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Helping our Mother Church

Dear Parish Family,

I got a call recently from Fr. Don Rutherford, the Vicar for Clergy for our Diocese. He told me that our mother needed help. By our mother, I mean our “mother parish” – St. Mary’s/St. Paul’s in Hudson Falls.

If you’ve never heard the history, in 1834 the first parish in our area was established at Sandy Hill (now Hudson Falls) – back when the only Diocese in the state was the Archdiocese of New York City. Glens Falls was just beginning to be explored by Catholic Missionaries, one of whom, Fr. Olivetti, an Italian missionary priest based in Whitehall, convinced two local benefactors, to buy an old unused stone Methodist church at 3 Church Street in Glens Falls for $850 ($33,000 in 2023 dollars). Our parish was born and sprang forth from that first parish in 1847. That makes St. Mary’s/St. Paul’s our “mother,” in spiritual and church terms.

Our mother needs help right now because the pastor, our own beloved Fr. Des Rossi, has had to go on a temporary medical leave. Many of you have read the about the story of Fr. Des’s miraculous kidney transplant 20 years ago in July, which has left his immune system fragile. He recently realized that he requires a couple of months of medical assistance and retired priests began to help fill in the gaps at St. Mary’s/St. Paul’s and St. Joseph’s in Fort Edward.

I was called because they are moving the Sunday Mass to 10:00 and asked if I would be able to fill in for Fr. Des at that Mass for the next couple of months. That means that for a while after the 8:30 Sunday Mass, I won’t be able to hang out with folks or attend the coffee hour, but I’ll be scooting over to Hudson Falls to celebrate Mass for the community there. As soon as Mass ends, I’ll zip back over to St. Mary’s for the 11:15 Mass. This will take me back to my six years in the Hudson Valley where I celebrated the first Mass of Sunday morning at St. Mary’s in Coxsackie, the middle Mass at St. Patrick’s in Ravena, and then scooted back to Coxsackie for the morning’s final Mass.

It will be a sacrifice to not spend time with you after the 8:30 Masses for awhile, but I’m glad to be able some comfort to the people of our mother parish, who understandably are missing Fr. Des terribly after going through a Holy Week without him.

I’m grateful that St. Mary’s has the wonderful volunteers that make it possible for me to say yes to a request like this. Our sacristans, usher captains, Faith Finders leaders and Welcome Desk volunteers keep all the trains running on time no matter where the pastor may be. Please keep Fr. Des in your prayers. We look forward to welcoming him home soon.


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