Happy New Year 2021! It is my hope that this year will be filled with love, grace and prosperity. As we begin this new calendar year together, today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. We hear in today’s gospel the account of the three wise men sent to pay homage to the newborn King, Jesus Christ. The three wise men were guided by the light of a star. That light symbolizes the light of Christ that illumines our world. As we enter into these days of 2021, let us allow the light of Christ to shine for all the world to see. Just as the three wise men bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, we as disciples of Christ being the gift of ourselves. All Jesus wants is our very selves.
Deacon Balfour Thompson
As we begin this new Year 2021, I would like to inform all of you of some clergy personnel changes here at St. Martin de Porres Parish. Deacon Balfour Thompson was ordained to the Diaconate in May 2009. He and his family are proud members of St. Peter Claver Church. Since his ordination, Deacon Balfour has exercised ministry within the three churches of our parish. He has been involved with the Holy Name Society and the St. Peter Claver Credit Union. Many of you have had the pleasure of attending Mass where he has given one his powerful Sunday homilies. In June of 2019, Deacon Balfour’s wife, Lorna Thompson, was called home to God after an extensive battle with cancer. We continue to pray for the repose of her soul and the consolation of her husband and son, Balfour Jr. Just a few months ago, Deacon Balfour came to me and expressed his desire to take a step back from active ministry so he could focus more on his family and personal life. After speaking with myself and our Diocesan Chancery, Deacon Balfour has begun the process of laicization; that is to say, he will no longer serve as a Deacon but will continue to serve the church as a lay parishioner. This decision was a result of Deacon Balfour’s personal reflection, prayer, family discussion and multiple conversations with our diocese. As a man committed to our faith, we take comfort in knowing that he will remain an active member of the St. Martin de Porres community particularly our church family at St. Peter Claver. If you have any questions about this process you are most welcome to contact our parish office or speak with me directly. In your kindness I ask you to pray for Deacon Balfour and his family.
New Parish Deacon
Having said this I am very happy to announce that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has appointed a new permanent deacon here to St. Martin de Porres Parish. Rachid Murad was ordained to the diaconate just over a year ago for the Diocese of Brooklyn. He was born and raised in Queens Village and until his appointment here was serving as deacon at Incarnation Parish. Deacon Rachid is happily married with three beautiful children. He has also worked in collaboration with the Office of Black Ministry in the Archdiocese of New York. He and his family are very much looking forward to beginning ministry here at St. Martin de Porres. He will officially begin January 31, 2021. We look forward to welcoming Deacon Rachid to our parish family and we thank you for your prayers for him as well as his loved ones.
Wishing you a Blessed Week and a Happy New Year!
Father Alonzo Q. Cox