Our parish was established in May 1987 to address the needs of the growth of the population in our area and to better serve the people in Southeast Orange County.
Our founding pastor, Reverend Robert Hoeffner, bought a rectory building and set up a temporary office. In Spring 1988, construction began on the parish hall. In the Fall of 1996, construction began on the parish administration building. In 1997, Father Phillip Nuñez III joined St. Isaac Jogues, becoming our first parochial vicar.
In Summer 1999, Father Robert Markunas was appointed as the second Pastor of St. Isaac’s. In addition to his pastoral duties, he led Catholic radio programming for the Hispanic population in the Orlando area. During that time, planning and construction commenced of our new church building.
In the Fall 2003, Father J. Fernando Gil, J.C.D. became our third pastor. Shortly after, Bishop Norbert Dorsey along with Father Gil and founding pastor Father Robert Hoeffner broke ground for the new church. In the years following, our parish grew its clergy membership to seven ordained deacons, and Father Andrew Wojtan joined us as a parochial vicar.
In 2005, we welcomed Fr. Jose Muñoz to St. Isaac Jogues as our fourth pastor.
On May 14, 2005, a new chapter in the life of St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Community began with the Dedication of the new church building. Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, the new Bishop of Orlando at the time, was the principal celebrant for this exciting and jubilant celebration. Father Jose began to lead the parish with zeal and great leadership, growing our Faith Formation programs and maturing our ministries.
2020 was a very trying year for all of humanity as we experienced the worldwide pandemic. After the initial strict quarantine, and on Sunday May 30, the Solemnity of Pentecost, the faithful were allowed to return to in person liturgies, but it took a whole year before people felt comfortable to come back to church. The administration of the parish was strongly affected by the economy and the circumstances and a few employees could not return to work for us. With a “skeleton” staff we continued to lead the people of God back to normalcy by restoring services and activities we had before the pandemic.
In June 2021, after 16 years at St Isaac Jogues as pastor, Father Muñoz transferred to St. Catherine of Siena, our neighboring parish and we welcomed Father José Bautista as our fifth pastor, with Father Enrique Guerra as our Parish Vicar, and Mr. Dennis Johnson Jr. as the Parish Life Director. We are very blessed to have such talented and dedicated priests leading our community.
2021 – Present
Today, we are grateful to welcome over 5,000 families to our wonderful community of faith. As we continue to move toward normalcy, we gear to celebrate the 35th anniversary of our parish on May 2022, and we count our many blessings. We continue to mature as a community, and grow closer to Christ. We look toward the future and know that there are many great blessings in store for us.
Who is St. Isaac Jogues
Born in the French city of Orléans in 1607, Isaac Jogues joined the Society of Jesus in 1624. After his ordination in 1636, he was sent, at his own request, to the missions of New France. With his fellow Jesuit Charles Raymbault, Jogues was one of the first Europeans to go as far inland as Sault Ste. Marie on Lake Superior.
In 1642, Isaac Jogues was captured, tortured, and mutilated by Mohawks. Jogues was later freed by Dutch traders and taken to New Amsterdam, which enabled him to return home to France to recuperate. He would be the first Catholic priest to visit the city that would one day be renamed New York.
Isaac Jogues returned to the missions in 1644. During the autumn of 1646, he was once again captured by a band of Mohawks and then martyred on October 18, 1646.
Pope Pius XI beatified Issac Jogues on June 21, 1925. Along with seven other Jesuit missionaries, St. Isaac Jogues was then canonized on June 29, 1930 by Pope Pius XI. These martyrs (St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brébeuf, St. Noël Chabanel, St. Antoine Daniel, St. Charles Garnier, St. René Goupil, St. Jean de Lalande, and St. Gabriel Lalemant) will forever be remembered as the “North American Martyrs”.
St. Isaac Jogues’ feast day is celebrated on October 19th.