Using Architecture, Missionary Priest ‘Builds’ Relationship With Christ

Tags: Currents Architecture, Art, Arts, Brooklyn Diocese, Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Inspiration, Media, Missionaries, Queens, NY

By Tim Harfmann

Jesuit priest Father Terrence Curry is on a new mission, sanding and sawing spirituality in Brooklyn. 

He is an architect, and started ministering in the Brooklyn Diocese last summer. When he’s not serving in parishes, Fr. Curry is hard at work designing furniture in his Sunset Park studio. 

“For me, the encounter with God really is in the process of making, of encountering the materials, the stuff of creation,” he explained. 

Fr. Curry’s 35-year ministry includes teaching architecture around the world, including China, where communism forced the priest to be referred to as “Professor Curry.”

Yet, he found ways of instilling splinters of scripture.

“I have them look at some materials and I say, ‘Okay, rather than starting with a concept about function and about form, why don’t you encounter the materials and see what the materials inspire?’” he would ask students.

Former pupils like Chaoyun Wu are now visiting the crafty cleric in Brooklyn with an understanding of what Fr. Curry was trying to teach.

“I felt it was something that’s much bigger than I am,” Chaoyun explained. “It is a pursuit of something, that is something greater than one person.”

Fr. Curry hopes to bring those teachings to the Brooklyn Diocese. He is still building prototypes and looking for clients, but he remains inspired by Christ — the real architect.  

“The dining room table is an altar, right? The altar is a dining room table,” he said. 

Now Fr. Curry is carving Catholicism in his saw-dusted studio.