HOLY FAMILY (1924)
Guillaume Joseph LaJeunesse, pastor of St. Joseph Church, realized that Fort Collins was ready for a second Catholic parish. So, in 1924, he bought the Second Presbyterian Church and helped recruit a Spanish-speaking Sulpician from Montreal, Canada--Father Joseph Peter Trudel, SS--as the first resident pastor of Holy Family parish. With Father Trudel's encouragement, Margaret Murray opened a parish school in her home in 1928. After teaching alone for several years, she enlisted the help of Margaret Linden and Jovita Vallecillo. By the fall of 1934, the school had eight-five pupils, and four Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, were recruited. Sister Quirine, the mother superior, and sisters Emanuelle, Ernestelle, and Matilda soon enrolled over 100 children in eight grades.
The old church/school at Whitcomb and Cherry streets, which was heated by pot-bellied stoves, was
condemned in 1948. The school then moved into a new building on Whitcomb Street next to the parish rectory. A kindergarten class was opened in 1964, and the balcony of the gym was converted into a classroom for the fifth and sixth grades.
Although Holy Family School closed in 1969, the parish thrived. After Father Trudel's health failed in 1937, Juan Fullana, CR, took charge and undertook economic as well as spiritual uplift of his heavily Hispanic congregation. He and parishioners established a cooperative grocery and a mop factory. A recreation hall, auditorium, library, and kitchen were added to the parish plant with members of the congregation doing much of the construction themselves. Father Fullana's contribution to the community as well as to his parish is commemorated by Juan Fullana Elementary School, which Fort Collins named in his honor in 1975.
The cornerstone of a $12,000, ninety-six-by-forty-five-foot church was blessed in the spring of 1929 by Bishop Tihen. By the end of the year, a beautiful Romanesque church of wire-cut red brick had been completed. Architect Moresi of Denver designed a bricklayers' tour de force, with intricate window surrounds, corbelling, coursework, and gorgeous cathedral glass windows. The old church across the street was converted to classrooms for the school.
Father Anthony Homar, CR, served as pastor from 1951 to 1959, improving the parish plant and cutting his own salary to $80 a month to help reward the teaching nuns, who had been without a salary for twenty-two years. Bart Nadal, CR, pastor since 1973, further upgraded the Hispanic parish of Fort Collins. Father Nadal, an accomplished carpenter, remodeled and decorated the parish basement as a recreation hall and bingo parlor. To this day, Holy Family offers Masses in both Spanish and English and stages an annual fiesta.
Eve Martínez, the first bride to be married in Holy Family Church in 1924, reported in her 1989 parish history: