About us

The First Catholic Bazaar

Dec. 22, 1897 - The first Catholic Bazaar was held for two afternoons in the school-yard and the proceeds amounted to fifty-four pounds- a handsome sum of money. During the next seventy-five years, at least, the Annual Catholic Bazaar was an important means of fund-raising for the "Sisters"School" also called "Catholic Free Schools" until the late 1950's.

Feb. 10, 1899 - Eighteen new Catholics received the Sacrament of Confirmation under the new gas lights in St. Francis Church.

March 1899 - Fr. Joseph Flynn, a visitor from New Jersey, planted "ishia" fig trees in the church yard.

Father Chrysostom doubled the seating capacity of St. Francis Church by adding the transepts, one on each side of the sanctuary. The transept on the west is currently the sacristy and the one on the east  side is now the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Dec. 5, 1910 - Father Chrysostom completed Bungalow Dunmore, the first concrete building in Nassau. He located it just west the Priory. Currently, it is the Cathedral Parish Rectory.

Until 1960, at least, the bungalow was the winter residence of the Archbishop of New York and guest-house for episcopal and priestly visitors who came to the Mission every year. The dining/living-room of this historic building displays interesting, stylized artwork. A frieze, or decorative band of sculpture, links the indigenous people (Arawaks), flora, fauna and Columbus with the Benedictine Missionaries in the Bahamas. The artist-professor was a friend of Fr. Chrysostom.

Dec 24, 1918 - Father Chrysostom dedicated the western transept (the current sacristy) as a Memorial Chapel to Our Lady of Victory and installed a plaque in memory of the World War dead.

Jan 1926 - St. Francis Parish 5th Bahamas Boy Scout Troop was enrolled.

Feb 1926 - St. Francis had its first Annual Lenten Missions Services, preached by two priests from the Archdiocese of New York.

May 1927 - The Madonna Day Nursey for pre-school children was opened in a new building financed by Alumnae of Mt. St. Vincent Academy in New York. This building in the south-eastern corner  of the churchyard at West Street and Delancy Street, is called the Parish Centre today.

Over the years, the building has housed pre-natal and general medical clinics, the parish offices and catechetical classes, also. These and other pre-natal and medical Catholic Church clinics serving anyone who came  - Catholics and non-Catholics alike existed. There was only The Bahamas General Hospital, now called Princess Margaret Hospital.

Feb 7, 1932 - St. Francis Xavier Church was designated the pro-cathedral of the Prefecture by Father Bernard Kevenhoester, OSB, the first Prefect Apostolic of the Bahamas.

Father Bernard then installed Fr. Othmar Hohmann, OSB, as pastor of St. Francis Church. Fr. Othmar, a talented, friendly, dramatist, zealously continued the work of this predecessors: promoting enthusiastic congregational vocal praying; singing during liturgical services; giving catechetical instructions during evening services.

His devout ministry to children and the sick was extraordinary and effective. The number of participating parishioners tripled and the school population doubled.

Dec 21, 1933 - Father Bernard was consecrated Bishop of Camuliana in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Feb, 1934 - Newly consecrated Bishop Bernard Kevenhoester, OSB, installed as Vicar Apostolic of The Bahamas.

August, 1934 - Construction of the southern extension and two towers of St. Francis Xavier Church, commenced during the previous year, was well advanced. It was completed by the end of 1934. This new space doubled the number of seats of the church to accommodate the many new converts.

Also during 1934, the generosity of Patrick Cardinal Hayes, enabled the Church to build St. Benedict's Hall, thus providing twice as much more classroom space for St. Francis School. Enrollments of non Catholic students, especially, continued to climb.

On the Summer of 1951 - Sisters and other teachers welcomed the much needed classroom space. The Bishop Memorial Building, providing eight new classrooms and administrative areas for St. Francis Parish School, was completed. After Bishop Bernard's death on December 9, 1949, Fr. Bonaventure Hansen, acting head of the Vicariate, used the donations given in the deceased's memory to finance this building.  

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