History of St. James 1942 - 1989

History of St. James - 1942 - 1989









In January, Annabelle Clinton, President of the Catholic Women’s League, and Bill and Mary Meier, tired of traveling to Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian Catholic Church in Bunkerhill or other Churches in Lansing every Sunday, met with a small group of Mason residents, namely the Catholic Women’s League members and other area residents and petitioned (dated January 15th) the Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing, for a Catholic Church in Mason, Michigan. Forty three Mason Area Catholics signed the petition. Part of the reasoning for a local church was gas rationing that was in effect due to the war effort and many people could not travel to services at Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian Catholic Church at Bunker Hill or in Lansing. The new Mission Church was named by the Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing and honors St. James the Greater, one of the twelve apostles, son of Zebedee and a fisherman. He is the patron saint of pilgrims, Spain, Guatemala and Nicaragua. His Feast Day is July 25th.  The first Mass in the newly organized St. James Mission was celebrated by Fr. Charles Keating (Secretary to Bishop Albers) in the Chapel of the Ball Funeral Home on South Jefferson Street, Mason, Michigan, on December 25th, Christmas Day, at 10:30 AM with 75 in attendance. Fr. Keating (Ordained on June 3, 1939) celebrated Mass with the Mass Kit used by Bishop Albers while serving as a Chaplain in World War I. Adult altar boys were William Meier and Charles Schmitter. For the next twelve years, Jean Ball, from the Ball Funeral Home, and later the Ball-Dunn Funeral Home, would make sure the Chapel was ready for Mass each Sunday. Fr. Keating called her his “Altar Boy”. Fr. Keating was also the traveling Priest for St. Peter’s Church in Eaton Rapids and Chaplain for the Lansing Police and Fire Departments. Signatories of the petition were James Hughes, Glenard M. Earl, John Deneka, Mary C. DeRose, Virginia S. Simone, Tony Simone, Rosalie V. Griffin, James M. Servine, Jeannie Fontana, Mary Walzak, Alice C. Bell, Helen J. Bell, Harold C. Bell, Anne Hughes, William G. Meier, Vera Hoover, Margaret Cunningham, Bernita Patrick, Charles Clinton, Annabelle Clinton, Margaret Burgess, Francis D. Burgess, Willamina Burgess, Elizabeth Raymond, Ambrose Raymond, Wilma Lehman, Erurni Lehman, Marguerite Cave, Ann Lippincott, Florence Hughes, Mary C. Meier, Jennie Pyard, Lucille Graham, Edward Pyard, Frank Pyard, Connie L. Brush, George R. Clinton MD, Elizabeth J. Clinton, Marie Peek, William A. Peek, Mrs. Ralph Noble, Kathryn Felton and Mildred Felton. The official statement from the Lansing Diocese read as follows: “Due to the restricted driving which is necessitated by the war effort of our country, Catholics will be given an opportunity to hear Mass in Mason. Through the generosity of the public-minded citizens of Mason, it becomes possible to afford the Catholics in the City of Mason and it’s surrounding locality an opportunity of serving their God by attendance at religious services and of assisting their county by a more limited use of materials vital to our nation’s war effort” New Mission members included Sue Bergeon (Parsons), Tom Bergeon, the Charles and Ruth Schmitter family and Kathryn Deneka (Laws). Our Pope was Pope Pius XII. Food rationing was in force, the Battle of Midway took place, White Christmas and the Pennsylvania Polka were hits, Casablanca was movie of the year, a stamp was 3 cents, milk was 26 cents and bread was eight cents


Timothy Joseph Glynn was baptized on March 14th. The Mr. & Mrs. Club was started for the purpose of discussing problems regarding marriage, children and religion. In later years it evolved into the Euchre Club. The Sisters of Charity from St. Mary’s Cathedral came to Mason on Saturdays to teach CCD. They were driven from Lansing to Mason and back by parent volunteers. Virginia Simone and Lucille Graham opened their homes for these lessons for many years. New Mission members included the Fred and Rose Fichter family, the Cameron and Mary Glynn family, the Leonard and Ellen Martineau family, Betty Quinn (Evans) and Beverly Quinn (O’Berry).


