Father Michael Kavanagh started Our Lady of the Woods Parish in 1954 as a mission of the churches in Cripple
Creek and Victor. Masses were held in the Woodland Park High School gymnasium for 17 Catholic families. In
February 1954, construction on the church building began. Families from Denver, Woodland Park and Wichita,
Kan., donated the land. The original church was dedicated on Aug. 12, 1955. The community paid off the church
debt in 11 years, primarily with funds raised from its popular “Christmas in August” celebration. The rectory, which
is currently the administration building, was built in 1967. Before then, the pastor had an apartment in the base-
ment of the church. Father Kavanagh was pastor for 14 years, and the field behind the church is named after
him. The field is still owned by the church and is leased to the city of Woodland Park for public use.
The new church was completed in August of 2014 and the first Mass was held on September 5, 2014. The
dedication Mass took place on November 21, 2014, with Bishop Michael Sheridan presiding. The church was
built with a mountain architectural design and doubles the space of the original church, plus has a very large
gathering space, two confessionals, and an adoration chapel. Future projects will include a new parish center,
offices and classrooms.
While beginning as the mission church to St. Peter and St. Victor, today Our Lady of the Woods has grown to be
the main church for the parish. Our Lady of the Woods provides all Faith Formation programs for the parish and
handles all business transactions, correspondence and communications for the parish.