2020 has been vert eventful so far. We had a busy beginning of the year and now we are in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Many things have changed. We look forward to see what the rest of the year will bring to us.
Scroll thru the years below to see how we have been able to grow so amazingly. God is definitely good!
On March 30th, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein and Council of Priests of the Archdiocese approved the establishment of a new parish in northern Johnson County. Father Steve Jarrell was named the first pastor of this new parish to be named SAINTS FRANCIS & CLARE. In September, the boundaries of this new parish were legally established. In October, the first Mass was held at the home of Mike and Donna Austgen on the Feast of St. Francis. The first regular Sunday Mass was held in the cafeteria of Center Grove Middle School on November 28th. The large crowd forced the site to be moved to the gymnasium of the school.
In March, Father Steve was installed as pastor by Archbishop Buechlein. The 15- member Planning Committee was commissioned and held its first meeting March 24th, creating several task groups to address needs in the areas of real estate, finances, youth, religious education and welcoming new members. The Parish House was purchased to be used as a residence for Fr. Steve, parish offices and meeting rooms. The house was remodeled during August and September. On September 25, the first parish picnic was held at the Center Grove Resort; the parish house being dedicated the same day. In October the first training session for liturgical ministers was held and the Sunday morning religious education program (grades 1-8) began. Archbishop Buechlein approved the purchase of twenty six acres of land at the southeast corner of the intersection of Olive Branch and Mullinix Roads upon which the church was to be built.
In mid January, Fr. Steve and the Planning Committee appointed the Facilities Committee, which was charged with the task of planning and coordinating the construction of the Church and its supporting structures. In August, the architectural firm of Woollen, Molzan and Partners was selected. The first Pastoral Council election was held in November.
|In March, the Parish kicked off its Founders' Campaign, Saints Francis & Clare's first formal capital campaign. In May, site preparation began at the Parish's Building site.|
|Archbishop Buechlein and Father Steve celebrated the Groundbreaking Mass at the site on June 23rd. In August, Bob Navarre was hired as Construction Manager for the building project. By December, the architects had presented the plans for the new Parish facilities to the parishioners.||
Property at the corner of Olive Branch Road and Mullinex is cleared and leveled in preparedness for the building of the chruch.
Archbishop Buechlein tosses dirt for Saints Francis & Clare's ground-breaking.
The cornerstone of the Church was blessed on April 13th followed in August on the Feast Day of St. Clare, by the Dedication Mass and the Blessing and Sealing of a Time Capsule at the site. In October, the first ceremony, St. Francis "Transitus", was held in the newly completed church. The official Dedication of SS Francis & Clare Catholic Church was held on October 5, 1997 presided over by Archbishop Buechlein and Father Steve. Later that year the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought here for veneration.
The first Parish Mission was held in March. On April 18th, parishioners volunteered for the first Spring Clean-up, Planting and Landscaping Day. Also in April, twenty-five children received their First Communion. Father Steve celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Ordination on May 17th with Mass and a Reception in the new church hall. By November, the number of registered families had increased to approximately 450.
This year saw an increase in membership to over 550 families. Father Steve Jarrell announced that he would remain pastor for another six years. The Building and Grounds committee continued with the landscaping of the property with trees and shrubs most of which were donated by parishioners and friends of the parish. The creation of a Meditation Garden was begun. The youth of the parish traveled to Appalachia on a Mission. In the Fall, parishioners brought their pets to Church for the annual Pet Blessing.
The year of the Great Jubilee. A pilgrimage was made to St. Meinrad in August. We had an Archdiocesan-wide Eucharist Celebration in September. During the Mass over 3,000 people were confirmed. Baptismal promises were renewed. Saint Francis & Clare had many parishioners participating and volunteering in the grand celebration. We hosted our first seminarian this summer. Our membership continues to grow to 600 families.
Pet Blessing, in honor of Saint Francis' Feast Day, October 2000
This was a year of firsts: the first triplets to be baptized, the largest group to participate in the RCIA, the first Mass of Remembrance (Feb. 14), the first Reverse Raffle Dinner sponsored by the Men's Club, and the inauguration of the men's and women's retreat movement: Christ Renews His Parish. We suffered the loss of a Music Director from January through June, but volunteers stepped forward superbly and a new director was hired during the summer. The Day Care Ministry continues to grow. The parish hosted international speaker Matthew Kelly twice during the fall. The evangelization ministry "Disciples in Ministry" was begun. The parish house was sold and construction began on a new rectory. Wednesday adoration of the Blessed Sacrament began in August. Parish membership continues to grow at nearly 700 families.
