Denver church raises funds to appeal to pope over closure

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. -- A church group from Adams County said it is taking its fight to keep their church open to a “higher” power.

The Goat Hill Catholic Society held a fundraiser on Saturday night to help launch its appeal.

All they want is to have one Sunday service at Our Lady of Visitation Catholic Church.

The last Mass was held there in April and ever since, the group has been fighting to keep the doors open.

The money raised will be used to help make a legal appeal to the pope in Vatican City.

Members of the church said the Archdiocese of Denver has told them the 70-year-old building will be turned into an event center.

“It’s been part of our family our heritage for about 40 years," Wayne Archuleta said. "They’re taking part of our heritage, part of our history away from us.”

Since then, they have been asking the archdiocese to allow them to keep the church, which was built on land donated by their ancestors.

"Oh, I think there’s more than really made available to us as far as what the truth is and there’s some underlying truth in there somewhere," Archuleta said.

They say Archbishop Samuel Aquila has refused to hear their pleas.

“It is our right to tell the Holy Father about our pleadings, our wishes our desires and we are going total these pleadings directly to Rome," society president Sandy Garcia said.

The archdiocese had no comment on the group’s latest move.

But in an earlier post on the archdiocese website, it said the church will not be closed, but didn’t say what the building would be used for.

Rudy Trujillo, who was an altar boy at the church, has so many questions.

“That church has been here for a long time -- and then to close it down like that. I didn’t understand it," he said. "Why would they close our little parish down?”

For now, Our Lady of Visitation sits still. But the fight to save this church is not over yet.

Parishioners believe ending Masses at the church is part of a plan to eventually sell the property. They say it’s worth $1 million. The archdiocese said that’s not true.

The fundraiser was sold out. Another is planned in the months to come.