Rev. William H. Walsh
H. Walsh was appointed pastor in 1920. It was a homecoming for him. He had made his First Holy Communion, and said his first
Mass in St. Peter's Church. He had been an assisting priest during the ceremony of the blessing of the bells. He recalled
with gratitude the lasting influence Sister Thecla, of St. Peter's School, had upon his life. He said her teaching laid the
foundations of his theology. During his time, the spiritual life of the parish was at a peak. There was high enthusiasm for
all parochial activities. When the Lyceum was damaged by fire, in 1930, the men of the Holy Name Society organized their skills
and made all the repairs. The choir continued to make a major contribution. At this time, Professor Leo McCarthy was organist
and choir director. He presided at a magnificent instrument, a $25,000.00 organ donated in 1925 by Mary Katherine Fagan,
in memory of her parents. In the depression years, the St. Vincent dePaul Society was especially active, bringing relief
to needy families. The rectory door was always open to those who came for assistance, as it is today. Father Walsh was in
ill health for a number of years. He died on July 16, 1942.
Msgr. Michael F. English
F. English came to St. Peter's in September 1942. He served as Dean of Rensselaer County priests, and was elevated to a domestic
prelate by Pope Pius XII in 1957. Msgr. English was a generous, kindly man. His deep wisdom and great concern for
each individual were unheralded. Yet, his gentle counsel was widely sought. He was in frail health for a long time, ultimately
needing the administrative assistance of Father Charles C. Smith. Between them, they cleared the parish debt through the generous
response of the people. After much suffering, Msgr. English succumbed on December 15, 1959.
Msgr. Matthew M. Brennan
Rt. Rev. Msgr.
Matthew M. Brennan was appointed pastor in 1960. For 35 years he had been director of the Propagation of the Faith, a work
he loved. He was a man of many interests. He was first president of the Priests Senate. He was active in scouting. For years
he was a director of the Rensselaer County Tuberculosis Association. He was deeply committed to the missions. Out of his own
resources, he funded the translation of the Bible into the Japanese language. During his tenure, the centenary of St. Peter's
School was celebrated, in October 1964. In his time drastic changes in the the parish set in. The blight of old neighborhoods,
the demolition undertaken by Urban Renewal, resulted in the loss of hundreds of parishioners literally forced to move. But
Msgr. was an optimist, confident of God's constant help, relying on the loyalty of those who remained in the parish, and who
made it possible to keep both the church and the school functioning. While Msgr. Brennan was pastor, Vatican II was convened
by Pope John XXIII, on October 11, 1962. It was completed on December 8, 1965, when Archbishop Pericle Felici, General Secretary
of the Council, read the papal brief declaring it closed, stating that its decrees should be religiously observed by all the
faithful. Msgr. Brennan anticipated them, accepted them with enthusiasm, and began their implementation. Especially noted
for the warm conviviality of his rectory, he was an affectionate brother to his priests, and priest-visitors sought his
hospitality. He left St. Peter's in 1968 for the less rigorous demands of a relatively prosperous parish, St. Thomas in Delmar.
He died on October 1,1971.