Saint Joseph's Polish Church in Denver, Colorado
517 East 46th Avenue, Denver, Colorado, 80216
www.saintjosephpolish.org • 303.296.3217 • Pastor: Fr. Stanisław Michałek SChr.
When I arrived at the Polish Parish in 1971, I noticed the birth of the tradition of lighting Vigil Lights by the Blessed Virgin Mary and for the glory of God. I also recognized a problem about the burning of these candles. The smoke created from the candles would stay on the ceiling and religious statues. After some time, the statue of Baby Jesus and the white ceiling became black. It would be difficult and inconvenient to paint the ceiling every two years or so from the damage - this would be a costly endeavor. Also, cleaning the religious statues and restoring their original color would be troublesome to do every so often.
When I became the administrator of the Parish, a thought of building a Grotto on the outside of the Church came into mind. All of the stands holding the Vigil Lights could then be taken from the Church and put by the Grotto.
The idea of a Grotto was easy, but the formation of a plan was not as easy, so it would take years before the Grotto could actually be built. I did not have many funds for it, yet alone an architect to build the Grotto. Until one day, the Grzebieniarz family moved from Seattle, Washington, to Colorado. The father of this family offered to help me in solving my problem. He took it upon himself to build the Grotto. Shortly after, he gathered a building committee, which consisted of Stanley Grzebieniarz, Stanley Gadzina, and Stanley Zapała. During the first meeting in March of 1997, we decided on the building plans for the Grotto. With great enthusiasm, the Stanleys went to work, and in August 1997, the Grotto was finished. The Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, blessed our beloved Grotto.
The statue of the Immaculate Conception was brought from Italy through the help of the owners of the religious store Gerken's. From that moment on, the Vigil Lights began to burn for the glory of God through the Blessed Virgin Mary. From the time of the completion of the Grotto, there was not a day that a candle was not lit for 10 years. People pray and light candles during many occasions: Sunday Masses, Holy Days (especially for the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother), and also anytime, day and night, the faithful come with their problems, sufferings, sicknesses, and they bring these and other intentions to God through the Blessed Mother. The Grotto is also a center of renewing faith for the Polish community in Colorado.