From Father Kingsley

Dear Parishioners,

The unofficial kickoff to Black History Month began with the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on Monday, January 21st. Our pastor, Fr. Alonzo Cox, presided the diocesan service at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Queens Village. Nearly a hundred souls braved the cold weather to commemorate MLK’s life and legacy. Fr. Peter Damian Harris, OP, delivered a powerful reflection on Galatians 3: 28. He urged us all as “Christians, as brothers, as one in Christ; be energized by God’s indiscriminate love for one another.” His insights touched us all, reminding us that there’s more work to be done. Our very own choir under the direction of Messrs. Rasaan Bourke and Joseph Murray lifted our hearts, minds, and souls in song, breathing life anew in the time-honored anthems of the black church.

Closer to home, our parochial Black History Month Committee has been meeting since last summer to plan for this February. The committee, under the leadership of Mrs. Estella White-McDuffy, has been hard at work. They selected the theme for this year’s celebration, “Let Our Praise Arise.”  Accordingly, they have planned a number of things. To begin this month at this weekend’s Masses, we will recite together the Prayer for African American and African Family penned by the legendary Fr. James Goode, OFM. Throughout the month, parish youth have been invited to read excerpts from the lives of notable Black figures. In addition, we invite all parishioners, including liturgical ministers, to dress in their finest African attire. On the Saturdays of this month, beginning on February 9th, after the 5 PM Mass, we will show inspirational, uplifting films, the first being Remember the Titans starring Denzel Washington.

We will have our parish Black History Month Mass, on Sunday, February 10th, 12 Noon, at Holy Rosary Church. The committee is pleased to announce that Fr. Anthony Bozeman, SSJ, will be this year’s guest celebrant and homilist. He is renowned in Black Catholic circles as being a gifted laborer in the Lord’s vineyard. A light reception will follow in the lower church; if you wish to contribute please call the rectory office this week. Please note on the weekend of the 10th, the Mass schedule is as follows: 5 PM Saturday Vigil Mass at SPC, 7: 30 AM Mass at OLV, 12 Noon Mass at HR. We will NOT have the scheduled 9 AM, 10: 15 AM, or 11: 30 AM Masses that day.   

To close, I am looking forward to all the activities planned for Black History Month, and on behalf of the all parish, I thank the committee for all their hard work and dedication.


In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley


From Fr. Kingsley

Dear Parishioners,

Whenever one watches public television, they are bound to hear a program was made possible by “viewers like you.” It is a quaint sentiment, but one which carries meaning. The same can be said for St. Martin de Porres Parish. The clergy and staff can provide guidance and support for many initiatives, but everything we do here is made possible by “parishioners like you.” It is on that note that I thank those who made last Saturday’s excursion to Foxwoods Casino a success. To have not one, but two busloads of parishioners, as well as their friends and neighbors, go is not an easy feat. It required a lot of behind the scenes work, such as assembling gift bags, devising raffle prizes, preparing breakfast, among other activities. Those involved in the preparations would tell you joking of their fatigue, but also their sincere love for this parish. Once again, thank you.

Last Sunday, at the 9 AM Mass, we celebrated the patronal feast of Holy Rosary Church. It was a powerful, uplifting liturgy in honor of the Blessed Mother. The choir began with the ethereal Mary the Dawn and finished with the Sister Act version of Hail, Holy Queen. On the sanctuary, I was assisted by our liturgical ministers, but also the visiting Deacon George Waithe of Barbados who shared with us his vocation story. Members of the parish Rosary Society, resplendent in their blue suits and sashes, offered roses to the Virgin at the foot of the altar. After Mass, parishioners gathered in the lower hall of a light lunch reception. A lot of hard work went into making the feast day possible. The day prior, a few parishioners met up to clean and set up not only the church and the lower hall, but swept the yard as well. And on the day proper, HRC’s Worship Committee served the food that made our fellowship feel special. Once again, thank you.

As many of you have noticed, October is a busy month!  Last Wednesday, the SPC Credit Union sponsored a trip to Sight and Sound. By the time, you read this our annual Prayer Breakfast and Rosary Rally would have occurred. On October 20th, in McGuiness Hall, we will have our Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner Dance. For more information, please consult the bulletin. On October 26th, we will have our 2nd Annual Silent Film Event featuring the 1923 classic the Hunchback of Notre Dame, a great lead up to the Halloween festivities. And the next day, October 27th, we will travel to Washington, D.C., on pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, a great way to end this month dedicated to our Lady.  This vicar is fatigued thinking of these events. Yet, they demonstrate that St. Martin de Porres is a lively community thanks largely to “parishioners like you.”   


In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley


From Fr. Kingsley

Dear Parishioners,

When October 7th does not fall on a Sunday, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, or in times past the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, is commemorated. Nevertheless, it testifies to what countless generations have known to be true: we can rely on Blessed Mary’s prayers for deliverance and protection. This feast’s significance is rooted both in piety and history.

St. Dominic, in the 12th century, was tasked with preaching against the Albigensian heresy. Its proponents asserted that the God of the Old and New Testaments were two distinct beings, one evil, the other good. St. Dominic had little success, until according to legend, the Blessed Mother appeared in a vision giving him the Rosary.* Centuries later, Pope St. Pius V dispatched a coalition of naval ships to Lepanto--now Nafpaktos--Greece to the halt an Ottoman Turk takeover of the Mediterranean Sea.  A lot was a stake. Not only was the European fleet at a disadvantage, but there was a real possibility that Rome, the seat of the Catholic Church, would fall into non-Christian hands. The Pope asked for all Christians to pray the Rosary; the Holy Father himself even lead a procession! The Battle of Lepanto, that October 7th, 1517, was won by Christian forces. Pius V attributed this victory to the Virgin’s intercession, hence the feast’s name. In 1868, it seems fitting that Irish Catholics, in a place called Bedford-Stuyvesant, would erect a Marian parish on Throop Avenue not long after the Union victory in the Civil War, then the nation’s bloodiest armed conflict.

