Anonymous donor saves St Brigid's Church

May 21, 2008 3:05:05 PM PDT
The historic St. Brigid's Church in Manhattan's East Village has been saved by an anonymous $10 million donation, the Archdiocese of New York said Wednesday. St. Brigid's will reopen as a parish church following its repair. The donor also has given $2 million to establish an endowment to help the parish meet the spiritual needs of community residents. A separate gift of $8 million will support Saint Brigid's School, and other Catholic schools in need.

The church is named after St. Brigid of Ireland, known for helping the hungry and poor, and once was a haven for Irish famine refugees. In more recent years it has served a largely Latino congregation. Irish heritage organizations were among groups arguing against demolition.

The church's cornerstone was laid on Sept. 10, 1848, and the construction was completed in about 15 months.

The vaulted ceiling was fashioned by shipbuilders as an upside-down boat; sculpted faces honor the shipwrights who built the church.

The archdiocese closed the Gothic-style building in 2001. The parish itself was closed in 2004.