For more than 160 years, St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church has borne witness as transformation after transformation has cascaded through the Lower East Side.
Yet conflict, drama and wrenching change occurred within its walls, too: In the church founded by Irish immigrants who fled the famine of the 1840s, the pews were in turn occupied by Poles, Ukrainians and Puerto Ricans. The church played a role in the clashes in nearby Tompkins Square Park in the late 1980s and in this century was nearly demolished itself before a mystery donor stepped forward with millions of dollars to rescue it.
On Sunday, worshipers, including descendants of some of the original Irish parishioners, gathered as Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan consecrated and dedicated the newly renovated building. After 12 years and nearly $15 million, the church, on Avenue B and Eighth Street, was once again a parish church.