December 5, 2001
Father Puhl at the Dedication of the Fr. Puhl Center.
Reflecting on the names given to Father Albert Puhl, 83, we learn something about his character and his direction in life. At baptism he was given the names Albert Emmanuel, at confirmation he was given the name Anthony. St. Albert the Great was a teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. Emmanuel means “God with us” and is a messianic title prophesied by Isaiah the prophet. Anthony is the popular saint many Christians invoke when they needed help in finding lost or misplaced articles.
Five days after his birth on Nov. 25, 1918, he was baptized at St. Mary’s Church in Montrose, Colo. His parents were born in Russia of German-speaking ancestors.
In 1922 the family moved to a farm near Delta. In 1925 he was enrolled in St. Michael’s Catholic School in Delta from which he graduated in 1933. He attended Delta High School until the family moved to Oakland, Calif., in 1934. He attended Castlemont High School and was in the graduating class of June 1937.
After an interview with Bishop Urban J. Vehr in July 1937, he was accepted as a student for the Diocese of Denver. His class was ordained in June 1944.
Father Puhl’s first assignment was as an assistant at St. Joseph’s Parish in Grand Junction. This assignment brought a lot of joy to Father Puhl because it was only 40 miles from Delta and 60 miles from Montrose.
His three years in Grand Junction were filled with interesting projects. The one event that overshadowed the many activities for the poor the parish sponsored was the August gathering of fruit for the orphans in Denver.
Father Puhl’s second assignment was as an assistant to Msgr. John R. Mulroy, pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in Denver. After two years at Holy Ghost, Father Puhl was assigned to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He also taught freshmen religion at Cathedral High School and was the notary for the Archdiocesan Matrimonial Court.
For over a year Father Puhl temporarily filled in whenever a priest became ill. He spent several months in Rifle, several months in Glenwood Springs, and almost a year in Golden.
In 1951 he was made pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in Julesburg. With the help of the parishioners he was able to liquidate the parish indebtedness, finish the trimming on the new church, organize a council of Knights of Columbus and introduce the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine into the parish School of Religion.
The number of school children had risen to over 3,000. Parishioners enthusiastically endorsed a capital drive, which brought in more than $350,000 to start the construction of six classrooms and a temporary church to seat 600. The amount raised was huge for the time, which still felt the lingering effects of the Great Depression.
When the initial construction was finished, the parish had saved enough money to build a rectory and a convent. The parish purchased enough ground for a grade and a junior high school. There was enough land for regulation-sized football and practice fields, including land for parking.
In 1957 Father Puhl was appointed the first resident pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Westminster. The parish council and parishioners enthusiastically voted to move the parish site from Hooker Street to a larger site at 76th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. At that time there were more than 3,000 families in the parish, most with small children.
After Holy Trinity, Father Puhl was made the pastor of St. Mark Parish at 95th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. A small temporary church was constructed on the parish site. After a short stay at Christ the King Parish in Denver, Father Puhl was assigned as pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish, Boulder. He enjoyed the 17 years he spent there.
In Boulder, parishioners assisted in the planning and building of a fine parish hall. It is attached to the church to make the church and hall a unit, which may be used for separate meetings or church functions. The parish hall is fully equipped to accommodate 300 people. Its 25-foot-high ceiling gives it grace and grandeur. The church was remodeled to give it additional elegance and a more reverential atmosphere.
Father Puhl celebrated his 75th birthday, his 50th year of ordination and the year of his retirement in June 1994. Father Puhl is grateful to God for blessing his endeavors through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
See also the article on Father Puhl by Marilyn Cox in the Montrose Daily Press.
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