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June 3, 2009
Parish bids goodbye to its pastor, says hello to new one
As priests take on their new assignments this month, many parishes express gratitude to their former pastor while extending a warm welcome to their new one.
Father Gregory Cioch, V.F., is leaving Estes Park after seven years of service as pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains. He has been assigned as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Collins.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the largest Catholic parish in the Fort Collins Deanery, of which Father Cioch has served as a dean for the last year and a half. Seton Parish serves more than 2,350 registered families and is much larger than Our Lady of the Mountains, which has 350 registered families.
“The parishioners of Our Lady of the Mountains thank Father Gregory for his ministry to us which has helped us become better people, better Catholics and better disciples of Christ,” said parishioner Fran Grooters. “We have been forever enriched by his presence, as have others in our community.”
During his time in Estes Park, Father Cioch was involved in the Interfaith Council, Evangelical Ministerial Alliance, Church of the Air, served as chaplain to the Estes Park Fire Department and was on the board of directors of the Caring Pregnancy Center and of the St. Malo Catholic Retreat Center.
“While pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains, Father Gregory provided dynamic leadership resulting in growth of the religious education program for children and youths with more than 100 participants, renovation of the church and rectory, and later, expansion of the church and the parish center completed with 25 beautiful stained glass windows,” noted Grooters.
Father Joseph Hartman, most recently pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Loveland, will begin his ministry at Our Lady of the Mountains on June 17.