Saints in our midst: St. Francis of Assisi

A statue of St. Francis of Assisi is seen outside St. Anthony Church in Butler N.J., after an unusually early snowstorm Oct. 29, 2011. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran)

Happy feast day to many of our local Catholics. Within the Phoenix Diocese you’ll find the Franciscan Renewal Center plus a mission, parish and school named after St. Francis of Assisi. You’ll also find Franciscan brothers, priests and sisters plus Third Order Franciscans.

Learn more about St. Francis of Assisi (the man), the 12th century founder of the Franciscan order. He’s also patron saint of animals, ecology, Italy and Merchants.


  • St. Francis of Assisi Mission is part of the Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Located on Longmore Road north of Thomas Road in Scottsdale (map and Mass times)
  • Canonically part of St. Jon the Baptist Parish in Laveen
  • Also a similar mission in Ak-Chin. Some sources just call it “St. Francis Mission.”


  • Celebrated 60th anniversary last year
  • Will offer its popular blessing of the animals Oct. 20-21
  • Offers an array of programs and retreats open to Catholics across Arizona including a Franciscan Mentor program
  • Its Our Lady of the Angels, conventual church (under Franciscan not diocesan administration), was established in 2006 and now has 1,764 families
  • Follow on Facebook


  • Founded in 1959 as part of the Diocese of Gallup.
  • Still a mining community with 35-50 families, largely because  families wishing to own a home must live elsewhere and aren’t around for weekend liturgies.


  • Founded July 1, 1997 when three area parishes were consolidated. Centralized worship space is under construction.
  • Serves 2,200 families
  • School started as a one-room cabin in 1895 and has undergone several name changes and one merge
  • Follow parish and school on Facebook
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Ambria Hammel
Ambria Hammel, staff writer, began serving The Catholic Sun diocesan newspaper via writing and photography in 2006. For story ideas, email or call (602) 354-2134.