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Chapter Two of the History of St. Peter's Parish
Father Peter Havermans
Father Havermans

Father Peter Havermans and Father Donahue

 

Father Peter Havermans in 1842 was appointed pastor. It was he who first used the resources of St. Peter's to establish other parishes in the city. From this time St. Peter's dates the title, Mother of Troy parishes. Father Havermans obviously was gifted with vision, drive, and organizing skill. His name and works will remain as long as this com­munity exists.

  

The first institution he founded in Troy was St. Mary's parish. His missionary interests ultimately were to extend far out into the mid­west. He established Troy Hospital, with the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent dePaul. He began the parishes of St. Joseph in south Troy, and St. Francis deSales. He brought the Little Sisters of the Poor to Troy over one hundred years ago to give badly needed attention to the aged, a work to which the same order of sisters is dedicated today. He helped establish the House of Good Shepherd, a foundling asylum, a maternity hospital, and St. Mary's cemetery.

 

It was in 1843 that Father Havermans saw the need for another church, south of St. Peter's. He received permission from Bishop Hughes to begin solicitation of funds to build one there. On May 27, the Trustees of St. Peter's Church purchased a lot on the northwest corner of Washington and Third Streets from Francis N. Mann, and shortly thereafter, the erection of St. Mary's Church began. It was consecrated on the Feast of the Assumption, 1844.

Father Havermans so loved the church and parish he had created, that he undertook its pastorate while continuing to reside at St. Pe­ter's. His assistant, Father Donahue, took charge at St. Peter's. When Father Havermans completed the construction of a rectory near St. Mary's in 1846, he went there to live.

 

Rev. Phillip O'Reilly and Rev. John Corry

 

Rev. Phillip O'Reilly was named St. Peter's pastor, then. He was to serve until 1849. At about noon on Tuesday, February 10, 1848, a fire broke out in the church, set by sparks from a stovepipe. It burned to the ground. As soon as the ruins were cleared away, the erection of the present building began. However, by the time construction had reached the roof, and before the tower and steeple could be com­pleted, funds ran out, and work was suspended. The complicated administrative matters of re­organizing the fund raising arid resuming the work were next undertaken by a new pastor, Rev. John Corry, from West Troy (now Water­vliet). Father Corry brought with him consid­erable experience in church building.