The origin of Ave Maria Parish is clouded due to the lack of records and data, but it is believed to be one of 13
missions administered by Msgr. John Judnic out of Colorado Springs from 1913-1935. Due to the distances and
means of transportation available, Mass was generally celebrated by various priests once a month. Around 1955,
along with the other missions, Ave Maria closed. The altar, organ, statues and other church furnishings were
taken to Castle Rock and auctioned. The church building was boarded up until it was moved by St. Matthew’s
Episcopal Mission to its present location at 6930 East University Park Place in Parker.
In 1975, Theatine Father Pat Valdez came to Parker to celebrate Masses at the home of a parishioner. The
number of families grew so quickly that a move was made to Parker United Methodist Church. In January 1976,
the Parker Catholic Mission was formally established and moved to Joy Lutheran Church. Father J. Anthony
McDaid became administrator of the mission that fall. Masses were soon moved to Pine Lane Elementary School
(now Pine Lane Intermediate School), then to Parker Junior High School. In May 1979, the Parker Catholic
Mission Council approved the establishment of a fund for a permanent facility. In March 1983, Archbishop James
V. Casey officially established Parker Catholic Mission as a parish and restored the former name of Ave Maria.
Construction of the new church was hampered by many delays brought on by a harsh winter. The first Mass was
celebrated in the new church on Oct. 7, 1984. Ave Maria was the first church dedicated in the new Diocese of
Colorado Springs on Feb. 10, 1985. A 70,000 square-foot evangelization center (school) opened in 2000 and includes
the first Catholic pre K-8 elementary school in Douglas County. The parish has grown 350 percent in the past 16
years and 200 percent since 1990. A new parish life center opened in September 2011.