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St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church at 834 South Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka, FL 32703-6560 US -   

  


St. Francis of Assisi Church originated in 1962 as a mission of St. Mary of the Lake, Eustis, Florida. The first services were held at Apopka Memorial High School with Fr. Michael McReynolds as the celebrant. In 1963, Fr. Thadeus McHugh served the growing community until Fr. William Trainer, who was also pastor of St. Mary of the Lake, succeeded him. Services were then held at the Veterans Memorial Home on Park Avenue for 200 families until 1967 when the Apopka Catholic Mission of the Diocese of St. Augustine was built on Hwy. 441. Fr. Joseph P. Moran was assigned to the church at that time, as was Fr. Paul Couming. They served until 1972 when the Franciscans staffed the church.

The parish was named St. Francis of Assisi for the medieval founder of the Franciscan movement.  Fr. Arthur Butler, OFM as pastor and Fr. Finian Riley, OFM of the migrant ministry of the Diocese of Orlando served the English and Spanish speaking communities in the area. In 1974, a new rectory was dedicated. It now serves as the Parish Office. The Parish Center was dedicated in 1979 and, as the parish grew too large for the church, was used for Mass on weekends. Fr. Thomas J. Burns, OFM became pastor in 1979 after serving as assistant pastor for one year. In 1988, a new church seating approximately 630 was dedicated. The location, well away from the highway, provides a peaceful and prayerful setting for liturgy and reflection.  Fr. Burns was appointed pastor of All Souls Catholic Church in Sanford in February 1989.  Sr. Carol Gaeke, OP served as Pastoral Assistant from October 1979 to June 1988.

In March 1989, Fr. Joseph Kiernan, OFM, who had been serving as Associate Pastor since July 1985, became pastor and ministered to the parishioners until June 1996. Assisting Fr. Kiernan were Fr. William Bried (January 1990 to August 1993) and Fr. Venard Murphy (September 1993 to June 1996).

Fr. Clyde Bonar was appointed Pastor in 1996 and remained until his retirement in March 2003.  Fr. Tito Rojas served as Associate Pastor from July 1996 to September 2000.  Fr. Jose Bautista, Parochial Vicar, assisted Fr. Bonar from September 2000 and was appointed Parish Administrator when Fr. Bonar retired.  He was appointed pastor at St. Catherine of Sienna in St. Cloud in May 2003.  Sr. Teresa Lavelle, OSB, was Pastoral Associate from January 1997 until her death in November 2002. 

Fr. Timothy LaBo was appointed pastor in June 2003.  Fr. Humberto Jana joined St. Francis as the minister to the Hispanic community; he shared his ministry with St. Francis and St. Andrew parishes.  In March 2004, Fr. Humberto returned to St. Andrew full time, and Fr. Carlos Bedoya was appointed Associate Pastor on a full time basis. 

In January 2005, Fr. Bedoya was appointed pastor of St. Clare Catholic Church in Deltona, and in July 2005, Fr. Alejandro (Alex) Baumann was appointed Associate Pastor filling the position that was vacant for six months. Fr. Alex returned to Argentina in July 2006.  Fr. Jose Mendoza was appointed full time Parochial Vicar effective September 1, 2006.  Fr. Percival Devera was also appointed as full time Parochial Vicar effective May 31, 2007.  Fr. Mendoza returned to Venezuela on July 31, 2008.  Fr. Jesus Arroyave was appointed Parochial Vicar effective November 1, 2008.

Father Charlie Deeney was appointed Parochial Administrator, and Father Tomas Hurtado was appointed Associate Pastor in August, 2011.




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