Today we celebrate a great milestone in the life of this parish. We gather here this morning to close out the 150th anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Church. For the past 9 months, we have celebrated with great joy, the rich history of this beautiful church. We have looked back to the foundation left before us by the priests, consecrated religious, seminarians and lay faithful of Our Lady of Victory Church. We thank Almighty God for the generous benefactors who built this magnificent church, who by the way purchased this land in 1868 for only $25,000. I don’t think you could purchase a quarter of land here in Bedford Stuyvesant for that amount of money today! 150 years later, we continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all of God’s people.
Over the last year, we have also looked to the future, and what a bright future we have! Although we have seen our neighborhood change over the years, our mission as a community of believers always and forever remains the same! We are a vibrant community, filled with God’s love and mercy. We are a community filled with love for the Lord Jesus and his most Holy Roman Catholic Church. We are blessed to have young families who keep Jesus at the center of their lives. We are immensely blessed to have the pillars of our church, whom we honored at our Gala Dinner last month, as continued support for this parish community. Since our canonical merger in 2007 with Holy Rosary and St. Peter Claver churches, we have become even stronger in the spreading of the faith. Every time I celebrate Sunday Mass at each of our beautiful churches, I am reminded of how blessed I truly am to be the shepherd of an amazing and wonderful flock.
Our theme for the Anniversary Year was “Coming Back Home to Our Lady of Victory”. I take this opportunity to welcome all of you back home today! Whether you were a parishioner who moved away from the parish, or an alumni of the grammar school, this church will always be home. In a very special way, we welcome His Excellency, Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn to our celebration this morning. We thank him for celebrating this Mass with and for us today. We also welcome the former priests of the parish who are here with us, most especially the former pastors. I thank them for their fraternal support, guidance and prayers.
In a very special way, I thank the anniversary committee, who worked so hard to make the events of this past year and the culmination to this day so beautiful. I thank them for their dedication and support, not just during this anniversary year, but each and every single day. I thank my staff, including Father Daniel Kingsley, who are my collaborators in guiding and shepherding this amazing flock closer to the heart of Christ Jesus. Although this Mass ends our anniversary year, we must continue the work of bringing Christ to all of God’s people here in Bedford Stuyvesant. Through the powerful intercession of St. Martin dePorres, Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, St. Peter Claver and Our Lady of Victory, may the Lord continue to bless us now and for ages to come.
Have a great week,
Father Alonzo Q. Cox