Fr. Keating married Catherine Deneka and Harold Laws just before Harold left for the armed services. Our first Holy Communion class was held at Ball Dunn Chapel on May 28th. They were instructed by the Sisters of Charity and included Thomas Reeves, Gerald Reeves, Joseph Simone, Rose M. Simone, Patricia Ann Reeves and Charles Bell. New Mission members included the Edwin and Leone Wentland family. D-Day, the Normandy Invasion was on June 6th.


The Catholic Women’s League (aka: Catholic Women’s Club; the Rosary and Altar Society) met at members’ homes during the 1940’s and early 1950’s until the new Church was built. New Mission members included Ken and Leah Horn. World War II ended on V-J Day, August 14th.


The Mission purchased six and one half acres of land on South Lansing Street, one half block NW of the Jefferson Street intersection for the site of the new Church. New Mission members included the Frank and Betty Guerriero family and the Willie and Helen Hills family. Don and Millie VanderVeen were married in the Mission Church at Ball-Dunn Funeral Home on March 17th.


Some of the early presidents of the Catholic Women’s League following Annabelle Clinton were Mary Meier, Mary Bergeon, Marguerite Cave, Lucille Graham, Jeannie Fontana, Helen Bell, Virginia Simone and Alice Bell. A card/feather party was held at the Legion Hall.


Kathryn and Richard Walker were married in the Mission Church at Ball-Dunn Funeral Home. Newlyweds Gerald and Florence Eifert became St. James Parishioners. Eva Cool was the Catholic Women’s League President.


New Mission member was Jeanne Lock and Leone Wentland was the Catholic Women’s League President.


Virginia Sargeant was Choir Director in the 1950’s. Marguerite Cave was the Catholic Women’s League President.


Fr. Keating was given the title of Rt. Reverend Monsignor Keating. A reception was held in his honor at the Legion Memorial Building. He committed to provide speakers for the Catholic Women’s League meetings and he attended the meetings and introduced the speakers. The Catholic Women’s League voted to provide Christmas Baskets to the Nun’s at their meeting on November 20th at the home of Mrs. Harold Dillon.


The St. James Mission now numbered about 300 persons. The St. James Mission Family Dinner with 164 attending was held on March 20th at the Masonic Hall. Msgr. John A. Gabriels of Resurrection Church was the speaker. Msgr. Keating attended the Catholic Women’s League meeting on October 14th at the home of Mrs. James Birney and spoke about Instruction Classes for High School students for one hour once a week to be held in the basements of Catholic Women’s League (President Pat Dabb) members.  He then introduced Fr. Paul J. DeRose, Chaplain of the Vocational School in Lansing who outlined the procedures at the School. Sister Mathew and Sister Bernard Louise helped with catechism in the winter. Msgr. Keating brought Fr. Palmer to the December 18th Catholic Women’s League meeting and he gave a presentation on the “Mass”.


Plans for the new Church were accepted from the firm of Henick and Simpson, Architects. Ground breaking ceremonies were held in a steady rain for the new Church on November 8th. Msgr. Keating, who maintained his residence in Lansing all these years, was designated Pastor of the new St. James Mission and turned the first shovel of earth. A 36 feet by 75 feet Georgian style cinder block and brick building with a full basement for a meeting hall, a kitchen and choir loft was built by the Lamphere Brothers of Mason. Landscaping was completed by Don VanderVeen, Jr. under the direction of the R. D. Miller Company of Lansing. Bob Leonard was the electrical contractor and Celand Lamphere headed up the construction crew.  On November 9th, the Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing, officially commissioned the St. James Parish CCD Program according to Cannon Law 711. Wilma Lehman was the Catholic Women’s League President.


The Most Rev. Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing, sent a letter on January 9th officially giving the St. James Mission permission to proceed with a building not to exceed $38,000. A St. James Family Dinner was held on June 6th at the Delhi Town Hall in Holt and Msgr. Keating was honored for his 15th Anniversary as a Priest. The Most Rev. Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing blessed and formally dedicated the newly constructed St. James Mission Church on September 19th with more than 400 witnessing the ceremonies. Priests assisting were Msgr. Keating, Fr. James P. Brogan, Fr. John D. Slowey, Fr. Paul V. Donovan (Master of Ceremonies), Msgr. Jerome V. MacEachin, Fr. James L. Hayes, Fr. Lawrence Hamel, Fr. James Kavanaugh and Fr. Leon Cahill. Francis P Kelly provided the music. The focal point of the new Mission Church was the altar and tabernacle purchased by Mary DeRose, one of the petitioners to establish the St. James Mission in 1942. It was used from 1954 to 1982 and from 1992 to the present time. Little tiles were added to the tabernacle in 1982. Above and behind it was an oak and bronze crucifix suspended on a bronze chain with a backdrop of royal crimson velvet drapes. The Catholic Women’s League (President Betty Guerriero) purchased the new pews with proceeds from Feather Parties held at the old Legion Building. A copper envelope containing the Ingham County News clippings and pictures of the 1953 ground breaking ceremony and a brief history of the St. James Mission were included in the cornerstone. The cornerstone was set in place by Celand Lamphere, Contractor, and his son Gary. The outdoor statue of St. James was donated anonymously. William and Lillian Giesbrook donated their farm to the Church which raised $21,000 to help build St. James Church. The Women’s Club purchased a Registration Stand for the Ball-Dunn Funeral Home in appreciation for all they did for the new St. James Mission over the years.


On June 29th, a “DECREE OF ERECTION OF ST. JAMES PARISH, MASON, MICHIGAN”, was issued by the Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing. We had the first recorded Parish Newsletter or Bulletin on July 24th. Volume I, Number 1: It read, “GOD MAKES HIS HOME IN MASON”!!!  “Tomorrow, July 25, is the feast of St. James the Apostle, the patron of our Parish. It will be a historic and significant day in the history of the Parish, for on this day the Most Blessed Sacrament will be reserved in the tabernacle on our altar for the very first time. Also, on this day, the first resident Pastor of St. James Parish will be installed in a public ceremony. Henceforth, God will dwell in our midst. Christ, in His tabernacle home, will become Mason’s First Citizen. Truly, then, will our Blessed Savior be Emmanuel---or “God with us.” We should visit Him frequently in His tabernacle Home; we should never forget that it is for love of us that He makes Himself a “Prisoner of Love” in our midst. Our conduct in the Church should reflect our faith in His Real Presence on the Altar. If we respect His Presence and His Home, we can rest assured that He will fill our hearts with the zeal and determination to follow Him in our daily living.” On July 25th, (the Feast of St. James the Apostle) Fr. Paul J. DeRose was installed by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Herman Fedewa of St. Mary Cathedral as the first resident pastor of St. James and at this occasion the Mission was made a permanent Parish. Sunday Mass was at 9:00 AM with daily Mass at 7:15 AM. Devotion was Thursday at 7:30 PM. Fr. DeRose lived in the “Pen” in the Church basement, with the Frank Guerriero family and in the Convent before the Sisters arrived.  He started a campaign to purchase statuary. Statues of Mary, St. Joseph, St. Ann, The Sacred Heart and the Infant Jesus of Prague were donated and added to the Sanctuary. All of the statues were placed on pedestals. Mary and Joseph were on either side of the main altar, St. Ann and the Sacred Heart were placed toward the sides near the Communion Rail. The Infant Jesus of Prague was placed on the wall by the confessional. Donors for the communion cloth, cassocks and surplices were Mr. and Mrs. Albert Tomlian, Bernice McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. Don VanderVeen Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Victor Borejka and Mildred Gardner. Mary DeRose donated the Tabernacle veil. The Baptismal Font was donated by Frank and Betty Guerriero. The new organ was delivered on August 21st. Fr. DeRose also started the first Choir and it was led by an MSU student who lived with the Glynn Family. Sue and Bill Parsons had the first wedding in the new building on September 3rd and Charles and Ann Bodary were the second on September 24th. Alberta and Don Parks were the third. The Discussion Club’s theme for the year was the Ten Commandments. September 11th was the first time that altar boys were published in the Church Bulletin. They were Joseph Brady, Barry Wentland, Victor Borejka and Dick Palmer. The Rectory was moved temporarily to 400 E Elm Street. Fr. DeRose started a program to visit every household in the Parish. The members of the Catholic Women’s League voted to change the name to the St. James Rosary and Altar Society during the term of Betty Guerriero. The officers were Helen Bell, President; Alfreda Schmidt, Vice President; Mildred VanderVeen, Secretary; and Clara VanderVeen, Treasurer. The St. James Men’s Club was organized in September. At the October 3rd meeting of the Ushers Club, discussions were held regarding purchasing the Nazarene Church for a Rectory, Convent and School. The new Church Hall was painted Green in November. Louis Beratta was school and Church custodian from 1955 to 1959. Bernadette Northrup was Church Organist from 1955 to 1970.


