In 1987, Bishop Richard C. Hanifen of the newly formed Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs identified a clear need for a parish to be established in the rapidly growing northern portion of Douglas County. In a mission diocese with a limited number of priests, Pax Christi was founded and a lay Parish Director was appointed with the role of mission organizer to serve the pastoral and administrative needs of the growing community. On June 6, 1988, forty families gathered to celebrate Mass in the gym of Northridge Elementary School, which was to be our home for 10 years. Our parish was served by Jesuit priests from the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Sedalia and Regis University, as well as other priests in the area who joined us each weekend to preside at Mass and who also made themselves available for our other sacramental needs.
The Archdiocese of Denver gave the fifteen acres of land to the newly formed Diocese of Colorado Springs on which Pax Christi now resides. After ten years of celebrating Mass in a gym, our parish of 700 families moved to our new home. In May of 1999, Bishop Hanifen blessed our new chapel and multi-use building.
On July 27, 2000, we welcomed our first resident Pastor, Father Ken Przybyla. At that time, 800 families were registered. Fr. Ken served as pastor until August 31, 2011. During his tenure, the final phase of construction was completed with the building of our worship space. On September 29, 2002, Bishop Hanifen dedicated our new church building, followed by a parish-wide celebration. Also, in 2002, we retrofitted our multi-purpose building into an educational, social and office facility known as the Christi Center. The space was remodeled again in the summer of 2009.
Our second pastor, Fr. Brian Mohan, began his ministry here on September 3, 2011. He led the parish to break ground on the parish’s first rectory in the spring of 2012. Shortly afterward, Fr. Jim Baron came to the parish on August 1, 2012 as Parochial Vicar. In 2013, the parish opened a Catholic preschool named St. Katharine Drexel as a vision that the students would imitate the service attitude that St. Katharine Drexel embodied. The school serves children from Pax Christi as well as surrounding parishes and the community.
From January 2014 through June 2015, Fr. Jim also served as Pax Christi’s Parochial Administrator, while Fr. Brian took a leave of absence. In July of 2014, Fr. Mike Buckley joined the parish as Parochial Vicar and served this community until September 2015. Fr. Marek Krol joined us in July 2015 after he was reassigned from Our Lady of the Visitation in Elizabeth, Colorado.
Deacon Tom Sandusky joined our parish in June 2016, relocating to Colorado from John’s Creek, Georgia, where he served as Deacon for St. Brigid Catholic Church. Fr. Greg Bierbaum arrived as Parochial Vicar in July that same year and served at Pax Christi for a year until June 2017, when he was reassigned as Pastor of St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
In September 2019, St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School opened a kindergarten class and in August 2020 opened a first grade. The school currently offers a faith-based, rigorous academic education complemented by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Through a strong Religious-Classical-Environmental Education, students will become spiritually, intellectually and morally prepared as stewards who engage the world in service to God and the common good.
Our current pastor, Fr. Andrzej Szczesnowicz, was born in Poland and attended seminary there until his ordination in May 2003. He came to the United States immediately after his ordination and was assigned to the Diocese of Syracuse, New York. In 2008, he was transferred to Colorado Springs, Colorado and was assigned to St. Paul as Associate Pastor. In 2010, he was incardinated into the Diocese of Colorado Springs and became pastor of Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church in Black Forest, Colorado. On July 1, 2020, we were pleased to welcome Fr. Andrzej Szczesnowicz to Pax Christi.
Deacon Garrett Christnacht joined the Pax Christi staff in August of 2021, having been transferred from St. Mark Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch. He had been a Deacon at St. Mark since he completed his Diaconate training in 2014. We are excited to welcome Deacon Garrett to our Pax Christi Catholic Community.
In addition to our clergy, the parish staff includes our Business Manager, Communications Coordinator, Director of Children’s Faith Formation, Director of Evangelization & Community Life, Director of Liturgy, Director of Music, Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry, Executive Assistant to the Pastor, Hospitality Assistant, and Maintenance Supervisor. Our parish also benefits from a multitude of parishioners volunteering their time and energy to serve on our councils and committees, as well as in many ministries, programs, and service organizations associated with the parish.