In July 2015, the Church of the Nativity on Second Avenue between Third Street and Second Street shut its doors, part of a consolidation by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York ... the parish consolidated with the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer on Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.
Now there is a movement afoot via the pastor to change the name of the historic church, which was consecrated in November 1852.
The following message is from the church's bulletin from Sunday...
We are now a new parish in the eyes of the Church and the civil government. Our official name is The Roman Catholic Church of Most Holy Redeemer and Nativity. However, we can opt to change our name. It can be something totally different — for example — St. John Paul II, St. Theresa of Calcutta, etc. If you have any suggestions, please put your suggestion and why you want this name in writing, and leave it at the office for Fr. Sean McGillicuddy before, Friday, October 21.
One neighbor and parishioner opposed to a random name change explained in an email:
"A modification of the name could imperil and erode its long-standing identity and history ... it is a cherished institution that has no reason to be known as anything other than Most Holy Redeemer."
Possible new name aside, the neighbor said that several of Father McGillicuddy's initiatives have been perceived as "ruinous" by some of the parishioners, who don't feel comfortable speaking out about the changes.
"He never consulted the parish or its council on matters that affect the interior or architectural cosmetics of the church — such as the four statues of Mary now inserted in the churches facade, for example. The interior is being desecrated: florescent spot lights at the shrines, thrift shop prayer stools and electric candle alters cluttering the alters. And he is having the larger-than-life hand-carved wooden statues (works of masterful European craftsmanship) painted over with metallic paint. What were once works of art now look like cheap trinkets and chachkas.
"The church ... belongs to history, the community... the Lower East Side."