been doing Irish-American outreach for the effort
to save this Famine Church in New York's East Village.
It was my Grandfather's parish and I've lived in
the neighborhood for 25 years. Now I'm involved
in promoting in the writer's benefit for St. Brigid's
on June 15th, "Bards for St. Brigid's"
that features Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, Colum
McCann, Peter Quinn, Thomas Fleming, T.J. English,
Thomas Kelly, Joseph O'Connor and Dennis Smith will
join host Larry Kirwan, Black 47's front man (see
had been following the St. Brigid's story (the building
being closed then the parish dissolved) in the media
from the sidelines until two things came together
for me. First was a a deeper appreciation of it's
history. As Catholic Churchs in America go, it's
quite old, built in 1848. As the date implies it
was built by and for the Famine Irish when famous
"Alpahbet City" was the Drydock ship building
district. My final wake up call was a tour I took
last fall of the renovated (to the tune of $15 million)
Street Synagogue, my simple reaction, "Why
Can't We Do This?" even a discount version.
in the famous gateway immigrant district (the Lower
East Side) the Irish can lay claim to very little.
More recent arrivals left their signature all over.
But as one of the first chapters in this neighborhood's
immigrant story, their wood settlements are gone.
The earliest Catholic churches are in Chinatown
or in the financial district, areas long detached
from their immigrant roots. St. Brigid's has a beautiful
and enviable location in the hip and gentrified
Lower East Side. It's a shame that the Archdiocese
and suburban Irish-Americans feel such a disconnect
with their birthplace in this country. The last
court challenge to demolition will be heard a few
days before our all-star benefit on June 15. By
lending their names and participation in our benefit
these writers, our bards, are helping to rouse the
sleeping Irish-American giant to stop this impending
Irish-American community of Greater New York seeks
a creative way to save St. Brigid's as a landmark
heritage site. We're petitioning the New York Archdiocese
to start a dialogue with those who want to save
it. Counterproposals have been made to rescue the
Church but have been rejected. Those who care remain
completely in the dark about the Archdiocese's plans.
We're asking the Cardinal to join community in exploring
alternative plans that spare the Church and ways
to finance them that will not burden the Archdiocese.
don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like more
information. Tickets are available at our web site.
THE FAMINE CHURCH!
"BARDS FOR ST. BRIGID'S"
WHAT: Benefit Reading by Irish literary lights
to help save New York's historic Irish Famine Church,
St. Brigid's, from demolition
Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, Colum McCann, Peter
Quinn, Thomas Fleming, T.J. English, Thomas Kelly,
Joseph O'Connor and Dennis Smith will join host
Larry Kirwan, Black 47's front man, in an evening
of readings, opinions, music and more. Isaiah Sheffer,
founder of "Bloomsday on Broadway" will
read from James Joyce's Ulysses. Surprise guests
and additional notables will also join the "Bards."
Thursday, June 15, 2006, starting at 7 PM (doors
open at 6 PM)
Connolly's 45, 121 W 45 Street, between 6th &
7th Ave, 3rd floor event room (212- 597-5126).
Now in imminent danger of demolition, St. Brigid's
Church on Avenue B and 8th Street is in the heart
of New York's immigrant gateway neighborhood, the
Lower East Side. Built by Irish shipwrights, St.
Brigid's created a community in America for Irish
famine refugees and has played a similar role to
successions of new Americans from around the world.
response to the 2004 decision of the Archdiocese
of New York to close the parish and demolish the
church, parishioners, neighbors and other concerned
citizens organized the Committee to Save St. Brigid's.
Through the Committee's dogged efforts in the courts,
demolition has been delayed, but the future of the
building and all it represents is very much in peril.
Committee to Save St. Brigid's will host "Bards
For St. Brigid's" to raise critical funds needed
for the eleventh-hour fight to save one of New York's
most historic churches from the wrecking ball.
For St. Brigid's"
June 15, 7 PM,
floor event room at Connolly's 45, 121 W 45 Street,
between 6th & 7th Ave. (212- 597-5126).
Times Sq.- 42nd St. stops Tickets: $20 on-line at