December 4, 2022

September 25, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

This past Thursday, September 22, was officially the first day of Fall. The weather does not want to change though! We have been experiencing 80-degree weather over the last few days. As you all know, Fall/Autumn is my favorite time of the year. As someone who enjoys running, the cooler crisper weather is appropriate for long distance runs. I also enjoy the changing of the leaves and the welcome of pumpkin spice latte. Liturgically, in just about 2 months, we will move to a new liturgical year. We are very blessed here at St. Martin de Porres to celebrate liturgy beautifully. I continue to echo words of thanks to our liturgical ministers for assisting in making our liturgies to prayerful and beautiful. We are though in need of new liturgical ministers, such as, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Ushers, and Altar Servers. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in serving as a liturgical minister, please let me or Father Franklin know. We thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with us here at the parish, so that we can continue to celebrate liturgy prayerfully and beautifully. Each of our scripture passages today speak to us about eternal life. Particularly, in our second reading which comes from the first letter to Timothy, we are called to compete well for the faith. We must continue to live lives of faith, allowing Christ to be at the center. Our gospel gives us the story of the rich man and poor man who die. The rich man lived a life of wealth and never shared any of it with the poor or the hungry. The poor man died giving all that he had for others. The Lord reminds us that no matter how wealthy we may think we are here on this earth, none of it compares to the wealth of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. Continue reading “September 25, 2022”

December 4, 2022

September 18, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

It is already the middle of September! Time just seems to fly right by. As we begin a new pastoral year together, we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to fill us with the gifts needed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. In the gospel passage for Mass today, Our Lord speaks to us about true wealth. We know of course that true wealth is arriving to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is calling us to be trustworthy. We must not allow the things of this world to hinder our relationship with Christ or each other. We must continue the mission of preaching the truths of the gospel, keeping our eyes fixated on the eternal wealth that awaits us.

Thank You!

I take this opportunity to thank all of you who made last week’s celebration for the feast of St. Peter Claver so beautiful! I thank all of those who helped set up for the reception afterwards. We had plenty of food! I also thank our parish choir for their ministry in lifting our hearts and voices to God. Continue reading “September 18, 2022”

December 4, 2022

September 11, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today is September 11th. Each year on this day, we remember in a special way those whose lives were taken by the terrorist attacks. We also remember in a special way those first responders, who bravely entered the World Trade Center, ultimately to never come out. It is a painful day for families who 21 years later continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. This morning, I have the great privilege of leading our local firehouse in prayer, as they remember their 5 brother firefighters who were killed that day. May the light of Christ continue to shine forth upon our nation as we strive to live in peace and harmony.

Back to School

We have come to the most wonderful time of the year, back to school! We wish all of our students here at St. Martin de Porres a fruitful and blessed new academic year. We pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the hearts of all our students and teachers. After all of the Masses today, we will bestow a special blessing upon all of our students and teachers who will make their way back to school. Continue reading “September 11, 2022”

December 4, 2022

September 4, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

This weeken is Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer. I don’t know how many of you feel, but the summer seemed to fly right by! I do hope that each of you had the opportunity to get some rest and relaxation over these last few months. I myself had the opportunity to travel with priest friends, spend time with family and go on pilgrimage to Germany to see the renowned Passion Play in Oberammergau. As we begin a new pastoral year together, it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will continue to strengthen and empower us to preach the good news of Jesus Christ here in Bedford Stuyvesant. Our gospel passage for Mass today reminds us that true discipleship means letting go of the possessions that hinder us from truly embracing Christ. Jesus tells us that to be his disciple we must take up our cross and follow him. Each of us has many crosses to bear throughout our lives, but we know the Lord is there to journey with us. May the Lord continue to bestow his abundant blessings upon us here at St. Martin de Porres Parish.

