A funeral Mass is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13 at St. Joseph's Church, Schenectady, for Rev. Michael Hogan, who died Aug. 20. He was 74 and had been a priest of the Albany Diocese for 49 years.

A native of Glens Falls, he served at St. Gabriel's, Rotterdam; Catholic Central High School in Troy; and Maria College and The College of Saint Rose, both in Albany. In 1969, he founded Hospitality House Inc., a therapeutic residential community for people addicted to drugs. He also founded Lancaster House, the first residential community for mental health patients in New York; the first halfway house for alcoholic men in the Capital Region; and Shevlin House, a group home for boys. He had also been chaplain at Bishop Maginn High School, Albany. In 1992, he became pastor of Sacred Heart/St. Columba in Schenectady and, several years later, added the city's St. Joseph's and St. John the Baptist parishes. At the time of his death, he was pastor of St. Joseph's in Schenectady and its mission, St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Rotterdam Junction.

Father Hogan was passionately devoted to the people of Schenectady, particularly in the struggling Hamilton Hill neighborhood where he served for so long. He hosted a weekly half-hour public-access cable show on faith, served on civic organizations' boards, ministered to people dealing with addictions and with HIV/AIDS, welcomed immigrants, promoted participation in the U.S. census, celebrated Masses in Spanish and advocated for local laws to protect the poor.

People who are "marginalized or looked down on" are "the people Jesus always said that He was most concerned about," he explained.

"The entire neighborhood is our responsibility - not just the Catholics," he once told The Evangelist, adding: "I celebrate the Eucharist almost as a respite from the anger and the drugs and the shootings. But it is not a respite that makes me not want to get involved; it gives me the energy, courage and determination to be involved."

Father Hogan believed that people needed "to know that the Church is deeply committed and deeply concerned about issues" affecting the poor. By working with local ecumenical organizations, he told The Evangelist, "I see my role as uniting the Hill, as well as being a voice, in conjunction with the other ministers, for the poorest of the poor."

His voice may be stilled, but his tireless work and faith have doubtless affected thousands of residents of Schenectady County and beyond. May he rest in God's hands in eternal life.

Interment will be in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands.