St. Francis of Assisi Parish
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. Due to a major demographic change the parish is now predominantly African-American, a small number of Hispanics and a good number of Filipinos who belong to El-Shaddai Charismatic Prayer Group. The charismatic group comes to St. Francis of Assisi Church every Saturday for prayer meeting and sing at the 5:00 P.M. Saturday's Eucharistic celebration. Currently, the Church has 354 registered families.
The present church structure was built in 1965. The 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.
On the right side of the south vestibule is the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi which contains votive candles which are lit in prayer. The shrine contains statues and images of Divine Mercy, Blessed Virgin Mary, Pieta, and some saints.
On the walls of the south vestibule are St. Francis of Assisi Parish Mission Statement and images of three Civil Rights leaders: Rosa Louise Parks (Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his wife Coretta Scott King.
Prominently positioned before the west exit door is the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and votive candle which are lit in prayer.
In front of the lectern is a receptacle where written prayer intentions are dropped. The intentions are prayed over during every Eucharistic celebration.
On the left of the sanctuary is the Cry Room, dedicated to St. Joseph. Several images of St. Joseph and Jesus are on the west wall.
On the right of the sanctuary is the Marian Chapel. The chapel has artworks of Mother and Child from several cultures, nations and countries. Most of the images were collected by Msgr. Patrick Wells who was the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish from 1993 to 2006.
The tabernacle lamp which hangs in the sanctuary was salvaged from the old St. Mary’s Orphanage, Galveston, Texas that was destroyed in the Great Hurricane of 1900. It was a gift from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. As legend has it, a cluster of sisters and orphans were found dead huddled under the tabernacle lamp.
St. Francis of Assisi Church suffered two major storms, in June 2001 with Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Both times, the church was inundated with, at least, two feet of water which caused catastrophic damage to the structure and contents of the church. The reconstruction of the church, after Hurricane Harvey, was completed in January, 2019 and blessed on March 19, 2019 by Bishop George Sheltz.
Located behind the church is a modular building donated by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word following Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. The north wing of the building is St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and the south wing of the building is St. Josephine Bakhita Faith and Fellowship Center. An image and sacred relic of St. Josephine Bakhita, as well as, images of Divine Mercy, Pentecost, Jesus Appearance to Mary Magdalene and other images adorn the center’s walls. Fr. James E. Goode, OFM named the building St. Josephine Bakhita Faith and Fellowship Center. St. Josephine Bakhita is the second patron saint of the parish. The center currently serves as a meeting space and parish secretary’s office. The parish office was damaged by Hurricane Harvey and its flood.
Beside the rectory is a prayer garden that contains a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Shrine of the Risen Christ and a giant Cross which lights up at nights.
The motto of the parish is "One Family, one Love." The motto expresses the charisma of the parish. The motto was formulated by the present pastor, Fr. Martin Eke, MSP. The parish is served by the Missionary of St. Paul of Nigeria.
Mission Statement: “We envision a caring, loving community of men, women and children who possess a genuine Christian concern for one another, a unified family where the members, aware of God’s presence in each of them and led by His spirit are able to work, pray and play together; a faith-filled community where gospel values are studied, lived, nurtured, shared and celebrated; a community of individuals and groups traveling together on a common faith journey; a community harmoniously working for the kingdom; a community that is active in service and evangelization.”