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Thanking God for Support of the Whiteriver Apache Churches - Diocese of Gallup

October 27, 2023

St. Francis in the Apache Whiteriver Reservation of Arizona

St. Francis Parish is located in a valley surrounded by forests, in the center of the Whiteriver Apache Reservation in Arizona. From its beginning in 1924, the parish and its mission of St Catherine, in Cibique, were mainly under the care of the Franciscans. The church was built with cement blocks manufactured by the Apaches themselves, and dedicated by the Bishop Daniel Gerke of Tucson as it was originally in his diocese.

Since 1939, Saint Francis and its missions, have been in the care of the Diocese of Gallup. In 2018, the Franciscans pulled out of the care for these places of worship and since then it has been in the care of the Diocesan priests.

The area was devastated by the pandemic, “there were so many funerals”, said the current pastor Father John Cormack. Now with 80 percent unemployment in the area, Father is striving to bring back all, who love the church, though it is impossible for them to support it and the presence of a priest, without the ongoing help of granting agencies such as BIMO. God bless all who donate to the Black and Indian Foundation.

This is a holy place of worship that is a healing place for many people around the world, a good retreat place it has been and continues to be a place of reconciliation, worship, reflection and family gatherings.....thanks to all whom contribute to its ongoing Mass during holy days of obligation and Jesus Christ. - Parishioner Tonita S.