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 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.