History of Sts James, Cornelius & Cyprian 2018-Present

Welcome to our “new beginning” and the new History of the Catholic

Community of Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian.

Paul Miller, Sts. JCC Historian

On July 1, 2018, St. James Catholic Church and Saints Cornelius & Cyprian Catholic Church will become the Catholic Community of Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian. We are starting the new History of the Catholic Community of Sts. James, Cornelus & Cyprian at this point. If you want to look back at the history of both campuses, please see the Sts. JCC website. We are picking up this new history at the beginning of the year of our Lord, 2018.

Parishioners Sue Powers, Tess Layman, Robyn Sheely, and Charles Heiler left for a mission trip to Uganda on January 4th. They visited with Fr. Godfrey, took field trips to local villages, saw projects aided by our International Outreach Ministry, and discussed new projects and microloans. They returned on January 18th and in late April made a presentation to St. James discussing their visit. The Oremus Program returned to St. James. On February 5th, Bishop Earl Boyea held a town hall discussion with St. James Parishioners and Saints Cornelius & Cyprian Parishioners about the upcoming merger of the two Parishes. This is a very personal and emotional transition for many from both Parishes. The meeting was informative, helpful, and heated at times. The finality of the merger is here, and this will be a difficult and prayerful year. A record-setting 22nd Annual Blackthorn Dinner/Concert was held on March 3rd. Fr. Phil Schmitter, one of St. James Favorite Sons and Pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church in Flint, was awarded the Cecilia M. Turner Humanitarian Award by the Flint Branch of the NAACP. Long-time St. James Parishioner Goldie O’Dell passed at the age of 100. The 2018 DSA Appeal started the weekend of April 21 & 22 “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”. Mike Hill retired from his maintenance position at St. James. Fr. Kusi’s mother Merisiana and brother Lexio arrived in Mason from Fiji on May 7th for a three-month visit. On May 15 th Fr. Kusi held a meeting with the pastoral councils and commissions from both St. James and Saints Cornelius & Cyprian about the upcoming merger of the two churches. From that meeting came two proposed name changes for our new faith community. The choices were the Catholic Community of St. James, Cornelius &  Cyprian, or the Blessed Trinity Catholic Community. Parishioners started voting on these options on May 19th. The first joint bulletin for St. James Catholic Church and Saints Cornelius and Cyprian Catholic Church was issued the weekend of May 19-20 and had this letter from Fr. Kusi: Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Greetings of joy and peace to you all on this Pentecost Sunday! Pentecost is a conclusion and a beginning. It concludes the mission of the Son of God upon this earth in his humanity, but it also marks the beginning of the life and mission of Christ in his Church. The Church is now his Body, his Mystical Body, filled with the life of his Holy Spirit, which is the soul of the Church. Pentecost 2018 will be a significant event in the life of our two parishes of St. James Parish, Mason, and Saints Cornelius & Cyprian Parish, Leslie. It will mark the conclusion of two parishes and the beginning of a new Catholic faith community: building one “new parish” with two sites. Our two parishes will merge led by one Pastor, served by one staff, one Pastoral Council, one Finance Council, one bulletin, and one website. The Mass schedules will be set such that one priest is capable of celebrating liturgies as scheduled at both sites. All ministries will be evaluated and new or needed ministries will be discussed and eventually started. Staffing may be decided when the ministries needed in the “new parish” have been decided. Religious Education, Sacramental programs, and formational programs will be integrated as soon as possible. We will all be affected by this merging process, some will resist the changes, some will opt out and some will embrace the challenges, but I implore you all to heed the message from the Diocese of Buffalo: “When parishes are merged, two or more parishes become a single worshipping community. Parish boundaries are redrawn and a new canonical entity is formed. Two or more parishes, rich in tradition, come together in peace and love to form a new faith community, deriving its strength from the gifts of the former communities. And this new combination, this new reality, will give birth to new gifts and deeper faith.” May this Pentecost be a whole new beginning for all of us guided always by the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit! Building a New Parish Community Transition Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your wisdom is beyond our understanding; surround us with your love, so that we may not be overwhelmed by our loss. Let us find comfort in our sadness, certainty in our doubt, courage to live through this difficult time, and strength to meet the days to come. We hope these months of preparation will find us open to new possibilities that will unite us as one faith community, so that we may pray, worship, and serve one another in your Name. May the richness, diversity, and gifts of our people be treasured and used as we become one in the Body of Christ. Let us view this moment of change and renewal, not as a threat to what has been, but as an invitation to build up the foundation that has been given to us: a vibrant, new community of faith, united in mission and dedicated ever more to the fruitful building up of your Kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen. On June 8th, Earl Boyea, Bishop of the Lansing Diocese issued the EPISCOPUS LANSINGENSIS DIVINA MISERATIONE ET APOSTOLICA SEDIS GRATIA officially merging St. James and Saints Cornelius & Cyprian Catholic Churches into The Catholic Community of Saints James, Cornelius and Cyprian effective July 1, 2018. It was presented to both parishes on June 16th and 17th. Bonnie Gurzenda was elected chairperson of the Christian Service Commission. Former St. James parishioner, favorite son, and now a Catholic Priest, Fr. Michael Jacobus celebrated the 10th Anniversary of his ordination at a party held in his honor at Holy Family Catholic Church in Ontonagon, Michigan. Fr. Michael serves Holy Family and two other area parishes. St. James parishioners Paul and Terri Miller attended the celebration with