A Duffy Daugherty Sports Program was sponsored by the Ushers Club on January 22nd with 873 tickets sold. It was held at the new Legion Building on Legion Drive. Duffy entertained a standing room only crowd. Two Sunday Masses were officially approved at St. James at 8:30 and 10:30 AM. The Mr. and Mrs. Club sponsored a square dance on February 5th. The winter session of the Discussion Club met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Byron. Seven and one half additional acres were purchased and added to the Church grounds. The Catholic Women’s League had been the only formal organization during the years of the Mission Church.  The St. Vincent de Paul Society was organized in March. We had a Mr. and Mrs. Club and an Ushers Club. The “Pray-Work-Give” “School and Convent Fund Campaign” kicked off with a goal of $35,000 and Fr. DeRose pledged the first $1,000. Fund Drive leaders were Frank Schmitt, Fr. DeRose, Victor Brenner, Gordon Byron, Dick Hayhoe, Leah Horn, Joan Dolbee, Mary DeRose, Harold Bell, Frank Guerriero, Harold Dillion, Don Lehman, Don VanderVeen, Lester Palmer, Ed Kehe, Charles Schmitter, Jim Birney, Bill Wallace and Howard Roberts. The first complete Holy Week services and the first Forty Hours Devotion were held in the new Church. Altar servers included Ben, Dennis, Ken, Tim, Pat and Mike Glynn, Barry Wentland, Dick Palmer, Victor Borejks, Joe Brady, Bill Laws, Bob Peek, Chuck and Phil Schmitter, Don Corr, John and Jerome Tomlian and Jerry Clery. The Parish picnic was held at Raynor Park on June 3rd featuring Ed Kehe’s gate crashers (parents) vs. Fr. DeRose’s fence busters (teens) softball game. Two Sisters of St. Dominic and Seminarians Jack Foglio and Ken Faiver conducted the Mexican Apostolate Vacation School for the Spanish speaking children of the migrant workers. Mrs. Birney was in charge of providing drivers for the Sisters. In September the Rectory opened at 235 W. Elm Street in the proposed school building and they installed a new answering machine. The St. James Teenage Club became the Junior Newman Club. 2,000 pounds of clothing was gathered and donated to Poland and Hungary. The First Mission was held at St. James in November by Fr. James Dixon and it lasted all week. The Church Bazaar was held on December 1st.


Mary Jean Guerriero and Mary McCarn were baptized at St. James. The Men’s Retreat was held March 8-10 at Portiuncula in the Pines in Dewitt. At the April Mr. and Mrs. Club meeting, the speaker was parishioner Charles Schmitter, National Fencing Coach of the Year. A farewell party for Fr. Paul J. DeRose was held in the social hall on July 21st. Fr. James W. Lee (Ordained on May 8, 1948) was appointed Pastor at St. James in July by the Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing. Fr. Lee lived with the Dillon Family until the Rectory was purchased. The Parish had grown to 140 families. St. James Parish purchased the Nazarene Church building at 237 W. Elm Street for $13,500 and remodeled it for the purpose of a Convent and three room schoolhouse. Additional land was purchased for a playground. On August 30th, the Parish also purchased ($9,800) the residence at 1003 South Lansing Street to use as a Rectory. A “shower” was held for the new Rectory to help with the furnishings. Mrs. Stanley became the live in Housekeeper. Lola Palmer was President of the St. James Rosary and Altar Society. In September, St. James Catholic School opened with 85 students in grades one through four. Sister M. Helen Ballard (57-63) of the Adrian Dominicans was principal. Sister Immaculate Marie (57-61 & 63-70) of the Adrian Dominicans was a teacher and Assistant Principal (57-61). The Sisters wrote a letter to the Parish stating that the school would start on September 4th at 8:30 AM. Book rental was $10.00, no jeans for boys and the girls would wear blue skirts and white blouses. The school was closed by the County just after it opened because the City of Mason’s Sewer system was not completed. The Church Hall was used for the school. The school was reopened on November 9th. St. James started using collection envelopes in December for the first time. They were two sided, one side for the regular collection and one side for the School collection. Harold Laws was the School and Church custodian from 1957 to 1965. The Mason Public Schools Board of Education approved transportation of the children on the public school busses. St. James Church pledged $1,000 towards the new Mason Community Hospital. The Rectory phone number was 677-0001.


