The St. Francis Xavier Fund for Missionary Churches


During this time of unprecedented and prolonged hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, our parishes have been critically impacted by dislocation, unemployment, and illness.

Despite those challenges, these parish communities have stood strong as outstanding disciples of faith, by helping one another with childcare, online learning, food sharing, prayer and so much more.



The St. Francis Xavier Fund for Missionary Churches provides resources to urban parishes deemed vital to the Diocese, vibrant in pastoral and lay leadership who exhibit true discipleship in their outreach ministries yet face socioeconomic challenges.



The St. Francis Xavier Fund takes a three-pronged approach to funding missionary parishes. First, we fund to alleviate emergency needs. Next, we fund and provide expertise to strengthen capacity. Finally we fund strategies and partnerships to bring all Diocese of Bridgeport parishes up to a baseline of success.



  • We are focused on partnerships, listening and learning.
  • We take risks and fail fast ... although we've only had successes thus far.
  • We make it easy to apply for funds. We approve funding fast and we walk with the pastor and parish to see the project through.
  • We think outside the box.
  • We use our Matrix for a holistic approach. We don't believe in Band-Aid solutions.



We assess the parish's operations, financials, infrastructure, partnerships, and collaborations. The pastor and team decide where to start. We build a relationship of trust, and through it, we begin to see impact and meaningful change.


HOW DO I APPLY for a COVID-19 Emergency Grant?

In order to qualify for a grant from the St. Francis Xavier Fund, a parish must fit the criteria as a "missionary parish," which includes the following:

  • The parish must have less than $100,000 in reserves. Monies held in permanently or temporarily restricted accounts are not counted in this total, as they are not available to assist a parish's immediate cash liquidity assets.
  • Applications must be made to assist meeting the parish's ordinary financial obligations for a given month. Renewal of any application is required if the parish seeks cash assistance beyond one month's time.
  • The application must include the parish's ordinary expenses for the preceding month, including its Diocesan financial obligations and the revenue it expects to raise that month in order to quantify and specify the assistance that it needs.

If a parish meets this criteria, it is eligible to apply for a grant from the St. Francis Xavier Fund. The application process is as follows:

  • Email Mike Hanlon, CFO of the Diocese, at expressing interest in submitting a grant application. The parish must demonstrate a good faith effort that it is engaging its parishioners in fundraising efforts during this time and pursuing either other grant or reimbursable loan opportunities.
  • Once a parish has been approved to proceed by the CFO, the applicant will receive an electronic application, which should be submitted along with other required materials to Kelly Weldon, Director of Foundations in Faith, at Applications will be presented to the fund's committee for review and potential approval.



The following ministries are some of the missionary parishes currently receiving assistance from the St. Francis Xavier Fund.

  • Blessed Sacrament Parish, Bridgeport
  • Saint Augustine Cathedral Parish, Bridgeport
  • Saint Charles Borromeo Parish, Bridgeport
  • Saint George Parish, Bridgeport
  • Saint James Parish, Stratford
  • Saint Joseph-Saint Ladislaus Parish, Norwalk
  • Saint Mary Parish, Stamford
  • Saint Mary Roman Catholic Church, Bridgeport
  • Saint Peter Parish, Bridgeport


About Our Namesake

St. Francis Xavier was a Catholic missionary who cofounded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) with St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Peter Faber. He was beatified in 1619 and canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.

St. Francis Xavier was the first Christian missionary to venture to Japan, Borneo, and other areas of Asia, and was considered by many to be the greatest missionary since St. Paul. He, along with St. Therese of Lisieux, is the co-patron of all foreign missions.

His feast day is December 3.