Fr. Michael, his mother Nancy, dad Michael and Pam, and many guests. Vacation Bible School, Rolling River Rampage, was held June 25-28th with 70 children attending and 55 helpers assisting them. The first Masses of “The Catholic Community of Saints James, Cornelius and Cyprian were held on July 1st. The new pastoral council is chaired by Pete Barnum and vice chair Eileen Hunter. The new finance council is co-chaired by Erin Flood and Gary Smith. The 9th annual Camino of St. James 8k/5k walk and run was held on August 12th. The annual Saints Cornelius & Cyprian Parish picnic was held on August 19th at Bunker Hill. Many parishioners attended the procession, program, and Mass at the Diocese of Lansing “Made for Happiness Assembly” at the Breslin Center on September 22nd. The new Mass Schedule started on September 30th with Saturday Mass at St. James at 4:00 PM, Sunday Mass, at 8:30 AM at Bunker Hill, and Sunday Mass at 10:30 AM at St. James. On October 13th a pig roast and Fr. Kusi roast was held at St. James and a good time was had by all who attended. The Knights and the Angels sponsored a reception for Fr. Kusi after the 4:00 PM Mass on December 1st on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of his ordination. Long-time parishioner Betty Guerriero passed away at age 98. The Advent Project this year raised $5,000 in support of the survivors of Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. Christmas Eve Masses were held at 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM at St. James and 7:00 PM at Saints Cornelius & Cyprian. Father Jim Shaver is the Senior Priest-in-Residence at Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian. The Catholic Community of St. James, Cornelius & Cyprian gifted all parishioners with the book, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, by Matthew Kelly.
On February 9th Fr. Kusi called for a Parish Assembly starting with Mass and then small table group discussions and refreshments. This introduced the book Divine Renovation and the concept of bringing our parish from a maintenance church to a mission church. Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian held their annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner on March 16th. The first combined Saints JCC DSA pledge drive kicked off on March 16th with a goal of $57,812. The goal was achieved in early July. The 23rd Annual “Blackthorn” concert/fundraiser was held on March 23rd. The first combined Parish Directory was published in April for the Catholic Community of Saints James, Cornelius &  Cyprian. The RCIA Class of 2019 included four members and was led by Jim Marshall and Ron Iwaszkiewicz. A special Mass was held on April 28th at 8:30 AM at St. James due to the large number of communicants this year. A walking Rosary Group was formed at St. James and they meet Saturday mornings at 8:00 AM. The Knights Angels created a cookbook with recipes gathered from Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian parishioners and sold them as a fundraiser for their group. After the 10:30 AM Mass on June 9th, a group of parishioners removed everything out of the Ambo and pulled up all the old carpet and trim. On June 10th, a construction crew directed by parishioner Ted Burch started laying a new hardwood floor including new reinforcement edging and final trim. The project took five days to complete thanks to the crew of parishioners Alison Burch, Rebecca Burch, Jim Marshall, Bob McCormick, Chris Knudstrup, Jerry O’Shesky, Roger Madsen, Pat Morrison, Paul Miller, and Tony Igl with Ron Wieferich reworking the electrical and sound system wiring. A clean-up crew and resetting crew had everything cleaned and ready to go for a funeral on Saturday morning and Mass in the evening. Vacation Bible School was held June 24th to 26th and sled into an “ice” summer experience! At the Polar Blast kids chilled with new friends and warmed up to Jesus—the coolest friend of all. We participated with the Mason First Presbyterian, Mason First United Methodist, and All Saints Lutheran churches for the 5th year. We hosted over 65 children. Eleven Community of Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian Youth and leaders attended the Steubenville Youth Conference on June 28th, 29th & 30th. The “33 Days to Morning Glory” small group retreat started on July 13th. Deacon Tom Feiten was granted Senior Deacon Status by Bishop Earl Boyea and has retired. A “Thank You” and Roast party, hosted by Parishioners Pat and Irene Morrison with special guest Bishop Emeritus Carl Mengeling, was given in his honor on July 20th. Deacon Tom was ordained on May 20, 2000, and assigned to St. James. On July 28th, all parishioners were gifted with the book “Letter to a Suffering Church” by Bishop Robert Barron. The Alpha Program started at St. James on September 18th and ended on December 11th. Alpha helps you create an environment where you can bring your friends, family, and work colleagues to explore the Christian faith, ask questions, and share points of view. Alpha’s approach—stressing hospitality, faith, and discussion—is designed to make it easy for you to welcome everyone, including those who might not describe themselves as Christians or churchgoers. Each session includes time for a large group meal, short teaching, and small group discussion to help you have spiritual conversations with others that explore life’s biggest questions in a safe and respectful way. The group
met every Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Between 65-70 folks met each week in the first session. In October all the large overgrown trees in the Memorial/Meditation Garden were removed and other tree trimming was completed at that time. On November 15th, Fr. Kusi left on a two-week visit to Rome. This was the first time he had visited Rome. In November, parishioner Ted Burch installed a shelf on the wall near the Chapel where Mary and Joseph will reside there. Fr. Kusi introduced the Senior Leadership Team and started the Divine Renovation Program at Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian. Team members were Heather Dunivon, Gary Smith, James Marshall, and George Wygant. In December, parishioners Howard Ehresman and wife Vickie built a glass case for Mary, and it is mounted in the Chapel. The Advent Project collected just over $6,000.00 to build a house for a poor family. The Catholic Community of Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian gifted all parishioners with the book, Rediscover the Saints by Mathew Kelly. There was no snow for Christmas and to end the decade. 

