Ascension parish was founded in November 1959 when several parishes in Brevard were opening up to respond to the huge influx of young families relocating to the area with the opening of the Kennedy Space Center. Until 1958, the State of Florida had only one Catholic diocese. Today it has seven dioceses.
Shortly thereafter, Ascension’s founding pastor, Fr. Martin Power, worked with hundreds of new young families, all with mortgages, to build our first church (presently our parish hall) and first school (now our Ministry Center).
The Sisters of Mercy from Ireland opened our school. Sr. Immaculata Knox, currently our Pastoral Care Minister, taught kindergarten for 50 years. In the first years of the school, when we had over 650 students, Sister had over 60 students in her class. In 1971, Sr. Joseph Barden became the School Principal, a position she would hold for the next thirty years.
In the 1980’s, a Rectory for the priests and very small lay staff was built, which is now our Parish Office. In 1987, under the leadership of Fr. Val Sheedy, Ascension parishioners sacrificed to build our current church.
In the 1990’s, under the leadership of Fr. Frank Smith, our fourth Pastor , Ascension parishioners sacrificed once again to build our current two-story school. It was around this time too that Ascension worked with HUD to build Ascension Manor, a group of apartment units for low income seniors. Also, during Fr. Smith’s time as pastor (1989-2001), Ascension purchased two facilities on Aurora Road to help us better serve the poor and needy: the Thrift Store and Social Concerns office.
In 2002, under the leadership of Sr. Joseph, our school gymnasium was built. In 2013, a new Ministry facility (Buescher Center) was built to accommodate our expanding ministry needs.
Since the founding of the parish, Ascension parishioners over and over again have risen to the occasion to enable us to build the facilities needed to worship, to educate the next generation of leaders, and to conduct the administration and ministries of a very active parish.
Click here for news article about Ascension by Florida State homes.