For the parishioners of St. Benedict Catholic Church in Falcon, the dream has finally become a reality.
From a barn to a church
By Bill Radford
On Oct. 8, the parish's new church at 12130 Falcon Highway was dedicated in a ceremony that attracted an overflow crowd.
Until then, parishioners had celebrated Mass in the gym of Falcon School District 49's Patriot High School. Deacon Lynn Sherman called holding Mass in the school a laborious process. He said people would have to arrive early to set up chairs and other items, including an altar that had to be disassembled and stored when not in use. "It requires a dedicated congregation, for sure," Sherman said.
The faithful began regularly meeting in the school gym in May 2005. The Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Bishop Michael Sheridan designated the Falcon faith community as a quasi-parish a few months later on July 11, the Feast of St. Benedict. From the start, parishioners dreamt of having their own church.
That dream started to take shape in 2012 when the parish bought a 35-acre ranch near the high school from a member of the congregation. The property included two houses and a large, single-story barn; one house became the ministry center and the other is now the rectory for Father Jaimes Ponce, who became the church's first pastor over the summer. Before that, various visiting priests led services. "We never went without a priest in the 11 1/2 years,” Sherman noted.
The 44-by-100-foot barn, which served as a parish hall, is now the church — the result of a stunning, roughly $1 million renovation. Art C. Klein Construction Inc. of Colorado Springs did the design and construction. A capital campaign that began about three years ago made the transformation possible — parishioners raised half the cost of construction while the other half is being financed through Farmers State Bank.
Bishop Sheridan, who blessed the site during a groundbreaking ceremony on a chilly morning in late March, returned for the dedication on a warm, sun-splashed Sunday; and marveled at the barn's transformation.
"I don't even recognize it," he said. Calling it a day for rejoicing, he told the parishioners, "You have built a beautiful house for the Lord."
There is an obvious significance in the church’s beginning as a barn.
"We have often said that if the good Lord could humble himself to be born in a barn, why should we not turn a barn into a place where we can worship him," Sherman said.
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On Oct. 2, Ben Hummel, owner of Hummel Investments LLC, held a meeting at JAKs Brewing Co. in Falcon, Colorado, regarding the status of the Falcon Marketplace project, which comprises 36 acres at the northwest corner of Woodmen Road and Meridian Road.|
About 36 members of the Falcon community attended the meeting, asking questions and voicing concerns about the project, which initially included a right-in, right-out access point off westbound Woodmen Road.
The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners denied the proposal Dec. 13, 2016, citing concerns about the access point in the current plan. At that meeting, Steve Meier, director of development for Hummel, said King Soopers, the anchor store for the marketplace, would not be interested in the site without the access point off westbound Woodmen Road.
Hummel said his company has submitted revised plans three times to the BOCC; the last time in May. The new plans showed a right-in access point from westbound Woodmen to a large cul-de-sac with a roundabout, allowing for access to the marketplace. No traffic would be allowed from the roundabout back onto Woodmen; instead, traffic would be routed to the frontage road that runs adjacent to Woodmen, he said.
“We need to show the county staff that we made a material change to our previously submitted plans,” Hummel said. The BOCC has not voted on the new plans yet, and has asked for clarification on several items, he said. Hummel said his company has been working all summer to try and answer all the BOCC questions so they can get back on the commissioners agenda.
He suggested that residents reach out to the commissioners with any questions, comments and concerns about the project.