✟ Our History

The above image is an 1863 view of St. Francis Xavier Church (top left) and the town of Gettysburg from Seminary Ridge, courtesy of the Adams County Historical Society.

Explore the exciting history of St. Francis Xavier Church through the years. Begin your journey on the Page Index, then view Historic Photos, or download Further Reading -- all in the tabs below.

St. Francis Xavier offers our sincerest thanks and appreciation to the extraordinary folks at ACHS: Tim Smith, Roger Rex, Lauren Roedner and Ben Neely, without whose kind assistance these pages would never have been possible.



Who Was Saint Francis Xavier?

Born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta
    (April 7, 1506 – December 3, 1552)

The Patron Saint of Missionaries was born in Xavier, Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain), and was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). See More


The Early Years

The First Church

Prior to 1827 Mass was said in private homes in Gettysburg by Father Matthew Lekeu, S.J. and other Conewago Jesuits until the church was built and dedicated on October 2, 1831. See More


The Battle of Gettysburg & St. Francis Xavier Church

"For God and Country"   July 1-3, 1863

For three sultry days in July 1863, two armies collided in the fields and orchards and woods around Gettysburg in a violent struggle to decide the fate of our country. Our Church was one of the first to open its doors to the wounded.    See More


Post-War To Present

Moving Into The Present. . .

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✟ Pastors

For over 184 years, we have been blessed by many priests who have served St. Francis Xavier Church as "True Shepherds of Christ" to the people of our parish.

Let us take time to express our gratitude to God for their selflessness and service.


  • Rev. Matthew Lekeu, S.J.


        Before 1827 - 1931
  • Rev. Michael Dougherty, S.J.


        Oct 10, 1831 - June 1843
  • Rev. Francis Xavier Kendler, S.J.


        June 6, 1843 - August 1843
  • Rev. Joseph Roger Dietz, S.J.


        Aug 27, 1843 - March 11, 1848
  • Rev. George Villiger, S.J.


        Mar 16, 1848 - Oct 1848
  • Rev. J.B. Cattani, S.J.


        Oct 10, 1831 - June, 1843
  • Rev. James B. Cotting, S.J.


        Dec 8, 1849 - Aug 29, 1853
  • Rev. Francis Xavier Deneckere, S.J.


        Sept 11, 1853 - Nov 2, 1858
  • Rev. Basil A. Shorb


        Nov 14, 1858 - May 23, 1861
  • Rev. Michael Martin


        May - June 1861
  • Rev. Arthur M. McGinnis


        July 16, 1861 - Oct 27, 1863
  • Rev. Joseph B. Boll


        Jan 4, 1864 - June 1893
  • Rev. Joseph B. Smith


        July 1893 - Jan 13, 1895
  • Rev. Charles Koch


        Jan - May 1895
  • Rev. Henry S. Christ


        May 12, 1895 - Feb 1899
  • Rev. Thomas Joseph Crotty


        Mar 1899 - 1907
  • Rev. Thomas W. Hayes


        1907 - Jan 1912
  • Rev. Thomas F.X. Dougherty


        Jan 14, 1912 - Jan 19, 1913
  • Rev. William F. Boyle


        1913 - Oct 1920
  • Rev. Patrick F. Sullivan


        Oct 1920 - Apr 1921
  • Rev. Mark E. Stock


        Apr 1921 - Aug 31, 1950
  • Rev. Anthony F. Kane


        Apr 29, 1950 - Aug 1961
  • Rev. Andre Meluskey


        March - April 1959
  • Rev. Joseph P. Kealy


        Aug 1961 - June 19, 1967
  • Rev. Msgr. Alphonse Marcincavage


        June 1967 - Apr 1978
  • Rev. William T. Haviland


        Apr 19, 1978 - Apr 19, 1983
  • Rev. Kenneth F. Lawrence


        Apr 19, 1983 - Mar 9, 1994
  • Rev. Joseph C. Hilbert


        Mar 9, 1994 - June 12, 2002
  • Rev. Bernardo Pistone


        June 13, 2002 - June 2014
  • Rev. John B. Bateman


        June 2014 - Present