The second Alpha Program started on January 13th filled to capacity. This session met on Monday nights at St. James. The Knights of Columbus sponsored a New Family information dinner and program on the 18th. Several Commission leaders spoke of all the opportunities open to parishioners at Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian. Fr. Kusi spoke about the Divine Renovation Program and other topics. Sister Maureen Martin CSJ. passed away on January 20th. A Memorial Mass for Sr. Maureen Martin was held on Friday, January 31st, at 11:00 a.m. at St. James. Fr. Kusi and Fr. Alan Wakefield con-celebrated the Mass. Contributions were collected in her honor and sent to Michigan Right to Life and the Sisters of St. Joseph Community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Knights of Columbus Council #9182 Winter/Lenten Fish Fry on January 31st was held in her honor. All parishioners, 18 years and older, were requested to fill out the Disciple Maker Index Survey for the Diocese of Lansing in February. A heating and cooling system upgrade was completed at St. James. The parish bulletin was changed the weekend of February 22nd and 23rd to include the Senior Leadership Team and to include the various Commissions. Gene Havens resigned from his maintenance position at St. James. On March 11th, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was declared a worldwide pandemic. Worldwide travel restrictions were imposed along with large group gatherings and sporting event venues with no fans in the stands. Locally, handshakes were discouraged, no communion from the chalice, and staying home if someone had symptoms of a cold, cough, or flu. The Church was sanitized before every Mass. On March 12th the governor of Michigan ordered all schools in Michigan be closed for three weeks. Any event with over 250 participants was also banned. The annual Blackthorn dinner/concert was postponed to a later date. The restrictions escalated and the Knights of Columbus Fish Fries were cancelled followed by the cancellation of all Masses and groups of over 10 people. Restaurants and service industries were ordered closed. Only essential businesses could stay open and only essential workers could go to work. All parishioners were encouraged to do home prayers and watch the Outreach Mass on TV. On March 23rd, the Governor issued a mandatory stay-at-home order for three weeks. By the end of March, it was decided that Michigan schools would likely not resume classes this school year. Then the President extended the requirements to stay home, wash hands, and use social distancing until the end of April. The Governor then declared that all schools would remain closed until the end of the school semester. In April, during the pandemic, parishioners Amber McRay, Anna McRay, Andrew McRay, Margret Weyer, Tom Murawski, Charles Leibrand, and Boy Scout Troop #141, with guidance from Charlie Heiler, began extensive work in the Memorial/Meditation Garden. It was Anna’s dream to make it look like the garden of her childhood. They trimmed, pulled weeds, repaired fencing, cleaned the cobblestone sidewalks, painted benches, cut, and chipped dead trees, and brushed and spread many yards of mulch. In preparation for Holy Week, we had an opportunity to pick up palms at a drive-up table outside of church. On Palm Sunday, parishioner George Wygant hosted an evening Rosary online using Zoom technology with 40 families connected. The Diocese of Lansing offered online Masses and prayerful events along with the Friday Memo from Bishop Boyea. On Holy Thursday we had “40 minutes with Fr. Kusi” on Zoom with 80 connections and about 200 parishioners. Easter Sunday Mass was available with Fr. Kusi via Zoom along with Sunday Masses through May 10th. On May 3rd, parishioners and friends gave Fr. Kusi a 107-car “Happy Birthday” parade past the rectory. Starting May 17th, the new church computer was used to broadcast Sunday Masses via YouTube and live steaming while improving quality. In May, friends of parishioner Amber McRay, Bill, Natalie, Samantha, and 12-year-old Thomas Trotter took on the job of repairing and restoring the Stations of the Cross in the Memorial/Meditation Garden. This proved too costly, so Amber and her daughter Anna decided to buy new Stations of the Cross and they were installed. The St. James Women’s Club stepped forward and paid for the new set. The governor extended the stay-at-home order until the end of May and Bishop Boyea directed that Sunday Masses would not resume until June 1st. Fr. Kusi and the Senior leadership team conducted a training session for parishioners wanting to aid with the reopening of the church. Participants signed up for COVID-19 precautions, cleaning, & PPE team (responsible for all health & safety concerns & new procedures), the Welcome committee (responsible for communication, marketing, registration, check-in, & greeting) and they could also sign up for the Mass team (Ministers needed during Mass). The State stay-at-home order was lifted on June 8th but masks and social distancing were still required. Fr. Kusi opened Friday Mass and Adoration on June 12th through the end of the month. On June 14th, the Senior Class of 2020 drive-by parade was held at the Mason campus and then on to the Leslie campus where a cupcake party and recognition program took place for our Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian graduating seniors. WELCOME BACK TO MASS. Pandemic realities needed to return to Mass: Take temperate at home, more than 100° or persistent cough, please stay home. Wear a mask before, during, and after Mass. Mask-wearing is about infection control. Sanitize hands. Continue a no-touch practice. All doors will be propped open. Practice social distancing 6’ in the parking lot /church with people who do not live with you. Ushers will aid with seating instructions for distancing purposes. No hymnals/worship aids, no communal singing as it carries a heightened risk of infections. No exchange of sign of peace. Only sacred hosts will be distributed in hand. Pay close attention to instructions and markings for the distribution of Holy Communion. Sanitized hands only, pull the mask down right before receiving the sacred host, and replace the mask before continuing back to your pew. No distribution of bulletins. Please read them on our website. No collection basket will be passed. You may drop your envelope/money in containers on your way in or out of Mass. No gatherings in the church lobby or parking lot and please be aware of your proximity to others. Several staff changes were made with Alison Burch resigning as Business Manager and Bonnie Sweet taking her place. Heather Dunivon accepted the position of Evangelization and Outreach Coordinator and Nicole Retz accepted the position of Youth Minister. All regular Mass times opened up on July 4th and 5th with limited seating, required registration, masks, and social distancing requirements. Sunday Masses from both locations were live-streamed. In September, the Mason Knights of Columbus held their first-ever drive-through fish fries. The first three were for council charities and the second three helped the International Outreach Ministry. A huge thank you goes out to parishioner Gary Smith who spent countless hours developing and installing cameras and video equipment at both campuses to allow live streaming for all Masses and special events. His ministry has allowed so many home-bound parishioners to participate live with Father Kusi and Deacon Chuong in weekend Masses, first communions, special services, and holy days of obligation Mass. Deacon Chuong Nguyen was assigned to Saints James, Cornelius & Cyprian in August after the closing of Saint Casimir Catholic Church in Lansing. In September, Michael Offenbacher accepted the full-time maintenance position for both campuses. Long-time parishioner and fundraiser extraordinaire Shirley Grieve passed away on December 5th. There was good news that several immunization vaccines for the Coronavirus would be approved soon, and the distribution would start in December. The first truckloads of the coronavirus vaccine left the Pfizer Plant in Portage Michigan on December 13th for all areas of the United States. Some said this was the beginning of the end. The Advent Project and collection proceeds went to build a home in Haiti. All parishioners were given a bundle containing music by the Vigil Project, reflections by Fr. Dave Pivonka, and a devotion companion booklet for the family. For Christmas, all parishioners were gifted a free subscription to Goodbye, 2020.