Construction of our new rectory was completed in the spring, and a dedication and Open House was held in May. The Adult Faith Formation Committee sponsored a pilgrimage to Gesthemane and the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Bardstown, Kentucky. In their inaugural year, our Girls' CYO Basketball Team won the Division Championship. Our membership continues to grow to over 670 families.
This year has been a year of continued growth. We welcomed our second pastor to our parish. Fr. Vince Lampert was installed by Archbishop Buechlein in August. The committees and ministries of our parish continue to flourish. Our Parish Nurse Ministry started up this year and our Mom's Club published their first cookbook. The parish published its third pictorial directory. This year's pilgrimage was to the National Shine of St. Therese of Lisieux. Parish membership continues to increase to over 720 families.
This year was another year of continued growth for the parish. In March our Parish Nurse Ministry offered our first Health Fair. Testing and information was given to over 150 people. To accommodate our parish growth we added 72 parking spaces and additional pews for the sanctuary which will seat an additional 150 people. This was the first year our parish picnic was held on parish grounds. We have entered the age of the World Wide Web by offering a web site at. This year's pilgrimage was to Italy where many parishioners and friends toured many shrines of Italy. Our membership continues to grow to 825 families.
A School Steering Committee was formed to assess the parish's need and desire for an elementary school. An intensive feasibility study was conducted and it was determined to proceed with a school ministry and a parish building and expansion project. We implemented the Legacy for Our Mission: Touching Tomorrow Today capital campaign and raised a record $2.3 million. This was a year of reorganization for our committees and ministries as we implemented the Archdiocese Commission structure for parishes. Mass of Anointing began as a monthly opportunity for parishioners to receive the sacrament of anointing for physical, emotional or spiritual healing. Parish membership continues to increase as we grow to 860 families.
|The year began with the kick-off of our new Wednesday night Bible Study program. We cleared the parish calendar of all meetings in an attempt to offer all parishioners the opportunity to "make your faith come alive". At the end of January, our pastor, Fr. Vince Lampert left on a sabbatical to Rome. He finished up in May and met a group from SSFC as they headed out on a parish pilgrimage to the area of Scenic Alpine Europe. Our Building Committee continued to meet to plan the design and construction of our expansion project.
|We celebrated with the ground breaking of our new Assisi Center on July 9th. During the summer we hosted our second seminarian and in the fall we were assigned a temporary associate pastor, Fr. Mike Onwuegbuzie from Nigeria. In August our School Ministry opened with two classes, Kindergarten and 1st grade. They began meeting in the existing classroom space. As our parish continues to grow so does the involvement in our 62 committees and ministries. Our parish membership increased to 958 families.|
September 9, 2006 - Constructtion
This year was a year of growth and expansion. On January 28 Archbishop Daniel Buechlein came to dedicate the new Assisi Education Center. The School Ministry moved in and finished up the school year in the new classrooms while Religious Education and other ministries also used the space. We held our first annual Parish Festival in September. The success of this event was attributed to the wonderful weather and the over 500 parishioners who volunteered their time to help. As our CYO program continues to grow we constructed a football/soccer field on the parish grounds. Fr. Vince blessed the field before the football games on October 7. The parish membership grew to over 1000 families. The year ended with 1004 registered households.
|Fly-over view of the SSFC and the construction area in Januray 2007.|
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis ordained the first class of permanent deacons on June 28. Parishioners Ron Reimer and Steve Hodges were in this class. Deacon Steve is assigned at St. Rose of Lima and Deacon Ron is assigned at Saints Francis & Clare. Our Adult Faith Formation continues to offer ways to grow in your faith with weekly Bible study and Sunday morning Adult Fellowship. An outdoor Stations of the Cross prayer walk was constructed on the east end of the parish grounds. This year's pilgrimage traveled to Spain, Portugal, and France. Our School Ministry has grown to include classes for Pre K thru 3rd grade. It held our 2nd Annual Chili Cook-off which gave parish families an opportunity to come together and share their favorite recipe. The number of parish families grew to 1115.
Deacon Ron Reimer with Archbishop Daniel
Deacon Steve Hodges with Archbishop Daniel
While the number of families, committees, and ministries continue to grow so do our facilities. We expanded the seating in the church by 130 seats by moving the back walls and installing additional chairs and pews. A ground breaking ceremony took place on October 4 as our second major expansion project got underway. The construction of new parking, additional classroom/meeting space, a cafeteria, and parish life center are in the works. Our Religious Education and School Ministry combined for our largest First Eucharistic class which consisted of 82 children. Our boys 5/6 grade CYO basketball team brought home a city championship. Our parish membership increased to over 1200 families.
