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About UsOur History    July 23, 2018
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  HOLY TRINITY PARISH HISTORY

 

 

On August 28, 1959, Archbishop Urban J. Vehr of the Denver Archdiocese established the parish of Holy Trinity in Colorado Springs. Land was acquired from A.V. (Tony) Venetucci, who owned 66 acres of what is now the Venetian Village neighborhood. After selling 5.6 acres to the parish, Venetucci returned half of the purchase price as a donation in memory of his brother Rocco, who had died in a well explosion on the property 15 years before.

Archbishop Vehr named Father John L. Aylward as the founding pastor; he was a young priest from St. Thomas Seminary in Denver who had served as pastor for St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Minturn. When he arrived, Holy Trinity had 450 families, but no buildings, so Father Aylward said Mass in the Crazy Cat Lounge, a bar on North Nevada. Some parishioners described it as a "dump", but on Sunday mornings it became a church. Volunteers went early to hide the half-full beer mugs and ashtrays, sweep the floors, and push together tables to make an altar. With a few linens and a traveling Mass kit, the bar became a serviceable chapel, the congregation seated on folding chairs on the dance floor. Later, when the lounge became the Veterans of Foreign Wars clubhouse, volunteers still had to clean up remnants of Saturday night dances before Mass on Sunday.

The parish eventually found more sober surroundings: a Laundromat at 3003 N. Institute. Fortunately, the church rented this cinderblock building before washers and dryers were installed. These initial months forged bonds of camaraderie between parishioners; they were eager to build a church of their own. Fundraising committees hosted dances and card parties, staged fashion shows and offered special dinners.

In January, the five month old parish commissioned Gordon Sweet, architect, and the Bickley Construction Company to plan and build a gymnasium/community center which could serve as the temporary worship space.

Father Aylward died in 1963, and Father Walter Jaeger became the second pastor of Holy Trinity. When he came from Mount St. Francis, north of Colorado Springs, he found that his new parish was already planning to build a school. Throughout this time, the sisters had been raising funds, retained Gordon Sweet and general contractor B.H. Baker, Inc., and were prepared to build a school. Father Jaeger broke ground with a golden shovel in January 1965, and a year later, the $250,000 school opened. Father Jaeger was pastor until 1971.

In April of that year, Father Edward T. Madden came to Holy Trinity from his position as chaplain at Penrose Hospital. Like his predecessors, the Denver native had attended St. Thomas Seminary, but unlike them, he did not undertake any building projects. However, he did impress upon the congregation the need for a new church, and he strengthened the parish's missionary role. After five years, Father Madden moved to Denver, where he became the Episcopal Vicar for Priestly Personnel in the Archdiocese.

Father Michael A. Walsh became Holy Trinity's fourth pastor. A Colorado resident since 1947, he had come from Waterford, Ireland, where he was one of eleven children. Following his studies at St. Thomas Seminary, he served as superintendent of Machebeuf High School and pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Denver. He arrived at Holy Trinity on September 6, 1976. In January of 1977, the parish council recommended that a new church be built for the rapidly growing parish, which numbered 950 families. On May 21, 1978, Father Walsh and Bishop Richard Hanifen broke ground for the new building. Architect Paul D. Maybury submitted an original design, and G.E. Johnson Construction Company won the building contract. Modifications to the original plan were later made by Royce Angell of Angell-Currie Assoc., Architects. The parish council had asked Vincent O'Brien, a local artist, to design and make the stained glass windows to decorate the interior. The interior decoration committee decided to incorporate furniture and fixtures from the old church and to implement a subdued color scheme of earth tones, which would compliment the brilliant windows. The last pew was set in place in June 1979, two months before the 20th anniversary. Holy Trinity finished the "complete and modern parish plant" which Father Aylward had dreamed of in 1959, while saying Mass at the Crazy Cat Lounge. In June 1982, Father George V. Fagan arrived; he was pastor until 1985. In 1985, Father Karl Useldinger was named pastor; he was succeeded by Father John Auer in 1989.

In 1996, Ms. CoCo Soper was assigned as Parish Director when Father Auer left for another pastorate. CoCo Soper was the director until July 2004; during her tenure, diocesan and Holy Cross priests celebrated the Sacraments at Holy Trinity. Father Mark Zacker was assigned as Pastoral Administrator in August 2004; in September 2005, he was installed as Pastor by Bishop Michael Sheridan.

Holy Trinity School celebrated its 40th anniversary during the 2006-2007 academic year; in observance of the important milestone, many special events were held, including a theater production featuring a cast of students, a reunion dinner and dance, and "Raisin" a Ruckus" themed auction fundraising event. As the anniversary year drew to a close, however, so did the schools mission. For 40 years, dedicated pastors, faculty, and staff had brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to generations of children. Despite the best efforts of the administration in promoting the school, improving its building and grounds, and employing the most experienced principal and teachers, declining enrollment and increased costs led to the permanent closure of the school in May of 2007.

In his letter to school families and parishioners announcing the closing of the school, Father Zacker observed, "As the 40-year history of our school comes to a close, the dedication of Major LaBouff Memorial Field and the death of our longtime science teacher, David Simpleman, point toward the Paschal Mystery "only by dying in Christ can we rise to new life in Christ" In the same letter, he also announced that he would be taking on the added responsibility of pastoring Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Father Jim Williams, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Colorado Springs and a native son of Holy Trinity Parish, was named parochial vicar and began serving both parishes alongside Father Zacker.  

On February 17, 2008, Fr. Jim was installed as Pastor of Holy Trinity and Fr. Mark moved permanently to Corpus Christi.

During Fr. Jim's tenure a newly expanded Hope House was dedicated on July 1, 2012, thanks to our benefactors and the Knights of Columbus Council #582.  In addition to capital improvements, the parish also continues to build and support its various ministries, according to the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, in the areas of faith formation, evangelization, leadership, social justice, and stewardship.

Bishop Michael Sheridan assigned Fr. Kizito Osudibia as Pastor of Holy Trinity from July, 2013, through November, 2015.  

On December 1, 2015, Fr. Michael Goodyear was assigned to the Parish, and his Installation Mass was held December 19, 2015.  During Fr. Michael's tenure a renovation of the Rectory was completed, and in the summer of 2017, the interior of the church was remodeled.  Thanks to the generosity of donors, a new Altar, Ambo, Tabernacle Altar, and Baptismal Font was dedicated and the Sanctuary was totally remodeled.  In addition, a Johannus Rembrandt digital organ was purchased and a choir loft was installed.


 
 
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