“So today I wish you Happy New Year with a blessing from the Lord Himself to Moses that these people were about to prepare to go on a long journey and Jesus gives this blessing to Moses to say to them; May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace”. Fr. Kusi. Masses were still limited to twenty-five percent capacity in January with social distancing needed. Many meetings and events were held on Zoom. Vaccinations for Covid-19 were ramping up after a slow start. We began this new year with the gift of a book called The Search by Chris Stephanick through the Augustine Institute under During the first week of Lent, we were invited to watch Fr. Chris Alar's Explaining the Faith. He is also on It is very important for Catholics to know the symbolic meaning of what we do at Mass, why we make the sign of the cross, why we stand, sit, kneel, genuflect, bow, etc. The old split rail fence around the Memorial/Meditation Garden was removed and vehicle curb stops were installed around the perimeter. Holy Water automatic misters were installed at the doors of the sanctuary replacing the old Holy Water fonts. We continued Lent with to watch The Forgiveness videos and learn more about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Mason Council #9182 Knights of Columbus started their ten-week run with the Winter/Lenten Drive Thru Fish Fries on February 19th. Deacon Choung led the Stations of the Cross and adoration during Lent with Fr. Kusi hearing confessions during those program times. The third Covid-19 vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, was approved for distribution on February 27th. The Icon of the Devine Mercy, donated by Mason Council #9182 Knights of Columbus, was affixed in the Ambo above the Tabernacle on March 25th. Mass capacity was increased to 50%. After Easter, we continued and watched the videos on The Presence. In these series, we learned and studied more about the Mass. The second Sunday of Easter is also called the Divine Mercy Sunday and Fr. Kusi formally introduced this devotion to the parish. Sara Goodman joined the office staff as an Administrative Assistant. Bishop Boyea called all parishioners back to Mass starting with Pentecost Sunday as the dispensation to attend Mass has expired. At St. James, one-half of the pews will continue with social distancing marking and one-half are open seating. Masks were still needed. The Church fully reopened in June. Gina Orlando resigned her administrative assistant position at St. James. Father Kusi emphasized prayer and more prayer and there were many opportunities at both campuses for praying the Rosary and the Divine Chaplet. The social halls remained closed to larger groups and dinners. A “Welcome Home” parish-wide picnic was held on September 19th at the Bunker Hill campus hosted by Fr. Gerald Chapman Knights of Columbus Council #13,516. This represented the opening of all regular activities in the parish including servers at Mass. Heather Dunivon resigned from her Evangelization & Outreach position at Sts. JCC. Knights Council #13516 resumed coffee and doughnuts at the Bunker Hill Campus with their famous homemade doughnuts. On November 6th, a Mass and potluck dinner was held at Sts. JCC in honor of the 10th anniversary of Deacon Chuong Nguyen’s ordination and to welcome new parishioners from Saint Casimir Catholic Church in Lansing. Deacon gave a stirring presentation on his journey from Vietnam to Mason, Michigan. We welcomed Deacon Gideon from St. Peters in Eaton Rapids the weekend of November 13th & 14th. Fr. Kusi said that Bishop Boyea completed our grouping with the IHM parish in Lansing, Cristo Rey parish in Lansing, and St. Peters parish in Eaton Rapids under the Realign Resources for Mission Program. We welcomed back altar servers at the Mason Campus the weekend of November 20th & 21st. The online “Messages of Gratitude for Avent and Christmas 2021” was Fr. Kusi’s gift to all parishioners for Advent. The Advent project for this year was a collection to build a home for a family in Guatemala and we raised over $5,000 for the project. The vacant Evangelization & Communication staff position was filled by Rory Clark. The Omicron Covid variant was running rampant and there was no snow for the Christmas weekend. All parishioners were gifted the book Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission, by John R. Wood. 2021 looked a lot like 2020. 


