Director of the Work: Ann Sheridan, Pastoral Administrator
Pastor: Fr. Jim Caime, SJ
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church is a spiritual home to many in the Kansas City metropolitan area. A mix of young and old, college students, families with children, and senior citizens from both Missouri and Kansas, the parish draws from every walk of life.
Since its founding over a century ago, the parish has called several spaces “home,” built (and closed) its parish school and served as an anchor in its evolving urban neighborhood. One thing has stayed constant throughout: a Jesuit presence.
Saturday Vigil: 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. (This Mass is also livestreamed. Watch it on YouTube.)
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m.
Visit the parish website (www.sfx-kc.org/) for more information.
In 1909, Jesuit priests from the newly founded but, at that point, unnamed Rockhurst College founded St. Francis Xavier. The surrounding area was largely rural and undeveloped at the time, and only a dozen or so families made up the initial congregation.
Over the first few decades of its existence, the parish grew rapidly, outgrowing several of its buildings. During the 1930s and 40s, the parish was the spiritual home to nearly 2,600 members from 643 households.
In 1950, the parish dedicated a new, unusually constructed building as its new house of worship. Shaped like a fish and complete with blue windows, the structure initially had its share of critics, but has grown to be a treasured space for many and is an architectural landmark in the city.
As decades passed, the neighborhood changed, but the parish remained an anchor. In 2000, the parish celebrated 50 years of its church building and in 2007 raised some $1.1 million for restorations and renovations. In 2003, the parish took the painful step of closing its parish school after educating thousands of children in its nearly century-long history.
St. Francis Xavier Today
St. Francis Xavier continues to be a bustling faith hub for hundreds of households, more than a century after its founding. Complete with youth and adult ministries, community outreach and social justice initiatives and numerous organizations, the parish offers a rich, faith-centered experience.
In 2020, then-provincial Fr. Ron Mercier, SJ, led the parish’s transition from a traditional leadership structure to a more progressive, representational model. Under this new arrangement, a pastoral administrator, Ann Sheridan, a lay woman, was installed as director of the work, and Fr. Jim Caime, SJ, was appointed pastor, with the chief responsibility of overseeing the spiritual needs of the parish.
Together, Ms. Sheridan and Fr. Caime work to advance the parish mission and adhere to its core Jesuit values of finding God in all things, reflection and discernment, magis — the Jesuit concept of “more” —focus on the whole person, being men and women for others, and having diversity in community.
As a large, urban parish situated across the street from Rockhurst University, St. Francis Xavier has a unique spiritual community to nourish. A committed staff, led by Ms. Sheridan and Fr. Caime, has proven to be up to the task time and time again.
The coronavirus pandemic has presented a new set of challenges, but the parish is as determined as ever to continue its good work and will do so for years to come.