Since the beginning of St. James Catholic School, St. James Parish has had a long tradition of support for and pride in its parish school. The celebration of the 75th Anniversary of St. James School included all areas of parish life. The celebration began on May 13, 2981 and continued throughout the week. A Proclamation was issued by Mayor Carol W. DeLong of Falls Church, declaring the week of May 10-17, 1981, as “St. James School Week” in the city.
On Wednesday, May 13, the PTO held a general meeting for the school community. The next day, Bishop Thomas J. Welsh, Bishop of Arlington, celebrated 10 AM Mass for the school children. Concelebrants were Father Brooks and priests who served in the parish or attended St. James School. Civic leaders were also invited to this Mass. On Friday alumni were invited back to school. A reception together with class reunions provided alumni the opportunity to greet classmates and remember their St. James School years. On Saturday, Father Brooks celebrated 6 PM Mass, again inviting priests with ties to the parish and school to concelebrate with him. A Celebration Dinner was held in the school auditorium (Msgr. Heller Hall). Father Jack O’Hara (SJS Class of 1964) was ordained in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington on May 10, 1980, and was the keynote speaker. The celebration concluded with a Continental Breakfast following Sunday Masses for parish families in the school cafeteria.
Parishioner and school parent Mrs. Marge Castorina prepared a thoroughly researched history of St. James School for the 75th Anniversary year. This Souvenir Book was dedicated to Monsignor Paul V. Heller, Pastor Emeritus, and to the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A copy of this book is available in our new parish library. Marge Castorina was also a regular contributor to history articles in the parish newsletter Round & About. Marge’s efforts in researching and recording the history of our parish continue to be appreciated. These records have been a valuable resource in providing the bulletin histories celebrating our parish’s 125 years.
In her anniversary message, Sister Helen Maureen, IHM, Principal (1976-1984) congratulated:
- The priests of St. James who throughout its long history always upheld the importance of a Catholic school education within the parish.
- The parents whose financial sacrifices built the school, and whose trust in and encouragement of our philosophy supported the school’s existence.
- The faculty, past and present, whose dedication promoted the best in a Catholic education.
- The alumni who would use the talents developed at St. James for the service of God and their fellowman.
- The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) who faithfully fulfilled their commitment to Catholic education at St. James.
- The children of St. James School who we pray will be the Christian leaders of tomorrow.