History of Sts. Mary and Martha

Our parish is a beautiful mixture of history and active grace of God. Please review the sub-tabs of this “About” page for all of the history of St. Francis Church, St. Hyacinth Church, which have now combined into one parish structure as Saints Mary and Martha Parish.

St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church
303 Clark Street
Auburn, New York

Father John Robotti founded Saint Francis of Assisi Church, the first Italian Church in the city of Auburn in the year 1907 under the direction of the first Bishop of Rochester Diocese, Bernard J. McQuaid. Times were difficult and the Italians were few, but in 1908 the first Italian Church in Auburn was completed. Since this time the church has seen many wonderful priests, whom, through their gifts served the people in an unselfish and self-sacrificing manner. The parish increased and with its growth new buildings were built. Presently there are 940 families and the parish is growing into a more diverse community while keeping their Italian heritage alive.

Saint Francis of Assisi is a welcoming and generous community who gives back to its extended community. Saint Francis of Assisi community is priest centered and orthodox in its practice of the Roman Catholic faith. They are a strong faith community with many devotions to Mary. They take great pride in the construction of Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. The Shrine stands next to the left of the Church, and is visited by thousands of tourists and local people each year.

The people of Saint Francis are very prayerful and true to their Catholic devotions and saints giving them honor throughout the year. There is daily Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel, which is visited frequently by many parishioners and visitors. The Rosary, Prayers of the Apostolate Group and the Sacred Heart Society are all a part of the piety of the parish.

There are many opportunities in which one can be involved in the ministries of St. Francis of Assisi. The Knights of Columbus and the Social Ministry Committee bring help to the less fortunate of the parish and community at large. There is also the homebound Ministry, CYO, Parish Boys’ Club and Girls’ Club, ministries in helping with the Liturgy and Mass as an Altar Server, Sacristan, Lector, Eucharistic Minister and singing in the choir are all God’s gift to share.

September 2005

St. Hyacinth Church

St. Hyacinth Church
63 Pulaski Street
Auburn, New York


Saint Hyacinth Church in Auburn, New York is a 100-year-old parish that proudly celebrated their centennial in 2005. The history of this parish began in the 1890’s when immigrants of Polish descent began to settle in this area seeking a new way of life. These faith filled newcomers to America felt the need to retain the customs and traditions of their native land and so the parish of Saint Hyacinth was formed in 1905.  As the parish family grew over the years they recognized the need for a larger church and thus a new Romanesque style church was build in 1964. The church with a capacity for 700 people is air-conditioned, handicap accessible, has a self-contained children’s room and a spacious choir loft and sacristy.  The facilities include a rectory that has the capacity to house 6 clergy with enclosed access to the church. There is an attached garage and a stand-alone garage as well. The parish center, which was the site of the former parochial school, is now utilized for Faith Formation classes for both Saint Hyacinth and Saint Francis students. This building contains 8 classrooms, a large size kitchen and cafeteria with seating for 100 people and is utilized for various parish functions. There is also an air-conditioned gym used by the CYO and other groups.

The constant prayerfulness of the parish family is evident in both the daily and weekend liturgies. This devotion and dedication make St. Hyacinth unique as exhibited through these services:

  • Recitation of the Rosary before daily Mass.
  • Divine Mercy Sunday and Divine Mercy Devotion on First Fridays
  • Parish Lenten Retreat Day
  • May and October devotions with recitation of the Rosary every Sunday
  • Annual Saint Anthony of Padua Novena and Mass
  • Worldwide day of the Rosary with an Intergenerational Living Rosary
  • Eucharistic Days (Forty Hours Devotion) in October
  • All Souls Day Mass with special remembrance for those parishioners who have died during the year
  • Christmas pageant in the Franciscan tradition that reenacts the birth of Christ

The church has an active Faith Formation program in conjunction with Saint Francis of Assisi parish and the RCIA program continues to be an important facet of their ministries.

The Altar-Rosary Society for the women of the parish and the Holy Name Society for the men of the parish greatly contribute to the ongoing life of this church.

The Spiritual Life and Evangelization Committee’s goal is to foster conversion and renewal in the hearts of the members of the community.  They sponsor several religious events among these are the Divine Mercy Devotions, recitation of the Rosary and Lenten retreats.  Ministry to the homebound and nursing home residents is a very important facet of their ministry.

The Social Ministry Group at this church deals with direct acts of charity and actions to promote social justice and peace. Operation Rice Bowl, Thanksgiving food baskets, Christmas food baskets, a Christmas giving tree and helping to meet the needs of local migrant workers during the harvest season are ongoing projects for the members of this committee.

The “Pierogi Workers” continue to add that special charm to the parish that makes it known throughout the area. The special recipe for this favorite food was handed down from a prior generation. Through the efforts of dedicated workers, the sales of this specialty food have enabled the parish to make many necessary and beautiful improvements to the church facilities.

There are many social activities that bring the parish family together throughout the year.

The Altar-Rosary and Holy Name corporate Communion Breakfast, the Beautiful Years Club get-togethers for seniors and the seniors Birthday Bash and monthly coffee hours after Sunday Mass, and the annual Mardi Gras dinner.

For the children of the parish, there is an Easter egg hunt and breakfast with the Easter Bunny, at Christmas there is breakfast with Santa. The annual parish picnic is held every July and is a successful fundraiser. The CYO basketball and cheerleading banquet is another event that the youngsters look forward to every year.

Incorporating the spiritual and devotional aspects of the church, with corporal works of mercy and the varied social activities, makes St. Hyacinth a vibrant and well-rounded parish.

May 1, 2008

Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine

Our Lady of Lourdes ShrineDear Visitor:

Welcome to our Shrine, dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. It is a representation of Bernadette’s vision in 1858.

According to reports of the vision, the French peasant girl, Bernadette, was praying at a grotto when she saw a vision of a beautiful lady clothed in white and blue with roses at her feet and a rosary hanging from her arm. When the child told her mother about this, her mother did not believe her; however, the vision appeared again to the child the following Sunday. At that time, Bernadette sprinkled holy water toward the rocks saying, “If you are from God, approach nearer; but if you are from the devil, go back!” The lady smiled and drew nearer, but departed a short while later.

On eighteen different occasions, the vision appeared to Bernadette and, at one time, bid her to “Drink from the fountain.” Looking around, the child saw no fountain, but suddenly one sprang up and flowed over the rocks. At another time, Bernadette begged her, “Oh, Lady, tell me who you are,” repeating her request four times. Each time the vision grew brighter. Finally, the vision replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette then knew it was the mother of Jesus.
The fame of these visions spread and the spot is now the scene of many miraculous cures. Thousands upon thousands have been blessed at Lourdes since the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette. It is the world’s most visited shrine.

Our shrine commemorates the apparitions of Mary. Ahead of you is the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the ground facing her is the statue of Bernadette as she appeared during the apparitions. The water here has been blessed and is a reminder to us of the miraculous water that sprang up at Lourdes.

We suggest that you say this prayer:

“Oh, God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we humbly ask that, worthily celebrating the apparition of the same Virgin, we may obtain health, both of soul and body. Amen”