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


 

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

As Pastor of this beautiful parish, I take this opportunity to welcome all of our visitors and guests to Our Lady of Victory Church as we open the 150th Anniversary of its establishment. In a very special way, I welcome His Excellency, Most Reverend Neil Tiedemann as the main celebrant and homilist for our Mass today. It is the joy of every pastor to celebrate milestones within their parish community, and today I am filled with joy, excitement and deep gratitude. I consider myself privileged to be able to be your pastor at this most historic moment in the life of this parish community. 150 years ago, Our Lady of Victory Church began as a beacon of love and hope, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ here in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

We gather here to celebrate the rich history of this community, which is now joined to Holy Rosary and St. Peter Claver churches. Today we begin to look back at the roots of our faith, which grew and flourished under the leadership of the very first pastor of Our Lady of Victory, Reverend Patrick Creighton. At the moment he celebrated that first Mass in 1868, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made his dwelling here to bring his abundant love and mercy to all his people. We pray for the grace to continue the mission of Father Creighton and all the other priests who followed him here at OLV to preach, teach and lead in the name of Christ the great High Priest.

As we celebrate this historic moment, we look to the future. As I have said on numerous occasions, our future is bright and prosperous here at St. Martin dePorres. Since the year 2007, we have become a parish of three churches, with the same mission of bring Jesus to others. Although our neighborhood has changed greatly, our mission of preaching the gospel of Christ remains the same. We must continue to keep our eyes fixated on the mission. Today we thank our elders, who gave us the foundation of this beautiful community. We must look to our young people, who are the future of the Catholic Church here in Bedford Stuyvesant. We must encourage families to root themselves in Jesus our Savior.

We have a lot to celebrate this year! I thank our anniversary committee for all of their hard work and support over these last few months as we begin this anniversary year. I am grateful to the parish staff, who also have worked hard to fill in the details of organizing this celebration and the events to come. I thank all of our parish ministries, reflecting not only Our Lady of Victory Church but St. Peter Claver and Holy Rosary churches as well. It is my prayer this year that the Lord will continue to unite all of us in his love and mercy. Through the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother under the titles of Our Lady of Victory and the Most Holy Rosary, St. Peter Claver, and our parish patron St. Martin dePorres, may we all grow in the image and likeness of Christ the eternal shepherd.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox  

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

We have arrived to Labor Day weekend, the un-official end of summer. Many of our college students have returned back to school already. Both public and catholic school students get back to the classrooms for another academic year. In a very special way, we pray for students and teachers who make their way back to the classroom for another exciting year of growth and learning. We pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the minds of all our students,that they will continue to grow and mature in God’s image and likeness.

Jesus tells us in today’s gospel, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do”. It is my prayer for our young people that they will not be lured by worldly things, but only that which comes from God. Satan wants to be an obstacle before us. He wants us to focus on worldly desires and possessions. It’s very easy to get caught up in the things of this world, but Jesus is challenging us to not fall into that trap. We must always keep our eyes on the Lord of heaven and earth, so that we will continue to be faithful and holy witnesses. Let us defeat Satan by bringing this light and love of Christ to our world that is in desperate need of him!

Opening Mass Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church

Next Sunday, September 10, we will celebrate the opening Mass for the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church. I want to thank our Anniversary committee for the hard work that each of them has done in planning the events throughout the anniversary year. Next week we will welcome some of the former priests of the parish, alumni of the school, and parishioners who have moved out of Brooklyn. It is with great joy that we welcome Most Reverend Neil Tiedemann, our newest Auxiliary Bishop as the main celebrant and homilist. This will be his first visit to Our Lady of Victory and he is very much looking forward to beginning this celebration with us. There will be only one Mass celebrated next Sunday, which will be at OLV at 10:30AM. There will be the Saturday night Vigil Mass at St. Peter Claver Church at 5:00PM.