We started the new year anticipating the 80th Anniversary of the St. James Campus on Christmas Day. The Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus was setting new infection records, hospitalization numbers were up but the strain seems to have milder symptoms. Fr. Kusi asked everyone to accept his challenge to pray the rosary every day. He announced the new Parish Leadership Team including Deacon Chuong Nguyen, Gary Smith, Sue Powers, George Wygant, Rory Clark, and himself. Fr. Kusi discussed the new parish grouping with IHM, Cristo Rey, Eaton Rapids, and us. He also announced that he was taking a three-week vacation to visit his mom and relatives in Fiji. His vacation was interrupted by a nine-day Covid quarantine in California before he could go ahead to Fiji. "Into the Breach" men's groups met Mondays Thursdays and Saturdays. "Case for Jesus" bible study groups were held February through May with “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission" discipleship groups met during Lent using a study guide by Rory Clark. The Mason Knights held their Winter/Lenten fish fries for 10 weeks using drive-through-only service. The 24th annual Blackthorn Concert and fundraiser was held on March 19th. Parishioner and auctioneer Bill Sheridan conducted a special live auction during intermission and raised over $4,200 for Ukrainian humanitarian relief. In a separate collection requested by Bishop Boyea throughout the Diocese of Lansing, the generous parishioners of Sts. James, Cornelius & Cyprian donated $20,000 for humanitarian support for Ukraine. The ALPHA program returned in April and continued through June with 75 participants. The "Lectio Prayer Series" study group met from Easter to Pentecost. We had 16 First Communicants in April and 24 Confirmation candidates in June. "The Wild Goose" series began in May and was scheduled through the summer. Rory Clark led the June event “Baptism in the Holy Spirit". Parishioner Allison Burch was appointed Finance Council Chairperson replacing parishioner Gary Smith in June. Long-time parishioner Jeanne M. Lock passed away on June 8th at the age of 102. During July, we were blessed at our parish to host the Diocesan Pilgrim Statue of Fatima. She arrived in our Diocese in 1977. She was carved in Portugal from one piece of cedar wood which came from Brazil. Before leaving Portugal, she was taken by the Bishop of Fatima to the Shrine, where he Blessed Her and prayed that She would touch many hearts here in the Lansing Diocese. This past March the Bishop, in a special ceremony, consecrated Russia and Ukraine to Her Immaculate Heart. Since then, she has traveled to different parishes in the Diocese. The Sunflowers before her represent Ukraine (their national flower) and the white flowers are symbolic of the Russian national flower Chamomile. These flowers beg for our prayers for these two countries and the whole world. couple to be married in the new St. James Church building in 1955. "Consecration to Mary" a do-it-yourself retreat and group discussion was held in July through August based on a book by Fr. Michael Gaitley with videos via Mary Schwalm replaced Sara Goodwin as the Office Assistant. The Catholic Community of Sts. James, Cornelius & Cyprian was awarded a $500 check payable to a Lansing Diocese
Postulate or Seminarian for selling the most in Lansing. Long-time parishioner Ann Marie Bodary passed away on June 26th. She and her late husband Charles were the second Lugnuts tickets to the Vocations Baseball Outing on August 5th. The annual Parish Picnic was held on September 18th at the Bunker Hill Campus starting with Outdoor Mass, fellowship, lots of food and beverage, ice cream, children’s free raffle, games, dig for change, cornhole, bake sale, rummage sale, DJ and the large money raffle at the end. It was a beautiful day, well attended, and Fr. Jim sang the fight songs for MSU, U of M, and Notre Dame. The latest Alpha Program started on September 21st. Kim Smith was elected Pastoral Council Chairperson. Maureen Stockwell retired from her position of DRE and receptions were held for her after both weekend Masses. Teresa Hurd was appointed interim DRE and then officially the Faith Formation Director. A dinner was held for all alumni of the Alpha program. The Advent project was to build a home in Haiti. We celebrated the 80th Anniversary of St. James Church on Christmas Day. Our area was hit with a rare “Bomb Cyclone” winter storm with very low temperatures and very high winds over Christmas. At Christmas Eve Masses Fr. Kusi thanked all those who helped prepare and serve at all Masses and special services during Advent and Christmas. He thanked Deacon Chuong, Fr. Jim, the Marshall, Munro, and Wieferich families along with Antoinette, the choir, musicians, altar servers, readers, Extraordinary Ministers of the host, ushers, tech folks, staff, and all who attended Mass. He gifted all parishioners with the book “Holy Moments” by Mathew Kelly. Pope Benedict XVI died on December 31st. Above-average temperatures and rain ushered in the new year.


