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The parish was erected in 1927 as St. Roch Parish when the mass was still said in Latin, sermons were in both English and French.


When mass began to be in the vernacular, the masses alternated.  The English-speaking population grew quite rapidly at this time, so on February 24, 1959, the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi was inaugurated by Paul Emile Cardinal Leger, with Father Richard King as its first pastor.  Mass was said in the basement of the church until the following year when the parishioners of St. Roch built a new, modern church at the corner of the street and the original church became the parish church of St. Francis of Assisi.

Due to a declining French population in the area, the parish of St. Roch moved back to its old location, on a rental basis, sharing mass hours and special functions with St. Francis of Assisi parish. In its complex history, the parish was taken over by the Conventual Franciscan Fathers for 14 years; Fathers John Murnane, Boniface Reinhart, and Richard Shields were consecutive pastors.  With the departure of the Conventuals in September 1978, father Peter Beaton became pastor followed by Father Charles Costigan in 1980. 


Father Costigan was pastor until his death in February 1998.  From that year until 2007, St. Francis of Assisi Parish had not had a live-in pastor.  Father John Lyng took over the administration of the parish and also provided the congregation with weekend and holiday ministry.  The turnover of administrators was frequent, as the priests serving at our parish were pastors or administrators of other parishes.  Following Father John Lyng as administrator was Father Fred Kirouac, Msgr. Robert Harris and Msgr. Sean Harty.  Other priests who have served as an occasional ministry are; Father Joey Powers, Father David Kiyingi, Father Emmet Johns, Father Denis Daniels, Father Herbert Schulz, Father Louis Robert of St. Roch Parish.

In 2007, Franciscan friars of the St. Joseph Province of Eastern Canada moved into the rectory next to the parish, and Fr. Georges Morin of the Franciscan Order, became a serving priest. Then, in August of 2012, the newly ordained Fr. Pierre Charland, of the Franciscan Order, was named pastor of the parish. Fr. Charland was assisted by Fr. Laurent Gallant, Fr. Georges Morin, and Fr. Joachim Yoon.

In September 2017, Fr. Charland having been elected Provincial Minister of the Franciscans of Eastern Canada, Fr. Joachim Yoon, OFM, was appointed Parochial Administrator of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish. He led the community from September 2017 until September 2019 at which time he transferred to Vancouver, BC to continue as Vocation Director for the Western Provinces.  Fr. Regi Mathew, OFM, who had served in Vancouver, BC as Assistant Pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish and was Champlain to "The Door is Open" (drop-in ministry and shelter) was appointed as Parochial Administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.  He leads the community with Deacon Dawood Masih as Pastoral Animator and Sr. Marianna Jung, FMM who is Pastoral Associate - Community Animator.  Fr. Emmanuel is the pastor of Saint-Roch Parish.

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