2017-2018 School of Faith Formation Registration

Registration has begun for the new academic year 2017-2018 for our parish school of faith formation. All students preparing to receive the sacraments must be registered in our parish faith formation program. There is also ongoing catechesis for those who have completed the sacrament of Confirmation. The Diocese of Brooklyn has implemented a two-year period of catechesis before the reception of First Holy Communion. There are registration forms available at each of the three churches and on our website.

Labor Day

Tomorrow, Monday September 4 is Labor Day. The parish office will be closed. There will not be a 12:00Noon Mass at St. Peter Claver on Monday. There will be one Mass celebrated at 8:00AM at Our Lady of Victory.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

From the Pastor's Desk

  

Dear Parishioners,

Today is the last weekend of August. As difficult as it is to believe, summer is almost over. I do hope that each of you were able to take some time of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation over these last few weeks. Our parish will be filled with excitement over the next few months as we have planned a number of events and activities throughout each of our three churches. The highlight being the 150th Anniversary of the establishment of Our Lady of Victory Church. As we prepare to begin this new pastoral year here at St. Martin dePorres, I invite each of us to pray for one another. It’s really easy to fall into the habit of gossip and the spreading of “fake news” within the parish. All of that can be extremely toxic, most especially towards the growth of a parish community like ours. Amazing and wonderful things are happening here! Once we are able to work together, for the building of the Kingdom of God, we will see the fruits of the Holy Spirit come alive.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had the great joy of attending the National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando, Florida back in July. It was an incredible experience for me! I would like to share with you a portion of the preamble to the pastoral plan of action which came from delegates of the congress, which was then sent to the Bishops of the Unites States. It states, “we commit ourselves to act justly by living in proximity with those who are suffering and neglected. Specifically, we seek to promote the dignity and life of everyone person from the unborn to natural death. We commit ourselves to dismantle racism in all forms, which is an obstacle to justice and evangelization. We also commit ourselves to address the challenges of mental illness, mass incarceration, domestic violence and others. We commit ourselves to love goodness by sharing our Faith with others using creative ways, especially social media, as we evangelize in our community. We commit ourselves to support our Catholic Schools in our community”. No matter what our ethnic background may be, all of us can commit ourselves to these principles as disciples and witnesses of the Risen Lord.

Novena to St. Teresa of Calcutta

This year will be the one-year celebration of the newest saint of the Catholic Church, St. Teresa of Calcutta, popularly known as Mother Teresa. We are blessed to have her nuns, the Missionaries of Charity living and working in our convent at OLV. They will begin a novena to St. Teresa beginning today, August 27 at 5:30PM in the convent chapel. All are invited.

150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church

Next month we will kick off the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church. The solemn opening Mass will take place Sunday, September 10 at 10:30AM. We will welcome Bishop Neil Tiedemann as the main celebrant and homilist. There will be one Mass celebrated that Sunday. There will be a 5:00PM Mass on Saturday, September 9.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

  



 

 

 

From the Pastor's Desk

  

Dear Parishioners,

Over the last few days we have seen on television and in the newspapers the horrible and tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. Three people were killed and nineteen injured senselessly out of hatred and bigotry. As I watched all of this unfold over the weekend, I immediately brought all of this to prayer. We are in dire need of God’s peace, love and justice, now more than ever. We must continue to pray for each other, that we will not be caught into the realm of division or separatism. We must not return violence with more violence. As a young African-American, who happens to be a Roman Catholic priest, my heart was filled with great sorrow and sadness over all of this. God created all of us, black and white, to be in his image and likeness. Hatred and division are taught, it’s not what we were born or created with.

As a parish community, I encourage all of us to pray for the people of Charlottesville, Virginia, that God’s peace will come upon them. Let us pray for an end to violence, especially racism, that all of us will grow in love and live in harmony with one another, not focusing on the color of our skin, but the content of our character. Let us combat the evil of racism and bigotry with the greatest weapon we as Christians have, prayer! Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will hover over each of us, as we unite ourselves to Jesus and to one another.

