Cassidy Family - St. Lucy's Church 100 years

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St. Lucy’s celebrates 100 years

By Rosemary Caruso

ALTAMONT - Parishioners of St. Lucy's Church stepped back in time Tuesday, learning more about the church in which they worship. St. Lucy's Church—the building — located on Grand Street, Altamont, was the center of attention for a gathering observing its l00th birthday.

Members of the church from the very young to others who had memories of many years past gathered for a celebration of the eucharist followed by a covered dish supper at the parish center.

Rev. Robert Roos celebrated the mass and pointed out the St. Lucy's banner, a gift from St. Anthony's Church in Albany. The banner was given to St. Lucy's following the close of St. Anthony's by a member of the Society of St. Lucy. Church historian Gilbert DeLucia, along with others, related the history of the building and the people who first attended the church.

In the beginning, the church was a chapel. Lucy Cassidy, a wealthy woman, wanted a place in which the people who worked for her could gather to worship. She moved quickly with her plans. Cassidy was an influential figure who was instrumental in having President Grover Cleveland name the community Altamont. In 1887 she purchased land on Grand Street and construction of St. Anthony of Padula Chapel began. It opened its door in 1888.

Lucy Cassidy was very fond of St. Anthony and thus the chapel was named. The large painting of St. Anthony that hangs in the Church and the stations of the cross come from Mexico.

According to the Albany Diocese archives, St. Lucy's became a parish in 1917. The cornerstone of the building reads 1918. The original, building was not heated. Thus services were held from early. in May to the first week of October. This schedule prevailed until 1922, when heat and electricity were installed. The steel ceiling was installed in 1927.

Approximately a year later, excavation under the building raised the church three or four steps. Mr. Anthony Femia, perhaps the oldest communicant of St. Lucy's, was instrumental in digging out the basement. At this time the original Queen Anne building was changed to its current Gothic style. The stained glass windows were installed in 1934.

In the beginning there was a house located on what is now St. Lucy's parking lot. It is said that Lucy Cassidy occupied this house. The first parish house was on Lark Street, purchased in 1918. Father Bazaar and his mother resided there. The house in the parking lot was moved up Grand, Street through the fairgrounds to its current location on Arlington Drive and Brandie Road. It is now the home of Charles and Kay Sadue. The house how called the rectory was purchased in 1958. In 1968 the parish center was dedicated.

Through, the years, the number of communicants at St. Lucy's Church has grown, the activities have increased. One hundred years later, the original purpose of the, church remains — a place for people to gather to praise the Lord.

Altamont Enterprise December 15, 1988