About St. Francis of Assisi Church
On June 26,1950, Bishop Wendelin J. Nold signed a decree establishing St. Francis of Assisi Parish. The original parishioners were of Czech and other European origins. Slowly over the years African Americans moved into the area and the whites departed. The parish is now predominantly African- American, with a large number of Filipinos who worship with the El-Shaddai ministry on Saturday. Currently, the Church has approximately 458 registered families served by three weekend Masses.
The present church structure was built in 1965. The new church was designed with its patron St. Francis of Assisi in mind. Instead of a traditional style steeple, the top of the church was designed to resemble a cowl (capuche), the pointed hood worn by monks.
As you enter the church, the south vestibule (to your right) is the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. Also located on the walls are pictures of Black saints and the founders of religious orders.
The sanctuary lamp above the altar was salvaged from the old St. Mary’s Orphanage, Galveston, Texas that was destroyed in the Great Hurricane of 1900. It became a gift from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and as legend has it, a cluster of sisters and orphans were found dead huddled under the sanctuary lamp.
To the left of the main altar is the Baby Cry Room, dedicated to St. Joseph. Several prints of Joseph and Jesus are on the west wall.
Immediately behind the main altar is the Marian Chapel. The chapel dedicated to Mother and Child has representative artworks from many ethnic and racial groups. The Marian Chapel is used for daily Masses.
Finally, pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta can be found on the south wall of the main sanctuary.
Located behind the church is a modular building donated by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word following the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Allison. The north wing is the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and the south wing is St. Josephine Bakhita Faith and Fellowship Center. A picture and sacred relic of St. Josephine Bakhita, as well as, pictures of “The Last Supper”, “Pentecost” and a unique presentation of Michangelo “The Creation” by Irish artist, Nora Kelly, adorn the center’s walls. Rev. Fr. James E. Goode, OFM named the St. Josephine Bakhita Faith and Fellowship Center.
The parish is presently being served by the Missionaries of St Paul of Nigeria.