education and Seminary scholarships. The Annual Catholic Appeal is an important and essential facet of the Diocese. Our goal for the 2017 ACA is $59,519. For us to achieve this goal as we did for Generations of Faith, we must all participate. Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing more from me in the bulletin about how we can reach our 2017 ACA goal.


 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Traditionally, the month of October is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, particularly the Most Holy Rosary. As Catholics, the recitation and prayer of the rosary is one of the largest devotions within the Church. In all of the mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary, we reflect on the events of our salvation through the lens of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I invite all of us to spend some time throughout this month to pray the rosary, asking for the Mother of God to intercede for us and our world. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has personally dedicated this month of October for praying for the unemployed. In a recent address, Pope Francis urged us to “pray that all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.”

May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary lead us closer to the heart of her Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and King.

Jazz Café

Our first fundraiser commemorating the 150th Anniversary will be a Jazz Café that will take place on Saturday October 28 beginning at 7:00PM in McGuinness Hall. It will be an evening of live Jazz music, cocktails and light refreshments. It promises to be a beautiful evening that I hope all of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. You can purchase a ticket from the rectory office, or via our website at smdpp.org/ticket-sales/jazzcafe. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. Please be sure to take one and tell your friends and family too!

2017 Annual Catholic Appeal

Many of you have received mailings from the Diocese of Brooklyn regarding this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal. As you know, last year we participated in the Diocesan Generations of Faith Capital Campaign, which was meant to enrich youth ministry within the parish, support senior priests, and parish projects. We pledged almost $800,000 towards the Generations of Faith Campaign and have received in cash almost $200,000. I thank all of you for your great generosity. Last year we were exempt from the Annual Catholic Appeal, but this year its back. The Annual Catholic Appeal helps support the various ministries of the Diocese of Brooklyn such as Migration services, Catholic Charities, Catholic Education and Seminary scholarships. The Annual Catholic Appeal is an important and essential facet of the Diocese. Our goal for the 2017 ACA is $59,519. For us to achieve this goal as we did for Generations of Faith, we must all participate. Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing more from me in the bulletin about how we can reach our 2017 ACA goal.

P.S. This week all of the priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn will gather for our bi-annual away convocation at the Seminary in Huntington. It will be a week of prayer and fraternity with our Bishop. Please keep me, Father Kingsley and the almost 300 priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn in your prayers this week.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

FROM THE PASTOR'S DESK

Dear Parishioners,

As I pen this letter, all of us have witnessed the horror that has occurred in Las Vegas. This weekend we pray most especially for those who lost their lives and the hundreds who were wounded out of violence and malice. We must pray for an end to violence within our world and society. As Christians, we must always keep Christ at the center of our lives, imitating him in all that we say and do. It is evident that evil exists in our world. But, how do we combat evil? The answer is by doing good! We must always do what is good to build up the Body of Christ in our world. We must never allow the evil one to seep into the goodness of our lives. Let us lift up those who lost their lives, their families and friends in prayer at Mass this weekend. During this month of October, we pray that through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, most especially Our Lady of Fatima, that we will live in peace and harmony with one another.

We also continue to pray for those who have been affected by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. We also pray for those who lost their lives in the recent earthquake in Mexico. May the Lord fill us with his blessings, as we strive to be his holy and faithful witnesses in this world.

Jazz Café

Our first fundraiser commemorating the 150th Anniversary will be a Jazz Café that will take place on Saturday October 28 beginning at 7:00PM in McGuinness Hall. It will be an evening of live Jazz music, cocktails and light refreshments. It promises to be a beautiful evening that I hope all of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. You can purchase a ticket from the rectory office, or via our website at smdpp.org/ticket-sales/jazzcafe. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. Please be sure to take one and tell your friends and family too!

2017 Annual Catholic Appeal

Many of you have received mailings from the Diocese of Brooklyn regarding this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal. As you know, last year we participated in the Diocesan Generations of Faith Capital Campaign, which was meant to enrich youth ministry within the parish, support senior priests, and parish projects. We pledged almost $800,000 towards the Generations of Faith Campaign and have received in cash almost $200,000. I thank all of you for your great generosity. Last year we were exempt from the Annual Catholic Appeal, but this year its back. The Annual Catholic Appeal helps support the various ministries of the Diocese of Brooklyn such as Migration services, Catholic Charities, Catholic Education and Seminary scholarships. The Annual Catholic Appeal is an important and essential facet of the Diocese. Our goal for the 2017 ACA is $59,519. For us to achieve this goal as we did for Generations of Faith, we must all participate. Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing more from me in the bulletin about how we can reach our 2017 ACA goal.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today, October 2, we celebrate the Feast of the Guardian Angels. I can remember as a kid growing up my mother and father telling me that I had a guardian angel looking out after me. In a way it frightened me a little bit, simply because I knew that there was an angel watching me whenever I slipped up and did something that I shouldn’t have been doing. As Catholics, we very much believe in the existence of angels. They are not superstitious or imaginary, they are very real. Many of the saints speak of their encounter with angels and how important they are in our spiritual life. Angels watch out after us, they protect us in the battle against Satan and all his evil forces. In each of our three churches there are depictions of angels throughout the sanctuaries and stained glass windows. I invite you to say a special prayer to your guardian angel, thanking them for getting you through the difficult times of life, and ultimately leading you to the joys of the heavenly kingdom.