Many prayer and educational opportunities were available to all parishioners to begin the year including the ALPHA Program, the RESCUE Project, the LECTIO Program, Adoration, Praying for Ukraine, 5:30 pm Tuesday at St. James, Silent Adoration, 7:00 pm Thursdays at Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian campus and several other bible study and prayer group programs. The FORMED program was renewed and was free to parishioners at The Youth Mass was held once a month and was staffed by Sts. JCC youth. The DSA goal for Sts. JCC was $59,622 and it was exceeded again by our very generous parishioners. On March 12th, Fr. Kenneth McDonald, pastor at St. James from 1985 to 1999, moved into the Green Acres retirement facility in Mason and was looking forward to local visitors. On March 18th, the Knights of Columbus at Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian campus held their annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner with great food and wonderful attendance. St. James held the 25th Anniversary Dinner concert with the Irish band Blackthorn with great food and a very successful silent and live auction. Rev. Msgr. Raymond Goehring, Pastor at St. James from February 1976 to March 1980, passed away on March 18th. Long-time St. James Parishioner Millie Dibble passed away on March 22nd at the age of 104. Fr. Jim Shaver, Senior Priest-in-Residence at Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian since 2018, passed away on April 3rd. Parishioner Ron Iwaszkiewicz, long-time RCIA Instructor and assistant/friend of Fr. Kusi and many others passed away on April 23rd. The Covid-19 Pandemic Emergency Designation in the United States officially ended on May 11th. The Spiritual Adoption Program ended its nine-month season with a Baby Shower on May 13th with donations going to the Shared Pregnancy Women’s Center along with the donations made to the Stuff a Crib and baby bottle campaign conducted by the Knights Angles. Our new Monstrance and Thabor were introduced in June. The names of all the donors are engraved on the base of the Thabor. Fr. Kenneth McDonald, Pastor at St. James from June 1985 until June 1999, the cornhusker from Nebraska, the founder of Mason Knights of Columbus Council 9182 and the man behind building the new Church in 1989-1990, passed away on July 20th. The Principal Celebrant at his funeral Mass was The Most Reverand Earl Boyea, Bishop of Lansing, and homilist Reverand Eoin Murphy. On the altar were Fr. Ken’s birthday buddy, Bishop Emeritus Carl Mengeling, Fr. Kusitino Cobona, Fr. Alan Wakefield, Deacon Chuong Nguyen, Fr. Phil Schmitter, and twenty other area Priests. A luncheon followed in Cave Hall sponsored by the St. James Women’s Club and Mason Council 9182 Knights of Columbus. Msgr. Richard Groshek, Pastor at St. James from July 1984 until January 1985, passed away on September 4th. The elementary faith formation program was named “Gift” (Growing in Faith Together). The adult faith formation program was named “Lift” (Living in Faith Together). The new LED digital St. James Church sign was installed on the Cedar Street entrance on September 13th. Long-time and beloved music director at Sts. James, Cornelius & Cyprian, Antoinette LaCinski, passed away on September 17th. The annual Parish Picnic was also held on September 17th at the Bunker Hill Campus. A beautiful outdoor Mass was held to start and then family and friends enjoyed great food, games, raffles, live music, a magician, and fellowship. A special presentation was made to Deacon Chuong in appreciation of all that he does for Sts. JCC and all of us. Many bible study and community-building opportunities continued or were started for the fall season. Included were the Tuesday bible study of Mark and the Rescue project at St. James, silent adoration and Eucharist bible study at Bunker Hill, the Case for Jesus and Adoration, and praying for Ukraine at St. James. The International Outreach Ministry friends made 331 apple pies and made $3,700.00. Ten Rock members took part in the Crop Walk. An All-Saints Fun Festival was sponsored by GIFT on October 29th. Deacon Tom Feiten started a First Wednesday Discussion Group for widows and widowers. The Prayer Shawl Ministry was reintroduced at St. James. Movie Nights to watch the CHOOSEN episodes were started on November 29th including the next three Wednesday nights. Father Kusi announced on December 3rd that he would undergo open heart surgery after Christmas and his schedule is scaled back. The Advent Project for this year is to build a house in Honduras. Fr. Kusi and the parish gifted all parishioners with the book “Beautiful Eucharist”, by Mathew Kelly.


