About Us

Rev. James Panackal, CMI

Rev. James Panackal, CMI is a Carmelite Priest from India, born on August 12, 1953, as the fourth of nine children of Mr. Alexander and Mrs. Elizabeth Panackal. He lost his beloved Dad on April 1, 1985. His Mom, 92 years young, is doing well.

In 1970, after the 10th grade, he joined in the CMI (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) Order at the age of 17.  In 1975 he made his First Religious Profession. He did his Philosophy, Colle Degree and Theology studies at Dharmaram Vidhyashetram, Bangalore, India and was ordained a priest on May 11, 1984. Fr. James is the member of Nirmal Province, Jagdalpur in North India. He has served as the Minor Seminary Rector, Pastor, Novitiate team Member, Provincial Councilor and Youth Director. In 2002 he was elected Provincial of his community.

He came to the United States in 2005 and served at the Immaculate Conception Church in Irvington, New York and then moved on to Saint Patrick Church in Amarillo, Texas. In 2009, he came to Nashville as Associate Pastor of the Holy Rosary Church and served for five years. Father James served as Pastor for Saint Lawrence Church in Joelton from 2014 to 2017. Prior to being assigned to St. Francis Cabrini Church, Lebanon, Fr. James was the Parochial Vicar for Saint Thomas Aquinas Church, Cookeville, TN. In addition to being the Pastor for St. Frances Cabrini, he also serves as the Director of the Carmel Center of Spirituality in Liberty, TN.

Deacon Jim Dixon

Deacon Jim and his wife Naidene were married in 1957 and are the parents of four grown children who have provided them with five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Jim was ordained a Deacon on September 29, 1990 in the Joliet Diocese of Illinois and served as a pastoral associate before retiring and moving to Alexandria, TN in 2006.

As a Deacon, he has been involved in several different ministries and is currently teaching the RCIA class at St. Frances Cabrini. He also peaches on the first weekend of each month and assists with religious education classes when asked and in addition to those ministries he also visits the sick when asked.

The parish of St. Frances Cabrini is blest to have Deacon Jim and Naidene as a part of our growing community.

Deacon Hector Martinez

Deacon Hector is a native of Mexico and his wife Bertha from El Salvador. They lived in Southern California since age 16 until they moved to Nashville eight years ago. They have been married for 43 years and have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Deacon Hector attended Los Angeles and Whittier Colleges and graduated with a BA degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne in California. He worked for a major utility company, which included projects in South America.

Deacon Hector took early retirement in California, moved to Nashville and worked for seven years as Business Administrator at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. He served in the US Army during the Vietnam conflict.

Deacon Jerry Ziemkiewicz

Deacon Jerry is a native of Ohio. He is married to Sandy, they have an adult daughter, son and one grandson.

Deacon Jerry was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio in May 1988. For 24 years he has worked in full-time church ministry. He has served as a parish youth minister, the Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Toledo Ohio and as Pastoral Leader of St. Richard Parish in Swanton Ohio. Prior to becoming a deacon his background includes radio broadcasting plus marketing and advertising.

Deacon Jerry and his wife moved to Tennessee in September of 2017 and they reside in Smyrna.

Jan Trahan – Director of Religious Education

Nikki Gann – Parish Secretary

The Parish Pastoral Council

  • Deacon Jim Dixon
  • Frank Wilkinson
  • Deacon Hector Martinez
  • Finance Council Rep.
  • Joe Butkevicius
  • Carolyn Hepburn
  • Joe Maggart
  • Susan Donahue

The Parish Finance Council

  • Michael Conroy
  • Scott Howard
  • Tina Lynch
  • Michael Moscardelli

A Brief History of St. Frances Cabrini Parish:

The first Mass to be celebrated in Lebanon occurred in 1915 as the Rev. John Cunningham presided at the celebration of the Eucharist in the home of John J. Martin, Sr. The future Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, Rev. Samuel Stritch, celebrated Mass several times at the Martin home on West Spring Street around 1922.

It wasn’t until 1930 that Mass was regularly offered through the efforts of the Rev. Harold DesChamps who was stationed at the Cathedral in Nashville. During the next few years Mass was observed at Seagraves Funeral Home, the Chapel at Cumberland University and Castle Heights Military Academy. After World War II the library at Castle Heights served as the “home” of the growing parish community.

It was in 1951 that Rev. George Rohling received permission from Bishop William Adrian to search for property to build a new church. The fledgling community pooled their resources and purchased five acres from Cumberland University to build the church in 1952. The dedication Mass of the new church occurred on April 19, 1953 under the name of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.

Since that time, additional property and structures have been added to the original church and the community has grown to approximately 500 households comprising 1,100 individuals. With this increase in the size of the community, the need to expand the footprint of the worship space is imminent, whether at its current site or at a new location.

Click here to read more about the History of St. Frances Cabrini

Click here to read the Bylaws