St. Francis of Assisi Parish History
Website started October 31, 2015
It was March 30, 1910 when two Irish priests arrived in Bend, but only Father Luke Sheehan remained, traveling by horse to visit his new parishioners. The first church was an old school house bought in 1912 for $75. As he continued to settle down, Father Sheehan asked a group of nuns of the Order of St. Joseph to start a hospital. Obviously with the growing population, a larger church was needed, and the foundation stone was laid on January 25, 1920. It was built by E. P. Brosterhous at the cost of $55,000 and was officially opened and dedicated in the same year. The original plan called for two spires, but because of the cost, they were never completed.
Then 1936 saw the start of the Catholic School with an initial enrollment of 140 students. By 1949, a new Rectory was desperately needed; it was built at a cost of $12,000 and is still being used today. The nuns also had their own Convent, which was located across the street from the church, and officially opened in 1959.
As the number of parishioners continued to increase, the need for a new school and offices were deeply felt. So, in July 1992, 17 acres were selected on 27th Street at a cost of $300,000, and in July 1995, an outdoor Mass was held to celebrate the initial ground-breaking. But work wasn't started until 1997 with a new school, administrative offices, and a large community center. The old school was sold in the late 1990s, and McMenimans took over the whole complex. The new school and offices were officially opened in January 2000.
From early 2006, the Franciscan Capuchins could not staff the parish any longer, and so Diocesan priests took over the parish. The need for a bigger church was felt, and the new church started to be built in April 2008. It was opened officially and dedicated on August 23, 2009.
We all look forward to celebrating in 2020 the 100th Anniversary of the Historic Church as we continue to serve our parishioners, new families moving into Bend, and the Latino community, which is forever increasing.
A relic of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare in the Historic Church.