Carmen Pabon, who attended St. Brigids for 55 years, stood in front of a photo montage of people and events at the church at last Fridays rally.
St. Brigids faithful thankful church still standing
By Albert Amateau
It was 7:30 a.m. last Friday when the really hard core of the Committee to Save St. Brigid gathered on Avenue B to commemorate the hour and day last year when a wrecking crew from the Catholic Archdiocese punched a hole in the shuttered churchs east wall and started to demolish the historic building.
Its still standing. Its now 159 a year older than it was last year, declared Edwin Torres, chairman of the committee.
The committees lawsuit seeking to stop the archdiocese from demolishing the church has been in and out of court for two years and was last argued June 8 in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court. The issue has not yet been decided.
Actor Matt Dillon, who joined the Committee to Save St. Brigid last year, and Mary Gleason, a lawyer who also joined the committee recently, made a joint plea in person at the archdiocese on July 19, Torres said.
They had a very productive conversation with David Brown, head of real estate for the archdiocese. Its the opening of a line of communication with the archdiocese and were very grateful to Cardinal Egan for it, Torres said.
Broken painted-glass windows in St. Brigids Church last year, shortly after they were smashed on the Catholic Archdioceses orders.
City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and aides to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Congressmember Nydia Velazquez were also on hand at the early morning rally.
The church, built by Irish boatwrights who worked on the East River, was declared unsafe and closed in 2001. Although the archdiocese dissolved the parish in September 2004, the building is still a neighborhood shrine.
Ive been in the neighborhood 55 years I brought all my children here to be baptized and for their first communion, said Carmen Pabon, who was 85 in June but says she considers herself to be 19. She has eight children, 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
This parish was home to all those altarboys and girls theyre scattered everywhere like seeds. I still come to pray for them in front of the church every morning, she said.