Dear Parishioners,

The summer has come upon us! Just this past Tuesday we welcomed the official season of summer. I do hope that each of you will be able to enjoy the rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation of these summer months. God has given us so many wonderful and beautiful gifts, one of them of course is the gift of creation. I have always used the summer to enjoy the beauty of travel, and of course visits to the beach. Even the Pope takes the summer to travel to the cooler region of Rome that is Castel Gandolfo!

I myself will be away for most of the month of July. As you know, I serve as the Diocesan coordinator for ministry to African-American Catholics and the Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns. I will have the opportunity to attend the National Black Catholic Congress, that will be held in Orlando Florida the first week of July. I will be attending the conference with 46 other delegates from the Diocese of Brooklyn. Congress is held every 4 years and it focuses on ministry and outreach to Black Catholics. The gathering is expecting over 3,000 people from all over the United States. His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace will be the keynote speaker. 

During the middle of July, I will have the great joy of travelling to the Holy Land. I will have the opportunity to visit the city of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. As I mentioned at the Masses last weekend, I will bring your prayer intentions with me to these most holy places. The last weekend of July is the Kujenga retreat, which will be held at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York. 

2017 Annual Catholic Appeal

A few months ago I preached at all of the Masses regarding the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal. The Appeal each year goes towards the various ministries of the Diocese of Brooklyn, most especially seminary formation and Catholic charities. Our goal for the 2017 ACA is $59,519. The key to having a successful appeal is if everyone participates. There are extra ACA envelopes at the doors of the three churches. I thank all of you for your generosity of time, talent and treasure. 

Congratulations Graduates

On behalf of the entire parish community, I want to congratulate the graduates from our parish. At all of the masses this weekend there will be a special blessing for all of the graduates. May the Lord continue to bestow his abundant blessing upon them and their successful endeavors! 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

 

  

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. As Catholics, the source and summit of our faith is the Eucharist. Jesus gives of himself, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. Jesus himself tells us that his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink. It is in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior comes to us in the form of bread and wine. He is truly present to us veiled in the host on the altar of sacrifice.

In his very last Encyclical Letter before his death, Pope St. John Paul II wrote on the beauty and reverence of the Holy Eucharist. Entitled Ecclesia de Eucharstia, the future saint wrote of how the Church receives her life from the Eucharist. He said, “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways, she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope. The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is the source and summit of the Christian life. For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our Passover and living bread. Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men. Consequently, the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love”.  

As a priest, I am privileged to celebrate Mass every single day. It is from the hands of a priest that the Lord comes from heaven to earth for his people. On this Corpus Christi Sunday, may our lives continue to be radically transformed by the great love and mercy of Jesus in the Eucharist. May the heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised adored and loved, with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world even until the end of time, Amen. 

150th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off

On Sunday, September 10 we will officially kick-off the 150th Anniversary celebration of the dedication of Our Lady of Victory Church. There will be a special Opening Mass on Sunday September 10 at Our Lady of Victory Church beginning at 10:30AM. Our newest Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann will be the celebrant and homilist. There will be just one Mass celebrated that day. Please be sure to join us and bring friends and family!

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

  

 

Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of Pentecost. It is also the last Sunday of the Easter season. In today’s gospel, Jesus bestows his peace upon the Apostles gathered in the room. Now more than ever we must pray for peace! We must pray for peace in our world, our neighborhood, and yes, peace within our parish community. As disciples of Jesus, each of us are called to be peacemakers, not allowing division or strife to get in the way of bringing us all together as a community. Being peacemakers means forgiving our brothers and sisters who have hurt us in one way or another. This also means forgiving our brothers and sisters who sit in the pews with us on Sunday mornings!

In his very first Pentecost as Holy Father, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke of how the Holy Spirit unites all of us together as one body. He said, “The Church must always become anew what she already is; she must open the borders between peoples and break down the barriers between class and race. In her, there cannot be those who are forgotten or looked down upon. In the Church there are only free brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. The wind and fire of the Holy Spirit must continually break down those barriers that we men and women continue to build between us; we must continually pass from Babel - being closed in on ourselves - to Pentecost. Thus, we must continually pray that the Holy Spirit opens us and gives us the grace of understanding, so that we become the People of God deriving from all peoples. St Paul tells us more along these lines: in Christ, who as the one Bread feeds all of us in the Eucharist and draws us to him in his Body wracked on the Cross, we must become only one body and one spirit”.

Today is a day to rejoice that we are a united community of believers, through the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary, St. Peter Claver and St. Martin dePorres. It is good that we gather as a one today on this Pentecost Sunday, especially as we celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for our young people. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate our hearts, to go out and teach all nations.

Father Willy Kingsley

Today we rejoice with the entire Church of the Diocese of Brooklyn as we celebrate the priestly ordination of Father Willy Kingsley. This afternoon Father Kingsley will celebrate his First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Victory Church at 2:30 PM. After Mass he will impart his first priestly blessings upon all of the faithful. All are invited to join him and his family, most especially his father and brother who traveled all the way from Cameroon to be with him today.

