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THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF ST.JOHN THE EVANGELIST
Welcome to the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Rensselaer, New York. Together with the Church of St. Joseph, founded in 1916, these two parishes make up the Parish of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph.

Our story begins in 1851 when Father John Corry came to Greenbush (as Rensselaer was known in those days) to offer his first Mass in the local Feed Store. That following spring, 1852, Fr. Corry celebrated Mass in the temporary wooden structure of the first church. This represented what one may call the infancy stage of our Catholic Faith Community in Rensselaer.

In the fall of 1857, after completing the construction of the "old brick church" by the men of the parish, Bishop McClosky blessed the cornerstone. This marked the faith community's entrance into its adolescence. Six years later, in 1863, the first Sisters of Mercy arrived, including Fr. Corry's niece Sister Vincent Sweetman, opening a school in September 1864. On September 24th, 1875, the Very Reverend James Duffy arrived and was appointed pastor of St. John's. During his years as pastor many improvements to the church, the surrounding grounds and a new school were made.

St. John's Academy which grew to become an outstanding center of Catholic Education and faith formation merged with St. Joseph's School in 1986. Sadly after 140 years of service to the Catholic Faith Community of Rensselaer St. Joseph's - St. John's Academy closed in June 2003 to declining enrollment and escalating costs of private education. However, through our St. Joseph – St. John’ Scholarship Fund we are committed to providing several thousands of dollars to families in need of financial assistance for their children who are enrolled in a Catholic school.

Tragedy struck the community when the church was destroyed by fire on the morning of February 10, 1890. The school hall was used for eighteen months for church services until the present structure was completed and Mass celebrated on November 22, 1891. Bishop McNierny dedicated the church on May 1, 1892 and seven months later Fr. Duffy announced that the debt on the church was paid. St. John's had come to maturity.

Our Golden Jubilee was celebrated on December 15, 1901 under the direction of the pastor Msgr. John Glavin who served the people of St. John's from 1895 until 1960. During his tenure, in 1935, St. Mary's in Clinton Heights was founded as a mission of St. John the Evangelist.

The site of St. John's is shared with the Convent of Mercy, the Parish House, and the McManus Center. The Mc Manus Center houses Eddy Daybreak Adult Services, Parish Offices, Office of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, and Rensselaer County Senior Citizens Center.

The distinctive "bee hive" dome of our historic St. John's, located next to the CDTA Rensselaer Rail Station (Amtrak), is a landmark for the Capital District and attracts many visitors. You are most welcome as well.