The town of Westminster was established around Westminster College, a soaring castle-like building on the highest hill in what is now a thriving suburban community. Between 1940 and 1950, the town’s population tripled from 534 to 1,619.
- September 1948: Rev. John Giambastiani, the Servite pastor of nearby Assumption parish in Welby, realized that the mushrooming town of Westminster needed a parish of its own. He held a meeting in the home of Anthony Blatter, at which eighty families opted to form a parish. Archbishop Vehr bought a four-acre tract on West 72nd Avenue between Hooker and Irving streets in December 1948. For $6,000, an army barracks was moved to the tract and capped with a cross and steeple.
- Christmas Day, 1948: Approximately 150 worshippers showed up for the first Mass. Archbishop Vehr formally dedicated the church to the Holy Trinity on April 7, 1949, and asked Forrest Allen of St. Anne’s in Arvada to handle it on a mission basis. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet from St. Catherine parish began teaching catechism in January 1949.
- Aug. 28, 1957: Rev. Albert Puhl was appointed the first full-time pastor, by which time Holy Trinity Catholic Church was offering four Masses each Sunday to accommodate 1,100 parish households. Fr. Puhl lived at St. Anne’s in Arvada until the Frank Huber home at 7190 Julian Street was procured as a rectory. The fast-growing parish soon had to offer additional Masses in Westminster High School, until the building committee decided that the four-acre site had become inadequate. The old site was sold for $85,000, and a new 12.33-acre site was purchased for $68,000.
- September 7, 1958: Groundbreaking began for the new parish. Father Puhl placed a small roadside shrine to Christ Crucified to guide and inspire the parish through the construction process in what was then a sheep field and which now greets all who enter the parking lot.
- September 24, 1959: The new $250,000 building to house the growing worship community was dedicated. A $103,000 rectory was completed in 1962, and a convent in 1965.
- Fall 1966: The new $222,857 school opened at 3050 W. 76th, staffed by four lay teachers and four Dominicans from Great Bend, Kansas, until the sisters withdrew in 1985. “From the Heart to the Head” is the motto of Holy Trinity School, which now offers education from preschool (age four) to eighth grade, as well as extended care before and after school.
- 1964: Father Puhl saw his booming parish through the changes inspired by Vatican II, including replacement of the traditional Latin Mass with an English service in 1964.
- 1973: After seventeen years of service at the parish he founded, Father Puhl stepped down in 1973, after which the Servite order took charge. The Servite priests then guided Holy Trinity Parish until the summer of 2000.
- Summer 2000: Fr. John Hilton arrived, bringing the gift of Eucharistic Adoration in the convent chapel; a surprising number of generous parishioners signed up to adore Our Lord. Thanks to the prayers of all our adorers, the efforts of many volunteers and the generosity of all our parishioners, many things were accomplished in a very short period of time:
- February 2002: Holy Trinity began offering a single Spanish mass at 1pm, thus opening their doors to the Spanish-speaking community of Westminster; presently offering three Spanish Masses.
- June 2004: our school children received a much-needed new playground. In addition, Hyland Hills and Holy Trinity joined forces to build a Softball field on unused acreage, resulting in a very beneficial partnership.
- 2006: Thanks to many dedicated parishioners and contributors, the construction of the new Fr. Albert Puhl Parish Center began and was completed in November 2007.
- In 2008, an anonymous donor contributed towards the renovation of the Adoration Chapel. In 2005, Cecilia Aguallo generously “wrote” the icons of St. Michael and St. Gabriel, guarding the Blessed Sacrament in the newly renovated chapel.
- 2009: To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Holy Trinity, the renovation of the church begins and is completed in May 2010.
- Thanks to the generosity of all our parishioners, and the inspired leadership of Fr. Hilton, we are able to have a spacious gathering space and the school children are able to play indoor sports. The faithful not only from our Parish, but from all surrounding areas, are able to go to our Lord and experience His presence in an inviting, beautiful Adoration Chapel, and we can all worship in a church that is not only beautiful but also uplifting.
- June 2011: John Paul Leyba became the 4th Pastor of the newly renovated and thriving community of Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
- June 2017: Fr. Piotr Mozdyniewicz, formerly of Shrine of St. Anne in Arvada, becomes the 5th Pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church & School, now serving over 2,367 registered Catholic families and 2,380 people attending Mass on any given weekend.
Our Lady of Visitation Chapel History | 1950
In 1949, the prayers of the Spanish-speaking people of Goat Hill (a rural patch of unincorporated Adams County) were answered when the Denver Tramway Company shifted to rubber-tired busses. Joseph Trudell asked the Denver Tramway Company for a streetcar to serve as the host building for the Goat Hill area; they gave him two. Parishioners were overjoyed after years of meeting in the Penitente morada at the east end of West 65th Place for services with Father Trudel, the chaplain at Mercy Hospital. Benito García donated a lot next to his home for the old trolley cars. They were put on cinderblocks and the adjoining sides removed to make one large room. Parishioners donated labor and materials to refit the old streetcars with pews, an altar, and an altar rail. A small steeple bell was set on top in time to toll for Christmas Mass in 1949.
Goat Hill residents lived mostly on the cattle, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, and vegetables they raised, and on paychecks from the Savory Mushroom plant at 100th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. But church members gave what they could to the streetcar church. Marcos Saiz contributed hogs and piglets for parish raffles–until the Pentecostal Church down the street won the Catholic porker.
1954: The streetcar chapel (Chapel of the Good Shepherd) was replaced with a concrete block church built across the street. At that time, the name was changed to Our Lady of Visitation. The Servite fathers, as well as priests from various area parishes, tended the tiny Goat Hill flock. George R. Evans, before he became a bishop, asked for and received this parish and built a $9,800 hall for its legendary Mexican dinner fund-raisers.
1957: Our Lady of Visitation Church became a mission of Holy Trinity. Our Lady of Visitation Church also served as an outreach location for Adams County Welfare Department and the Salvation Army’s seniors program. Although never large nor prosperous enough to merit a resident pastor, the streetcar parish offered much to its Spanish-speaking congregation.