The Committee to Save St. Brigid's from the wrecking ball went back to court Tuesday. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court heard arguments between the New York Archdiocese, which wants to demolish the structurally damaged church, and former parishoners, members of the Lower East Side Community, and the Irish-American community, who want to save the Famine Church.
Detail of Stained Glass Window
Picture by Patti Kelly, Committee to Save St. Brigid's.
St. Brigid's was erected in 1848 to minister to Irish who fled Ireland's Great Hunger. It was closed by Cardinal Edward M. Egan in 2001.
Tonight at 7 pm, there will be a fundraiser at Connolly's 45 at West 45 Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues for the effort. Reading to benefit the church will be authors Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Thomas Fleming, Joseph O'Connor, T.J. English, Anne Maguire, Kathleen Hill, Sorcha Dorcha, Thomas Kelly, Dennis Smith, Tom Phelan, and Marion R. Casey. Larry Kirwan of Black 47 will host; tickets are $20; or more information call 212 691-4039 or order tickets online via www.savestbrigid.org.
Meanwhile, there are published reports that an anonymous donor has offered to purchase the building at fair market value and use it to house a nonprofit organization. The church was designed by Tipperary native Patrick Keely, who began as a carpenter working with his father. By the time of his death at the turn of the 20th century, it's estimated that he built some 600 churches in Canada and the United States.
A museum to the Irish, perhaps, or to their participation in the Roman Catholic Church? We await both the fundraiser and the court's decision.
Patricia Jameson-Sammartano, WGT Culture Editor