OLPH parishioners lauded for preservation efforts
MANITOU SPRINGS. Members of a vibrant and determined community turned out on a stormy evening May 18 to celebrate the accomplishment of preserving Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and to see Chuck Smith, parishioner and retired architect, receive an award from the Manitou Historic Preservation Society. Other parish leaders were also honored at the event.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish is small, but the effort to preserve her has been great. When parishioners were notified last fall that dwindling Mass attendance and declining Sunday offertory were threatening its future, they organized to increase the church’s visibility in the community and worked with officials from the City of Manitou Springs to make Mass attendance more feasible for tourists and out-of-town visitors. In particular, parking along the narrow and crowded streets near the church was an issue.
That’s why the parishioners themselves were presented with a Special Award for years of hard work from the society. It was accepted by members of the parish’s sustainability committee, including Jerry and Mary Murphy and Dr. Mark Duster.
Smith described his role as having “interfaced with the city relating to the historic preservation of the church.” In bestowing the award, the society cited Smith’s “early involvement in forming the preservation district,” all the while setting “an example of service to his community both current and future citizens should aspire to follow.”
Accompanying Smith was his daughter Katrina. Also present was Holy Cross Father Ron Raab, pastor of the Sacred Heart Tri-Community, of which OLPH is a part.
“Manitou is proud of its history, and I am proud of Chuck and the entire OLPH community being recognized for their hard work in keeping this church vital and alive for all of us,” said Father Raab.
The church is at 218 Ruxton Ave., located along the shuttle route which stops at the church just in time for the 10:15 a.m. Sunday Mass.