Address: 600 Galapago Street, Denver, CO 80205
The neo-Gothic church of red brick has anchored the corner of 6th and Galapago through the maturation of Denver, the neighborhood and the parish; along with a more recent a shift in parochial oversight from the Redemptorists after 111 years. Through it all, a limestone bust of the patron St. Joseph high on the western façade of twin-towered structure has beckoned the faithful to the church built in 1888-1889. Inside, the simple basilican floorplan is enhanced by gold-gilded columns with Corinthian capitals supporting peaked wood trusses. The architect envisioned the space illuminated by 31 stained glass windows enabling contemplation of saintly lives and scenes of Jesus. The wood back altar shelters five statues with central images of St. Joseph and the Crucifix; and has 12 spires topped by fleurs-de-lis leading the eye to a triangular stained glass window of the Ascension. Adorning each side of the sanctuary are statues of the Blessed Mother, and other saints, including a very special saint to Colorado, St. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. The welcoming interior was most recently restored in 2005 and exterior repair work started in 2020. The close-knit parish is led by Bishop Jorge Rodríguez, and has many organizations and outreach ministries.
Special things to see in the Church
• Stained glass windows lining the nave, and above the sanctuary depict a wide variety of inspirational Saints, with some related to the traditions of the original German and Irish immigrant parishioners, with others focused on service to the poor; and 3 windows of nuns and a Jesuit priest. The window of St. Mary Magdalene is not often seen. The windows are thought to be the work of a U.S. maker employing the approach of German-style painted stained glass for the figures.
• The spectacular sanctuary window shows the triumphant Ascension of Jesus in glowing red while eleven Apostles and the Blessed Mother look up as described in Acts 1:6-11.
• The Holy Trinity symbolism of the triquetra on the façade window (seen from the choir loft) reflects patterns of eternity and the number “3” with interlocking circles, fleurs-de-lis (French for lily flower) and triangles.
• The church is adorned with lovely statues to further the prayer and contemplation of visitors including these saints: St. Joseph, St. Patrick, St. Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. Anthony, St. Therese Lisieux, St. Jude, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Pieta.
Interesting Facts About the Church
Behind the church is a rectory built in 1923 which was designed in the form of a medieval monastery by famous Denver architect Jules Jacques Benois Benedict, a Paris-educated architect who also designed many unique structures in, and around, Denver. Benedict is credited with the design of at least eighty structures in the area, with nearly twenty on National and State Historical Registers. In addition to the rectory at St. Joseph’s, Benedict designed the main buildings at the St. Thomas Theological Seminary (now renamed for St. John Vianney) (1927), St. Catherine’s Chapel (1936), the cloisters prayer garden and monastery at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church (1936) and Holy Ghost Catholic Church (1943).