The heart of the history of any parish can never be recorded in the pages of a book, for the core of parochial life deals with men's souls: with their prayers and the power of the Mass and Sacraments- seeping deeply into their personal spiritual existence. Therefore, these words and pages lay claim only to a passing and surface account of the fifty golden years of St. Francis Xavier Parish. What has transpired in confessionals and conference rooms is locked in the eternal mind of God.
All that has occurred at the altar rail and in private communing with God in prayer is written in a Book that has not been touched by a human hand. All this and more awaits not the publication of this simple book, but rather the publishing of the real history of our parish at the Day of Judgement, when we all shall rise and read at a glance things impossible to write or read now. Something of what has occurred in our parish history, and which falls under the gaze and judgement of men, will see print in this book.
But in this most limited and superficial domain
much will be eliminated which remains known to the minds and memories of many of us. This is written not in apology but in explanation, as we, with a mixture of lawful pride and grateful humility, begin to set in place this keystone history in the arch of events which mark the completion of the 100 th years of life as a people and as a parish.
Parishioners gather before our former rectory, located at the site where our present church stands, to take part in a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
Lord: "Blessed are our eyes that see what we see, for many people of deep faith desired to see these things and did not see them.'Father McCartie, the pastor of St. Michael, had his curate, Father T.A. Walsh, with him at the groundbreaking ceremony. Also present were Mr. Schweitzer and Mr. Diemer, the architects, and Mr. David B. Mulcahy, he builder and contractor of the new chapel.
Dedication of New Chapel
Approximately four months later His Excellency, Most
Reverend Bishop John J. O'Connor arrived to dedicate the completed chapel. The work, in fact, had beenfinished by March 1. A bell weighing 325 pounds, cast in Troy, New York, had already been blessed and placed in the tiny belfry on February 26. On the side of the bell the simple Latin inscription read: "Sancte Xavier, ora pro nobis" (St. Xavier, pray for us). The Stations of the Cross were erected on the simple chapel walls on March 7. Hence, most fittingly, on March 18, the Vigil of St. Joseph, everything was in readiness for the Day of Dedication.
St. Joseph had protected the project from the start, and, through special prayers to the Virginal Father of Jesus, the work had been brought to completion without a single mishap. Dedication of the Mission Church of St. Francis Xavier Bishop O'Connor solemnly blessed and dedicated the chapel to the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and placed it under the patronage and protection of St. Francis Xavier. A mission church lent itself naturally to this most famous missionary name, for St. Francis Xavier was a burning flame of missionary zeal who had carried the message of the Gospel of Jesus to India and Japan in the 16th Century. St. Francis died on December 3, while awaiting his greatest challenge- the evangelization and conquest of China for the Catholic Christian Faith. Bishop O'Connor preached an eloquent sermon following the service of dedication, rising to the occasion because of the glory and greatness of St. Francis Xavier. A High Mass was then sung in thanksgivtng by the Reverend Dr. Cerasso. Father McCartie and the Chancellor of the Diocese, Father T.A. Wallace, were in the small Sanctuary along with the bishop. From such a beginning, from so small a planting, a great institution has grown. Other Pauls and other Apollos would be constantly planting and watering in the parish, but it has always been the great and good God who has provided the abundant increase.
THE MISSIO PERIOD
Groundbreaking for First Chapel
It was the ninth of November, the year was that of
Our Lord 1905, when Father D.J. McCartie plunged a shovel into the ground at the junction of North Seventh Street and Abington Avenue, to mark the start of the construction of a Mission Chapel of the Parish of St. Michael; the mission that day bore for the first time the great name of St. Francis Xavier, the greatest missionary since the day of St.Paul. The small crowd that witnessed the pastor's symbolic act felt a thrill of anticipation, but could hardly have envisioned on that day what we, the present parishioners of St. Francis Xavier, see with our own eyes. Indeed, to borrow an expression of Our Blessed
Saint Francis Xavier Parish's 100th jubilee
"Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow serving God and His People"
The 1927 graduating class
of St. Francis Xavier School
Blessed be the Most Holy
and Undivided Trinity,
Father, Son, and
now and forever!
Honored and loved always be the
Immaculate Heart of Our Virgin
St. Francis Xavier, pray for our priests and people!.