The church was opened on April 19th 1960 and is a listed building because its concrete structure is typical of the era in which it was built. On the outside wall of St. Francis Church beside the door, is a sculpture by David John depicting St. Francis of Assisi looking up at Jesus on the cross, reminiscent of the vision at San Damiano when St. Francis was asked by Christ to restore the Church, thus prompting the start of the Franciscan Order.
A more conventional statue of St. Francis can be seen inside St Francis church near the main entrance. This statue was purchased to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II to this country in 1982. A Crucifix was erected in the far corner of the car park at the same time and for the same reason.
On entering the church your eyes are immediately drawn to the most sacred area of the building, the Sanctuary. Here is situated the High Altar, used for the celebration of the Eucharist (the Mass), the centre of Catholic worship, during which we recall, and share in, the Last Supper receiving the gifts of Christ’s Body and Blood as promised by Our Lord and recorded in the Sacred Scriptures
Immediately behind the High Altar our eye is drawn to the Tabernacle, often noticed first by visitors because of ha prominent position. The Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharist, is reserved here so that it can be taken to the sick or house-bound who are unable to get to church. It is intended also that reserving the Blessed Sacrament (the Sacred presence of Christ) will foster a spirit of quiet and prayer in what is a holy place and be a reminder that God lives among His people in Jesus Christ, His Son. The lighted Sanctuary Lamp, seen to the left of the Tabernacle, is a sign that the Blessed Sacrament is present. The colour of the Tabernacle Veil changes with the liturgical seasons and major feasts of the church.
Above the tabernacle is a wooden carving of “The Christ of Infinite Compassion”. The sculptor is Peter Eugene Ball. The figure is made from oak while the feet are carved from apple wood.
Round the balcony of the church arc the Stations of the Cross recording the last journey made by Christ before the Crucifixion and telling the story from the time Jesus was condemned to death until his body was laid in the tomb. These ceramics were made by a very talented Polish artist named Adam Kossawski who also made the Stations of the Cross in St. David’s Catholic Cathedral, Charles Street, Cardiff. He spent most of his life in Aylesford Priory in Kent where his work and inspiration can be seen everywhere. Although not a friar of the resident Carmelite community at Aylesford he is buried in their cemetery.
To the right of the High Altar is the Lady Chapel. Catholics reverence, they DO NOT worship (a mistake presumed by many), Mary as the mother of Christ and as His greatest disciple. They pray asking her to intercede for them with her Son.
The baptismal font, situated near the Lady Chapel, is portable because baptisms now take place at the front of the Church during High Mass on Sundays in order that the Congregation can welcome the newly baptised into the family of the Church.
Why not come inside St Francis and see for yourself?