In August, the construction of new school classroom space, cafeteria, and gymnasium were completed and dedicated. We now have a regulation size basketball court as part of our 103,560 square foot facility.
2010 Pet Blessing in honor of Saint Francis's Feast Day.
Saints Francis & Clare is now up to 1185 families as parishioners.
In 2012, Saints Francis & Clare was assigned a new Associate Priest. Father Anto Peterraj joined us from India. We also received a new deacon, Deacon Ron Pirau, when he was ordained in May. Deacon Ron Pirau joined Deacon Steve to enlarge our ministry staff.
In March 2012, the Harvest Food Pantry officially opened its doors. It had served over 2,200 individuals, with an average of 55 households per month by its first year anniversary in 2013.
2012 Women's Club annual Trunk 'n Treat for Halloween.
Father Anto Peterraj
Men's Club volunteered their time and talent to help paint the hallways of the school.
The school and parish continue to grow. Another capital campaign was started to finance the next step in our campus expansion. In May 2013, construction began to renovate St. Francis Hall (the original gymnasium) and the adjoining classrooms to consolidate the school and parish offices. In September, the dust settled and the staff was able to move into their new offices. With the end of construction, SSFC now has a beautiful Hospitality Suite with a kitchen attached, as well as a large Youth Room that also doubles as a classroom during the week. The Harvest Food Pantry was able to move into it's own room at the completion the expansion project.
Father Anto left us to become the priest for TWO parishes in Southern Indiana and from July to September, Father Martin Rodriguez served as our Associate Pastor. His enthusiasm and guitar playing made an impression on everyone. He left us right before the 7th Annual SSFC FESTIVAL. It was the biggest and best so far. The FESTIVAL committee presented Father Vince with a check for $103,922.
October 8, 2013--
Archbishop Joseph Tobin presided over Mass and attended our 20th Anniversary Celebration.
We added a new tradition to our Advent Season. For Christmas Eve Mass, we held four masses: 4:00 pm in church, 4:00 pm in Gubbio, and 6:30 pm & 10:30 pm in church. The two 4:00 pm Children's Masses were held at the same time with two different priests. For the first time, Gubbio Athletic Center was used for this holy occasion. It was packed!
We ended 2013 with 1607 parish families. What a year!
A lot happened in 2014.
- We were appointed a new Associate Priest, Fr. Dave Marcotte
- A LOT of construction on the SSFC campus was completed in 2014:
- Saints Francis & Clare answered Pope Francis' call to "Feed the Hungry" and as a Lenten Almsgiving Project, raised enough money to build a new free-standing Food Pantry--our NEW Harvest Food Pantry. The building was completed and Bishop Christopher Coyne visited us to bless the building.
- The side road the connects Calvert Farm and SSFC to Mullinex Road was completed.
- Due to wear, tear and wind damage, we replaced the roof over the church and office area of the Assisi Center.
- Saints Francis & Clare received Archdiocesan approval to build a columbarium, the first in the Archdiocese. The first columbarium wall was set in place and several of the niches are already occupied.
- We recovered and repaired our campus after it was damaged by lightening--twice!
Father David Marcotte baptised RCIA class
Construction on the new Harvest Food Pantry
Final 8 people in the running to win the annual
New Harvest Food Pantry Blessing by Bishop Coyne.
- We experienced several changes in staff as several of our staff retired: Business Manager, Jackie Buchanan; High School and Young Adult Youth Ministry Coordinator, Gina Hines; Pastoral Associate and Coordinator of Adult Faith, Mary Chasteen; and School President, Rob Richardson.
- The BIGGEST NEWS for the parish was that both our Pastor and our Associate Pastor were reassigned to St. Malachy's Catholic Church in Brownsburg. Father Vince had been with us for 12 years and made a TREMENDOUS difference to our parish community. Fr. Dave came to us as a newly ordained priest and his youth and enthusiasm captured the hearts of everyone. He served as a wonderful role model for the younger members of our congregation.
- On July 1st, our parish received Father Steve Giannini as our new Pastor, and Father Tim Wyciskalla as our Associate Pastor. They seemed to blend with our parish quite well.
