Denver, Colo., Mar 1, 2017 / 06:24 am
St. Bernadette Parish, the pioneer Catholic church of Lakewood, Colorado, outgrew its first worship space just 18 years after being founded in 1947. Today, the half-century-old church remains large enough but needs updating to better serve its exceptionally diverse congregation.
In addition to ministering to the faithful of central Lakewood, the parish heads Colorado Catholic Deaf Ministry, is home to St. Kateri Native American Community, runs a school and soon will be host to Marisol Home, which will provide transitional housing to homeless women with children.
“One holy, Catholic and apostolic church is a pretty good description for our parish,” said the pastor, Father Tom Coyte.
“Catholic means universal,” added pastoral associate Julie Plouffe, “and there is so much diversity represented in this one worship space: the deaf, Native Americans, service to the poor and the homeless, and to our school.”
When Father Coyte was named pastor of St. Bernadette’s two and a half years ago, he quickly realized his handsome church was in need of repairs and renovations – from the essentials of updating the heating, cooling and electricity, to improving the sanctuary for comfort and hospitality.
He wants all of his parishioners, including the deaf, to be able to enjoy full, active participation in the church liturgies. When Father Coyte arrived to St. Bernadette’s, the deaf community, which he’s led for 45 years, came with him.
“We became aware of how difficult it is to participate visually in our liturgies here,” Father Coyte said.