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