St. Francis of Assisi Parish

St. Francis Parish History

Corner Findley & Euclid
Toronto, Ohio 43964

Before 1881, when our area was know as Sloan’s Station, Saint Francis church was a mission of the Diocese of Columbus and was administered by priests in Steubenville. The occasional weekday Mass was celebrated in private homes. On Sundays the Catholic families crossed over to the West Virginia side of the River and attended Mass in New Cumberland.

In 1885 Father Thomas Delaney was appointed resident pastor. In 1886, a week before the blessing of the cornerstone by Bishop Father Alphonse Leyden became pastor of Saint Francis Church. In 1892 Father J.T. McNally found a new parish house and a debt-free church. During his pastorate the school was opened under the care of the Sisters of Loretta.

Father Charles Walsh came to Toronto in 1920. The present church building was constructed in 1923. In 1938 Father Leo O’Connor became pastor. The church debt was liquidated. The Diocese of Steubenville was formed in 1945 the same year that Father Raymond Harris became pastor.

In 1947 the pastor and parishioners spent their energies in building a new Saint Francis School. Bishop John King Mussio dedicated the building in January of 1948. The year following, the Ursuline Sisters came to replace the Sisters of Loretta.

Father Angelo Cappelli came to Saint Francis Church as pastor in 1953. A new convent was built in 1960 and an old home was purchased as a temporary rectory in 1962, while the old rectory and convent were razed. With growth in the school, an addition was added in 1963.

The church interior was redecorated twice during the time of Monsignor Cappelli was pastor. The second renovation reflected the changes in the Mass occasioned by the Second Vatican Council. Saint FrancisSchool was made a central school for  all of Toronto when the sisters were withdrawn from Saint JosephSchool in 1970.

With the number of religious sister dwindling, the large convent at Saint Francis was closed in the early 1980’s and a smaller home was purchased for the sisters. The former convent was later sold to the Saint John Medical Center for a satellite medical center for Toronto.

Saint Francis Parish celebrated its first 100 years in 1985, with a year-long celebration which included all parishioners, concluding with a Mass and dinner at the American Legion Hall in Toronto.

In March of 1986 after 33 years of faithful service to the people of Saint Francis Parish, Monsignor Cappelli retired.