Learn more about St. Francis Xavier

Prayer to St. Francis Xavier for Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

St. Francis XavierSaint Francis Xavier,
co-patron of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,
you saw goodness
in cultures other than your own,
and used beauty within human culture
to share the truth of the Gospel.
We ask you to intercede
for Archbishop Charles Thompson;
may his leadership help
fill our cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas
with the saving truths of our Catholic faith
for the glory of God
and the salvation of souls.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

From the Archivist:

St. Francis Xavier has a long history as the patron of what is now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The first Mass in the Vincennes area was reputed to have been offered around 1702, by Jesuit missionaries from Canada. The first church was built in 1749 and named for St. Francis Xavier, who was also a Jesuit. Sacramental records signed by Fr. Sebastian Louis Meurin, SJ, date from that year. In 1785, Fr. Pierre Gibault built a second log church building. The final and current church building was begun in 1826, though it was not fully complete when Bishop Simon Bruté was named as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Vincennes in 1834. Bishop Bruté affirmed St. Francis Xavier’s patronage of what had become the cathedral of the Diocese of Vincennes in his first pastoral letter, written on October 29, 1834, the day after his episcopal consecration.

The original Diocese of Vincennes included the entire state of Indiana, as well as the eastern third of the state of Illinois. The Diocese of Chicago was established in 1843 and the Diocese of Ft. Wayne in 1857, eventually leaving the Diocese of Vincennes with just the southern half of Indiana. Later, the creation of the dioceses of Evansville, Lafayette, and Gary further divided the state.

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral remained the cathedral of the Diocese of Vincennes until the diocese was renamed as the Diocese of Indianapolis on March 28, 1898. By this time, the population center of the state of Indiana had shifted, and Bishop Francis Silas Chatard, who became bishop in 1878, had made Indianapolis his permanent home.  The chapel of the current SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral was built in 1892, with plans to build a larger cathedral structure when the diocesan seat was officially moved. So it was determined that while the new cathedral would be under the patronage of SS. Peter & Paul, the diocese would remain under the patronage of St. Francis Xavier. When St. Theodora Guerin was canonized in 2006, she was added as a second archdiocesan patron.

Written by Julie Motyka, archdiocesan archivist



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