Before Buena Vista came into existence as a town, French missionary Father Joseph Machebeuf had a mission
station in the vicinity at a place called Cottonwood, (the site of the present Buena Vista). Beginning in the late
1850s, he used to celebrate Mass at different homes for a very small congregation.
When the Rio Grande Railroad came in 1880, Buena Vista grew rapidly. The first Catholic church was built that
year by Father Thomas Cahill. Father Cahill left Buena Vista in 1881 and was succeeded by Father Michael C.
Brennan. The parish has been cared for by various diocesan priests along with the Benedictine Fathers from
Cañon City, who served the parish from 1921-1923 and again from 1944-1956.
In 1956, the parish was taken over by the Diocese of Pueblo, with Father John F. Shockley assigned as pastor.
He served until 1960, when he was named full-time chaplain of a reformatory but was available to assist at Mass
at St. Rose whenever needed. In 1963, Father Joseph Reade was appointed administrator, and he was followed
by Father Michael Corbett in 1965. It was under him that the new church, hall and rectory (now the parish center
and rectory) were started. He was succeeded in August 1967 by Father Jerome Rykowski, under whom the
building project was finished. After the church hall and rectory were constructed, the old original church was no
longer needed, so it was proposed that it be burned down by the Buena Vista volunteer fire department in the
spring of 1969. However, Mrs. Marie Skogburg moved the church to Forest Square Park, where it now serves as
the visitors center and office of the Buena Vista Area Chamber of Commerce.
After serving the church for 10 years, Father Rykowski was replaced by Msgr. Francis Faistl in 1977. Msgr. Faistl
retired in 1980, and Father Gerald Bruggeman was appointed pastor. In 1984, St. Rose of Lima became part of
the newly created Diocese of Colorado Springs. It was also in 1984 that construction began on the present church.
Father John Auer was assigned to St. Rose that year, and the church was completed under him. On Dec. 8, 1985,
Bishop Richard C. Hanifen dedicated the new church. Father Auer was pastor until 1988, when Benedictine Abbot
Warren Heidgen was assigned and served for 14 years. Vincentian Father William Rhinehart succeeded him in
2002 and served until 2007, when Father Stephen Parlet was appointed pastor.