Memorial of St. Teresa of Calcutta

We are blessed to have Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity nuns living at the Our Lady of Victory convent. This year we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the death of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Mass will be celebrated this Monday, September 5, which is her Feast Day, at 10:00AM at Our Lady of Victory Church. We are happy to welcome His Excellency, Bishop Robert Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn as the Main Celebrant and Homilist. All are welcomed to join us for this very special Mass as we commemorate the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Continue reading “September 4, 2022”

December 4, 2022

August 28, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

It’s hard to believe, but we have come to the last few days of August. Next weekend is Labor Day weekend, which is the un-official end of summer. I don’t know about you, but I felt as if the summer just flew right by! I do hope that all of you were able to enjoy the rest and relaxation of these summer months. As we prepare to jump into Fall, let us pray for the grace to embrace the Lord a bit more deeply. Jesus calls us each day to hear his voice, even during the hustle and bustle of our lives. Let us never forget to allow his voice to be heard through our lives, so that we may be able to grow as faithful and holy witnesses of him. Our gospel today reminds us that we must be humble servants of the Lord. Jesus teaches us the gift of humility. We need not look for places of honor or authority, but ways in which we can embrace the poor, lonely and afflicted. May we live lives of humility, always allowing Jesus to be the source and center of our lives. Continue reading “August 28, 2022”

December 4, 2022

August 21, 2022

From the Parochial Vicar’s Desk

 

Dear Parishioners,

When we listen to the news these days, we see the inquisitiveness of journalists. They want to know now what will happen tomorrow or next year. However, this desire to forecast the future is not an exclusive reserve of journalists. To a considerable extent, all human beings tend to be inquisitive about the future. This is why someone approaches Jesus in today’s gospel passage and inquires, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus’ answer to this question shows how irrelevant the question is. Instead, he directs us to “strive to enter through the narrow gate….” This way, Jesus draws attention to the fact that a better question would have been, “am I qualified to be saved?” Why not save ourselves while we still have the chance instead of inquisitively fixating on knowing how many will be saved?

Curiosity questions have a unique appeal to mass media or popular imagination. Relevant questions, on the other hand, have a way of motivating us to pursue what is necessary. Some blanket curiosity questions are designed to obtain information about facts and figures but are irrelevant to our motivation. One can argue that some questions can be demoralizing or demotivating. If Jesus had answered “only a few,” the (wo)man could have concluded that s/he does not stand a chance and, as such, will not even try. Perhaps, this is why Jesus prefers answering relevant and beneficial questions instead of curiosity questions. Rather than wasting our time on irrelevant questions, let us concentrate on what will benefit us for salvation.

Jesus specifies the criteria for entering into salvation. Among other things, he wants us to be vigilant and faithful to God so that “the master of the house” will not lock the door behind us. For Jesus, eternal salvation is a result of struggle or strenuous effort and entails sacrifice and selfless service. The good news is, we all stand a chance if we do the needful. May God help us to be vigilant and faithful in our sacrificial pursuit for God’s salvation. Continue reading “August 21, 2022”

December 4, 2022

August 14, 2022

From the Parochial Vicar’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

It is good to be back! Permit me to use this platform to thank you immensely for your prayers during my long European tour, where I attended some conferences and met some friends around Europe. I had my first conference in Rome with an intense, nay scorching heatwave ravaging significant parts of Europe. Despite the fierce weather, I had the opportunity after the conference to visit some priest friends in the Netherlands and celebrated my 15th priestly anniversary in Germany with the unique set of priests ordained on 07/07/07. Speaking about heat waves, can you imagine a world without fire or light? That sounds like the original state of the cosmos before creation. According to the book of Genesis (1:1-2), “…the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, with a divine wind sweeping over the waters. Then God said, let there be light, and there was light’.” That light became the good that illumined the evil that was the darkness. Against this backdrop, the readings for this weekend draw attention to how we can become the light in this dark world. Can you imagine a world without good (wo)men with the fire of perfection and a sense of order? That will be cataclysmic, like the picture painted about the original State of Nature described by Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan, “life would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

To guard against the tendency to degenerate to that level of a state of nature, we need good (wo)men like Jeremiah (Jer. 38:4-6,8-10), we need to resist sin to the point of shedding blood (Heb. 12:1-4), and we need to radiate like light/fire in telling the truth if we have the hopes of saving our society (Lk. 12:49-53). Long story short, we need to be prophets. At any rate, William Barclay describes a prophet as one who has “God’s wisdom in his mind, God’s courage in his heart, and God’s truth on his lips.”

