St. Francis on the Brazos seeks to serve in the midst of challenges

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious entities working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Lexi Masarweh

Father Eduardo Jazo is passionate about future plans and how St. Francis on the Brazos Catholic Church currently helps the community.

“I find joy. I find happiness in serving my community,” Jazo said. “It’s because it is a gift of God.”

Father Eduardo Jazo of St. Francis on the Brazos Catholic Church

Jazo said it is his vocation and he is just answering God’s calling. Jazo said he is happy serving others and will continue to do so until he does not “feel fulfillment from it anymore.”

St. Francis on the Brazos had a food pantry to help those in need of groceries, but the church had to suspend the pantry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of people in need of it were elderly and stopped coming to the church due to the pandemic. 

“The pandemic stops everything. . . . It was very difficult because we depend on the people who attend mass, and the attendance of mass dropped really, really hard,” Jazo said.

The pandemic hit many churches hard. Before COVID, 400 people attended mass each week, and now 100 people are attending. “In this moment we are trying to survive as a church, and we are trying to do the best,” Jazo said.

According to the St. Francis on the Brazos Church website, the food pantry was established by the Franciscan Nun, Sister Francis. The food pantry operated since 1992. The church is dedicated to helping the elderly and those in need by providing food and clothing regardless of faith or status.

Jazo said the food pantry was working well. However, he thinks the church needs to do more. Jazo is looking for programs offering legal advice since many people in the parish are immigrants.

The church will host a vaccination clinic 9 a.m.-1 p.m. July 11.

Even though they do not currently have a pantry, Jazo said the church provides groceries for those in desperate need. When the pantry restarts the main difference will be that the church has stopped working with the Central Texas Food Bank. The church can freely pass out food to whomever they want to and whenever.

The church receives donations of clothing and other items. Jazo said the church works with Catholic Charities of Texas and the Diocese of Austin. This helps the community as well. Jazo said, for example, the church received 800 boxes of diapers. 

“The things we receive as donations we give,” Jazo said. “We find someone who needs it.”

Jazo said the church tries “to help in a spiritual way.” This is essential, especially during hard times. Jazo and the church tries to give hope to those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jazo said they reassure others that they have a family within the church. The church lifts those up and they come together to pray for those who are sick and in need of spiritual guidance.

Lexi Masarweh is a sophomore at Baylor University. She is a corporate communications major and a minor in public relations. Lexi is from Pleasant Hill, Calif., which is close to San Francisco. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].