The community of Ascension Parish saw the fruits of hard work and fundraising last month when an improvement to its church was completed.
The Denver parishioners held festivals, car raffles and bake sales to fund a $1.3 million expansion and improvement project needed in their flourishing church in the Montbello neighborhood.
“It was crowded during Sunday Masses. We needed more space,” said pastor Father Gerardo Puga. “Now we have some room and parishioners can see their effort bore fruit.”
The parish needed little assistance from the Denver Archdiocese to supplement their funds to add 2,400 square feet of space.
The addition includes extra room for pews in the church, classrooms for Sunday school, a sound system and a brick and stained glass façade.
“Prior to the addition, you may have driven by it without knowing it was a church,” said Walt Wostenberg, construction manager for the Denver Archdiocese. “It looks like a church now. People are very happy about that.”
The pastor decided improvements were needed to the church that celebrates six Masses on Sundays and two anticipated Masses Saturdays, almost all in Spanish.
Parishioners, made up mostly of Hispanics, have pride in their church and readily volunteered to raise money, said parish secretary Ana Griselda.
“They’re very hard working. They like to help out a lot,” she said.
In April, a contract was signed with Krische Construction of Longmont and Integration Design Group of Henderson oversaw the architectural plans.
Construction was finalized in October and repair men made final adjustments in November.
A couple of parishioners came to pray at the revitalized parish.
“Now it’s presentable and it looks beautiful,” said Ester Watso, a parishioner for 23 years. “God’s spirit is here.”
She said Masses were often crowded, but the expansion enabled more room and more activities.
Theresa Duru said she often attends weekday Mass.
“I was very impressed,” she said. “Everyone is very friendly and it’s all come together.”
Father Puga has ambition to complete future phases of construction including adding a eucharistic adoration chapel and an expansion of the sanctuary.
“Our parishioners do their best for the community and they do that because their faith is in God,” he said. “They want to do the best for the Church.”
By the Numbers: Ascension construction
$1.3 million project
2,400 added square feet
Originally built in 1971