St. Francis Xavier and Missoula Catholic Schools ~ a Relationship of Grace
St. Francis Xavier Parish has had a long history in providing education in Missoula and in supporting today’s Missoula Catholic Schools. In 1912 the Jesuits opened Loyola High School on the west end of the parish campus. For six decades, Loyola High School served the young men of Missoula until its merger with Sacred Heart Academy to form the present Loyola Sacred Heart High School. In 1927 the parish opened St. Francis Xavier grade school that continued in operation until 1980 when it was combined with St. Anthony Grade School to become St. Joseph Elementary & Middle School. Today, both St. Joseph Elementary & Middle School and Loyola Sacred Heart High School comprise Missoula Catholic Schools.
On April 24, 2015, Loyola Sacred Heart High School was formally endorsed by the Society of Jesus. A portion of that dedication states “We, the Jesuits, recognize that the Ignatian spirit which helped form this school from its earliest days is alive and well, continuing to animate the mission of the school, rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola.” Read the full document. In 2016, Catholic education returned to the St. Francis Xavier Parish campus with the opening of the St. Joseph Early Education Program (EEP) in the former Loyola High School Building. It is simply wonderful to see the smiling faces and hear the joyful voices of these little students as they learn, play and pray together.
St. Francis Xavier Parish ~ Dedicated to Catholic Education
At the time of the schools’ merger, St. Francis Xavier Parish transferred the St. Francis Xavier/Peterson Family and the St. Francis Xavier/Jesuit Fathers endowments to the Loyola Sacred Heart Foundation. These two endowed gifts, specifically created for the benefit of Catholic education, continue to support Missoula Catholic Schools to this day. For many years since, St. Francis Xavier Parish has made an annual financial contribution directly to the Loyola Sacred Heart Foundation to offset the cost of tuition. With an average assistance gift of $1,000 per student, the donation from St. Francis Xavier Parish has been able to assist dozens of families over the years in sending their children to Missoula Catholic Schools. Additionally, upon graduation from Loyola Sacred Heart High School, a student from St. Francis Xavier Parish is awarded a scholarship to attend Carroll College which is often supported with a direct financial contribution to the college from the parish.
Further financial support for Missoula Catholic Schools comes in the form of contributions made at the B.A.S.H. (Building A Scholastic Heritage) fundraiser hosted by the Loyola Sacred Heart Foundation. St. Francis Xavier Parish sponsors a table annually and on occasion will donate items to the silent auctions. It’s always fun to see the “Dinner for Ten” prepared by one of our Jesuit priests sell for thousands of dollars at the live auction!
St. Francis Xavier Parish ~ Committed to our Catholic Youth
The most important support St. Francis Xavier Parish provides Missoula Catholic Schools comes in the presence of our priests. The Jesuits of St. Francis Xavier have committed themselves to “show up” at sporting & scholastic activities, fundraising events, prayer services and to preside at various school Masses. Priests from St. Francis Xavier Parish are often called upon to speak at the schools, act as substitute teachers, and upon occasion have been on the teaching faculty. They have also led numerous retreats at Loyola Sacred Heart High School and have routinely been a key part of the faculty retreat at the start of each school year. The Jesuits from St. Francis Xavier have had a continual presence on the school board for the Missoula Catholic Schools for decades and have also been members of the Loyola Sacred Heart Foundation Board.
St. Francis Xavier Parish ~ A Spiritual Home for Missoula Catholic Schools Families
St. Francis Xavier Parish is blessed to have a large number of Missoula Catholic Schools families as parishioners. As such we are fortunate to have these students attend the parish Religious Formation classes and receive the Sacraments within the church. These same children often participate as altar servers, sacristans, and ushers at St. Francis Xavier liturgies. On occasion, St. Francis Xavier is pleased to open up the doors of Reidy Hall and our newly renovated Loyola Building for use by Missoula Catholic Schools. Across the years and across the church aisles, St. Francis Xavier Parish and Missoula Catholic School truly enjoy a Relationship of Grace.