Parish History
St. John the Evangelist
  • August 4, 1889
    The first mass was celebrated in the home of James Motley, the mayor of the town of Harman.
  • 1892
    St. John the Evangelist Parish was officially established with Fr. William Morrin appointed as pastor. The first small wooden church was built on land donated by James Motley on the southwest corner of Third and Filmore for the cost of $1,000.
  • August 1892
    Fr. Patrick J. Kelly was appointed Pastor and served at St. John’s until June 1896.
  • October 1896
    Fr. Timothy O’Brien was appointed Pastor.
  • Fall 1902
    Construction on a new church at Fifth and Josephine was begun. The cornerstone was laid November 2nd by Bishop Matz.
  • May 10, 1903
    The traditional red brick church was dedicated by Bishop Matz, who commented that he believed the church would be found to be too small in a short amount of time. He was proved correct, but it took a half century for a new church to be built.
  • August 1907
    Fr. Charles J. Carr was appointed the third pastor of St. John’s and remained there until death.
  • October 1908
    The rectory was finished on ground just East of the church on Fifth Avenue.
  • September 3, 1924
    St. John the Evangelist School was opened at East 6th Avenue and Elizabeth Street. The school was run by three Sisters of Loretto with Sister M. Stephana in charge. 56 pupils enrolled in the 6 grades offered.
  • September 1925
    The second term of the school saw enrollment increase to 111.
  • June 6, 1926
    The first 5 pupils received Eighth Grade Certificates and thus made up the first graduating class.
  • August 13, 1932
    Fr. Charles Carr died six-days after celebrating his 25th year as Pastor at St. John’s.
  • 1932
    Monsignor Gregory Smith was appointed the fourth pastor of St. John’s. Despite the Great Depression, both congregation numbers and school enrollment increased during the 1930’s.
  • 1940
    Fr. John P. Moran was appointed the fifth pastor of St. John’s and remained there until his death
  • 1949
    A small house was acquired for use as a convent for the Sisters of Loretto who taught at St. John’s School. This saved the sisters a daily commute and eventually found itself to be directly across the street from the new church.
  • January 13, 1952
    Groundbreaking on the new church.
  • December 2, 1953
    The new Neo-Romanesque church, built by Monsignor Moran with architect John Monroe, was dedicated by Archbishop Vehr. The old organ was incorporated into the new church choir gallery. The old St. John’s was used as classrooms until the new St. John’s School could be built.
  • October 1955
    Construction began on the new rectory on a site across the alley from the church.
  • February 8, 1961
    Archbishop Vehr dedicated a $280,000 addition to St. John’s School, which included six more classrooms and a gymnasium/auditorium.
St. Philomena's
  • June 21, 1911
    Bishop Matz established a new parish that was called St. Philomena’s by its first pastor, Fr. Michael W. Donovan.
  • September 15, 1912
    The first church was dedicated on the southeast corner of East 14th Avenue and Detroit Street by Bishop Matz after 6 months of construction.
  • October 9, 1915
    The rectory was completed north of the church along 14th Avenue
  • 1917
    Fr. B. E. Naughton was appointed pastor of St. Philomena’s until the return of Fr. Donovan who was doing his duty in the National Guard during World War I.
  • September 27, 1919
    Fr. Donovan (by then Captain Donovan) returned to the parish. Upon his return he took on the project of converting the small church into a school and building a larger church to accommodate the growing congregation.
  • May 4, 1922
    Fr. Donovan died before any progress on the expansion project could be made.
  • May 5, 1922
    Fr. William M. Higgins was appointed as the pastor for St. Philomena’s where he served faithfully for 45 years.
  • September 1922
    Fr. Higgins opened the first school in his rectory with 83 pupils in six grades taught by 3 Sisters of Loretto.
  • 1923
    7th grade was added to St. Philomena’s School.
  • September 1924
    The new St. Philomena School building was opened on Filmore Street with 143 students in 5 completed classroom.
