Our Parish History

Late 1800’s

Much of this area of Brooklyn was farm land.  The People here mostly were Dutch family, the Lefferts, owned most of the land in our area, including the land the parish is built on.


With the area growing in population, a young Brooklyn priest of German background, Fr. Francis Ludeke, was assigned to found a new parish here. Land for parish building was leased from the Lefferts family.


The first Mass was celebrated in a house at 284 Maple St. on January 16, 1898. There were 40 families in the parish in 1898. Parishioners were mostly Irish American. A wooden church was built that same year on Lincoln Road near Nostrand Ave. and was dedicated on October 23, 1898.

Early 1900’s

On Maple Street, new parish buildings soon went up – first, the rectory and then the old parish hall (torn down in 1980’s). A convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph was also built behind the old church on Lincoln Road.


The first St Francis of Assisi School at 335 Maple Street, opened its doors in 1909 (this building is now the parish center). There were 250 students in the first year. The building cost 45,000 to build.


The Congregation had outgrown its church building, and so a larger church, built of brick, went up, facing Nostrand Avenue. This is the church we use today.


Another St. Francis of Assisi school was needed for our many students – in 1936, there were 1,106 children registered. Our current school on Lincoln Road was built, and was blessed on October 10, 1937. The cost was almost $300,000


Msgr. Francis Ludeke died on September 23. He served as pastor of St. Francis for over 46 years.


St. Blaise Church, which had been built as an Italian national parish, was at the corner of Maple Street and Kingston Avenue, had greatly diminished in population. The Bishop merged it with St. Francis in 1980, with Fr. John Regan serving as pastor. The old St. Blaise Church is now used by Jehovah’s Witnesses.


On August 3, the Marist Fathers and Brothers, based in Boston, were given care of the parish. 3 priests were on the staff. The parish team was made up of 3 Marist branches, working together. 3 priests ministered with 2 Marist Teaching Brothers, and in 1985, 3 Marist Missionary Sisters joined them.

1984- Present

St. Francis of Assisi-St.Blaise has been under the pastoral care of the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers and Brothers). The pastors have been Fr. Henry Rancourt, s.m., Fr. Paul Fruchette, s.m., Fr. Gerard Pelletier, s.m. and Fr. John Balduc, s.m.
Our Current pastor is Fr. Juan J Gonzalez, s.m.