Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
Often Paul’s letters in the New Testament start with his greetings to the “holy ones” in whatever community he is writing to. This reflects the truth that we, by virtue of our baptismal covenant, are called to be the holy and blessed people of God, wherever we live and in all that we do. As such, I greet you as the holy members of the parish of St. Thomas More.
When I first arrived in this community, I found it to be one of many graces and blessings. There is a sincere awareness of and desire to serve the Lord in the parish, and I pray all of you find it hospitable, inviting and engaging in your own spiritual journey.
One obvious fact about the parish is that it is sizeable and there are many people to come to know and relate to within it. I have always found the best way to do that is by investing my time and presence in some form of prayer, activity, and/or ministry within the community. When we do this, it no longer seems large and daunting; rather we recognize the actual presence of others and take our place within that community as we approach and serve the Lord.
So please take advantage of the various programs, ministries and activities that you have available to you and actively step into the family which is St. Thomas More. Pray for your fellow parishioners, and always know that you are in my daily prayers. May the Lord fill us with His grace and may our Blessed Mother’s intercession keep us always close to her Son.
Please take time to explore and benefit from this website. May it help to open doors, hearts, and souls to the calling of our God.
Sincerely in Christ,
Msgr. Thomas Fryar
St. Thomas More Parish is a Christ-centered, sacramental and stewardship community within the Archdiocese of Denver and the Roman Catholic Church. Our mission is, as Christ has commanded, to “Go and Make Disciples” (Matthew 28:19) and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to build the Kingdom of God.
St. Thomas More Parish will carry on its mission by proclaiming and living the Good News of salvation, by spreading the Kingdom of God, by building up a community of believers — the People of God; and by calling its members to service to become the light, the salt and the leaven of the world and to live and grow as Christ lived, in union with the Father and Holy Spirit.
St. Thomas More Parish, a community of believers in communion with the saints, will strive to nurture the spiritual growth of all individuals to become holy through the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition, prayer and worship, wise and loving guidance and the faithful discernment of their God-given gifts and talents, with the ultimate goal of divine union with God.
OUR PATRON SAINT
Saint Thomas More is the patron saint of our parish. Honored as Sir Thomas More in his lifetime, he was a man fully engaged in the world, but not a captive of the world. As one of the leading figures of his time, Thomas More enjoyed tremendous personal, financial, and political success; yet, he was willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, for his faith and conscience – “I call you to witness, brothers, that I die in and for the faith of the Catholic Church.”
Described as a “man for all seasons”, Saint Thomas More was noted for his faith, intellect and courage. He was a successful author, scholar, lawyer, and statesman. Among his many writings, More is most noted for Utopia, a book about an imaginary island with a perfect political system. As a judge, he became renowned for being both swift and fair in his decisions. He was appointed Lord Chancellor by King Henry VIII, the highest political position in England under the King. He was also an intensely spiritual man, a devoted husband, and father of four.
At the peak of his career, Thomas More was confronted by the necessity to choose between his King and his Church. He chose his Church, a decision that would lead him to martyrdom. For his refusal to support King Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and recognize him as the supreme head of the Church in England, More was committed to the Tower of London to await trial for treason. Following his conviction, More declared that he was “The King’s loyal servant, but God’s first”. He was martyred on July 6, 1535, and, four hundred years later, was canonized as a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Since 1971 St. Thomas More Catholic Parish, named after a layman-saint popularized in the movie “A Man for All Seasons,” has become a showcase of a modern twentieth century Catholic community.
This dynamic center of today began as Mission South East. It would not have been possible without the vision of its first pastor, the Reverend Frederick D. McCallin. In November 1970, Father McCallin and a group of people, aware of the demographics of the area, met on a weekly basis to discuss the needs of the people in the new area. A parish census taken in May 1971 revealed 590 Catholic families with the need and ability to support a new parish. The proposal was taken to Archbishop Casey who approved the establishment of a new parish in June 1971. For many years St. Thomas More Parish was known as St. Thomas More Center because its founding pastor believed that it was to be the center of people’s lives, their neighborhood and a center for them to meet God and one another.
