Saint Francis and Saint Joseph Parishes
Pastor: Rev. Thomas A. Vennitti
Secretary: Michelle Fouts
On March 2, 1986, Monsignor Roger J. Foys was appointed the eighth pastor of Saint Francis Parish while retaining the pastorate of Saint Joseph Parish. Father Kurt H. Kemo was appointed parochial Vicar of both parishes and Brother Anthony Motto as pastoral associate. Father Vincent J. Huber joined the staff in April of the same year. The clustering of the parishes was the result of a diocesan-wide concern for the shortage of priests that the diocese foresaw.
Advisory bodies and sacramental preparation teams were merged. Although the parishes maintain separate identities and canonical status, the unity of the Catholic faith binds the parishioners into one community.
The physical plants of both parishes have undergone extensive repairs and renovations during this period. Both Churches the convent and the rectory have been re-roofed. Both parking lots have been resurfaced. Saint Francis Church was air conditioned and renovated. New windows were installed in the school as well as in Saint Joseph Church hall. The former rectory has been converted into the early Development Center for Saint Francis Central School. The former convent at Saint Francis has been refurbished and the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill have taken up residence there. The foyers and rest rooms at Saint Joseph Church have been renovated as well as the church hall and restrooms at Saint Francis Church. Saint Francis Central School has been re-roofed; an elevator has been installed in Saint Francis Church which makes it handicap accessible and adequate offices and living space have been added to the rectory.
The parishes have an active RCIA team, marriage preparation team, confirmation preparation team, F.A.I.T.H. organization (Friends Actively Involved to Help) which supports the school in many ways, and Saint Francis Central Boosters. Also ministering are the combined choir, cantors, lectors, Eucharistic ministers who visit the shut-ins on the first and third Sundays of each month. Active groups also include the Catholic Men of Toronto, Knights of Columbus, religious education program, adult religious education program, small faith sharing groups, H.O.P.E., Inc. (our youth group), parish council, finance council, maintenance committee, funeral luncheon committee, funeral choir, usher, school board and liturgy committee. Both parishes maintain active CWC units. Each year since 1981 parishioners have come together in late August on the parish grounds for what has come to be known as the Pastor’s Lawn Party. It is a way for the priests who serve the parish to say thank you to the parishioners for all they do for the like of the Catholic Church in Toronto. The attendance has grown from 68 people the first year to over 600.
The growth of a people of faith often sounds like a litany of persons and events. Faith is always en-fleshed if faith is to be sensed. The participation in daily and weekend Masses, the hundreds of people praying Advent and Lenten Vespers, the response to the DPSC, the commitment to Catholic education and the joy exhibited in the people of these parishes are but a few indications of the vitality of Catholic life in Toronto.