Forty young people crowded the choir loft on February 2nd  and did a wonderful job singing. The fifth grade was added to St. James Catholic School and Sister Dorothy Marie Beers OP (58-59) joined the faculty. Altar servers throughout the year were Joseph Brady, Victor Borejka, Bill Laws, Bob Peek, Mike, Tim, Ben and Ken Glynn, Barry VanderVeen, Joe Bell, Phil Schmitter, Jerome Tomlian, Pat and Mike Winkler, Steve Wallace, Chuck Lott, Paul, Pat and Leo Allaire, Charles Schmitter and Bob Chamberlain. Mrs. Heipel was elected president of the Rosary and Altar Society. A St. Patrick’s Day dinner was held in March. Mr. Wonter put in 10 acres of corn on shares with St. James on our property. An adult choir was started in April by choir director Ted Williams. The Ball Dunn Funeral Home donated a new Pall to St. James to be used at funerals. On September 16th, an Altar Guild was formed at St. James to take care of the Altar linens. Members were Helen Bell, Kay Schroeder, Mary Glynn, Bessie Tomlian and Mirian Gillette, Chairperson. The clothing drive collected 850 pounds of clothes to be sent overseas. Pope Pius XII passed away on October 9th. Pope John XXIII was elected on October 28th.


Ball Dunn Funeral Home provided Church calendars for St. James. A votive light stand was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Eifert. The sixth grade was added to St. James Catholic School with Sister M. Bartholomew Kitko of the Adrian Dominicans on staff. Sister Raphael Marie OP (59-60) replaced Sister Dorothy Marie OP. All the Sister’s salaries were raised from $60 per month to $80 per month. Fr. Jerome MacEachin from St. Thomas Aquinas Church spoke at the Rosary and Altar Society meeting on April 21st regarding his trip to Lourdes. The September meeting had 63 members present and the program was presented by Marge Bergeon. A Parish wide Chick-N-Que fund raiser was held on September 13th with C.J. Echterline serving as general chairman. The Church Bazaar was held on November 7th with a spaghetti dinner. A Mothers Club was formed at the St. James School. The Bill Richards Family donated a car to the Sisters. The Fall Rummage Sale netted $121.18. John Metesh was the school and Church custodian from 1959 to 1961 and Michael Wontor assisted with custodian duties from 1957 to 1975.


The St. James School was closed on January 7th so the Sisters could attend the funeral of Rt. Rev. Msgr. John A. Gabriels. Mason was originally in Msgr. Gabriels territory and he did a lot of traveling in this area visiting the sick and conducting funerals. Sister Marian Therese OP (60-62) replaced Sister Raphael Marie OP. Mildred VanderVeen was President of the Rosary and Altar Society. The Junior Newman Club met just about every week during the School year. The Mother Daughter Banquet was held on May 3rd with Mrs. Frank Guerriero and Mrs. Marguerite Cave in charge. The Chick-N-Que fundraiser was combined with the Annual Bazaar and was held on September 18th. It raised $462.97 for the debt reduction fund. There was an open house at the St. James School on December 13th and everyone was welcome to attend. During the year Fr. Lee pressed hard on raising the weekly collections and getting Parishioners to pay their pledges on the Church debt and the School debt.


 “Young at Heart” dessert card party and fashion show of wedding gowns dating back to 1870 was held on February 5th by the St. James Rosary and Altar Society (President Betty Evans) chaired by Mrs. John O’Brien. A spaghetti Dinner fundraiser was held on April 29th and raised $190. The Euchre Club met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John O’Brien in June. The fourth annual Chick-N-Que was held on September 17th with a profit of $307. Sister Ann Laudine OP (61-66) replaced Sister Immaculate Marie OP at St. James School. The Thanksgiving clothing drive gathered 1,454 pounds of clothing to be sent overseas. Gertrude Liscomb was the Parish Secretary and bookkeeper. Mrs. Keesen was the organist for a short time followed by MSU student Ray O’Donnell.


