By Jessica Easthope
Everything you can think of that makes up a church is sitting in a warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Doors, stained glass windows, pews and candles are all things Monsignor John Bracken says could be used in Haiti.
“It’s an aid to devotion, a real connection that we are a universal church that we are one body and we’re happy to share it with each other,” said Monsignor Bracken, who runs the patrimony warehouse.
Right now they’re kept in the diocese warehouse, a home for all the unused or old items from churches across Brooklyn and Queens, but Monsignor Bracken says they’re ready to travel the globe.
After that 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook Haiti earlier this month, churches were destroyed, most notably Immaculate Conception Parish in Les Anglais and Sacred Heart in Les Cayes. Now the Diocese of Brooklyn wants to lend a hand and give back in a way you can’t put a price on.
“It should be something that’s used for worship and that’s our biggest pleasure is when we’re able to send something and then to receive pictures back,” Monsignor Bracken said.
The warehouse has sent items to Haiti in the past. This time, the request hasn’t come yet, usually it happens when the country is ready to rebuild. A representative will browse the warehouse, and whatever’s needed will be shipped right to Haiti. Parishioners here often pay for the shipping. New York City has the largest population of Haitians in the country – and the warehouse only adds to the connection.
“To be able to share some of their history and our history, to be able to strengthen a Christian community thousands of miles away – there’s a tie that binds us,” he said.
All of these items have a higher purpose. Monsignor Bracken has marveled at them over the years, but he says there’s nothing better than when they leave – and go where they’re needed.