Father Joseph Wamala baptizes a catechumen at the Easter Vigil. The tracker pipe organ, crafted by Carl Barckoff in 1910, was restored, augmented, and rededicated in January 1994. The baptismal font, with its ornate polychromed cover, is the scene of baptisms at the Easter Vigil as well as other times. Young members of the parish recite the Litany of Our Lady during the crowning of the Blessed Mother's statue in May. Parishioners gather to hear Karen Adams (of the Respect Life Committee) speak on John Paul II's <em>Evangelium Vitae</em>. In the courtyard Deacon James Kledzik holds the paschal candle during the blessing of the new fire at the Easter Vigil. Children of the parish walk in procession for the Mass at which they will receive their first communion. Bishop Van De Vyver blesses the cornerstone of the new St. Francis church in 1895 (more information in the parish history). Dedicated volunteer teachers meet every week with the young people of St. Francis to teach the fundamentals of the faith. Members of the St. Francis chapters of the Knights of Columbua and of the Catholic Daughters gather in the church. The pastor gathers with young people from the parish preparing to depart for World Youth Day in Rio in 2013. On the eve of All Saints' Day young people from the parish gather for a party where they dress as saints. Members of Youth for Life spoke about their experience at the prolife Camp Joshua at a Respect Life meeting.
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About the Parish

By the year 1748 a group of Scots-Irish immigrants fleeing from religious persecution had developed the settlement of Staunton. In 1841 the first Mass was celebrated in the home of Michael Quinlan, and three years later Passionist Father Daniel Downey was appointed the first pastor of the parish of St. Francis of Assisi. In 1850 the first church building was completed, and in 1867 the Daughters of Charity opened a parochial school, which served the families of St. Francis until 1972. By 1895 the parish had outgrown the church building, and in that year the cornerstone of a new structure was laid by Bishop Van De Vyver, with the solemn dedication of the church following two years later. That building is the present St. Francis Church. The parish observed its centennial in 1950, and in 1988-89 there was a major renovation of the interior of the building resulting in the church essentially as it is today.

The liturgy has always been a central focus of St. Francis. There are four well-attended Masses each weekend and numerous opportunities for prayer, including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Social outreach is strong in the parish, including the delivery of meals to the homebound, an active prolife ministry, and partnership with a parish in Haiti. St. Francis places emphasis on education, offering ongoing classes for adults, an active program to prepare adults for initiation into the Church, and a full range of programs and classes for the youth of the parish, including preparation for first penance, first communion, and confirmation; Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes on Sunday mornings; and a vacation church school in the summer.

The current pastor of the parish is the Reverend Joseph Wamala. He is assisted by Deacon James Kledzik and by the Reverend Monsignor Andrew Cassin, a retired priest who helps with Sunday Mass and other activities.

We invite you to explore this website to learn more about the life and work of St. Francis Parish. The site offers a history of the parish, a tour of the church, a summary of the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and photo galleries of life in the parish. To contact the parish staff, click on the “Contact the Parish” link at the bottom of this page.