DENVER (CBS4) – The faithful at Our Lady of Visitation are fighting back against the Archdiocese of Denver after they forced them to stop offering mass to parishioners April 30.
“We feel so betrayed,” said Marlene Casso. “(I) was baptized in this church and I’ve been coming ever since.”
In November, the Archdiocese of Denver notified OLV the church would close for good on April 30 due to a lack of priests and dwindling attendance. But with 400 registered members, Our Lady of Visitation officials say their community is stronger than ever.
Maria Gubser’s great grandfather donated the land at the intersection of Federal Boulevard and 64th Avenue to start the church in the 1940s.
“It’s history, it’s our faith and it’s our tradition,” Gubser said.
After Sunday morning’s final mass, hundreds of parishioners protested outside the gates of the Archdiocese.
Their requests to meet with Archbishop Samuel Aquila went unanswered.
Former Denver Mayor and OLV parishioner Federico Peña hand delivered more than 1,200 signed petitions in hopes the Archbishop will reconsider.
“One mass a week, that’s all we ask,” said Peña.
Parishioners plan to take their plea to the Pope.
“Please, hear our prayers, Pope, and let this church stay open,” said Our Lady of Visitation President Pierre Lopez.
Until then, the tiny church is holding out hope for one big miracle.
“We are going to make it,” Gubser said. “With everyone’s support we will succeed.”
The OLV parish plans to meet with the Archbishop this week. Until then, parishioners are being redirected to Holy Trinity Parish, which is two miles from their current church.
The Archdiocese believes Holy Trinity will better serve the community, with more mass times, in English and Spanish.