Congregation celebrates 75th anniversary of Holy Ghost Church, pays tribute to ‘Father Woody’

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DENVER –Holy Ghost Church, where top Catholic business leaders gather alongside homeless people daily for Mass, celebrated its 75th Anniversary Saturday with a Mass and giant outdoor celebration.

California Street was closed to traffic and a giant tent erected to welcome those who have been drawn to the church over the years because of its beauty and its commitment to serving those most in need.

Founded in 1943, Holy Ghost is known for its stunningly-beautiful interior, and high standards for liturgical celebrations, including having one of the top choirs in the region.

Helen Bonfils Stanton, daughter of Frederick Bonfils, one of the founders of the Denver Post, helped guide the construction of the church as a memorial to her father, who died in 1933.

Holy Ghost is perhaps best known as the church that opened its doors to the homeless at the direction of its pastor, Msgr. C.B. Woodrich (Father Woody), during a bitter-cold winter in 1985.

That action set in motion a series of efforts that led to the construction of Samaritan House in Denver, at the time the largest shelter for the homeless in the nation.

Holy Ghost continues the tradition of serving those most in need in Denver through a variety of services to the homeless, including operating a daily sandwich line, and serving as the focal point for coordinating the annual Father Woody Christmas Party, which provides food and presents to around 3,000 people each year.

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