Old St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to be demolished
Sep 16, 2015 | 5280 views | 1 1 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The familar home of the Catholic Church in Monticello will be demolished to make room for a new church.  Staff photo
The familar home of the Catholic Church in Monticello will be demolished to make room for a new church. Staff photo
The building which has housed St. Josephs Catholic Church for the past 80 years, on South Main Street in Monticello, will be demolished in coming days.

Interior construction is nearly complete at a new church building, next to the old building. Furnishings have been moved from the old building, and the structure stands empty after serving Catholics in San Juan County since 1935.

The new building has been under construction for more than one year.

Construction began on St. Josephs Catholic Church in Monticello in 1934. The building was dedicated on October 9, 1935 by Bishop James Kearney.

The simple stucco building was built on a stone foundation, under the direction of Tom Evans.

It is a bittersweet time for local members of the Catholic Church. While they are delighted to move into a spacious and beautiful new building, they mourn the loss of a sturdy little building that has been their home for more than 80 years.

Julie and Able Garcia were the first to receive Holy Communion in the new building in 1935. The final funeral mass in the building was for Barbara Palerme in February.

Barbara’s grandson Jacob Regalado, and his bride Rachael O’Brien, were the first couple to be married in the new building, on August 15, 2015.

San Juan County has a long and proud Catholic tradition. The first Europeans to step foot in San Juan County are believed to be Spanish explorers who skirted the area while eventually creating a trade route between Santa Fe and Monterrey.

The first permanent settlers founded Monticello in 1888, and they were joined almost immediately by Catholic sheepherders from New Mexico.

A small but resilient population of Catholics have been an important part of Monticello since the first days of the founding of the community.

Dedication of the new building may be delayed until a new Bishop is announced. Previous Bishop John C Wester transferred from Salt Lake City as the new Archbishop of Santa Fe.

While the dedication may be delayed, an open house may be held in coming months. In order to provide off-street parking for a building that large, two parking lots will be located on the property.

The rough outline of a south parking lot is taking shape, while a north parking lot will be built on the site of the old church.
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February 08, 2016
My Grandmother lived in a small, green house just southeast of the old Catholic Church. I have fond memories of playing like I was riding a horse and other things in the (then) empty lot where the new Church building is. At that time, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was mostly just weeds, but a well-worn path curving from just south of the Church to just west of Grandmother's house. I don't think people wanted to walk south to the corner and then turn east. I never went into the Church, but it always a landmark to me in Monticello. I showed it my and children on trips to or through Monticello. I still have relatives there in Monticello and I feel like I have arrived to my second home when I get to Monticello. I think that Gina in your newspaper staff photo on this site is my cousin. I couldn't tell from the photo which one was her. The list of names and caption wasn't too clear on rows and the rows were not to straight to make it clear. But, it was her first name and maiden name.

I will make sure to at least drive by and look at the new Catholic Church building. I wish I could have seen the old one again before it was demolished. Anyway, it was fun for me to "run across" this picture and article in my web surfing.

Gary Christensen, Layton, UT.
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