Catholic church breaks ground in Silverthorne
summit daily news
Members of Dillon Valley’s Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church lagging behind the group already gathered Sunday afternoon in the vibrant, grassy field with the backdrop of Buffalo Mountain in north Silverthorne wandered in carrying shovels.
About 150 people stood, propped against their digging devices, amongst the dandelions and wildflowers when Father Randy Dollins began speaking, kicking off a groundbreaking ceremony for the parish’s new church that will likely be complete in just over a year from now. Work on the approximately $5 million structure should commence by the end of June.
The campaign began 24 years ago, Dollins said, to replace what deacon and business administrator Chuck Lamar called a “temporary” home in Dillon Valley that was built in 1974.
It’s a “very simple structure” the church has long outgrown, Lamar said, adding that it’s “not conducive to celebrating the sacraments.”
By contrast, the Silverthorne land is about five acres, which gives the structure room to grow with its congregation, as well as visibility and accessibility to passersby and potential visitors. The new building is designed to offer social space (with a patio and wide windows that look out on Buffalo Mountain), classroom space and separate priest quarters. The sanctuary is oriented so the congregation is looking east for liturgical reasons – the rising sun is meant to symbolize a risen Jesus Christ, Lamar said.
But the church is about more than the building, Dollins said during the ceremony. It’s about the people in it.
“Anyone can build a nice building,” he said, “but this is about our faith and what we are going to be doing in the building. … You can have a building, but without the people inside, it’s not a church.”
Two weeks ago, the Silverthorne Town Council approved the final site plan, and permitting is now complete, Lamar said. The design is meant to mesh with the surroundings, with materials and roofing patterns that fit the residential area and the mountain setting.
“It will be a beautiful place to worship that accommodates the beautiful place we’re in,” Lamar said. “It’s not a downtown cathedral.”
Those gathered for the groundbreaking expressed excitement for the achievement. And Dollins didn’t appear disappointed at the move, either, as his front yard will overlook the mountains to the west.
“You can’t really argue with it,” he said, jokingly adding, “There are no noisy neighbors.”
The congregation – and its visitors – are also raising money in the three-year capital campaign to renovate Breckenridge’s St. Mary’s church. The two projects are estimated at $5.7 million, Lamar said, and the parish is one year into its financial campaign.
When the Silverthorne church is complete, the Dillon Valley property will be decommissioned and sold, Lamar said.
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