About Us

In 1969, at the request of the Bishop of the Obregon diocese to serve the English-speaking tourists and residents of San Carlos, Father Fidel Kuban, ofm of the St. Barbara Province of California, arrived in Guaymas. He immediately began helping, not only the American and Church community, but those in the general community as well. Soon, more friars followed. In 1971, Fr. William Sisk and Fr. Mario Cimarrusti opened the first "Dispensario Medico", or medical clinic for the poor. This immediately filled a major need of the population.


Fr. Marty Gates

Fr. Marty GatesIn March 1971, Fr. Marty Gates arrived in Guaymas and immediately fell in love with the area and the community. He had contacts and benefactors in the United States, and began to build a strong foundation for what is now Casa Franciscana Guaymas. Father Marty inspired and empowered people to serve!In 1972, Br. Miguel Lozano, ofm opened his home to six orphaned children and established the "Hogar Paz y Bien" (Home of Peace & Good), an orphanage that now also offers day care so that parents can work to support their families.

In 1984, Br. Ivo Toneck brought his building skills and passion for the arts to Guaymas. He came to oversee the remodeling of the Portiuncula, Our Lady of the Angels Church that overlooks the city. His talent, ingenuity, and dedication were utilized in the building of the Meson de Jesus to feed the poor each day, and the building of the Asilo, a nursing home for homeless elderly women. Sharing his love of the arts and seeing a need for youngsters to gain hope and self confidence, he formed the "Ballet and Mariachi Guadalupano". The State of Sonora loaned him a building that had partially burned and from that, he built "Belles Artes", a school for the performing arts and cultural programs.

Father John Peterson,ofm, joined his friend, Fr. Marty, in 1987. Together, they served the poor they loved so much. Along with providing for the faithful of the community, Fr. John was immersed in the operation of the Mission, always seeking to improve and to expand services to the poor. His vision of a housing project to provide temporary transitional housing for the poor of Guaymas has been partially implemented and assistance in renovating poor homes continues with the help of volunteer groups.

Fr. Elias Galvez, ofm came to Guaymas in 1991. For many years at 5:00 AM each day, this quiet Friar could be seen in front of the Casa, offering food to the street people. Then he would be off to whatever church or chapel he was needed to say Mass. His pastoral ministry to the children in the schools and CERESO prison are legend, and continue today.

Jerry Donovan, a Canadian,  arrived in Guaymas in 1991. He did not intend to stay, but Fr. Marty gave him a job doing maintenance work. Seeing a great need to serve the youth, he went to Fr. Marty with a plan to organize a program for the youngsters living in one of the toughest and poorest of the barrios. Marty gave Jerry twelve pair of roller skates and that was the beginning of "Club Jerry". Jerry is a skilled carpenter, and he began teaching young boys the trade. More skates and sports equipment were donated and Jerry saw that he needed a place for his kids, a safe harbor off the streets of Guaymas. An anonymous donor gave him $10,000, and Jerry constructed a simple block building near the Casa Franciscana Mission in 1993. It became the center for the youth of Punta Arena.