Church of the Immaculate Conception
The Parish was formed in 1957 by Bishop William A Scully, principally from St. Joseph’s Parish, Scotia and a portion of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Ballston Lake. Seven and a half acres of land was purchased from the Heckler Homestead for the parish site.
The Reverend W.R. Chamberlain was appointed as the first pastor, leaving his post as Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities. Appointed as trustees were Raymond L. Russell and Albert S. White. A church was constructed with a seating capacity of 340 persons. A home was used for a rectory and a farmhouse was adapted for a Catechetical center. The church was dedicated by Bishop Scully on December 1, 1957. Approximately 400 families joined the Parish the first year.
Two parish societies were formed during January 1958; the Rosary-Altar and the Holy Name Societies. Mrs. Raymond Russell was the first president of the Rosary-Altar Society which had twenty-two charter members. Mr. Raymond Dunaiski was the first president of the Holy Name Society which had 137 charter members.
During the first year of operation: 376 children registered in the School of Religion, 92 Baptisms, 24 first communicants and two marriages.
The Reverend R. Mansfield Starks was named the second pastor of the church in September 1968. Father Starks was formerly pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, Menands. He is also the Director of Cemeteries for the Albany Catholic Diocese.
Reverend Denis J. Brennan, Associate Pastor, came to the Parish in 1966. He is Priest Director of the Parish’s Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. The trustees of the Parish are Robert E. Lynch and Raymond M. Dunaiski
The President of the CCD program is Mr. William Larkin; Vice President, William Mowrey; Treasurer, Walter Nial, and Secretary, Mrs. Frank Pasley. This Parish wide action directs religious education for the parish. The group’s activities are sub-divided religious education for the parish. The group’s activities are sub-divided among the following chairmen: Teachers – Mrs. J. Thomas Grzybowski, Fishers – Mr. Dale Dolezal, Ecumenical – Mr. John Wagoner. Sixteen hundred students are enrolled in the religious activities. Classes are taught by 60 lay teachers who are assisted by approximately 100 helpers.
Other Parish organizations include the Rosary-Altar Society with Mr. E. Tillson, President and a membership of over 300 women. Also the Holy Name Society with Mr. R.J. Meade, President, has approximately 150 members. The Catholic Youth Organization, comprising 25 parish youths has John Ripley as President with Mr. William Przybycien as adviser.
The parish has approximately 1200 families today with over 2500 parishioners in attendance for Sunday mass.
The New Parish Facilities
A major parish facility expansion pledge program was initiated by Father Starks in February 1969 to help finance construction of a new church, a catechetical school and a rectory-administration building.
The new church has a cruciform plan and seats 840. The former church is being converted into a parish hall to be known as The Father Chamberlain Hall in memory of the first pastor.
The catechetical center has eight classrooms, a library, a kitchen and auxiliary rooms. The library has been designated the Joseph F. Murtha Library in memory of Mr. Murtha who began the planning of the new parish complex.
The Rectory-administration building has quarters for the parish priests, a housekeeper, consultation offices and a business office.
The office of Alfred E. Verrigni of Rexford is the architectural firm. Duncan and Cahill, the general contractors; Senecal and Beilly, the mechanical contractors, and Harold R. Clune, Inc., are the electrical contractors.
A parish building fund which initially raised $253,524.00 of pledges had as co-chairmen: Mrs. Walter Nial and Mr. Raymond Dunaiski. A parish building program Continuation and Counsel Committee assists the Pastor in following the progress of the fund program as well as providing a source of guidance on general parish matters. Members of the Committee are: Father Denis Brennan, Mr. Raymond Dunaiski, Mr. George Fischer, Mr. Thomas Lupi, Mr. Robert Meade, Mrs. William Mowrey, Mrs. Walter Nial, Mr. Nelson Ripley, Mr. Philip Rodriguez, Mr. Nickolas Schmitt, Mr. Dale Washburn.
The New Parish Complex
The new Church and Parish Building will stand for many years as a symbol of our faith in God and serve as an inspiration to future generations.
On the site of the existing facilities of the Immaculate Conception has been constructed a new Religious Complex, consisting of a new Church, a new Administration-Rectory Building and a new C.C.D. Building.
The shrine identifying the parish incorporates the statue of the Immaculate Conception once located in front of the old Parish Center building. It is constructed of a deep burgundy-face brick which is also used on the Church and also used as a base for the Altar. The unity of this procession takes one from the highway to the church and to the inside, the focal point, the Altar of Sacrifice.
The beautiful large stained glass window of our Blessed Mother and the thirty side windows depicting scenes from the Old Testament, The Life of Christ, and from Pentecost to the present and into the future were created by the Rambusch firm of New York City.
Many of the familiar appointments from the old Church have been modified for use in the new Church. The two side altars have been joined into a single altar for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the new Church. Also, the baldachin over the main altar was removed to fashion from this beautiful wood a pedestal altar to hold our Tabernacle. The Corpus from the crucifix will be the basis for a new crucifix to hang over the altar of sacrifice in the new Church.
The new Church is located some distance from the main highway to provide an island of retreat from the busy hustle and bustle of the present day. The high ridge of the Church reaches to the heavens while the low profile side walls offer personal intimacy in the structure.
The new C.C.D. Building is a simple utilitarian building joining to the Father Chamberlain Hall and housing eight classrooms, the Murtha Library, a kitchen, and the heating plant for the entire complex. The mansard of this building has the same material finish as the mansard of the Administration-Rectory Building and the roof of the new Church. This man-made shingle unites the three building of the Religious Complex.
The Administration-Rectory building will provide a business office and consultation offices as well as quarters for the parish priests.
The president of General Electric Realty Corporation, Mr. E.S. Weaver, in an application of rendering “service to the community” offered the facilities of the organization to review our building plans. In a letter to the pastor, Mr. Weaver states: “As you know, our organization has completed a review of the final drawings and specifications, which were prepared by your architect, Mr. A.E. Verrigni. In view of the total scope of your project, we consider the suggestions to be rather minor. Your architect should be complimented for the fine design work done on what will be a most impressive addition to Glenville.”