2017-2018 School of Faith Formation Registration

Registration has begun for the new academic year 2017-2018 for our parish school of faith formation. All students preparing to receive the sacraments must be registered in our parish faith formation program. There is also ongoing catechesis for those who have completed the sacrament of Confirmation. The Diocese of Brooklyn has implemented a two-year period of catechesis before the reception of First Holy Communion. There are registration forms available at each of the three churches and on our website.

150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church

Next month we will kick off the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church. The solemn opening Mass will take place Sunday, September 10 at 10:30AM. We will welcome Bishop Neil Tiedemann as the main celebrant and homilist. There will be one Mass celebrated that Sunday. There will be a 5:00PM Mass on Saturday, September 9 which is the feast of St. Peter Claver.

  

Music Ministry

Our choir has been on a well-deserved vacation for the summer. They are now back! Choir rehearsal begins for the 2017-2018 liturgical year on Tuesday August 22 at OLV chapel beginning at 7:00PM. We are looking for more voices as well, especially men! For more information, please contact Rasaan Bourke our director of music. Those looking to join the choir may also sign up on our parish website and click on the music ministry tab.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

From the Pastor's desk

Dear Parishioners,

I cannot believe that we are halfway through the month of August. As soon as you know it, Fall will be upon us! I have already noticed the back to school commercials on television which is a sign that summer is coming to an end. There are still a few weeks left, so I do hope that each of you will be able to enjoy the warm and beautiful weather.

During the month of August, we celebrate two beautiful Marian feasts days. August 15 is the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. We believe that our Blessed Mother Mary did not die, but was taken up to heaven, body and soul. The Eastern Rite Church has a beautiful term for this called the Dormition. Mary fell asleep and was assumed into heaven. Church historians and theologians believe that this event occurred in one of two places, Jerusalem or Ephesus. Both places have great evidence of the occurrence, but not 100% proven. The Franciscans built a beautiful church at both sites to commemorate the Dormition of our Blessed Mother (both of which I have had the great joy of celebrating Mass at).

The solemnity of the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation. Mass will be celebrated at 8:00AM at Our Lady of Victory, 12:00Noon at St. Peter Claver and 7:30PM at Holy Rosary. Please be sure to join us for Mass on this beautiful solemnity.

The other beautiful Marian feast day we celebrate is on August 22, which is the Queenship of Mary. Once Mary was assumed into heaven, she was crowned Queen of Heaven and earth. At Holy Rosary Church we have a beautiful stained glass window depicting our Blessed Mother being crowned Queen. Let us pray that through the intercession of our Lady, all of us will continue to grow closer to the heart of her son Jesus. It is through Mary that we encounter our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

2017-2018 School of Faith Formation Registration

Registration has begun for the new academic year 2017-2018 for our parish school of faith formation. All students preparing to receive the sacraments must be registered in our parish faith formation program. There is also ongoing catechesis for those who have completed the sacrament of Confirmation. The Diocese of Brooklyn has implemented a two-year period of catechesis before the reception of First Holy Communion. There are registration forms available at each of the three churches and on our website.

 

150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church

Next month we will kick off the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church. The solemn opening Mass will take place Sunday, September 10 at 10:30AM. We will welcome Bishop Neil Tiedemann as the main celebrant and homilist. There will be one Mass celebrated that Sunday. There will be a 5:00PM Mass on Saturday, September 9 which is the feast of St. Peter Claver.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

From the Pastor's Desk

  

Dear Parishioners,

It’s so good to be back home! I want to thank all of you for your prayers as I went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Israel. It was truly a great blessing for me to celebrate Mass at the major places, depicting our salvation history. Two major highlights of my pilgrimage was celebrating Mass on Calvary, where our Lord died on the cross. The other of course was celebrating Mass on the tomb of which our Lord was raised from the dead. I brought each of your prayer petitions and intentions with me. Please be assured that all of you were in my thoughts and prayers as I journeyed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. Jesus brought his disciples, Peter, James and John to Mount Tabor, and all of a sudden Jesus is transfigured before their very eyes. It was at the moment of the Transfiguration that Jesus showed his divinity to his disciples, and ultimately to us. I love the response that Peter, James and John give to the Lord before he is transfigured. They say, “Lord it is good that we are here”. Each and every Sunday when we gather for Mass, we must utter those same words, Lord it is good that we are here. It is good that we are able to worship as a community of believers. It is good that we are able to profess our faith, without the fear of persecution or strife.