 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people, enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth!

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

PASTOR'S DESK

Dear Parishioners,

Last Sunday we welcomed almost 200 people to Holy Rosary Church for the Mass of Blessing and Rededication of the newly restored church. It was a beautiful ceremony that truly exemplified the “smells and bells” of Roman Catholic liturgy. We had the great joy of welcoming Bishop Raymond Chappetto as the main celebrant and homilist. He arrived very early (hence I had to leave immediately after the 11:30AM Mass at St. Peter Claver) and he was taken back at the beauty of this “hidden gem”. As Pastor, I was so happy to welcome back to Holy Rosary many families who had moved from the neighborhood. I was most especially grateful to the Sisters of Mercy who were in attendance. I thank the parishioners from Holy Rosary who put together a phenomenal reception in the lower hall. I also want to thank our parish choir under the direction of Mr. Rasaan Bourke and Mr. Joseph Murray as associate music director. To say that our choir was incredible would be an understatement, they were “off the hook”! Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to our parish choir who lifted our hearts and voices to Almighty God in song. Every priest who was at the Mass last Sunday, including the Bishop, were deeply moved by our choir. The spirit of the Lord is alive here in Bedford Stuyvesant!

Pentecost Sunday

Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. As is the custom here at St. Martin dePorres, we will have one Mass celebrated here at the parish. Mass will be celebrated at 10:30AM at Our Lady of Victory Church. There will be the usual Saturday evening Vigil Mass at 5:00PM at St. Peter Claver Church. At that Mass we will celebrate the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. In this sacrament the priest lays hand on the heads of those who are sick and anoints them with the oil of the sick blessed by Bishop DiMarzio at the Chrism Mass.

Father Willy Kingsley

Over the last six months we have been blessed to have Deacon Willy Kingsley assigned to the parish as a transitional deacon. This coming Saturday Deacon Willy Kingsley will become Father Willy Kingsley. We pray for him and his classmates as they are ordained to the priesthood by Bishop DiMarzio at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral this Saturday morning. Newly-ordained Father Kingsley will celebrate his First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving next Sunday, June 4 at Our Lady of Victory at 2:30PM. All are invited to celebrate this beautiful day with him and his family.

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. It is the un-official beginning of summer. On behalf of the entire parish staff I wish each of you a happy Memorial Day. There will not be a noon Mass at St. Peter Claver on Monday. There will be one Mass celebrated at 8:00AM at Our Lady of Victory Church.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

PASTOR'S DESK

Dear Parishioners,

It’s hard to believe that the month of May is quickly flying by! Today is the 6th Sunday of the Easter season. This Thursday, May 25, we commemorate the Solemnity of the Ascension. The Ascension of Our Lord to the Kingdom of Heaven is celebrated 40 days after Easter. We hear in the scripture readings that Jesus will take his seat at the right hand of the Father, but that he will send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit to be with us. Ascension Thursday is a holy day of obligation for all Catholics. Here at St. Martin dePorres, Mass will be celebrated at each of the three churches, 8:00AM at Our Lady of Victory, 12:00Noon at         St. Peter Claver Church, and 7:00PM at Holy Rosary Church.

Last weekend in honor of Mother’s Day our parish held a plant sale at St. Peter Claver and Holy Rosary churches and a bake sale at Our Lady of Victory church. Both sales were extremely successful and I want to thank all who were involved in organizing them. I received an email from a parishioner who said to me that there is “an amazing spirit” that is alive and at work here at the parish. I would definitely agree with them! There is truly an amazing spirit here at St. Martin dePorres. Once we are able to come together and unite ourselves in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ, that spirit comes alive and it’s infectious. Let us continue to work in the vineyard of the Lord together as a community of believers, giving witness to Christ by the example of our lives.

Mass of Blessing and Rededication at Holy Rosary Church

This afternoon we welcome Bishop Raymond Chappetto, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn to Holy Rosary Church. Bishop Chappetto will bless the newly restored church at a Solemn Mass this afternoon at 3:00PM. This will be his very first visit to Holy Rosary. I have said to him that it is truly a hidden gem! I thank the people of Holy Rosary for helping organize the reception that will happen after Mass. Parishioners from each of the two other churches are invited to join us in celebration of this milestone.

Knights of Columbus Visit

This morning we welcome the Knights of Columbus to Our Lady of Victory Church for the 10:15AM Mass. They will have a recruitment drive afterwards. Any man interested in becoming a knight please see one of the Knights of Columbus after Mass for a brochure and application.

New Carpet at St. Peter Claver Church

As you have noticed, new carpet has been installed at St. Peter Claver Church. It took a little longer than expected, but I thank all of you for your patience during the time of installation. I want to thank the Special Friends of St. Peter Claver society that paid for the carpet and installation. On behalf of the entire parish community I thank them for their generosity.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox