In 2009 St. Margaret Mary Church merged with Holy Cross Church and became All Saints Catholic Church. Holy Cross Grammar School merged with St. Teresa’s Grammar School and reopened as All Saints Catholic Academy.
St. Margaret Mary
The westward expansion of the city of Albany in the first few decades of the 20th century prompted the visionary pastor of the Church of St. Vincent de Paul the Rev. William R. Charles, to press for the establishment of a mission church in the region which now encompasses the western border of the city of Albany and the eastern border of the Town of Guilderland. Then farmland, more and more families were moving to this area along the Western Turnpike (now Route 20). To meet the spiritual needs of this portion of his flock; Father Charles was instrumental in the founding in 1920 of a mission, which used as its first place of worship a house on Edinburgh Avenue, just slightly southwest of the Western Turnpike.
With the 37 families who make up the mission parish, the history of what was to become the parish of St. Margaret Mary was begun. The name for the new mission was selected for two reasons: to honor the newly canonized saint, Margaret Mary Alacoque, the visionary who spread the message of the great love of God through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to honor a benefactor of St. Vincent’s James C. Farrell, whose youngest daughter was named Margaret Mary.
Very shortly after its founding as a mission, it was realized that more space was needed, not only for worship but for the education of the children. Consequently, land was purchased on the corners of Homestead Street and Taft Avenue. Here a combination chapel and school was erected with the cornerstone being laid by Bishop Edmund Gibbons in June of 1922.
The mission parish continued to grow to the point that Father Charles felt in the early 1930’s that a separate parish could become a reality and in October 1938 Bishop Gibbons canonically established the parish of St. Margaret Mary, appointing the Rev. Leo R. Clark as its first resident pastor.
In 1951 an addition to the chapel/school building was constructed allowing a worship space (in what is now the second floor of The Rev. Robert Taylor Hall) for 500 people. With additional people moving into the city and town areas of the parish and new construction underway after World War II, the time was ripe for construction of a new church structure. An original plan was to construct the church next to the parish rectory on Tudor Road, which had been built in1939. This plan was conceived thinking that Tudor Road was going to extend to Washington Avenue. Construction of the State Office Campus, however, put an end to that idea since the space would not be sufficient to construct an appropriate worship space.
As a result, additional property was purchased on Homestead Street and construction began on the new church building, which was dedicated by Bishop William A. Scully in December of 1964. Father Leo Clark, named a domestic prelate by the Holy Father, shepherded the development of the parish from its beginnings in 1938 until his death in 1966. Monsignor Clark was succeeded by the Rev. John G. Tracy who served as pastor from 1966 to 1979. During this period the beginning of the liturgical renewal was taking place as a result of the Second Vatican Council. The full implementation of this liturgical renewal came to fruition during the pastorates of the Rev. John Malecki who was appointed pastor in 1980 and the Rev. Robert W. Taylor who was appointed pastor in 1981.
From its inception as a mission in 1920, the education of children was of paramount importance. A school was founded in 1920 with a beginning enrollment of 35. The school was initially located in the house on Edinburgh Avenue and relocated to the new building on Homestead and Taft in 1922. The school, staffed by the Sisters of Mercy, operated until 1984, when it closed due to declining enrollment and the inability of the Sisters of Mercy to continue to staff it. The religious education program of the parish continued, however, with programs provided for all public school students. During his pastorate, Father Taylor presided over an effort to enhance our music program, and his spirit lives on in the pipe organ for which Father Taylor left a substantial legacy.
In 1993, the Rev. Thomas H. Chevalier was named the fifth pastor of St. Margaret Mary by Bishop Howard Hubbard. During his tenure, Father Chevalier oversaw the final construction of the pipe organ, the renovation of the parish heating and cooling system and the renovation of the sanctuary.
In 2005, Bishop Hubbard named the Rev. Erwin H. Schweigardt as the sixth pastor of St. Margaret Mary Church.
Holy Cross Church
Our story began in 1850 when the cornerstone was laid for a church that was to serve the needs of the 7000-strong German population living in Albany at the time. The church, located at the corner of Philip and Hamilton St. was the Church of the Holy Cross and was completed just prior to the Civil War in 1859. Holy Cross remained at this location for the next 100 years.
The first Holy Cross Grammar School then referred to as Holy Cross Academic School. Was started in 1861 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. At that same time Abraham Lincoln was being inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States.
The school’s population grew and the original building expanded through the years. The Sisters of St. Joseph were eventually replaced by the Sisters of Christian Charities who started a Holy Cross High School in 1896, which lasted 24 years until a historic event occurred in 1919. The event was The Influenza Pandemic of 1919, which dramatically decreased the student and religious teacher population in the Academic School and caused the Sisters of Christian Charities to withdraw. The Pandemic is believed to be a contributing factor to the closing of the High School.
Struggling through the Great Depression and World War II, Holy Cross Academic School became the smallest school in the Diocese by the 1950s. As a result, the school was closed, and in 1959 was demolished along with the church. This same year, the Diocese purchased land at the corner of Brevator and Rosemont Streets for a new Holy Cross Church, and eight months later, the first mass was celebrated at the new location. Thus comes the birth of the new Holy Cross Grammar School on the land next to the church, which is the present location. While John F. Kennedy was starting his presidency in 1960, Holy Cross was opening its doors for grades Kindergarten to 4th grade. There were 189 students and Sister Mary Veronica was principal.
One grade level was added to the school each year and in June 1965; Holy Cross Grammar School had its first Graduating class of 24 children. The school had a total of 372 students with five Sisters of Mercy and three lay teachers. The school thrived and in 1989 a new wing was added, which includes the Family Center. The basement was renovated to add the Art room, Music room, nursery and library. Another wing was added in 2002, giving us the computer room, new faculty room, and new administrative offices.