St. Francis Parish ‘rebuilding its house’

An artist’s rendering of the new entrance to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Wichita. The church should be ready for worship with the new school year. (Courtesy photo)

Eight centuries ago, Saint Francis of Assisi responded to Jesus’ request to “go rebuild my house.”

Now, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita is doing just that with its Rebuild My Church campaign which will touch the entire campus located in West Wichita.

“The renovation is progressing well and will result in better liturgical movement, improved hospitality, more adult education space, and expanded gathering spaces,” said Fr. Jarrod Lies, pastor.

The areas of improvement include:
Campus – Extensive renovations in heating and air conditioning, roofs, restrooms, parking, lighting, and windows
School – A renovation of Cana Hall which serves the school and the parish, new windows in some classrooms, restroom improvements, and gym floor improvements
Clare Hall – Access to Clare Hall will be improved, the nursery will be relocated to enlarge the hall, the kitchen, and restrooms will be renovated
• The church – The 25-year-old carpet will be removed and replaced with a hard surface in the aisles. The pews and speakers will be replaced and restrooms will be moved so that the space is more fitting for prayer and liturgy
Bonaventure Center – The space in the former priests’ residence will be reconfigured for new office space, and improved usage for parish gatherings, wedding preparation, adult ed, and small family gatherings. Work will be ADA-compliant, including the addition of an elevator.
Other improvements will be made to the convent, Nazareth House, the rectory, and Stewardship Hall One of the goals for the fundraising includes creating a fund to address future maintenance needs.
The church renovations are scheduled to be finished before school starts in the fall. The office areas and gathering space will be completed in that time frame, or shortly after. The renovations to Clare Hall and the outdoor courtyard will begin in 2024.

Looking to the future

In an explanation to the parish regarding the campaign, Fr. Lies said, “We must ensure our financial security by having appropriate reserves for salaries and facilities. … The Preservation Goal seeks to have a future secure from potential crises.”

The parish has several goals: The Legacy Goal of $3.2 million focuses on restoring the current facilities; the Transformation Goal of $5.9 million would add the renovations outlined above; and the Preservation Goal of $6.9 million would create a fund for future maintenance in addition fulfilling the renovations cited.

“Our founding parishioners made great sacrifices to build our first buildings, and over the years even more stewards grew the parish into the beautiful spiritual home that it is today,” stated a campaign committee chairman.

“Many hours of stewardship and some difficult financial decisions, no doubt, were made to create the buildings that make up our campus. We owe it to these people to support Rebuild My Church.”