Ave Maria Catholic Church
Location: From Mainstreet and Parker Road, drive East on Mainstreet .2 miles. Turn right on Pikes Peak Drive for .08 miles to an alley leading to town parking area. Turn right. The church is on the right and is now the chapel of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church.
The first evidence of a budding Catholic congregation in Parker is from a newspaper article in December of 1905 which stated, “There will be Catholic services at the school house at 8:45 on December 24th.” Services were held in May and November of 1906. Attendance at services was growing and in March of 1908, there were reports of nearly 50 in attendance. Then, interest must have waned as it was not until October of 1910 when Father Alba of Colorado Springs came to say Mass, the first in two years.
In December of 1910 our local news reporter wrote, “Father Alba says Catholic Mass here on Saturday December 24 at ten o´clock am, and would like as large an attendance as possible, and if satisfactory, may change the service to one a month and have it on Sunday. All try and come.”
In 1913 the first priest assigned to the Parker Parish, Father (later the Rt Reverend Msgr) John Judnic arrived. He was undoubtedly the motivating influence behind the Parish´s drive to build a church in Parker. Fundraising efforts were begun in 1914 and on February 5th, 1915, a lot on the north side of Mainstreet, across the street from today´s Mainstreet Center, was purchased from George Parker for $1.
On September 17th of 1915, news reports indicated a new church was being constructed, and the foundation would be in that week. A February 1916 article stated that the church was slowly moving to a finish. The last Sunday in 1916 was one to remember, as Father Larkin said High Mass in the new little church.
In 1955 Catholic Church activities were moved to Castle Rock. The church was boarded up and sat vacant until May of 1982, when it was donated to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church by Melba Investors, and moved to its present location on Pilgrim Place. It now serves as the church´s chapel.
This building has been landmarked by the Town of Parker.
Information used in this update came from various articles in Record Journal and Guide Book to Historic Sites in the Parker Area by F. B. McLaughlin.
Updated by Larry T. Smith in January 2009.