DENVER (CBS4) – On Sunday one of the oldest Catholic parishes in the Denver metro area celebrated its 100th anniversary. For Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput the celebration was bittersweet.
For 100 years the St. Louis Catholic Parish has been the home to many prayers and a home for parishioners to seek guidance.
“Makes me feel at peace, relieved and glad to have this hour every Sunday to do that,” parishioner Steven Compton said.
The 100th anniversary mass was celebrated by Chaput. It was likely one of his last few masses in Denver as the bishop will soon move to Philadelphia to head up the diocese there.
Chaput has been in Denver for 14 years and says the departure is bittersweet.
“I didn’t make the decision, the Pope made it for me,” Chaput said. “I received a phone call saying that the Holy Father appointed me the Archbishop of Philadelphia and would I except. And of course in obedience I do what I’m told, so I said, ‘Yes.’ That’s why I’m going.
“If I could make a decision on my own, it wouldn’t have been that one. I think I’d be very, very happy to be here for the rest of my life.”
His faithful followers feel the same.
“It’s very sad to see him moving on. He’s been a great archbishop and I consider him a friend,” Comptom said.
“He’s a very holy man, that’s what he is. You just feel it when you are around him and he’s just so down to earth,” parishioner Roseanne Mahoney said.
Ray Young recently became a pen pal with the bishop, but now his letters will have to travel a little bit farther to the East Coast.
“I just started writing him and he stating writing back, so we started writing back and forth and it’s been pretty good,” Young said.
As the parish celebrates its rich history, Catholics across the city will begin their new chapter with a goodbye.
“It’s really hard for me to say goodbye, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to say a clear parting message without a lot of emotion,” Chaput said.
Chaput will head to Philadelphia in September.