As we celebrate this beautiful feast today, let us pray that we will continue to preach the good news of Jesus, in all that we say and do. Let us not allow fear to get in the way of bringing people closer to the heart of Christ the Lord.

2017-2018 School of Faith Formation Registration

Registration has begun for the new academic year 2017-2018 for our parish school of faith formation. All students preparing to receive the sacraments must be registered in our parish faith formation program. There is also ongoing catechesis for those who have completed the sacrament of Confirmation. The Diocese of Brooklyn has implemented a two year period of catechesis before the reception of First Holy Communion. The registration form is now available for download on our website.  There are registration forms available at each of the three churches as well.

150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church

Next month we will kick off the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church. The solemn opening Mass will take place Sunday, September 10 at 10:30AM. There will be one Mass celebrated that Sunday. There will be a 5:00PM Mass on Saturday, September 9 which is the feast of St. Peter Claver.

Holy Spirit Revival

All are invited to the Holy Spirit revival that will take place at Our Lady of Victory Church Friday August 11 at 7:00PM, Saturday August 12 at 7:00PM and concluding with the 10:15AM Mass on Sunday August 13. Father Anthony Ozele will be the preacher. Please join us and bring a friend.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox    

 

From the desk of Father Daniel Kingsley

Dear Parishioners,

Last week, I wrote about our approach to the Mass. To recap, like Moses of old at the burning bush, we must stand on holy ground spiritually prepared. First, outside of Mass we must grow in prayer.  Second, observe the hour fast before Communion. Additionally, if we are conscious of serious sin make peace with God in the confessional. (Jn 20: 23; 1 Cor 11: 27) This allows us to stand on holy ground as it were. This week, I would like to talk about the Mass as sacrifice.  

The Mass continues the ancient Jewish Passover, in that “the eating of the Passover lamb and unleavened bread was accompanied by the drinking of multiple cups of wine.” Furthermore, the one presiding the meal---the father of the family---would bless the bread saying, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth” and the wine, “Blessed are you, O Lord of God King of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine.” In ritual observance, the son would ask his father, “Why is this night different from other nights?” The father would respond, “This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” As one scholar noted, “[the] Jewish tradition saw the Passover sacrifice and the Passover meal as making them spiritual participants in the first Passover night, no matter how many centuries had passed since the original Exodus.”

Christ our Savior, in the Last Supper, not only institutes the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders, but also refashions the Passover. Christ offers His Body and Blood for the sacrifice of the Cross. He becomes the Passover Lamb Who dies for us sinners. Hence the utterance at Mass, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.” As the Jewish father would recall God’s ancient deliverance, in the Mass we recall Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The Catechism, on this point, teaches, “When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover…the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.” The Mass powerfully draws every Christian believer to the upper room and Calvary, bridging the events of 2,000 years ago to the present hour.    

In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley

 

From the Desk of Father Daniel Kingsley

Dear Parishioners,

It is not uncommon to hear among Roman Catholics, “I don’t get anything out of Mass.” The sequence of stand, sing, pray, sit, stand, and repeat can seem like a lengthy exercise routine. Moreover, the gestures and verbiage of the Mass is set sometimes with little variation from Sunday to Sunday. Some Catholics, for this reason, long for the services of other Christian communities that are more free-flowing and spontaneous. However, let me propose a question, “What is our approach the Mass?” An answer, I believe, can be gleamed from Moses of old.

At daily Mass, this past Wednesday, we read of Moses before the burning bush. (Ex. 3: 1-12) The patriarch was told by the Almighty to remove his sandals as he stood on holy ground.  When Moses asks to see the divine glory, his face is covered lest he die. In the New Testament, the face of God is manifested in Jesus Christ. When the apostle Philip asks Christ to show him the Father, our Lord replies, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jn. 14:9).  At the Mass, we not only stand on holy ground, but also, by Word and Sacrament, encounter glory.

The Church proposes that we cultivate a rich prayer life outside of the Mass. This will look different for each of us. Some will pour through their Bibles, reading both testaments backwards and forwards; others will pray the Rosary or recite novenas invoking blessed Mary and the saints. For as many people there are in the world, there are different methods of prayer. My own prayer life is shaped by the Liturgy of the Hours. Every day, I recite and meditate upon the psalms, the very prayers our own Lord, a pious Jew, treasured.

Before we approach the holy ground of our parish churches, I would like to propose the following. First, let us observe the time-honored practice of fasting before receiving Holy Communion. Older Catholics recall abstaining from food and drink the evening before Sunday Mass. Presently, the Church calls us to fast one hour before Communion barring advanced age or sickness. The sacrifice of fasting unites us, in a sense, to the supreme sacrifice of Calvary brought forward in the Mass. Secondly, when we stand in our churches, let us foster silence. God is often not heard  in earthquakes and fires, but in a gentle whisper. (1 Ki. 19:12)

To get something out of Mass, we must put our hearts, minds, and souls into it. Without this exchange the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic Christian lives, becomes nothing more than vain and empty ritual. Allow me to leave with you with the words of the English writer, G.K. Chesterton, who once wrote, “The Mass is very long and tiresome unless one loves God.”

In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley

 

From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Just this past week I had the great joy of attending the National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando Florida. This Congress is held every five years and was founded over 100 years ago by Daniel Rudd. Rudd was born in Bardstown, Kentucky on August 7, 1854 to Catholic former slaves, and his ministry began 20 years after slavery. While Christianity was powerless against the rising tide of white supremacy, causing many denominations to split over race, Rudd rose above this pitiful Christian testimony to proclaim that the Catholic Church welcomed African Americans. Rudd began publishing the first black Catholic weekly, the American Catholic Tribune, in 1886 to share his message even though black literacy was low. Daniel Rudd’s paper, however, was but a precursor to his larger vision. In 1889, after traveling the country to preach to black Catholics, his efforts culminated in the first ever National Black Catholic Congress, held in Washington, D.C. "Gather them [black Catholics] and let them exchange views on questions affecting their race," Rudd said a year before the conference. "Then uniting on a course of action, behind which would stand the majestic church of Christ, they must inevitably become the bearer of their race."

 

This past week, 3,000 people from all over the United States gathered for this year’s National Black Catholic Congress. I was privileged to bring 63 representatives from the Diocese of Brooklyn to the Congress. We were the second largest diocese represented! This year’s theme was “Act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.” The keynote presenter was His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson, who serves as the Prefect for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. His talk focused on how we can continue to preach the gospel of Christ as Black Catholics. He spoke to us on how we must always keep the mission of Christ alive in our hearts, by acting justly, loving our brothers and sisters with goodness and walking humbly with our God.

 

Along with the keynote there were various workshops and breakout sessions that were absolutely phenomenal! Over the next few weeks it is my intention to make available some of the notes and material that I took at the workshops that I attended. It was a week filled with music that lifted our minds, hearts, voices and yes our hands to Almighty God! To see the hundreds of black priests, sisters, brothers and bishops from all over the United States was for me an immense joy!

 

Over the next few weeks the National Black Catholic Congress will be uploading some of the highlights of the Congress on their website, which is www.nbccongress.org. I invite you to take a look at the website and enjoy some of the great talks and scenes from Congress.

 

This Tuesday I will be travelling to the Holy Land. I will have the great joy of being at the Mediterranean Sea, Cana, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Mount Tabor, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Emmaus. I promise to bring your prayers with me, particularly as I celebrate Mass on the tomb of which Our Lord was raised from the dead.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox