The Beginnings of St. Pius X Church
As the Catholic population increased in the second half of the 19th century, families living in the area now defined as the parish of St. Pius X traveled long distances by carriage, farm wagon or on foot to the churches of St. Joseph and Our Lady of Angels in Albany, St. Francis de Sales in West Albany, and St. Brigid or St. Patrick in Watervliet.
Wealthy Albanians built spacious homes in the area we now know as Loudonville and employed, as domestic staff, young immigrants, many of whom came from Catholic Ireland. When these young people realized the difficulties involved in attending Mass, they began to seek employment in larger, more populated communities. Realizing the importance placed on accessibility to Mass and wishing to reduce the impact of the constant turnover in help, a group of Loudonville residents approached State Senator William T. Byrne, a fellow resident and a Catholic, to seek his help in finding a solution. After reviewing the situation, Bishop Thomas F. Cusack approved the establishment of a mission chapel on Rt. 9 under the auspices of St. Francis de Sales Church in West Albany.
On April 15, 1916, Father James E. Kelly, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church, celebrated the first Mass in the Loudon Town Hall. In May 1916, Father Kelly, with the help of Miss Marion Rahill, conducted a census, which identified thirty to forty Catholic families living in or near Loudonville. This led to the signing of a certificate of incorporation of the church of St. Pius V in Loudonville on June 15, 1916. The cornerstone of the mission chapel, constructed on Loudon Road, was laid on July 16, 1916, and the first service was held in the chapel in October of 1916. Father Thomas J. Loughlin succeeded Father Kelly as the spiritual leader: Father Loughlin, in turn, was succeeded by the Very Rev. John F. MacDonald, V.G.
On September 23, 1951, Bishop Edmund F. Gibbons established St. Pius V as an independent parish, and appointed the Rev. Gerald H. Kirwin as the first resident pastor. The rectory at 2 Fairview Road was acquired. Under the leadership of Father Kirwin, the physical plant of the parish, as it exists today, developed rapidly.
This land, known as the Burt Farm, was acquired in 1951. On May 29, 1954, the date of the canonization of St. Pius X, the cornerstone of the church/auditorium was laid. Shortly thereafter, the parish, originally named for St. Pius V, was dedicated to St. Pius X. The school opened that fall with classes for kindergarten through grade 4. A grade was added each succeeding year. That autumn, services were held in the new building known as the “Church/Auditorium” in what is now used as the school gymnasium.
The Sisters of St. Joseph staffed the school from its beginning in 1951 until the late 1990’s when the decline in vocations reduced their numbers to the point that the sisters could no longer serve as the primary source of faculty for the school.
On September 25, 1969, Bishop Edwin B. Broderick dedicated the new St. Pius X Church, the first church to be built in the diocese after Vatican II. In 1970, Msgr. Gerald Kirwin resigned as pastor because of ill health, and was succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph P. Conway, V.G. Msgr. Conway was succeeded in 1978 by the Rev. Thomas C. Brown, who was later succeeded by the Very Rev. Michael A. Farano, V.G. in December of 1990. Rev. James J. Walsh became Pastor in July 2013.
In October of 2020, the Groundbreaking for a new 15,000 square foot Parish Life Center began. As the St. Pius X community continues to grow, Father Walsh and staff recognized a need for expansion. This Parish Life Center was designed to:
1: Help people deepen their faith
2: Help people in pain
3: Help people create and build relationships
On April 3rd, 2022, parishioners were able to view this new space with their own eyes for the first time following a ribbon cutting and a blessing from Bishop Ed Scharfenberger.
Today, St. Pius X continues its mission to be a welcoming Catholic community striving to know and love God, serve and love our neighbors, and invite others into a relationship with Jesus Christ.