A New Beginning for a Church Where Demolition Once Started

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.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Urban/City Life and Issues

One comment on “A New Beginning for a Church Where Demolition Once Started

  1. Terry Tee says:

    Nice to see a kind piece about the Catholic Church in the NYT. Rare. I opened the article dreading some post-modernist horror of a church, and found a pic of something calm, classical, beautiful. I know it is a refit rather than complete new church but even so it has been handled with sensitivity. Anybody reflecting on the swing back (thank goodness) of the pendulum from its previous extreme might meditate on the fact that the tabernacle is now back in the sanctuary behind the altar, instead of stuck away in a side-chapel somewhere. Compare and contrast, overall, the horror that is the new and mind-bogglingly expensive Los Angeles Cathedral.