The 11-acre site of St. Francis of Assisi was purchased by the Diocese of Memphis in December, 1979. At that time, it was considered “out in the country” but population in the area increased rapidly and in 1985, the parish was officially established. Rev. William Kantner was named first pastor and he began celebrating Mass in the gymnasium of Auburndale School, later named St. Benedict at Auburndale, and now named St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, across the street.
In 1988, the Rev. James Pugh was named pastor and planning began for the building of a church. Ground was broken in 1989 and construction began on the 20,000 square foot church and 60-foot bell tower. The design blends traditional with modern. The single level, Mediterranean style building is salmon pink brick with occasional horizontal stripes of wine and pale gray. The east entrance leads to a courtyard with a circular fountain.
The Church was formally dedicated in December, 1990. In July of 1995, Msgr. Peter P. Buchignani was appointed pastor of St. Francis. Over the next decade as the Cordova area experienced major growth, the parish grew from 900 families to over 2000. The addition of a parish school was achieved when St. Francis parish assumed operations of Grades K-8 of St. Benedict at Auburndale School in 2004. The diocesan high school moved to its new adjacent structure.
Fr. Robert Marshall became the fourth pastor of the parish in June 2012. Being a strong proponent of continuing faith education, Fr. Marshall expanded the learning and enrichment opportunities at St. Francis, offering a number of Lifelong Faith Formation programs – for children, youth, and adults.
Rev. Carl Jude Hood assumed pastoral duties in July 2017. Today, St. Francis of Assisi is the largest parish in the diocese with approximately 2400 registered families. St. Francis of Assisi School has over 500 students and is one of the largest Catholic elementary schools in the diocese. It was recognized in 2010 as a "National Blue Ribbon School.” The parish has an enrollment of over 400 students in the Parish Religious Education program, an active Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, and a variety of Adult Faith Formation offerings.