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During the Father Heller Years (Part I)

During the Father Heller Years (Part I)

 

Newsletters:  A parish newsletter, Round & About St. James, was published monthly from 1973 to 1983.  An almost complete file exists in our archives and these papers are a rich source for St. James history during those years.  Thy Kingdom Come, a parish liturgy newsletter, belongs to a later era, published for the liturgical seasons from Lent 1986 to Easter 1993.

Parish Advisory Board:  An elected Parish Advisory Board was established in the 1970s.  In April 1977, more than 500 parishioners turned out to choose among 21 adult candidates and seven youth candidates for nine adult and three youth positions on the PAB. Committees headed by board members included  Ecumenism/Evangelization, Education, Finance, Liturgy, Maintenance, Parish Activities and Social Development.

Liturgies:  In addition to the charismatic Mass, contemporary, and children’s liturgies were celebrated each Sunday in Heller Hall.  Priests and lay people met weekly to prepare these liturgies and many people worked together on banners and other creations to enhance the celebrations.  Some people, now in their 50s, mark the children’s liturgy as a formative influence on their lives of faith.  Others, somewhat older, remember entering the chapel, as Heller Hall was called, knowing that something good was going to happen “because so much good had already happened before we arrived.”  Folk musicians formed a choir for these liturgies.  They crossed the street in 1980 when all Masses were moved to the church and continued to lead music in the church until the mid-‘90s.

Celebrating Sacraments Together

An annual celebration of the Anointing of the Sick during Mass on a Saturday morning drew hundreds of parishioners during the ‘70s and early ‘80s.  Those who were elderly, ill or disabled came with family, caregivers and friends to be anointed and to share a lunche prepared by the Women of St. James. Communal celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation took place during Advent and Lent in these years.  Priests from neighboring parishes and religious houses joined St. James priests to hear confessions within a service of Scripture, reflection and penitential prayer and song.

WSJ & MSJ:  The Women of St. James and the Men of St. James flourished during the Monsignor Heller years.  Both organizations could claim ancient roots in the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Name Society.  The WSJ and the MSJ provided countless hours of service to the parish in myriad ways, and enriched the spiritual and social lives of their members.

Art Show:  An annual Art Show, sponsored by the Women of St. James, featured the work of parish artists.  At the first show, in 1979, 50 artists displayed their creations.  The show continued at least through 1990.