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1903 - Dedication of the Stone Church

1903 - Dedication of the Stone Church

The Washington Post, May 18, 1903

The new St. James Catholic Church at West Falls Church, Va., was dedicated yesterday morning by the Right Rev. Van de Vyver, Bishop of Richmond. The ceremonies were performed in the presence of a large congregation from West Falls and neighboring churches, and a large committee of clergy from near-by parishes in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland.

The new edifice, a handsome structure of light stone with stained glass windows, is the gift of Mrs. Thomas F. Ryan, of New York. It cost $17,000, and the entire sum was contributed by Mrs. Ryan. The first church of St. James at West Falls was built in 1871 on ground donated for that purpose by Mrs. Sarah Sewell. This church was under the control of the Jesuits until some time in the ‘80’s, when it passed under the management of the Diocese of Richmond, and the parish was assigned to Rev. Father Cutler of Alexandria, Va. In 1892 Rev. E. M. Tearney, the present pastor, was assigned to the station, and has remained there ever since. From the funds set aside by her every year for charitable, philanthropic, and religious work, Mrs. Ryan gave Bishop Van de Vver, the sum of $17,000 to expend as he desired. He concluded to erect a church for the congregation at West Falls and transferred the funds to the officers of that congregation. The handsome structure is the result.

The dedicatory services began yesterday morning at 10:00 o’clock. Bishop Van de Vyver proceeded with the dedication by the recitation of the litany, and the blessing of the church. The celebrant of the Mass was Rev. Charles Donahue, of Martinsburg, W. Va. The deacon, assisting him, was Rev. Michael Dineen of Baltimore, and the subdeacon, Rev. James Donahoe of Baltimore. The master of ceremonies was Rev. Joseph Mallon, of Tennallytown.

The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. T. X. McCarthy, of St. Aloysius Church, Washington. He first dwelt on the building as the temple of God, and the means by which the congregation could secure the blessings of the various sacraments. “The church,” he said, “is the foundation of all religious and civil faith.”

 Bishop Van de Vyver spoke briefly after the conclusion of the address by Father McCarthy. Without mentioning the name of the donor, he asked the congregation to remember the benefactress in their prayers, especially since she expected no material return from this expenditure. He exhorted the members to be faithful to their vows and to be punctual in their attendance to Mass on Sunday and through the week.

The music was under the direction of Miss Ada Jones. Miss Katharyn Lackey, of Tennallytown, was the organist. The members of the choir were Mrs. M. Saxton, Misses Ada Jones, Louise Jones, Lillian Burke, Mr. M. Saxton and Mr. Howard Burr. The church choir was assisted by the choir from Tennallytown. During the services Gounod’s mass was sung. The offertory consisted of Giorza’s “Regina Coeli.”

 At 7 o’clock, Rev. Father Elliott, Paulist, of the Catholic University, preached in the new church. At the services, the choir rendered Giorza’s solemn high vespers.