Clergy & Staff

Clergy

Father Sojan George
Pastor
[email protected] \\ ext. 226

Fr. Sojan was born on May 20, 1975 in Kerala, India as the 4th of 5 children. He has two brothers and two sisters. One of his brothers is a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He joined the seminary in 1990 and was ordained a priest on Jan 01, 2000. Fr. Sojan has been serving in the diocese of Fort Worth since 2002. He served as the Parochial Vicar in three parishes from 2002 -2006. From 2006 -2011 he served as the pastor of the parishes in Decatur, Bridgeport and Jacksboro. In 2011, he was appointed as the pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Wichita Falls. In 2016, he was appointed as the Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral.  Fr. Sojan was appointed as the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi on Feb 14, 2019.

Father Mel Bessellieu
Parochial Vicar
[email protected] \\
ext. 223

Fr. Mel was born on 13 December 1952, in Margate, Kent, England. His father Mel Bessellieu, from Wilmington, North Carolina, and Mother Sara Tolbert Bessellieu, from Smyrna, Tennessee had 5 children; two brothers and two sisters. He went to Plano High, Plano Texas, and graduated in May 1971. He went to North Texas State University college and graduated in May 1982 with, BS in Biology. He became Catholic on Holy Saturday, March 25, 1989, at All Saints, Dallas, Texas, and did his Minor Seminary in Holy Trinity, Irving Texas, Pre-Theology for one year, 1992. His Major Seminary in Saint Mary, Houston, Texas, MDiv and MA in theology, 1997. Fr Mel was ordained Deacon at Saint Mary, Houston, Texas, November 3, 1996, by Bishop Delaney and ordained Priest at Saint Patrick Cathedral, Fort Worth, Texas, May 31, 1997, by Bishop Delaney. His Pastoral Assignments: Saint Michael, Bedford, Texas, associate pastor 1997-99. Immaculate Conception, Denton, Texas, associate pastor 1999-2002. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pilot Point, pastor 2002-2007. Saint Ann, Burleson, Texas, pastor 2007-2022.

Deacon Thomas Bates
Deacon and Director of Marriage & Family Life
[email protected] \\ ext. 237

Deacon Tom has a BS in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech, and three master’s degrees: MBA and computer science from Texas A&M and theology from the University of Dallas. His wife, Diane, has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and is actively involved with Magnificat, a woman-to-woman ministry. Deacon Tom enjoys serving the parish as a deacon, assisting young couples with marriage preparation, and doing anything else the pastor might task him with. He has 3 sons and 1 granddaughter.

Deacon Paul Mahoney
Deacon // [email protected] \\ ext. 234

Paul was ordained a Deacon by Bishop Olson of Fort Worth on August 10, 2020, and immediately began serving the St. Francis community. Paul is originally a parishioner of Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Colleyville where he was actively involved in parish ministry for over 10 years. Paul and his wife Karen have been married for over 30 years, and he enjoys a career in the building products and home services industry. Paul and Karen have two sons.

Deacon Perfecto Santiago
Deacon // Contact through the parish office

Deacon Perfecto was born in the Philippines and completed Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of the Philippines. He retired from USDA Senior Executive Service in 2010 after 42 years of service. He received the Sacrament of Holy Order as a Permanent Deacon at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC on Aug. 26, 2000. Prior to serving at St. Francis, Deacon served at St. Mary of the Mills, Laurel, Maryland as a deacon for 19 years. He is married and is blessed with 2 sons and 4 grandchildren, who all four received their First Communion at St. Francis.

Deacon Bill Johnson
Deacon // [email protected] // ext. 234 

Deacon Bill and his wife Liz recently moved to Flower Mound from South Grand Prairie and are joining the St. Francis of Assisi family.  They are both native Texans and graduates of Nolan High School.  They have been married 44 years, have 2 children and 7 grandchildren ranging from ages 6 to 21. Deacon Bill was ordained in 2009 and has served the last 13 years at his family’s home parish of St. Joseph in Arlington, where he and his wife were active in many parish ministries for over 30 years.  Deacon Bill’s experience includes RCIA, Sacramental Preparation, Liturgy Planning, Marriage Preparation, Tribunal Advocate, and Spiritual Director for Cursillo, and he is currently an active member of the Permanent Deacon Admissions and Scrutinies Committee.  Deacon Bill retired from the business world five years ago after serving at DFW International Airport for 38 years, working in engineering, construction, and information technology.  He is anxious and excited to begin serving this great community and looks forward to worshipping with his new St. Francis family.

Staff

Xiomara Antonelli
Parish Secretary
[email protected] \\ ext. 221

Xiomara (“Zee”) Antonelli. Zee has been a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi since 1998 with her husband Jim and sons Dylan and Cole. She was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and baseball.

