Fruita parish constructs new church

By Joe Warner
After years of prayer and planning, parishioners of Sacred Heart in Fruita are well on the way to realizing their dreams of a new church. Construction of the 300-seat, 10,000-square-foot structure, is progressing rapidly. Offices, classrooms and a parish hall are included in the design. Current estimates call for completion and occupancy sometime this fall.

The church, located on a scenic parcel of land in the north part of the city, has spectacular views of the Colorado National Monument, the Bookcliff Mountains and the Grand Mesa. It replaces a nearly 100-year-old building and adjacent parish hall situated near the downtown area.

With Fruita’s rapid population growth in recent years, coupled with an aging physical plant with limited space, building a new church was the favored option of Sacred Heart parishioners. Bishop Stephen Berg presided at the groundbreaking and blessing last June with construction work starting shortly thereafter. Bishop Berg has since visited Fruita during the past year to receive firsthand updates on the progress. His visits of support have given a real boost to parishioners.

Thoughts of building a new facility had been explored many times over the years; however, it wasn’t until October of 2007 that longtime pastor, Fr. Michael N. Smith, SJ, convened a strategic planning workshop to access possibilities for embarking on such a significant effort. Last summer’s groundbreaking coincided with the retirement of Fr. Mike who was quickly succeeded by Sacred Heart’s new pastor, Fr. Chrysogonus Nwele. Fr. Chrysogonus has given his full and enthusiastic support to completing the ongoing building project.

Additional fundraising as well as the potential sale of church-owned real estate, namely the old church, rectory and parish hall, continues. Donors can also contribute to the placement of a personally inscribed brick to be placed in the surrounding gardens and plaza on the grounds of the new church. Those wishing to be a part of the brick project, or make a contribution to the Sacred Heart Building Fund can mail their check to: P.O. Box 128, Fruita, CO 81521. Be a part of the project by visiting Sacred Heart’s website at