Saint Peterís Catholic Church
1209 Swink Avenue-Rocky Ford, CO 81067
Adobe reader needed to view files on this page. Click here to get it free.
St. Peter's Church is a rural parish located on Highway 50, sixty miles east of Pueblo, and ten miles west of La Junta in the Arkansas Valley. The surrounding countryside is a patchwork of fields filled with corn, alfalfa, onion, watermelon and cantaloupe: Rocky Ford is famous for its melon crops. On June 3, 1994, the parish joyously celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first mass celebrated in the original St. Peter's Church.
One hundred years earlier, the event was also a joyous occasion for the Catholics of the area, especially for Rocky Ford resident, James Guthrie, who had spearheaded the movement to build the church. Guthrie, a devout Catholic, was accustomed to traveling to La Junta by wagon each Sunday with his family to celebrate mass. The trip took three hours, in both directions.
He proposed a Catholic Church be built in Rocky Ford, hoping that a church would eventually support a permanent pastor and a regular Sunday mass. With lots donated by the Rocky Ford Mayor, support from local businessmen, and donations of money, labor, and material, the church was realized. Although construction was completed in 1884, mass was only celebrated once a month until 1910, when St. Peter's was assigned its first resident priest and became an independent parish.
In 1920, Fr. Patrick Conway arrived in Rocky Ford, and remained the pastor for the next thirty-four years. He is credited with increasing Anglo and Hispanic membership in the church, and initiating the missions of Manzanola and Fowler.
In 1948, after WWII, the current church structure, which had formerly been a chapel at the La Junta Air Base, was purchased, dismantled and then reassembled on the site of the old church to serve as a larger place of worship for the congregation of St. Peter's. Eight years later, a parish hall and Catechetical center were built next to the rectory. Today, those same structures serve a congregation of several hundred families.
Photo of original Church and Rectory-circa 1914. click here
History of Church click here