Jaqueline Bedore
Director of Children’s Catechesis
[email protected] \\ ext. 241

Jackie Bedore was born in North Carolina but spent the first decade of her life shuffling from community to community and her family settled in Naperville, Illinois. Where Jackie attended Sts. Peter and Paul grammar school and then Benet Academy catholic high school. She married her high school sweetheart, Matthew Bedore, and they have 3 mostly grown children—Paige [26], Hope [24], and Tristan [21]. Two of her children relocated to Texas and now she is too, with her husband. Jackie’s career has been one of following the Lord’s will in the service of others. She began her professional career as an elementary school teacher for which she has a Master’s in Literacy from Northern Illinois University. When Jackie’s family began to grow, she felt the Lord call her to focus on family. She did. When her children were well into school, Jackie earned her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University [Chicago] as well as certifications for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as she became the Director of Faith Formation for the parish. Jackie is certified in all three levels of CGS and is a formation leader for level 1. Most recently, Jackie has been the Director of Campus Ministry at her old high school—Benet Academy, the largest Benedictine high school in the country. As the first lay Campus Minister in the school’s 135-year tradition, Jackie completed the certification coursework in the Theology of the Body at the Theology of the Body Institute in Pennsylvania. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve God alongside the people of St. Francis as we strive to bring Him glory.

Karen Bedore
Preschool Director
[email protected] \\ ext. 230

Karen was born and raised in Houston, going to Catholic Schools from kindergarten through college. She received her Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. Karen started working in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in 1992, at her home parish preschool as a 2 year old teacher & assistant director. In 2003, she became Director of the SEEDS Preschool at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Houston. Karen left Houston in 2011 to move to Weatherford, TX, when her first grandchild was born. Her son and daughter-in-law live in Weatherford with their two boys, and her daughter and son-in-law still live in Houston.

Denise Brooks
Director of Music & Liturgy
[email protected] \\ ext. 228

Denise Brooks has been a member of St. Francis and served as Director of Music and Liturgy for many years.  She retired in 2019, moved to Arizona for a while, and now has returned to the metroplex. We are so pleased to welcome her back to St. Francis as our Director of Music and Liturgy!

Donna Buccino
Safe Environment Coordinator
[email protected] \\ ext. 229

Donna Buccino has been working  at St. Francis Church since February 2009, and she has been a parishioner for the past 10 years. She has been married to the same wonderful man for the last 23 year and they have 3 beautiful children.

Gabriel Garcia
Facilities

Brenda Garza
Communications
[email protected]

Brenda Garza was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico where she graduated with a BA in Graphic Design. After several years of working in a design agency, she moved to Asturias, Spain to be a missionary in a community of Catholic Artists where she met her husband. Two years later they moved to Puerto Rico to work with the Diocese of San Juan. While in P.R., Brenda received training in Level 1 of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Brenda, her husband, and their 5 children moved to Texas in 2009 and joined St. Francis as parishioners shortly after. Brenda is passionate about communicating God’s love to the people of our parish and is happy to use her talents to build up the kingdom of God on earth.

 

Tamara Sandoval
Director of Faith Formation
[email protected] \\ ext. 240

Tammy has been in ministry for over 20 years. She has worked as the Director of Faith formation in the Fort Worth Diocese. She has experience in adult formation, RCIA, and family life ministry. She is also a chief advocate for the Tribunal in the Diocese and is familiar with marriage preparation. Her first career was in nursing and then got a Theology degree from Ave Maria University. She is the wife of a Deacon in our Diocese and is currently studying Spiritual Theology. Of all her ministry experiences she most loves being a grandmother.   

Eleanor Kiesewetter
Parish Census
[email protected] \\ ext. 227

Eleanor was born in New York and moved to Texas in 1977. She found her way to Grapevine and St, Francis of Assisi in 1988. She has worked at the parish for over 10 years, and participated several years before that as a volunteer. Eleanor loves to travel and try new things.

Eric McKuzes
Business, Finance & Facilities Manager
[email protected] \\ ext. 225

Having been a member of St. Francis of Assisi since 2006, Eric and his family have grown with St. Francis of Assisi. Eric moved to Grapevine in 2001 and married his wife, Desiree, at SFA in 2009. You’ve probably seen Eric, Desiree, and their two daughters walking the halls at St. Francis. During his time at the parish, he even served five terms as the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Before his position at St. Francis of Assisi, Eric worked in International logistics for 15 years.

Mary M.
Outreach Ministry
Outreach: 817-488-5444

Mary M. has been Director St Francis Outreach for over 17 years. Her personal goal has been to always have the food pantry stocked and ready for anyone looking for food to feed their families. Mary has been blessed with an amazing husband Thomas for over 30 years, two great children and their spouses, and four grandchildren.

Jose Salazar
Director of Youth Catechesis & Young Adult
[email protected] \\ ext. 236

Jose graduated from George Washington University in May 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion with a minor in American Studies. Growing up in Tennessee, Jose worked with the Diocese of Knoxville with youth ministry before working as an assistant youth minister in Maryland while at school. He’s very excited for the opportunity to serve the youth and share his love for the Lord and bring others to Him.

Sister Edid Torres, MCSH 
Hispanic Ministry & Catechesis 
[email protected] \\ ext. 239

Sr. Edid Torres was born in Caltepec, Puebla, Mexico, and entered the Congregation of Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 2000.  Her mission experience in the United States has been in the states of Texas and New Mexico. She thanks God for every experience that has helped her grow and mature in her faith.