The Roman Catholic parisih of St. Francis Xavier was organized during the latter part of June, 1904. A petition started by Messrs. Edward Kirchberg, Edward Dolan and Frank Flaherty was presented to His Grace Archbishop Quigley asking for an English-speaking church for the residents of Wilmette, and resulted in the appointment of Father Edmund Byrnes as the first pastor.
At that time the parish consisted of only 38 families. The zeal of the newly appointed pastor combined with the cooperation of parishioners resulted in their hearing Mass for the first time in the new church on Christmas Day, 1905. Father Byrnes proved himself to be an able organizer, and established the Sheridan club and a branch of the Knights of Columbus that bore witness of his community spirit. The graduaal growth of the parish necessitated the building of a parochial school, which ws opened in January of 1910. Two yeas later Father Byrnes was made pastor of St. Sebastian's Parish in Chicago.
Editor named Pastor
Archbishop Quigley chose Father T. V. Shannon, then editor of the diocesan paper, "The New World," as the new pastor. He entered into the responsibilities of his first charge with characteristic zeal and within a short time had endeared himeslf to all his parishioners. The present active and flourishing Woman's Catholic Club of Wilmette is a memorial of his efforts. His Gracce, Archbishop Mundelein, assigned Father Shannon to the pastorate of St. Thomas the Apostle in Chicago in 1916. Since then Father Shannon has been honored with the title Right Reverend Monsignor. The third pastor of the parish was Monsignor Francis Clement Kelley president of the Catholic Church Extension Society of America. Following in the footsteps of his able predecessors he continued to build on the foundations laid by them and erected the new school and formed the Xaverian club. In 1925 he was consecrated Bishop of Oklahoma. The new successor was Father Bernard Brady. Under his guiding hand and steadying influence, the parish flourished and rose to one of the leading parishes in the Archdiocese. His work was not confined to the limits of his parish but to the entire village. Under him the Woman's Catholic club has steadidly increased in membership and demonstrated its loyalty and efficiency throughout the years of its existence. Among all his activities his greatest work in the parish was the zealous promotion of the decree of frequent communion. Due to his tireless efforts the parish became free from debt and rose to great heights. After twelve happy and successful years of labor, Father Brady received the summons to devote his talents and tireless energy to a wider sphere of action, and in March of 1937 was made pastor of St. Brendan's Parish in Chicago. The present pastor is Father Martin McNamara.