Parish ‘decks the halls’ during annual holiday tour

Dec 8, 2022
Holiday Tour of Homes visitors arrive at the All Souls Parish rectory. The Queen Anne style home houses once served as a convent for the first nuns who came to teach at All Souls Catholic School. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

SANFORD | Once again, All Souls Parish rectory was featured in the Sanford Holiday Tour of Homes, Dec. 3, welcoming more than 1,400 guests this year.

Visitors learned about its origin in 1899, restoration, and its five seconds of fame as the backdrop for a Bob Evans restaurant commercial. This is the fourth time the Queen Anne-style rectory has been a stop along the tour (once only as a porch stop for refreshments and a snack), which began in 1988.

Almost 1,000 people toured All Souls Historic Chapel, across the street – only one of two churches highlighted. Inside, photos offered a glimpse of the original building prior to the 1932 fire, which destroyed both the church and rectory.

Clad in a top hat for the occasion, Father Jeremiah Payne, pastor, said accepting the invitation made good sense as it was
an opportunity for evangelization and to share in some Christmas cheer. Guests could even stop and listen to the band stationed on the side porch on their way out. He thanked the many parishioners who decorated the home and served as docents.

All Souls acquired the rectory property in the mid-1950s, first making it a convent for All Souls Catholic School teachers. Later,
then-pastor Father Richard Trout renovated the home to make it suitable as a priest residence.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, December 09, 2022

View more photos here.