Just so you know, I ended my European trip with a three-week program in Porto, culminating in the visit to the Pilgrimage Site of Fatima, where I had the opportunity to wrap things up by praying and lighting candles for all of you at the Sanctuary of our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima in Portugal. It was my first time in that beautiful pilgrimage site of our Blessed Mother’s appearance in 1917. With that, I feel confident that God will continue to bless every one of you. Continue reading “August 14, 2022”

December 4, 2022

August 7, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

The summer seems to be flying right by! I sincerely hope that many of you have or will have the opportunity to take a few days of rest and relaxation. September will be here as soon as you know it. I myself had the opportunity to do some traveling with two of my priest friends along with taking days during the week to catch up on well needed rest. Father Franklin will return from Europe this weekend. I look forward to having him back at home. As he returns, I will be leaving for Germany on Monday for a pilgrimage to Oberammergau. I along with 36 other pilgrims will be visiting the churches and shrines in Austria, Prague, Vienna and Berlin. The culmination of the pilgrimage is of course the Passion Play in Oberammergau. In your kindness I ask that you pray for us in our travels and please be assured of my prayers for you at these holy places. Last week, I had the unfortunate task of informing you of the small fire that occurred at Our Lady of Victory Church. As I said last week, thank God, no one was hurt and there was minor damage done, all of which can be replaced through insurance. Unfortunately, there was an accelerant that was poured onto the candle stands, which caused it to go up in flames. We are blessed to have three very beautiful churches that make up our parish. My primary concern will always be the safety of you, God’s holy people. Each of our churches are, God’s house. All are welcomed to pray in God’s house, but we must also be aware of the reality that we live in. I ask you to be aware of your surroundings and if you see something that is out of place or out of the ordinary, please say something. It is important that we care for God’s house and ultimately care for each other. I pray that the Lord will continue to shower his abundant blessings upon all of us here at St. Martin de Porres Parish as we give witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ here in Bedford Stuyvesant. Continue reading “August 7, 2022”

December 4, 2022

July 31, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Each of our three scripture readings at Mass remind me of the famous phrase with regards to material possessions. The phrase is, “we own our possessions, our possessions do not own us”. We are reminded of the truth that each of us are on a pilgrimage from this world to the next. It is great that God has blessed us with possessions that can be of significant use not just for ourselves, but for the entire community. We are also challenged today to not allow those possessions to take ownership of us. We know, that we cannot take any of these things to the kingdom heaven. What we can take is our love for the Lord and for our brothers and sisters. St. Paul reminds us to seek what is above, not what is on earth. We must continue to seek the good thigs that are above, that is to be kind, merciful, loving and charitable in all that we say and do. May the Lord continue to pour out his abundant love and mercy upon all of us as we continue to seek what is above, the kingdom of heaven. Continue reading “July 31, 2022”

December 4, 2022

July 24, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Each of our scripture passages for Mass today speak to us about persistence. God calls us to be persistent in prayer! We must approach the Lord each day in prayer, thanking him for the many blessings and graces that he has bestowed upon us, his children. In our gospel today, one of the disciples of Jesus asks him, “teach us how to pray”. The Lord responds by giving us the prayer of the Our Father, but he goes even deeper. The Lord reminds us that to be people of prayer, we must be persistent. There are so many times in our lives that we approach the Lord in prayer during times of trouble and grief. It is from those moments that we truly encounter the grace of God’s abundant love for us. Many times, after that, we no longer turn to the Lord in prayer. Prayer must be incorporated into our daily lives. Through the complicated and busy moments of our lives we must stop to thank the Lord for all that he has done for us and all that he will do for us. Every day is a gift from God; therefore, we are called to thank him not just on Sundays or times when it’s tough, but every single day of our lives! Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you. Let us allow these words to resonate within our minds and hearts, as we continue to grow as witnesses of the risen Lord. Continue reading “July 24, 2022”