Renew, Revitalize, Grow:
Very Rev. Patrick L. Posey
An Arlington, Virginia native, Father Patrick Posey attended St. Agnes and Bishop O’Connell before studying at St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia and Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg. After his ordination in May 1991, he served at Sacred Heart Parish in Winchester.
In 1995 he was sent to the diocesan mission in Banica, Dominican Republic, where he was not only the parish priest, but a social worker, farmer, builder, reluctant veterinary aide, and one time dental assistant. He returned to the area in 2003 where he was named pastor of St. Francis de Sales in Purcellville. Bishop Loverde assigned him to Saint James in 2006.
By 2008 it was evident that time had taken a toll on our beautiful parish campus. Windows both in the school and our historic church were in need of replacement or repair. Crumbling foundations, parking lots, curbs, and retaining walls had fallen victim to weather and use. Roofs needed to be replaced and security upgraded. Moreover, a sustained commitment to providing tuition assistance was a high priority. As such, Father sought to raise $2.5 million to face these pressing issues. After an initial silent phase, the Legacy of St. James Capital Campaign went public in October: the day of the sharpest decline in the stock market since the 1920s. Nevertheless, our goal was met and exceeded! Today we reap the benefits of parishioners’ generosity.
Ever mindful of opportunities for outreach and evangelization, Father Posey began an email newsletter and now oversees a robust social media presence with Facebook, Twitter and our own You Tube Channel. Utilizing Constant Contact to inform and inspire, he has brought weekly and Lenten reflections to parishioners. Our bulletin highlights the many and varied activities of our busy parish, complete with his own weekly column. Yet Father’s communications are not limited to a quick tweet. He takes time to hand-sign hundreds of birthday cards a month and Christmas cards for the entire parish. Each spring Father, our priests and deacons honor the more than 300 volunteers by serving them dinner at our annual volunteer recognition event. In September, what began as a small picnic after the 5:00pm Mass several years ago has burgeoned into an all-day gathering of more than 1000 people.
During Father Posey’s time here, we have seen an increase in the number of spiritual and educational offerings – Bible Studies, guest speakers, Prayer Partners for our Homebound, retreats, pilgrimages, and a new Parish Library. We have also seen greater integration of our Hispanic community, improved volunteerism and activism in our community. Parishioners regularly donate for emergency needs – be it hurricanes or earthquakes. Father has led groups to rural Kentucky bringing Christmas cheer to those who see very little of it.
In 2012, Father and then-principal Sr. Nancy Kindelan, IHM embarked upon a five-year strategic plan for the School. The combined efforts of a large volunteer committee has resulted in greater stability in enrollment, increased engagement of parish and parent community in the life of the School and additional funding for improvements and scholarships. In 2014, the School was awarded an unprecedented (in the diocese) second Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence.
More than six years ago, parishioner Tim Aubry came to Father with the idea of a Lenten Fish Fry. Actually, multiple fry(s) as each Friday during Lent sees more than 500 SOLES (!) sharing food and fellowship. Each year has a theme, from the original Act of Cod to the more current May the Fish Be With You. More than 24,000 meals have been served by a large and dedicated cadre of volunteers.
In 2016 Father celebrated his 25th Jubilee. A Mass and reception brought hundreds of parishioners, family and friends together to celebrate this milestone event.
Last May, we celebrated our 125th anniversary with a Mass and reception. Newly appointed Bishop Michael Burbidge was present as we gathered once again in friendship.
Today we are a faith community reminded and inspired by our patron Saint. “As James tells us, we are called to be doers of the word, not hearers only,” says Fr. Posey. “I am blessed to be surrounded by women and men of faith who walk with each other, who share the joys and sorrows of life, who remind me daily of the power of discipleship. I hope that what we do here is to renew our calling to Christ and to each other; to revitalize our spirits; and always to grow in love of the Lord.”