Since the incredible act of charity, the joy felt about the church's salvation has been matched by curiosity as to who "he" is. A spokesman for the Cardinal ruled out actor Matt Dillon, who was an active supporter for the church to be saved. Philanthropist Chuck Feeney's foundation Atlantic Philanthropies also confirmed it was not Feeney who made this extraordinary gesture.
Though the identity of the donor may never be revealed, the impact of his actions will be felt deeply by those who worship in the church for many years to come. "The age of miracles has not passed. St. Brigid's has been saved," said Ed Torres, chairman of the Save St. Brigid's committee, at the Bard for St. Brigid's II fundraiser at Connolly's Bar in Times Square on June 18. As well as thanking all the artists, committee members past and present, and parishioners who helped in one way or another, Torres had this to say to the "anonymous angel" who saved St. Brigid's: "I wish that person was here tonight, not just because I would like to ask for a loan of my own! The amount offered to restore the spiritual and historical landmark is 20 million dollars, but the chance to return to this sacred place to worship God and honor His presence in the holy sacrifice of Mass is priceless. There are no words adequate to thank a person for such a gift." - Declan O'Kelly
Acclaimed author Peter Quinn participated in the Bard for St. Brigid's II, and puts in perspective the role and place of St. Brigid's in the history of the Irish in New York. Here are some excerpts from his speech:
"Here we arrive at last, as James Joyce put it by 'a commodius vicus of recirculation' to this incredibly happy occasion filled with music, song, dance, and rejoicing. This is what the Spanish culture calls a fiesta. In Irish culture we call it a wake. Tonight, however, instead of sitting Shiva for a person, we are waking a certain idea that St. Brigid's was doomed and that only a fool could believe otherwise. In the wonderful words of St. Paul in the First Corinthians, 'It is the fools who have turned out to be wise, it is the weak who have turned out to be strong, it is the despised who have turned out to have honor.' Last week at the opening of the Irish apartment at Tenement Museum, Consul General of Ireland, Niall Burgess, reminded the audience that besides that apartment there was only one physical link that directly connected us with the immense and transforming human deluge that poured into this fort in the aftermath of the Great Hunger; one million people in 10 years. That other link he said was St. Brigid's. The fight to preserve that link often seemed the mother of all lost causes. But, no matter how lost or hopeless it seemed, we had what nobody else had. We had St. Brigid on our side. And it was St. Brigid, she, who made a difference, for who else could have inspired a $20 million miracle?"