First Sunday Mass Following Fire at Bushwick Church

Tags: Currents Bishop Robert Brennan, Brooklyn, NY, Diocese of Brooklyn, Divine Mercy Sunday, Faith, Fire, Queens, NY, Williamsburg

by Katie Vasquez

The pews were filled at All Saints church this weekend,Bishop Robert Brennan joining the Williamsburg parish for Divine mercy Sunday.

But most of this crowd aren’t regular attendees, they normally spend their Sundays at its sister church, Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii in Bushwick.

That parish was devastated by a fire on Easter Sunday. 

Mery Tolentino was at the 1pm Spanish mass where the flames first began.  

“We were in the second reading of the bible, all of a sudden, unexpectedly, a lot of smoke started coming out from the rectory, which began to increment little by little and getting darker,” said Tolentino, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii. 

Pastor of both churches, Father Vincenzo Cardilicchia says investigators have yet to find the cause of the fire which started in the sacristy. 

Right now, there is asbestos abatement work and a demolition order for the rectory and parish center. 

“There is almost nothing left,” said Father Cardilicchia, “but the site of worship itself is intact besides the water damage.”

A miracle since the church dates back more than 120 years and there were no sprinklers inside. 

The Brooklyn priest was able to go in and retrieve sacred objects but one important item remains inside. 

 “We are still looking for the records, which is actually the most valuable thing because even something that is expensive can be substituted with something else but the records, the baptismal records, they go back to 1902,” said Father Cardilicchia.

As crews sort through the broken glass and charred wood, parishioners will have to worship at All Saints until further notice. 

As Bishop Brennan consoles the devastated community, he reminds them that while the building may be gone, their faith remains. 

“In a church fire, buildings are destroyed and we see that all things in this world are passing. But what’s constant? two things, our faith in the Lord Jesus,and  in the power of his resurrection,” said Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn. 

And many say they are hopeful for the future. 

“We are concerned about our parish but then he gave us that, you know, hope,” said Luisa Cortes, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii church. 

“The toughest the circumstances get, the more we shall be together to fight those circumstances,” said Tolentino.