Father James Yaro

We were blessed to have Father James Yaro with us for these last few months of summer. As I pen this letter, Father Yaro is preparing to make his journey back home to Nigeria. I thank him for his help this past summer as Father Kingsley and I were able to take a few weeks off for vacation. Father Yaro thoroughly enjoyed celebrating both weekday and Sunday masses with all of you. He has assured me that he will be back again next summer to help us. Please continue to pray for him and his priestly ministry back home in Nigeria.

Jazz Café

Our first fundraiser commemorating the 150th Anniversary will be a Jazz Café that will take place on Saturday October 28 beginning at 7:00PM in McGuinness Hall. It will be an evening of live Jazz music, cocktails and light refreshments. It promises to be a beautiful evening that I hope all of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. You can purchase a ticket from the rectory office, or via our website at smdpp.org/ticket-sales/jazzcafe. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. Please be sure to take one and tell your friends and family too!

East Brooklyn Congregations

Our parish is a member of EBC, East Brooklyn Congregations. Over the last few months, we have met to tackle the problem of affordable housing here in our city, particularly Bedford Stuyvesant. Our Mayor has chosen not to listen to the voices of the community with regards to building affordable housing in our community. We are planning an action at City Hall to have our voices heard. The action will take place on Monday October 9, Columbus Day. If you are interested in joining us in the action, please see one of the representatives after Mass to sign up.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox


 

  

 

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Last week we commemorated the feast of St. Peter Claver at the 11:30AM Mass at St. Peter Claver Church. We had a full house! I take this opportunity to thank the committee for making it such a beautiful afternoon with plenty of food to go around. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, great and beautiful things are happening here at St. Martin dePorres. We continue to thank God for all the many blessings that he has bestowed upon us as a parish community.

Today’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is my absolute favorite Pauline text. Allow me to share it with you. “Brothers and sisters, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ”.

Life is Christ! Everything that we do, the very essence of our being is meant to imitate Christ the Lord. Our conduct must always be worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a parish community we must always live in the light and love of Jesus Christ. He is our salvation and our strength. May we always keep Christ at the center of all that we say and in all that we do.

Jazz Café

Our first fundraiser commemorating the 150th Anniversary will be a Jazz Café that will take place on Saturday October 28 beginning at 7:00PM in McGuinness Hall. It will be an evening of live Jazz music, cocktails and light refreshments. It promises to be a beautiful evening that I hope all of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. You can purchase a ticket from the rectory office, or via our website at smdpp.org/ticket-sales/jazzcafe. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. Please be sure to take one and tell your friends and family too!

East Brooklyn Congregations

Our parish is a member of EBC, East Brooklyn Congregations. Over the last few months, we have met to tackle the problem of affordable housing here in our city, particularly Bedford Stuyvesant. Our Mayor has chosen not to listen to the voices of the community with regards to building affordable housing in our community. We are planning an action at City Hall to have our voices heard. The action will take place on Monday October 9, Columbus Day. There are flyers in each of the bulletins. If you are interested in joining us in the action, please see one of the representatives after Mass to sign up.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Words cannot begin to express how grateful I am to all of you for the immense love and support that was poured out from you last Sunday as we opened the 150th Anniversary of the establishment of Our Lady of Victory Church. Last Sunday we welcomed over 500 people for Mass, including former pastors Monsignor Joseph Nugent and Father Martin Carter. As I mentioned in my remarks at the end of Mass, I am privileged to follow in the footsteps and build on the foundation of these two good and holy priests. I was excited to see parishioners from both Holy Rosary and St. Peter Claver churches as well. As a parish of three churches we continue the mission set before us 150 years ago, to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. I thank our altar servers, ushers, lectors and our music ministry, under the direction of Mr. Rasaan Bourke and Mr. Joseph Murray for all of their hard work and dedication in making last week’s liturgy so beautiful and prayerful.

Jazz Café

Our first fundraiser commemorating the 150th Anniversary will be a Jazz Café that will take place on Saturday October 28 beginning at 7:00PM in McGuinness Hall. It will be an evening of live Jazz music, cocktails and light refreshments. It promises to be a beautiful evening that I hope all of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $45 and $55 at the door. You can purchase a ticket from the rectory office, or via our website at smdpp.org/ticket-sales/jazzcafe. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. Please be sure to take one and tell your friends and family too!

Catechetical Sunday

Today is Catechetical Sunday. All of our catechists from each of the three churches will gather for a special blessing for the beginning of the new school year today at the 11:30AM Mass at St. Peter Claver Church. I thank our Director of Faith Formation, Ms. Michelle Joseph and her catechists for the work they do in teaching our young people the truths of the Catholic faith. Registration continues for the new school year. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact the parish office or Ms. Joseph via our parish website.

Feast of St. Peter Claver

Today we commemorate the Feast of St. Peter Claver. As the Holy Spirit would have it, our Holy Father Pope Francis just made his pastoral visit to the tomb of St. Peter Claver just last week. Allow me to share with you Pope Francis’s thoughts on St. Peter Claver, “Let us not be content with “taking the first step”.  Instead, let us continue our journey anew each day, going forth to encounter others and to encourage concord and fraternity. We cannot just stand still. In this very place, on 8 September 1654, Saint Peter Claver died, after forty years of voluntary slavery, of tireless work on behalf of the poor.  He did not stand still: his first step was followed by further steps, then more and more.  His example draws us out of ourselves to encounter our neighbors. Go out to meet them.  Bring them the embrace of peace, free of all violence.  Be slaves of peace, forever.  

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox