behold, and take heart

St. Louis over the years - parish memories

Janet Arnold
Evie Auen
Lucy Blanchard
Mary Bondarewicz
Ben and Alice Dreiling
Agnes Dreiling Fuchtman
Charles Flierl
Dr. Jess Gerardi
Austin Gnomes
Bonnie Hayes
Marvin and Pat Henry
Mary Jackson
Will and Priscilla Jeffers
Sister Marie Joan
Charles Kaufman

Anna Marie Kratzer
Teresa Lynn Lake
Mondo and Vera Montez
Dr. Tim Moser
Virginia Parker Vobejda
Dudley and Millie Pitchford
Edward and Rena Puetz
Charlotte Pytlinski Collins
Jim and Irene Sirokman
Joe and Marie Kelly Smolski
Roy and Lucille Troxell
Syl and Margaret Walorski
Mary Walsh
Rosemary Wiemeyer
Ruth Woodman

Janet (Burke) Arnold

Janet Burke’s parents became members of St. Louis Church in the early 1940’s.  She started school in the 1st grade at St. Louis School and was a member of the first class to graduate from the new school in 1950.  Janet will always cherish the wonderful education she received from the Sisters of Carondelet.

Janet’s mother Loretta worked in the school cafeteria for many years and was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society.  At the age of 85 she took Communion to the residents of Simon Center.

In 1955 Janet was married in St. Louis Church by Father Walter Steidle, who also married her parents.  He was assisted by Father Joseph O’Heron, the pastor.  Janet’s three children were baptized at St. Louis and her husband’s funeral Mass was held there in 1993.

Janet’s two favorite priests were Father Joseph O’Heron and Father Roger Mollison.  Father O’Heron’s  dog would lay at the side of the altar while Father was saying Mass.  Sometimes the dog was with him while he was hearing confession.  Janet remembers him as a kind and compassionate priest.  The other priest who she will never forget is Father Roger Mollison who counseled her husband while he was going through cancer treatments.

Evie Auen

Evelyn Juergens Auen was born in Carroll County, Iowa where she grew up.  She first came to St. Louis Parish in July of 1973 when she moved to a home on Corona St.  Evie has fond memories of Fr. Roger Mollison.
 
Over the years Evie has been involved in the St. Louis Social Club where she served as Co-President and the Altar and Rosary Society serving as both Vice President and President in 1980 and 1981.  She is most proud of the Mother-Daughter Breakfast which was cooked by members and attended by 150 people.
               
The greatest gift  Evie feels she has received from being a member of St. Louis Parish is the friendliness.  She especially appreciates the great support she received when she lost her husband Don. 

Lucy Blanchard

Lucy Blanchard was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado and grew up in Buena Vista.  She married Lloyd Blanchard, who is now deceased.  In 1973 Lucy was converted to Catholicism.  Monsignor Cullen converted her and confirmed her.  She had already been baptized.  She then received her First Communion and she and Lloyd had their marriage blessed all on the same day.  Lucy attended St. Louis Church for two years before her conversion and says she converted because she felt at home at St. Louis.  She was close to Monsignor Cullen and Father Durrie.

Lucy was co-president of Altar and Rosary Society with Mary Wedow in 1978 and 1979.  She was a member of St. Anthony Circle and St. Catherine Circle.  She helped Rita Kukral and the Annettes and volunteered with Sr. Karen, taking older people of the parish to their appointments.  She was one of the original team leaders of the Prayer Network.  She also made many altar cloths and helped with the sanctuary linens.

Lucy and Lloyd moved to Grand Junction when Lloyd’s health failed, but she has stayed in contact with the members of her circles.

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Mary Bondarewicz

Mary Bondarewicz was an employee of St. Louis Church from July 25, 1978 to November 23, 2004.  She worked for four different pastors.  The business office was a busy place, especially with Father Mollison who served almost ten years here.  Mary saw lots of activity with other priests from an African diocese.  Many passed through, but Father Simon Kalonga stayed and became pastor of Cure D’Ars Parish in Denver.  Father Mollison started the St. Vincent House and the first Catechumen Group at St. Louis.  Also, the Jesus Our Hope Hermitage flourished under his direction.  The parish chapel inside the business office was well-received and visited.  It was a very busy time with seminarians dropping in and out to speak with Father Roger.

