The following comes from a May 31 story in the Sacramento Bee.
In 1894, German friars arrived in Sacramento from St. Louis. Ever since then, Franciscans have steered the St. Francis of Assisi parish in midtown.
Now, a transition is underway in which Franciscan priests will no longer be pastors at what has long been one of the most diverse and well-attended Roman Catholic churches in the Sacramento diocese. Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto appointed a priest from the diocese over the weekend who is not a Franciscan.
The reason for the Franciscan religious leaving St. Francis? The order simply does not have enough priests to go around….
Over the weekend, parishioners were told that the new pastor for St. Francis as of July 1 will be the Rev. Desmond O’Reilly. O’Reilly has been the pastor at Lady of Lourdes parish in Sacramento.
The outgoing pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, the Rev. Ken Laverone, will depart Friday. He will be spending the summer and early fall as a missionary on the Camino Frances, an ancient pilgrimage route.
The Rev. Sebastian Sandoval, associate pastor, will join a Los Angeles parish where he will be near his mother who will be having surgery. Friars, who are not ordained priests, will continue to live at St. Francis, and Franciscan sisters will continue ministries….
“The Franciscans have had a strong influence in Sacramento over the years,” said Laverone. “St. Francis Parish has been for the past 35 or 40 years where people know they are welcome, where maybe they might not be welcome in other parishes, for whatever reason, especially regarding the LGBT community.”