Historic New York City Church Receives $20 Million From Anonymous Donor

The Archdiocese of New York has announced a $20 million gift from an anonymous donor for St. Brigid's Church in Manhattan's East Village, the New York Times reports. The gift will be used to save the 160-year-old building from demolition and possibly reopen it as a parish church.

The donor came forward with the unexpected after a private meeting with Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York. The gift includes $10 million to restore the building, which overlooks Tompkins Square Park; $2 million to establish an endowment for the parish; and $8 million to support St. Brigid's School, which Pope John Paul II visited in 1995, as well as other Catholic schools in need.

Built in 1848 by Irish immigrants, the church has been a mainstay in a neighborhood that has gone through momentous changes over the years. Its main building closed in 2001 because of structural problems, and its final mass was held in the basement of the adjacent school in 2004. Despite fundraising efforts, protests, and multiple lawsuits filed by parishioners and others, the church was scheduled to be closed.

"This magnificent gift will make it possible for Saint Brigid's Church to be fittingly restored with its significant structural problems properly addressed," said Cardinal Egan. "The two additional gifts, to create an endowment for the parish and to support the parish school, are a powerful testament to the donor's goodness and understanding."

Sewell Chan. "Donor Gives $20 Million to Revive a Historic Church." New York Times 05/22/2008.