Ben and Alice Dreiling

Ben and Alice Dreiling were born in Kansas. They were married at St. Louis Parish in 1947 with Father O’Heron officiating. Ben was an usher at the 10:00 mass for 35 years. He recently retired from those duties due to his health. During his early years, he and his brothers had a softball team connected with St. Louis. He still has the winning trophy.

Agnes Dreiling Fuchtman

Agnes Busch was born within the boundaries of St. Louis Parish. Her parents, Ed and Mary Busch came to Englewood in the early 1920’s when Father Walsh was pastor. She was named after Sr. Agnes, one of the first nuns to serve St. Louis. Agnes attended St. Louis School from 1936 to 1944. When the little red school house was built Agnes’ father, Ed, helped dig the basement. There were only five classes when Agnes went to St. Louis: 1st and 2nd grades, 3rd and 4th grades, 5th and 6th grades, 7th grade, and 8th grade. She attended St. Francis High School and got to St. Francis on the trolley for 5 cents until the bus started.

Monsignor O’Heron was her favorite priest. He was so down to earth and Agnes remembers Monsignor being at Minnie and John Bettinger’s on New Year’s Eve. Agnes spent a lot of time during her growing up years with Minnie and John. Minnie was her sister. Agnes’ first husband Dominic and his family moved to Englewood from Kansas in 1947. They were married at St. Louis in 1950. They had six children, five of whom attended St. Louis for all eight years. Agnes belonged to the Sodality which were hostesses for the dedication of the new parish rectory. That year Ida Mae Michaud Jones crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Agnes joined the Altar and Rosary in 1959. Her mother always got the prize for being the oldest member attending the Mother-Daughter Breakfast. Mary was 97 when she died. Of course, Agnes was a member of PTA and St. Anne’s and St. Catherine’s Circles. She didn’t hold an office other than circle chairman, but always helped where she was needed, like cleaning the church with Altar and Rosary during the 60’s and 70’s. The greatest benefit Agnes received from being a member of St. Louis Parish was the feeling of belonging to a big family community. The greatest support was the help she received when Dominic died. The parishioners brought in meals for some time.

Agnes’ advice to our young parishioners is to make time in your lives for St. Louis.

Charles Flierl

Charles “Chuck” Flierl was born in Parker and has fond memories of St Louis.  His family joined the parish in June 1944 when they moved to Englewood.  They were in the parish until All Souls was formed in the early 1950's, as his parents lived on Logan Street three blocks north of All Souls.

St. Louis Church was unable to accommodate all its members and he remembers the adding of the wings in the 40's.  He also remembers the gossip about the cost of the new rectory and later the "new school".

Chuck and his sister Ruth attended school in the old school building from 1944 to 1949 with Chuck graduating in 1947 and Ruth in 1949.The students assembled in lines in front of school and marched to their classrooms.  There were four classrooms with two grades in each.  Desks and seats were on skids and he remembers the high windows which he was unable to see out of because the shades were kept down to keep out the south winter sun.  Tuition was $1 per student per month. 
He missed 7th grade due to illness and was tutored in the old convent basement in the summer of 1946 so that he could enter 8th grade with his classmates to graduate.  Sister Barbara was his 6th grade teacher and Sister Felicia was the principal.  Sister Barbara was very strict.  Some of the boys were quite unruly and required “special” punishment.  Playground fights sometimes erupted and teasing and bullying were not unusual.  Chuck remembers the city ditch that ran just below the church and also playing ball in the field below the ditch. 

Father O’Heron would come to the classroom about once a month for special religious instruction.  Learning the catechism was a part of regular classroom curriculum.  Chuck was confirmed in 8th grade by Archbishop Vehr.  They gathered at the communion rail with their sponsor, whose name they took, and were given a symbolic “slap” on the cheek.  Chuck attended the all school reunion a few years ago and rekindled some old friendships.

The amount of money each family contributed was published each month, and Father O'Heron frequently was asking for money to support the parish.  Chuck will never forget his plea that "it behooves us all to support our parish".  There was no pulpit and he preached just inside the communion rail.

