Jubilee – History of SFDS Facilities (continued)


During Fr Tom Phillip’s time at St. Francis we witnessed dramatic change in the parish appearance. First  with the building of the Worship Center.  There was critical need for a place solely dedicated to worship. The parish growth doubled in size 1985 to 1991 to 800 families, out pacing the 350 seating space of Kilduff Hall. 1985 planning to 1991 completion and dedication in Sept 1992 was undertaken with a groundswell of parishioner support. Total projected cost $1.2 M, one half of which $600,000 had to be raised before construction could begin; final cost $1.15 M. Parish campaign began1986 & ground breaking  Spring 1991. December 25, 1991 Mass was held in the unheated, unfinished interior for the 125th anniversary.  April 1992 the first Masses were held in the completed church. Seating capacity was 6 times Stone Chapel and 2 times Kilduff Hall. Comments from parishioners praised the open architecture, inspirational space, officially naming it Worship Center, not Church, the single entrance for all to be greeted by clergy, and the prayerful atmosphere.

The first rectory in 100 years was built around time of the Worship Center. Then there was beginning of conversion of Fr Wolfe’s garage (built in 1960), which had become a storage space for everything from an old Stone Chapel furnace to a canoe, and lawn mowers. The Knights undertook conversion of the building in 1990’s, to a fully equipped meeting hall, upon completion served as classroom for CCD 1st graders. Fr. Mike named it Knights of Columbus Hall for parish organizational use.

The addition of the Eucharist Chapel of Reservation off the east end of the Worship Center began in  June 2001. Funding was raised through donations of many generous persons. It serves as an appropriate and permanent site for the Reserved Sacrament and an accessible location for quiet prayer and reflection. It was dedicated December 2001.

Finally, the Michael Schleupner Educational Center, a 2 story classroom/offices site was built with funds from a Capital Campaign. Again, parishioners  were so responsive and generous. Bill Hengemihle captained the project, Beth Taneyhill was Director of Religious Education and Cardinal Keeler dedicated it in 2002.     REMEMBER WE ARE ST. FRANCIS!