One should not think of the Rosary as an earthly weapon, reserved for heresy trials and martial conflicts. It is a spiritual weapon, one of great import. The twenty Mysteries of the Rosary allow one to meditate on the whole of the Gospels, and its prayers are indulgenced by the Church. The Virgin Mother, in apparitions at Lourdes, Fatima, and elsewhere, implored those listening to not only pray the Rosary, but to do so with great frequency and fervor. The reason being? For an increase of faith, hope, and charity, for sincere repentance of sin, and most importantly, for the conversion of souls, others and our own!  A number of our separated brethren believe the Rosary to be a superstitious or idolatrous practice. This vicar points them to her words at the Feast of Cana, “Do whatever He tells you!” The Mother of God is never apart from her Divine Son, from her yes to the angel Gabriel to her sorrow beneath the Cross; she models for us Christian discipleship.

This October 7th, let us rattle those Rosary beads, not only in witness that no one who has asked for Our Lady’s assistance was ever left unaided, but for the grace of final perseverance, final victory over the forces of sin and death.  

Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley


*Historical aside: The origins of the Rosary are said to go as far back as the 9th Century!   


Weekly Summer Letter 2

Dear Parishioners,

The psalmist once wrote, “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong” (Ps. 90: 10). It is fair to say that Mrs. Evette Moreland, a longtime parishioner at Our Lady of Victory Church, was a strong woman; strong in character, strong in faith. She passed away this week, days short of her 99th birthday. I first met her when I was a deacon. An elderly woman often assisted by her niece, or sometimes aide Ms. Marie Castel, whenever she would attend Sunday Mass. With a twinkle in her eye and in her Southern drawl, she would regale me with stories of her upbringing, her marriage, but most importantly, her Catholic faith and the love she had for her parish church.

When Mrs. Moreland’s health declined, I would visit her home to administer Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion. She was happy the church came to her when she was unable to go.  After receiving the Blessed Sacrament, she would burst into prayer and praise. The last time I saw Mrs. Moreland was on Holy Saturday. A worried Ms. Castel insisted I see her as she was not eating. Upon arriving at the nursing home, a nurse struggled to feed her. As a matter of fact, she was not very responsive. When the nurse told her that a priest was there to see her. Her eyes lit up. For an hour I sat there not only serving her spiritually, but physically, as I fed her some peach sauce. We even spoke and laughed. For me, the moment brought to mind Christ’s words to St. Peter after the washing of the feet, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” (Jn 13: 16-17).

A group of parishioners visited Mrs. Moreland last Sunday. They did so to celebrate her birthday. I am told she was very excited once again to see her church family, but also receive their their love and support. Fitting for the occasion, Mr. Jonathan Sims sang one of the church mother’s favorite hymns, “He Lives.” Despite, physical weakness she sang along, mouthing the greatest truth of Christian faith, the Resurrection. Though our bodies will come to dust and ashes, God, in the fullness of time, will raise us anew to everlasting glory. Until that great day, we pray for Mrs. Moreland imploring God to receive her into His kingdom, where blessed Mary and all the angels and saints are triumphant, and for the peace and consolation of those she leaves behind. Moreover, for us her church family, we ask for the grace to preserve in our faith that, like her, we may be true to Him, so we may hear at journey’s end, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your master’s joy!” (Mt. 25: 23)

Let us pray,
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon her.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

 

In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley

Weekly Summer Letter 1

Dear Parishioners,

Moral theology was the class I most appreciated in graduate seminary. The professor taught my colleagues and me that our choices mold us. The repeated decision for virtue draws us closer to the heart and mind of God, whereas vice pulls away from His glory. It is only in Christ-like living that one finds not license, but “a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness.” This is authentic freedom.

Freedom is at the heart of the American story. This past Fourth of July marked the 242nd birthday of these United States. Though her founding document asserted that human beings “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…among these life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” such dignity was not, at the time, afforded to women, slaves, and indigenous people. Moral reckonings were---and still are---required for the ongoing formation of “a more perfect Union.” Without collective self-reflection, the national conscience is jeopardized.

We are, I believe, in the midst of such reckoning. Frankly, who we are is at stake. Can a people remain free when the rule of law is challenged? Or when responsible journalism is called “fake news?” Or when political opponents are demonized? Or when entire peoples and cultures are deemed subhuman. Or recently, when the children of undocumented migrants are separated from their parents?

Ultimately, our choices shape our freedom. Our supreme good, unity with the triune God, is tied to the good of our neighbors. In answer to Cain’s question, we are, in fact, our brother’s keeper (Gn. 4:9). Our national politics has lost sight of this. In freedom’s place we are being offered a ‘me first’ agenda, devoid of care or responsibility towards others. It is a tyranny that will enslave us all, lest we forget the Savior’s admonishment to love one another as He has loved us (Jn 13: 34).

 

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1731

2 Declaration of Independence

3 Preamble of the Constitution of the United States

 

 

Let us pray,

God of justice, Father of truth who guide creation in wisdom and goodness to fulfillment in Christ your Son, open our hearts to the truth of His Gospel, that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice guide our lives. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

In Christ,

Fr. Daniel O. Kingsley