From it inception, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church has always paid close attention to the living liturgy of the Church. The architect, the late John W. McHugh of Santa Fe, described Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) Church as “a simple prayer.” With many simple prayers and lots of hard work, OLA Mission Chapel was created in the then fast-growing Northeast section of Albuquerque. From 1951 to 1960, the Assumption Mission Chapel, also known as the Quonset Hut, at 201 Dallas NE, was used as the church. In February 1954, the late Archbishop, Most Reverend Edwin V. Byrne, formally established the parish. Reverend Francis O’Byrne was appointed the first pastor/administrator. Again, with planning, hard work, and many simple prayers, the first phase of the building program for the OLA Parish was completed, and the dedication of the new convent and school took place in August of 1954. OLA Parish now had a convent with facilities for six nuns and a six-room modern school. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Monroe, Michigan faithfully served both the parish and the school for 28 years. In 1955, Father Philip Blackburn was named pastor of the parish. He bought a home at 217 Dallas NE, which with the help of parishioners became the temporary rectory. The completion of the next phase of the building was completed, and on December 27, 1957, Archbishop Byrne dedicated the new parish hall. The hall was put to use immediately and was used as an alternate meeting place for parishioners along with the school cafeteria. Msgr. J. A. Maguire was appointed pastor in the fall of 1958. In early 1960 Msgr. Maguire became ill, and Fr. Benedict Cuesta from Madrid, Spain, was temporarily assigned to OLA as the pastor. Stability came to the Parish with the appointment of Fr. Carl Hammer as pastor in June of 1960. Due to the growth of the parish, the Mission Chapel/Quonset Hut could no longer accommodate the increasing number of parishioners. The Mission Chapel was also too far away from the rest of the parish plant, so the parish hall was used for church services until the new church could be built on the parish plant site. In September of 1960, the move from the Quonset Hut to the parish hall to place. Under the leadership of Fr. Carl Hammer, in 1962 the completion of the second phase of the elementary school occurred and the official parish rectory was established. In 1963, an open house was held for the new rectory. In preparation for the building of the actual church, Fr. Hammer and the parish finance committee reviewed the various fund drive possibilities. A tithing program was agreed upon and all the parishioners were notified. The program was a huge success and provided the money to begin the construction of the new church. The general contractor, Blue and Associates, completed the church in 1965. Our Lady of the Assumption Church was dedicated and blessed by the late Archbishop James P. Davis on Mary 30, 1965. The church was built with the purpose of providing a large worship space while still bringing the altar and the people closer together. The brightly colored reredos of textile fabric were created and installed as background to the altar. The wall of reredos was made in the 18th century Vicarage of Hythe in Kent England by David Holt in the workshop of Gerald Holtom.
History of Our Lady of the AssumptionCatholic Community