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Dr. Jess Gerardi

Jess Gerardi was born and raised in Trinidad, Colorado, where he attended Holy Trinity Grade and High Schools.  In 12 years of schooling he only had one teacher who was not a nun or priest.  After some changes, he pursued a career in music receiving degrees from UNC, UCLA, and the University of Colorado.  He worked in public school education for 32 years and served as Director of Entertainment for the Denver Broncos for 30 years.  He directed the Denver Broncos Band and he continues to be involved in professional music.  The 180-member award winning Englewood High School Pirate Band, which he directed, marched in the famed Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade twice, and they won the sweepstakes trophy twice at the Portland Oregon Rose Festival.  He has received numerous honors in his career including three halls of fame.

Jess became the band and orchestra director at Flood Junior High School in Englewood in 1963.  When he moved here he attended mass at St. Louis because it was the closest church to where he lived.  Since then he has lived in four different places, all near St. Louis Parish.

Jess has attended St. Louis Parish during the tenure of four different pastors: Monsignor Cullen, Father Durrie, Father Mollison, and Father Reycraft.  In addition, there were several other priests who assisted or were in residence: Father Vollmer, Father Harris, Father Stansell, Father Ryan, Father Gaston, Father Absoseke, and Father Kolonga.  To choose one as a favorite would be difficult.  All had great personalities and served our parish well.  Jess has always been able to go to dinner with each of our pastors, however, since the passing of his mother, he has probably done that the most with Father Reycraft.  Father Stansell was his history professor at Regis College and Jess enjoyed him being here very much, however, his homilies sounded like a history class.  Jess taught Father Kolonga to say mass in English.

Jess has served our parish as an usher during the times that Monsignor Cullen and Father Durrie were the pastors.  Many changes occurred in our parish during Father Mollison’s tenure.  At that time, Jess served as chairman of the Liturgy Commission.  The commission changed personnel a lot and started and ended with just a few people, but at one time it was a huge organization because Father Mollison wanted a lot of input from a lot of people.  His encouragement was overwhelming, but he was never able to say “no” to anyone, and as a result, they encountered numerous conflicts with people clamoring.  They held annual meetings at the Hermitage, which was a retreat house Father Roger built on mountain property south of US highway 285.

In 1990 Jess was asked to coordinate the altar servers’ program by a St. Louis school teacher, Cathye Woody.  She asked him to take the job for one year.  It is now 2011 and he is still in charge of the Altar Servers.  We have 80 servers and Jess is proud to say that at St. Louis Church we never have a mass without servers, be it Sunday, weekdays, funerals, etc.  The children have been wonderful and loyal.  It is a ministry he has enjoyed very much.

Jess is also a member of St. Louis Council #14443 Knights of Columbus.  Before that, he belonged to council #3340 which was made up of men from several parishes.  Jess has been a 3rd degree knight for 55 years and a 4th degree knight in Mother Seaton Assembly #1843 for 35 years.  His first council was #1072 in Trinidad, Colorado, where he served on a degree team.

Being able to attend daily mass and the consistency of maintaining a conservative liturgy over the years are the greatest benefits Jess feels he has received from being a member of St. Louis Parish.  Also, he has made many long-term friendships.  He feels a comfort in being able to attend mass and pray at St. Louis during several times in his life when he was under stress.  The “chapel-like” atmosphere of St. Louis gives one a feeling of closeness with God and leaves you with a feeling of positive communication.  Jess can’t describe the parish as coming to his “rescue” per se, but it certainly is a place of solitude during those times when comfort is needed.  He lights a large candle each week.

St. Louis Parish is small and personal.  Unlike larger parishes where an invisible curtain seems to come between you and the liturgy, St. Louis is open and more available to people.  The atmosphere is calm and conducive to prayer and contemplation.  The people are kind and friendly.  The parish school is perhaps a hidden gem in a huge metropolitan area.  With dedicated teachers and a small population, students at this school do better than most, not only in academics but also in developing people skills.  From working with the altar servers, Jess can verify that students come to this school ready to learn.  Parents are very supportive and engage in helping their children make good choices.

Jess would also advise younger parish members to stay with the status quo.  Many younger Catholics want the church to change and be more accommodating.  He would remind those who say the church is out of touch with the world, that perhaps it is the world that is out of touch with the church.

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