Trading stamps were collected all year to purchase prizes for social events. The Men’s Club completed a make over of the Parish Hall. Those helping were James Birney, Howard Roberts, Leroy Roberts, John Bergeon, Edward Tuckey, Jack O’Berry, Gerald Baughman, Max McCarn, William Reeser and John P. O’Brien. The Mother Daughter Banquet was held on May 1st. A 25 cent donation was requested from the 200 in attendance. Florence Eifert and Helen Philo chaired the Mr. and Mrs. Club dance on May 5th. The May 10th Men’s Club meeting was Ladies Night and the guest speaker was Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kavanaugh. Weekly collections were averaging $400.00. Sister Jean Raymond OP (62-65) replaced Sister Marion Therese OP. The St. James Catholic School students held their annual Christmas card sale. Ruth Ann Wontor became the Parish secretary/bookkeeper and Myrtle Dillbeck was the Housekeeper. Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council on October 11th. Florence Eifert was President of the Rosary and Altar Society.


On January 13th, Fr. William J. Rademacher was appointed Pastor by the Most Rev. Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing. Fr. Rademacher initiated many new programs into the growing Parish including a public inquiry class, house to house census, tithing and adult education. Thirty children received their First Holy Communion on April 27th. An additional one acre of land was purchased for the Church grounds bringing the total Church land to 15 acres. Sister M. Helen Ballard was transferred and Sister M. Bartholemew OP (63-70) was named the new principal of St. James Catholic School. The School had grown to 115 students. A baby sitting service was started during both Sunday Masses. In October the St. Vincent dePaul Society was reactivated at St. James. A foundation pedestal was built in November for the new statue of St. James on the front lawn. The Thanksgiving clothing drive gathered 1,454 pounds of clothing to be donated overseas. Arthur Goble was school and Church custodian from 1963 to 1973. Pope John XXIII passed away on June 3rd. Pope Paul VI was elected on June 21st.


Change was in the wind and Fr. William J. Rademacher appointed a Liturgical Commission with Gordon Byron as President. The other members were Dr. Milton Bergeon, Tom Christiansen, Leroy Cool, Frank Guerriero, Dr. Thomas Hopp, Ed Mullin, John O’Brien, Max McCarn, Charles Schmitter, Jack Seiler and Don VanderVeen. The sanctuary of the Church was rearranged so that the altar would be front and center to allow the Priest to face the congregation. The tabernacle was placed at the side altar, lectors became an intrinsic part of the Mass and the vernacular was gradually being introduced into the Mass replacing parts of the Latin prayers. For the first time a one day Retreat was held for all St. James High School students in February. St James hosted the quarterly meeting of the Diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society on February 16th. Bishop Joseph Green, Auxiliary of the Lansing Diocese, celebrated Mass. The new St. James the Apostle statue was installed on the front lawn in May. The process of receiving Holy Communion changed by having the Priest say “Corpus Christi” and the communicant responding with “Amen” before consuming the Host. The new altar and communion kneeler were both built by Max McCarn. W.J. Crandell received the CCD Teacher of the Year Award on May 28th. The St. James Catholic School Boys Softball Team had a perfect season. A pre-school Religious Instruction Program was started for all four and five year olds in the fall. The Most Reverend Alexander Zaleski was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing in October.