Fr. Kusi announced that his open-heart surgery would be on January 23, 2024. During his surgery and convalescents, Fr. Bob Irish will be appointed acting Administrator of the Catholic Community of Saints James, Cornelius &  Cyprian. The Parish changed the company that publishes our bulletins to LPi-Intergrated Parish Communications. Gift Faith Formation presented an Epiphany Festival including the three wise men with refreshments in Cave Hall. They proceeded to Keating Hall for a magic show and chalk artist presentation. Again, this year there were many Faith Study, Bible, and fellowship opportunities. The RESCUE project started in January at both campuses. The Eucharist: Discovering the Mass in the Bible started on Monday nights. Peter: Cornerstone of Catholicism was on Tuesday nights and Mary: The Bible & the Mother of God was on Thursday nights at Sts. C & C campus. Wednesday night movies continued with more episodes of The Chosen. Discipleship Nights started once a month with a discussion on important topics of our faith based on the Church’s teaching, the Saints, and the Sacred Tradition. A rare event happened on the weekend of January 13th & 14th. Fr. Kusi canceled all Masses due to a severe winter storm. Father Kusi’s heart surgery was successful and his nephew, Fr. Ioane Sigarara, came to stay with Fr. Kusi during his convalescence. On January 25th the Church basement flooded due to a storm sewer pipe collapse. A restoration company dried out the basement and on February 4th, a crew of parishioners removed all the furniture from the basement and stored it in a portable POD in the parking lot. Restoration and remodeling started on February 5th. A Safety Security Committee was established with its first Director, Mike Broughman. The Youth Group fundraiser, “March Madness” was started. On February 26th, parishioner Phil Wieferich, assisted by his wife Ruth, engineered, and inlaid an Altar Stone on the wooden Altar at St. James. The Altar Stone is a solid, flat piece of natural stone that contains relics and incense grains representing an offering to God. The five crosses engraved on the top signify the five wounds of Christ. The Blackthorn Concert was held at St. James on March 9th and the St. Patrick’s Day dinner was held at Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian on March 16th. Father Kusitino Cobona returned from his open-heart surgery on March 17th to a rousing standing ovation. He was very happy to be back and
extended many thanks for prayers and all of those who have been helping him throughout his recovery.

