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History

The parish was established by Bishop Watterson on May 24, 1892. The territory included all of Sacred Heart Parish west of High Street to the Scioto River, and from the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks north to the Delaware County line. The founding pastor was Father Alphonse M. Leyden, who came from Toronto, Ohio. He celebrated the first Mass on July 12, 1892 in the second floor of an abandoned Methodist church at the corner of Collins and Pennsylvania Avenues (now in the center of Thurber Village).

September 1, 1895 – Bishop Watterson laid the cornerstone of the current church; he returned on August 23, 1896 to consecrate the building.

1902 – Bishop Moeller returned a portion of the parish to the jurisdiction of Sacred Heart parish; and in 1905, the new parish of Holy Name was formed, removing from St. Francis all territory north of West 11th Avenue.

September 9, 1907 – A newly built school was opened and staffed by seven nuns of the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs.

Between 1900 and 1913 – A new pipe organ was installed by the Barckhoff Organ Co. of Pomeroy, Ohio.

1926 – The current rectory was built, replacing the original one built in 1893.

October 7, 1946 – The golden jubilee of the parish was celebrated.

1955 – The parish inaugurated a major remodeling program of the church basement, sacristy, and rectory.

1957 – The City of Columbus began its urban renewal south of the church. Over a third of the houses in the parish were torn down and the church lost over 250 families by the end of 1959.

1961 – The school was remodeled. By 1966, the urban renewal program in Columbus began to build 300 apartments south of the church.

1970 – The school was closed because of low enrollment, and in the same year, the school building was leased to the Franklin County Mental Health Department for classes.

December 8, 1973 – On this night, the school burned down.

1986 – The parish initiated a major renovation of the church, social hall and rectory.

1995 – The Centennial of the Blessing of the church cornerstone was celebrated with a prayer service at Sacred Heart Church, followed by a procession from there to St. Francis.

August, 24, 1996 – The Centennial of the Consecration of the church was held. Bishop Griffin re-consecrated the church, and a brand new altar, ambo and tabernacle were dedicated. A reception and dinner dance was held after the service to complete the celebration.

April 2000 – A state-of-the-art lighting system was installed in the church building.

June 1, 2001 – The renovated Barckhoff organ was blessed within the context of a parish concert.