Minturn church celebrates 90th birthday
Before there was Vail, or even Minturn, there was St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Minturn. St. Patrick’s is celebrating 90 years of service to the community on Sunday.”I am very excited and proud at the same time. Our plans are to have a wonderful celebration for all of the community,” said Father Frank Maroney, current pastor at St. Patrick’s.Maroney said the milestone will be marked with a Mexican festival.”We will have samplings of some of the best Mexican food in the valley,” he said. “Many of our parishoners will not only share their recipes, but also some of the many stories of the history of the church.”The event will include games for children, a Mexican band, a car show and other non-traditional food.”We get excited when we reach certain milestones in our lives, everything from a job promotion, birthday, anniversary, birth of a child, to buying a home,” said Maroney.The area of Minturn was first widely settled in 1889 and in the early 1900s, a priest would come up from Glenwood Springs once a month to minister to the miners and railroad employees. They and their families would gather for mass at local homes, incorporating St. Patrick’s on Sept. 13, 1913.In those days, Minturn, 10 miles northeast of the Mount of the Holy Cross, was a lumber town on the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. Several Catholics settled in the community named either for roadmaster Thomas Minturn or the railroad director, Robert G. Minturn.It was to Thomas Minturn’s section house that James P. Carrigan, then pastor of St. Stephen’s in Glenwood Springs, made many of his monthly visits to celebrate mass.Thanks to a $500 gift from the Catholic Extension Society and funds raised by parish suppers and plays, a church was constructed in the fall of 1925. Howard G. Bayers built the one-story, 24-by-36-foot structure for $1,270.Monthly masses were offered by the pastor of Glenwood Springs, and, in 1936, Benedictine sisters from Canon City launched a three-week summer vacation school at St. Patrick’s. The sisters stayed with the families of various parishioners, including those of J.P. Doyle, J.A. Mack, William McBreen and Charles A. Robbie.St. Patrick’s was enlarged in 1950 with an $875 donation from the Catholic Extension Society. After adding a basement, a choir loft, a confessional and a new ceiling, members built a rectory and petitioned for a resident priest. Joseph J. Leberer arrived in 1952 with responsibility for the missions of Mt. Carmel at Redcliff and St. Mary at Eagle, as well as St. Patrick’s.