Fifty years for St. Francis: Many parishioners, many ministries since ‘65 |

Fifty years for St. Francis: Many parishioners, many ministries since ‘65

Ann Demolski and Charlotte Curtis
Special to the Bonanza
St. Francis in Incline Village has facilitated many Youth Group retreats at Lake Tahoe.
Courtesy photo |

Editor’s note

This is the second in a four-part series of feature stories leading up to the 50th anniversary mass scheduled this summer at St. Francis of Assist Church in Incline Village. Click here to read part one.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Throughout its 50 years in Incline Village, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church has had an active group of parishioners who have set up many ministries that assist regular parish members as well as the community at large.

To celebrate our 50 years as a parish, we are highlighting some of the long-standing programs and success stories.

In 1997, a local parishioner, Denise Azzara, set up a pro-life ministry called “Project Dresser.”

The project goal is to provide fully-stocked dressers to mothers in crisis pregnancy situations. Specifically, the dressers are donated to new mothers at Casa de Vida in Reno.

Since 1997, approximately 200 mothers have been assisted through the St. Francis “Project Dresser.”

One of the young mothers commented, “I’m so grateful there are people out there who care and are willing to help while I go through this journey as a young mom just starting out. I’m trying to figure everything out and make it work.”

Mrs. Azzara added, “The parishioners have been so generous in supporting this project. I organized this ministry, but they are the ones that make it possible by purchasing the items.”

Casa de Vida is a nonprofit organization; donations are tax deductible. For information, please contact or 775-831-5641.


Religious education has been important to St. Francis since the early early days of St. Francis, when there were only 10 children in the program and it was held in family homes.

The program has grown and changed with the times and now serves almost 200 children weekly in grades first through 12th. The children’s program includes Sacrament preparation as well as assisting parents with the religious and spiritual formation of their children.

This year, 59 students received their First Holy Communion, and 10 will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation later this month.

The Religious Education department also includes the Youth Group program. The Youth Group meets weekly and is open to all interested teens and parish youth.

The group has more than 40 members and participates in Diocesan events, youth rallies, service projects and periodical retreats.

Call the church to join the middle school “Fearless” retreat open to all middle school students July 30 to August 1 at Project Discovery Challenge course.

Fur further information, contact Becky Massingill, Director of Religious Education, at


The Social Justice ministry is led by Donna and Rich Caravelli. They work with “United for Action,” which is a consortium of churches and other community organizations including the Family Resource Center in Kings Beach and Truckee, Project MANA, Tahoe Family Solutions in Incline, and Tahoe Safe Alliance, which serves the North Shore and Truckee.

At this time, United for Action is in the process of setting up an emergency warming center to house folks who need to get in out of the cold when our mountain temperatures make outside survival questionable.

The ministry also works with Project MANA for food distribution in Kings Beach, as well as collaborating with the Village Church in providing food for those in need in our community.

This is a vibrant ministry that lives the joy of the gospel in action with hands on commitment to our brothers and sisters in need.

Our parish is truly a welcoming community. Please join us as we celebrate our 50th year as a parish.

Ann Demolski and Charlotte Curtis are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi. For more information, visit or call 775-831-0490.

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