  • June 5, 1927
    Five more rooms were added to St. Philomena’s school and an eighth grade was added.
  • August 21, 1932
    The beautiful main altar donated by the Memorial Altar Society was installed in the church.
  • 1939
    An Aeolian-Skinner organ was installed in the church.
  • 1950
    A second story was added to the school to accommodate increasing enrollment and a kindergarten was added.
  • 1953
    To make room for additional nun teachers, the convent was enlarged and modernized, including the construction of a small chapel.
  • 1961
    The beatification of St. Philomena was called into question and the parish had to consider renaming the church.
  • September 15 , 1962
    The golden jubilee of the parish was celebrated despite the sainthood of St. Philomena being in question.
  • 1965
    Parking was expanded and a new entry to the south side of the church was constructed for access to the new parking lot.
  • December 31, 1967
    Fr. Higgins passed away just months after celebrating 50 years of priesthood.
  • 1968
    Fr. Higgins was followed by Msgr. Kolka who served as the start of a line of priests who only served a short time at St. Philomena’s until the consolidation with St. John’s.
  • 1977
    Fr. Dennis Dwyer was appointed as the final pastor of St. Philomena's.
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
  • September 1980
    The old St. John's church was opened as a youth center for both St. John's and St. Philomena's members.
  • January 9, 1981
    Archbishop Casey announced the merger of St. John's and St. Philomena's due to declining enrollment at the school's and parishes of both parishes. Fr. John Anderson was appointed as the first pastor of the newly formed Good Shepherd. It was decided that the St. John's church would be used for worship while both school buildings would remain open for use for the time being.
  • 1981
    Brother Caver Morris, a Franciscan brother, was appointed the first principle of Good Shepherd Catholic School. A number of Franciscan brothers move into the St. Philomena's rectory and make it home.
  • 1984
    Sister Alice Zwiefelhofer, S.F.C.C was appointed the new principle of Good Shepherd School with only about 35 students enrolled after the Spring registration. Sr. Alice provided leadership to parents who went out and began to recruit for the school. This included a big emphasis on the enrichment program and a focus on Good Shepherd as a school for working persons. Work also began at 620 Elizabeth to take it back as a school for the parish.
  • May 31, 1984
    Archbishop Casey announces his final decision to raze St. Philomena's church (Higgins Chapel) in order to make way for a high-rise apartment building for the elderly. This decision was met with great controversy.
  • 1985
    Enrollment at the school began to take an upward turn and the decision was made to open the middle school at 620 Elizabeth. Eleven boys were the first graduation class from the middle school.
  • 1986
    Sr. Alice began Montessori at the elementary school.
  • 1991
    Fr. Anderson leaves Good Shepherd and Fr. O'Meara is appointed the new pastor.
  • 1998
    The church receives some cosmetic upgrades, including new fresh paint.
  • 1999
    Fr. Neal Pfister is appointed pastor of Good Shepherd.
  • 2002
    A new $6.4 capital campaign is launched to continue the legacy of the two great school that joined to form Good Shepherd. This project included extensive renovations and construction to the school on Elizabeth street to create a state of the art school building and new parish center. This project also joined the parish and school, creating a cohesive campus.
  • June 11, 2010
    Fr. Pfister is granted leave of absence to care for his mother. Fr. James Fox is appointed pastor of Good Shepherd and Fr. Faustinus Anyamele is apointed parochial vicar.
  • 2010
    The "Legacy Campaign" was launched to raise the $1.1 needed to pay off the remained debt from the 2000 capital campaign project.
  • 2017
    The "Renewing Today, Building for Tomorrow" campaign was launched. This project would fund much needed upgrades to the church building including cosmetic updates, the creation of a new prayer chapel, new restrooms, updated bridal room, a new elevator to make the updated church hall accessible to all, and needed updates and renovations to the school.
Send me a message
Sabrina Montoya
Administrative Assistant
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
2626 E 7th Avenue Parkway, Denver CO 80206  l  (303)322-7706  l