Our Journey of Faith: From Mission Church to Thriving Parish

  • SFX mission
  • SFX Meeting
  • Historic Building

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Fort Myers boasts a rich history rooted in the pioneering spirit of the Jesuit missionaries. In the 1800s, they made the arduous journey from Tampa on horseback to establish a mission church amidst the wilderness. This humble mission, dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, eventually flourished into the vibrant parish we know today. Our baptismal records, dating back to 1882, stand as a testament to generations who have found solace and inspiration within its walls.

In 1910, St. Francis Xavier officially became a parish, marking a pivotal moment in its growth. The dedication of the new church, followed by the arrival of the first resident pastor in 1920, laid the foundation for a thriving community. The 1920s saw the addition of a rectory and, in 1938, the opening of St. Francis Xavier School – a lasting legacy of the parish’s commitment to education and faith.

Challenges, like Hurricane Donna’s damage in 1960, were met with unwavering faith and determination. A successful fundraising campaign led to the construction of our current church, dedicated in 1961. Today, St. Francis Xavier stands as a beacon of hope in the Diocese of Venice. We welcome over 1,500 families from diverse backgrounds, offering a spiritual home and fostering a vibrant community through the St. Francis Xavier Regional School and dedicated ministries to various institutions. We remain grateful for the support of our winter visitors, who contribute to the fabric of our faith family.

As we look towards the future, we are guided by the same spirit that led those early missionaries. We strive to be a welcoming place of worship, offering not only spiritual nourishment but also a helping hand to those in need. St. Francis Xavier is a testament to the power of faith, and we invite you to join us on this journey of love, service, and devotion.


  • Father Steven Celemente

    Father Steven Clemente


    Dear parishioners of St. Francis Xavier, My name is Fr. Steve Clemente. I am grateful to be here with all of you as your new priest and Administrator. By way of introduction, I am originally from Massachusetts and am the second of two children. From about the age of six, I wanted to be [...]


  • Father Robert Tatman

    Father Robert Tatman

    Parochial Vicar


  • Father Fritz Ligonde

    Father Fritz Ligonde

    Priest Assigned to the Haitian Ministry of the Parish


  • Michael Reardon

    Michael Reardon

    Religious Education Department & Youth Director


  • Abby Castellanos

    Abby Castellanos



  • Freda Himschoot

    Freda Himschoot

    Parish Secretary


  • Jeffrey Schwartz

    Jeffrey Schwartz

    Manager of Villa Francisco


  • Shana Richardson

    Shana Richardson

    Music Director


  • Ron Taylor

    Ron Taylor