- The columbarium added a second wall of niches and 15 Stations of the Cross niches were installed in the Resurrection Garden of Saints Francis & Clare Catholic Church.
- We opened the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC), which will house or infant, Pre-K and Kindergarten students, on September 8, 2015. It was dedicated on September 20th. We were fortunate enough that we had more students enroll than could fit comfortably in to the ECLC, so our Kindergarten classes stayed in the Assisi Center for the school year of 2015-16.
- Pope Francis visited the United States and several SSFC parishioners traveled to Philadelphia to join the crowds and catch a glimpse of him.
- The parish established its own Knights of Columbus Council (#16305).
- Nw Fundraisers: Youth Ministry held its first PURSE BINGO on October 6 and the school held TRIVIA NIGHT on November 14.
- The Parish received a new Monstrance and purchased a new Baby Grand piano.
- At Christmas time, SSFC designed and sold its first Christmas Ornament.
- Many youth for our parish attended NCYC2015 (National Conference for Young Catholics), which was held downtown Indianapolis.
Lots of EXCITEMENT...Lots of PICTURES...
8th Grade Graduating Class
Aug. 2015 - Teacher Kylie Swintz gets a hug
What did 2016 bring to Saints Francis & Clare of Assisi? Here's a list that has happened:
- Indiana received its first Cardinal as Archbishop Joseph Tobin became His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin. As a Cardinal, he will one of the priests who go to Rome vote on who will become the next Pope.
- We said "Ciao" to Father Tim Wyciskalla as he headed to Rome to study canon law, and said "Hello!" to Fr. James Brockmeier who joined us in July as our new Associate Pastor.
- The Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) became known as the Early Childhood Ministry (ECM) to be able to gain accrediation from the state of Indiana.
- We received a new Pastoral Associate, Joy Burianek, who became in charge of the Care Ministry.
- 91 SSFC youth went through Confirmation and 113 children went through First Communion this year.
- Said goodbye to Deacon Steve Hodges as he accepted his new position at Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral downtown.
- The Knights of Columbus organized a Parish Picnic.
- The Columbarium and the ECM received beautiful landscaping.
- The "old" Stations of the Crosses that previously led to the Meditation Garden were given new life in the Rectory Flower Garden. The Stations were originally an Eagle Scout Project and were re-dedicated by Fr. Steve on July 2.
- For the first time in many years, we held the first parish Ministry Fair.
- Our Lenten Almsgiving Project was RICE BOWLS for CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICE (CRS).
- Linda Pirau, the coordinator for the Care Ministry and Columbarium, transferred to St. Malachy to become their full-time Care Ministry Coordinator--still a parishioner there though!
- We had POKEMON Go Stop appear on our campus for everyone to enjoy and participate in the latest interactive cell phone game craze.
- The school celebrated its 10th Anniversary!
- John Michael Talbot performed a concert here in October.
- Michael Rose joined our staff as our new Facilities Manager.
Here are a few pictures from 2016...
|2016 School Talent Show, February 2nd.|
We had a lot going on in 2017:
- We began our Stewardship of Treasure program, "Walking in Christ's Footsteps." This was a three-step drive to improve the financial stability of our parish.
- We had our first Taizé Prayer Service during Lent.
- The parish's Athletic Ministry formed its first wrestling team. We also combined with Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church (OLG) of Greenwood and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church of Franklin to form the football league, "Johnson County Knights Football.
- In May, the Notre Dame Folk Choir presented a concert in our church.
- The school hosted a 5K Fun Run.
- First Communion was received by 120 children in three different Masses.
- June 2017 had us saying goodbye to our Associate Pastor, Fr. James Brockmeier. We did not receive another Associate Pastor this year, but Fr. David Marcotte became a Pastor in Residence. He was not officially assigned to our parish, but he lived in the rectory and filled in for Masses when his other duties allowed. For six-weeks during this summer, Brother Peduru Fonseka, OSB, was assigned to our parish. Brother Peduru is originally from Sri Lanka and will become an ordained priest in 2018.
- In July, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis was appointed a new Archbishop: Archbishop Charles C. Thompson.
- In November, 61 youths and 10 chaperons attended NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference) in Indianapolis.
- Our Outreach Ministry held their annual Thanksgiving Food Distribution. They were able to assist 255 families with their Thanksgiving food and turkeys.
- The parish was able to offer our second SSFC Christmas Ornament for purchase.
- We ended 2017 with 1,602 parish families and performed 72 baptisms, 135 First Communions, 100 Confirmations, 20 burials and 14 marriages.