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