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

 

This week from the Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. I take this opportunity to wish all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and mothers-to-be, a very happy and holy Mother’s Day. Whether our mother is with us or in the kingdom of heaven, we give thanks and praise to Almighty God for the gift of motherhood. During the month of May, we pray through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, for the grace to follow her son Jesus more closely and deeply. On this Mother’s Day we give thanks to God for the gift of Mary, for it is through her most blessed womb that we encounter the savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

Here at the parish, children from our School of Faith Formation will crown the statue of our Blessed Mother Mary. This of course has been an ancient tradition throughout the Catholic Church to crown an image of the Blessed Mother during the month of May. I invite us to particularly pray through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace, that all of us will be able to live in peace and tranquility in this world.

Today we also celebrate the sacrament of First Holy Communion for our young boys and girls in our parish. Let us pray for them, that they will continue to grow in the image and likeness of Christ the Lord, whom they will receive sacramentally for the first time. Let us pray for their families gathered today, that Jesus will continue to be at the center of all they say and do.

First Communion Class 2017

Albright Payne

Alexandra Balgar

Elizabeth Balgar

Matthew Cambridge

Manuella Fimaste

Kadie Jengo

 

Solemn Mass of Blessing at Holy Rosary Church

Next Sunday May 21 we will celebrate a Solemn Mass of Rededication for Holy Rosary Church. As you know, we have had the opportunity to restore this beautiful 128-year-old church. We are happy to welcome Bishop Raymond Chappetto, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn as celebrant and homilist. We will also welcome back some of the former priests of Holy Rosary Church. The Mass will begin at 3:00PM. There will not be a 9:00AM Mass at Holy Rosary next Sunday, but the Masses at Our Lady of Victory and St. Peter Claver will remain the same that day. Please invite friends and family back to Holy Rosary for this most beautiful and historic Mass.

Knights of Columbus Recruitment Drive and Silver Rose

Next Sunday May 21 we will welcome the Knights of Columbus to Our Lady of Victory Church at the 10:15AM Mass. They will have a recruitment drive for men who may be interested in becoming Knights.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox


 

Pastor's Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Easter, which is traditionally known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Our gospel passage today gives us the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. A shepherd is one who guides their flock to green and restful pastures. As your pastor, the Bishop has chosen me to be your shepherd. It is my prayer every single day that God our Almighty Father continues to strengthen me to be a good, holy and gentle shepherd acting in the image and likeness of Christ.

As is the custom in Rome, our Holy Father Pope Francis will ordain new priests for the Diocese of Rome. In his very first priesthood ordination as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke in his homily of how the shepherd gives of himself in the Most Holy Eucharist. He said, “The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The mystery of the Cross is at the center of Jesus' service as a shepherd:  it is the great service that he renders to all of us. He gives himself and not only in a distant past. In the Holy Eucharist he does so every day, he gives himself through our hands, he gives himself to us. For this good reason the Holy Eucharist, in which the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross remains continually present, truly present among us, is rightly at the center of priestly life. And with this as our starting point, we also learn what celebrating the Eucharist properly means:  it is an encounter with the Lord, who strips himself of his divine glory for our sake, allows himself be humiliated to the point of death on the Cross and thus gives himself to each one of us”.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, I ask you to pray for all priests throughout the world, most especially for Father Kingsley and myself. Pray that the Lord will continue to call more young men to this most awesome vocation that is the priesthood of Jesus Christ, to be a good and holy shepherd for God’s people and the Church.

Solemn Mass of Rededication at Holy Rosary Church

On Sunday May 21 we will celebrate a Solemn Mass of Rededication for Holy Rosary Church. As you know, we have had the opportunity to restore this beautiful 128-year-old church. We are happy to welcome Bishop Raymond Chappetto, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn as celebrant and homilist. We will also welcome back some of the former priests of Holy Rosary Church. The Mass will begin at 3:00PM. There will not be a 9:00AM Mass at Holy Rosary that day, but the Masses at Our Lady of Victory and St. Peter Claver will remain the same that day. Please invite friends and family back to Holy Rosary for this most beautiful and historic Mass.

Knights of Columbus Recruitment Drive and Silver Rose

On Sunday May 21 we will welcome the Knights of Columbus to Our Lady of Victory Church. They will have a recruitment drive for men who may be interested in becoming Knights. They will also bring with them the silver rose, symbolizing God’s peace and love throughout the world. They will be present at the 10:15AM Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church.

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox

 

PASTOR'S DESK

Dear Parishioners,

On this third Sunday of Easter, we hear in today’s Gospel the account of Jesus appearing to his disciples on the road to Emmaus. This gospel is truly one of my favorite passages because it shows how Jesus is present to us, even in the midst of pain and sorrow. We hear in the gospel today that the disciples were so overcome with what had been happening around them that they could not recognize Jesus in their midst. It was finally when they stopped for the evening and all were at table and at that moment Jesus was revealed to them in the breaking of the bread. To this very day, at every Eucharistic celebration, Jesus Christ reveals himself to us, under the appearance of bread and wine.

Jesus gives of himself, body, blood, soul and divinity to nourish and strengthen us. We give thanks and praise to Almighty God each day for the gift of the Eucharist. As we hear in today’s gospel, suddenly their eyes were open, in the breaking of the bread. May we never take our eyes off Christ the risen Lord. Even in the midst of pain, sadness and sorrow, we must always recognize the presence of the Lord in our lives. He will never abandon us. May we continue to radiate the love of Jesus, in all that we say, and in everything that we do.

I take this opportunity to thank all who came out for our parish Divine Mercy celebration last Sunday at Holy Rosary Church. It is always good when we come together to give witness to the love and mercy of Jesus at work in our lives.

EBC Sanitation

As you all know, our parish is a member of EBC (Eastern Brooklyn Congregations). Over the last few weeks some members of our parish community have gathered to tackle some of the major issues facing our neighborhood. One of them is sanitation. EBC has encouraged us to meet with top ranking NYC sanitation officials to look at the sanitation problems that are affecting each of the three churches. A few weeks ago I along with 5 other EBC members attempted to meet with the sanitation commissioner directly but were denied and taken off the premises. This Monday, May 1 at 12:00Noon our parish along with other EBC members will be participating in an action to have our voices heard to the sanitation commissioner at his office in Brooklyn. If you would like to be a part of that action, please speak with me after Mass.  

Kujenga 2017

As you all know, in addition to my assignment as Pastor of the parish, I serve as the Diocesan Coordinator for the Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns. Each year the Vicariate sponsors the Kujenga youth leadership retreat. The word “kujenga” means leadership and is geared towards teenagers to grow in their faith as Catholics and take on a leadership role. The Kujenga retreat was started over 25 years ago by Father Martin Carter, former pastor of Our Lady of Victory. This year’s Kujenga retreat will take place July 28-30, 2017 at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York. There are flyers available at each of the three churches. For more information, you can contact myself or the Vicariate Office.

 

Have a great week,

Father Alonzo Cox