HomePrefaceCHAPTER 1: Prehistory to 1894CHAPTER 2 :Franciscan World to 1894CHAPTER 3: Our First Church: 1895-1901CHAPTER 4: Our New Church: 1900-1910CHAPTER 5: Our Church: 1910-1920CHAPTER 6: Our Church: 1920-1929CHAPTER 7: Our Church: 1930-1940 TimelineBiography: Author

Praying before the cross at San Damiano below the town of Assisi, St. Francis heard the words: “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.” Francis initially understood that he was being called to repair San Damiano, but not too many years later he discerned a larger calling – to reform the Catholic Church in the image of Christ. Pope Innocent III sanctioned this vision when he granted Francis permission to found the Order of Friars Minor in 1209.


Franciscan Spirituality may be captured in the opening words of the “Prayer of St. Francis”: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Franciscan Spirituality expresses itself in acts of peace, love, and compassion for all Creation. It embraces all life, from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the Universe and beyond – including Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire, Sister Water, the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the animals of the Earth. It embraces all peoples, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, or Christian, whether rich or poor, sick or well, marginalized or mainstream.

This spirit has been one of the hallmarks of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, which was established in 1894 by German Franciscan Friars from St. Louis, Missouri, and directed by the Bishop of Sacramento (Bishop Manogue) to minister not only to Germans, but to all Catholics in the parish and beyond.

Over the years, St. Francis of Assisi Parish has continued to follow Bishop Manogue’s mandate to serve the community. To list just a few examples: the parish has ministered to survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; offered Palm Sunday and Christmas Masses (featuring the music of Mozart and Haydn) during the years of the Great Depression, World War II, and beyond – which served not only parishioners and other Catholics, but also many in the larger community; founded Francis House in the 1970s to minister to the homeless; and ministered to HIV/AIDS sufferers in the 1980s. This spirit of Franciscan service continues to this day. St. Francis of Assisi Parish is one of Sacramento’s most vibrant religious communities, drawing parishioners from throughout the greater Sacramento region and beyond.


Centennial logo This history is one part of our celebration of the 100th anniversary of our church building, dated from the laying of its cornerstone in 1908. Some months after others had begun research on the history of the parish, and of the church building, I joined them and volunteered to write this contextual history of the parish.

As often happens with many long-term volunteer projects, roles, duties, and assignments shifted over time. I found myself not only compiling contextual history, but also filling in some information about the parish. Thus, this history developed as follows:

  • Chapter 1: In a Larger World: Prehistory to 1894
  • Chapter 2: In the Larger Franciscan World to 1894
  • Chapter 3: Our First Church: 1895-1901
  • Chapter 4: Our New Church: 1901-1910
  • Chapter 5: Our Church in a Larger World: 1910-1920
  • Chapter 6: St. Francis of Assisi Parish in the 1920's
  • Chapter 7: St. Francis of Assisi Parish, The Depression Years 1930-1940

Long-time member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and professional historian, Gregg Campbell (b. 6/17/1935; d. 11/28/2015) wrote this history of St. Francis and its surrounding community for the 2008 Centennial of our church building.


“Saint Francis of Assisi.” Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org.


I would like to thank the following individuals and groups for their support with this project:

  • Fr. Anthony Garibaldi, whose leadership, vision, inspiration, dedication, and devoted hard work is bringing our St. Francis Centennial Celebration (and this history) to fruition

  • Our parish staff, especially Fran Anderson and Kay Skonieczny

  • Our Parish Council, especially the Chairs and members who have supported the Centennial Celebration Committee

  • Our Centennial Celebration Committee members past and present who have worked for and supported the development of a parish history from the beginning

  • Our Communications Committee, especially Cathy Flores, for developing this web site

  • Susan Silva, volunteer parishioner, for her indispensable editorial assistance

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