Our goal is to have our Catholic Community of Sts. James, Cornelius & Cyprian's historical information is as accurate as possible. If you find errors or have additional information regarding our history, please send it to or drop it off at the Parish Office.

Our Priests and Service Dates
Fr. Kusitino Cobona, (Fr. Kusi) September 2010 – Our Priest in Residence
Fr. James Shaver (Rip) June 2018 – April 2023

Our “Favorite Sons”
Fr. Phil Schmitter Ordained December 28, 1971
Deacon Gordon Kilburn was Ordained on September 29, 1984
Deacon Tom Feiten was Ordained on May 20, 2000
Deacon Vince Guarnaccia RIP Ordained May 20, 2000
Fr. Michael Jacobus Ordained June 6, 2008

Our Religious and Lay Ministers
Rose Robertson Commissioned Ecclesial Lay Minister 2002
Barb White Commissioned Ecclesial Lay Minister 2002
Marie Sheridan Commissioned Ecclesial Lay Minister 2006
Gordon Kilburn Deacon 1984-1993
Thomas Feiten, Senior Status Deacon 2000-2019
Al Turkovich, Senior Status Deacon 2010-2022
Chuong Nguyen Deacon 2020-Present

Bishops of the Diocese of Lansing
The Diocese of Lansing was created on May 22, 1937, by Proclamation from Pope Pius XI and included parts of the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Archdiocese of Grand Rapids. Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was appointed first Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing on May 26, 1937, and served until his death on December 1, 1965.
Most Reverend Alexander M. Zaleski of the Archdiocese of Detroit became the second Bishop of Lansing on October 7, 1967, and served until his death on May 16, 1975.
Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish of the Diocese of Crookston became the third Bishop of Lansing in 1975 and served until his retirement in 1995. He died on September 5, 2003.
Monsignor Carl F. Mengeling of the Diocese of Gary Indiana became the fourth Bishop of Lansing upon ordination and installation on January 25, 1996, and served until his retirement on February 27, 2008.
Most Reverend Earl Boyea of the Archdiocese of Detroit became the fifth Bishop of Lansing on April 29, 2008.

Revised 4/2/24.