Today is the seventh and last Sunday of the Easter season. As I write this letter, we have approached the two month period of our city “stay at home lockdown” and social distancing. To say that this Easter season was unique would be an understatement! We have not been able to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord as a community. Just this past Thursday we commemorated our Lord’s Ascension to the Father. Next Sunday, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. These are feasts that mold and shape our Catholic faith! Although we were not able to celebrate them together, we do so by the power and working of the Holy Spirit. Our gospel passage for today highlights one of the beautiful prayers recorded in the New Testament, the priestly prayer of Jesus. Right before the Lord ascends to the heavens, he prays to the Father not for himself, but for us. The Lord says, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you”. Just as Christ prayed for us, let us pray for one another, invoking the Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower us daily!
As we enter into another week of lockdown, I am able to share some information with you that has come from Bishop DiMarzio regarding the opening of churches. Just this past Thursday, a conference was held with both Bishop DiMarzio and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York. Plans have begun to open churches in phases. The first phase is to have churches open for private prayer with a maximum of 10 people for only 4 hours. Since we are a parish with three churches, I am collaborating with my staff to see how this will look for us here at St. Martin dePorres. You will have more information and details in next weeks bulletin. As we approach each phase I will continue to update all of you via the bulletin, parish website and social media platforms. Churches remain closed for both weekday and Sunday Mass. Both Cardinal Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio has not set any date to when public Masses will resume.
This Saturday, May 30th we will celebrate Solemn Vespers for Pentecost. The livestream will begin at 5:00PM. Father Kingsley will preside and Brother Christopher Cato will be the homilist. The next day, Sunday May 31, Mass for Pentecost will be livestreamed at 10:00AM . Both weekday and Sunday Masses will continue to be livestreamed through our parish Facebook page and then uploaded to our YouTube page.
Wishing you a peaceful week,
Father Alonzo Q. Cox