Friday, July 28, 2006
As men washed themselves of the filth of a night and day of demolishing the interior of St. Brigid's , a crow sat cawing and harried by small but agitated and persistant birds atop the Gaelic cross at the peak of the facade of the 1848 landmark church of " Mary of Gael ", St. Brigid , the mother church of the Irish immigrants of the middle 19th century .
I am not a soothsayer and thus can not say what the presence of a crow cawing on a cross at a time like this does presage . Is there some dark fate and certain final loss with this church that we must without choice come to know and if so, should we not protest such fate extremely ? Shall this landmark and icon ,our connection with our past , just perish ? Today , the demolishers punched a hole in a stained glass window for fresh air as they demolished the precious interior and then punched a hole in the back wall of the church to defecate the brutally demolished interior of the church into the lot behind the church .Tommorow all will return to court to decide finally whether this demolishing shall stop .
The community wants this church to be saved ...preserved . But it seems there are now powerful forces dead set against saving this church ; powerful forces , the archdiocese , the bishops and the Cardinal , it seems , want St Brigids reduced to ruble . I do not truly understand why . Some say offers to purchase the church at a fair market price and then return St. Brigid's to the community have been made . It is said that the Cardinal has said no to such offers ,thus , can it be that there is more than just the money value of St. Brigid's demolished that is of concern to the archdiocese . The civil courts and the Landmarks Preservation Committee so far seem to be powerless to save this church . Finally ,why has some one not sought in canon law a path to the good grace and aid of His Holiness the Pope and the mother Church when the community now needs them most ?
P.S 5 August ,2006
Yesterday I learned that indeed the archdiocese does have a plan for the St. Brigids property . The plan is to demolish the church and lease the lot to Cabrini hospital which will build a nursing home for the elderly on the lot . The new building ,I was told, would also include a chapel dedicated to St Brigid . Building such a facility is laudable and is keeping to the purpose of the church to aid and comfort those who require the services of such a facility but it ignores the fact that an offer was made to purchase at market determined value the church and the lot on which it sits . Allowing this purchase would give the archdiocese a large sum of money, indeed a sum sufficient, it would seem , to purchase a lot to lease to Cabrini at some other location thus making it possible to save St. Brigid as the important historical site that it is, one of the oldest surviving buildings in New York City with a long and important history in this old east side community . Various communities as well as the state and federal government and the archdiocese all have had for some time and do still have now an obligation to work together to save this very old and unique historic structure for future generations .
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