Construction on the new rectory started immediately. By February 1972, through the tireless efforts of Ted Gerhardy and John Petrinsky, the parish acquired 40 acres of land as a building site for the parish center. On February 24, 1974, Father McCallin broke ground for the St. Thomas More Parish, and on December 8, 1974, celebrated the first Mass in the newly completed 300-seat chapel. By this time the parish community had grown to 1000 families.
Two weeks later the parish opened its restaurant, the Padre. The idea of a restaurant in the church building was so unique that the news of its existence reverberated throughout the country. Father McCallin, however, saw it as a natural way to evangelize people. “You had to bring them together before you could evangelize them.”he said. He often cited examples of how people gathered around Jesus at feasts and how he fed the multitudes. He also pointed out that Christ’s public life began at a wedding feast in Cana and ended with the Last Supper with his apostles.
The parish community continued to grow, and in January 1982, construction on the church adjacent to the original center began. On June 21, 1983, the parish celebrated the Mass of Dedication. In addition, the parish added new programs and facilities. Tennis courts and softball, soccer and football fields were put in place to meet the needs of the ever-growing community. Father McCallin’s last building project before his retirement in 1988 was the Youth Center.
Reverend Michael Walsh succeeded Father McCallin in June 1988 as pastor of St. Thomas More. The parish passed into the hands of a very experienced and capable priest who not only was able to carry on the vision of its founding pastor, but also brought innovative ideas of his own. Under Father Walsh’s leadership, the parish reached out to the local community at large, now reached out to the global community. The parish played a major role in hosting 2,300 French youth who came to Denver for World Youth Day in 1993.
The thrust of Father Walsh’s pastoral work was evangelization – evangelization, not just abroad, but at home. Because of the tremendous growth of the parish and shortage of room in the church facility, large numbers of students in religious education were scattered in the homes of various catechists. With Archbishop Stafford’s approval and after many hearings and numerous meetings with County Commissioners, permission was granted. Archbishop J. Francis Stafford dedicated the Evangelization Center on June 24, 1994. Today, the Evangelization Center is home to an excellent school serving students in preschool through 8th grade and all of the religious education classes. In addition to 600 students who attend school, 1500 students from public schools are in religious education classes and 50 children in the Parent’s Day Out program take advantage of the Center facility.
Father Walsh also added the Holy Hour and the Perpetual Adoration in the Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament to the already prayerful parish. Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger from France consecrated the Oratory during World Youth Day. The Oratory enhances the prayer life of a parish in a special way and its fruits are visible.
In June 2000, Reverend Andrew Kemberling began his term as administrator of St. Thomas More. A true believer in the practice of stewardship, Father Andrew’s first official policy was to make St. Thomas More a tithing parish. “I believe that by doing so, we truly live out our practice of stewardship on the parish level, fairly and justly on all counts.”
Father Andrew initiated changes in religious education, the parish school and the youth ministries. In addition, the Evangelization Center is now fully used not only by the parish school and religious education, but also the Middle School youth ministry, with the renovation of the basement into a special place for the youth, “The Catacombs.”
Under Father Andrew’s direction the church was remodeled, creating a beautiful sanctuary while keeping the historical elements of the church building and expanding on the vision of the previous pastors. In 2011, the old rectory was demolished and a new home for our priests was built with the intention of providing housing for our priests and room to host visiting priests as well.
Monsignor Thomas Fryar was appointed pastor in June 2014. Under his leadership, St. Thomas More continues to support our parish mission of evangelization and being good stewards of God’s resources. Beginning in 2017, the oldest buildings on our campus, including the original church, the Padre and the high school Youth Center will be remodeled and updated to be compatible with the rest of the parish campus.
Presently, there are more than 4,800 St. Thomas More families, made up of more than 15,000 registered individuals. Hundreds of volunteers serve on the parish’s 125 ministries. The vitality of parish life is evident not only in its social activities but also in its devotional life. Over 300 people attend Mass daily and 4,000 on Sundays.
Indeed, we have a lot to be thankful for as a parish for the spiritual vitality as a faith community.
Our mission is, as Christ has commanded, to “Go and Make Disciples” (Matthew 28:19) and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to build the Kingdom of God.