In January a Parish Liturgical Commission was formed. The officers were President, Gordon Byron, Vice President, Frank Guerriero, Secretary Ed Mullin, 2nd Vice President, Charles Schmitter and 3rd Vice President, Jack Seiler. The first Mass with the priest facing the people was celebrated by Fr. Rademacher on March 7th. In March, a marriage seminar was conducted at St. James by Mr. Ed King and eight couples attended. On April 1st, a parish CCD executive board was formed with directives from the Diocese. It included Ed Mullin, Beverly O’Berry, Francis Duke, Lea Roberts and James Birney Jr. The board was responsible for the religious education of all public school students through high school age. The first Teacher Training Course was conducted in April. Bishop Zaleski awarded Diplomas and permanent CCD Teaching Certificates to Mrs. Milton Bergeon, Mrs. John King, Mr. John O’Brien, Mr. and Mrs. Juras Philo, Mrs. Mary Robinson and Mrs. Donald VanderVeen. The First Communion Class had 37 young people. The Parish celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the new building and had grown to about 650 men, women and children. A chicken barbecue was included in the celebration on June 13th. Sponsors of our 10th Anniversary booklet were Roy Christensen, Inc. Ford, Mason Foodland, Frank Guerriero Insurance and Bill Richards Buick. High School students formed The St. James Mission Society and adopted St. Theresa Parish in Okcheon, Korea, and assisted this Parish with fund raising activities. Society officers were President, Randy Evans, Secretary, Jenifer Byron, Vice President, Steve O’Brien, Treasurer, Mary Beth Duke and Moderator, Marge Bergeon. On July 11th, after almost 2,000 years, Parishioners received communion standing up. The concept of the Parish Council was also introduced. The first members were Jim Birney, Gordon Byron, Marge Bergeon, Betty Guerriero, John O’Brien, Ed Mullin, Dr. Tom Hopp and Fr. Rademacher. Dr. Milton and Marge Bergeon were Parish representatives for the Vatican II renewal discussion series in the Lansing Diocese and St. James. From 1942 until now, Cana Missions, Retreats and Public Inquiry classes have been held at St. James. Beverly Risner was the Rosary and Altar Society President. Mary C. Meier, a charter member of St. James Church, was killed in a terrible automobile accident along with three of her children. Pope Paul VI closed the Second Vatican Council on December 8th. Neoma Grahek was Parish secretary/bookkeeper. Mable Williams was the Housekeeper. Sister John Kiera OP (65-66) was a new teacher. The Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers, Bishop of Lansing, passed away on December 1st.


The annual Chicken BBQ was held on June 5th. In August Fr. Brendan K. Ledwidge was appointed Pastor by the Most Reverend Alexander M. Zaleski, Bishop of Lansing. This was His first assignment as a Pastor. After nine years of financial struggles and faithful Parishioners, St. James Catholic Church was out of debt. A farewell party and open house was held on August 7th to say goodbye to Fr. William J. Rademacher. A welcome reception for Fr. Ledwidge was held on September 11th. A Parish census was conducted in October. Rev. Jose Fontan was “In Residence” starting is November. Sister Peter Elaine OP (66-68) was a new teacher. Myrtle Dillbeck was the Housekeeper. Vatican II Discussion Groups in parishioner homes started in 1965 and continued through 1968.


Sister Mary Bartholomew Ledwidge, OP and Edward Mullin were in charge of the CCD Religious Education Program. Sister Joseph Helen OP (67-68) was a new teacher. Grace Young became the Parish secretary/bookkeeper.


The Parish Council was restructured and the members elected. Elected members were Jim Birney, Frank Guerriero, Charles Schmitter, Val DeRosa, Dr. Vincent Guarnaccia, Jim Birney, Dr. Thomas Hopp and Florence McCarn. In the spring, Karen Philo organized a teen choir and gained approval of the Parish Council to sing at the 9:00 Mass. Sister Rose Edward OP (68-69) and Kay Wilson (68-70) were new teachers.


The St. James Rosary and Altar Society officers were Margie Bergeon, Judy Galbraith, Betty Bergeon, Helen Philo, Mary Jean Clark, Pat Hall, Jackie Ferguson and Germaine Haindel. They sponsored a membership Tea on September 23rd and a Past Presidents Luncheon on November 20th. Sister Rebecca Shiroda (69-70) was a new teacher.


In January, the hand shake was inaugurated as the sign of peace. The Parish received a letter from the Diocese Education Department that the Sisters would be withdrawn from St. James School at the end of the school year. After 13 years the St. James Catholic School was closed. A Thank You reception for the Sisters was held on June 7th for all their years of service to the School and CCD Program. A full scale CCD Program was launched using the Mason Public School facilities, the old School building and the Church Hall. The program was guided by Dominican Sisters Pat Dulka, Pat Brady, Susan Kelly and Ruth Pfeiffer who were teaching full time at Resurrection School and one teaching at Lansing Catholic Central. They resided at the St. James Convent during the school year. The Rosary and Altar Society sent Care Packages to Servicemen overseas with Rosaries included. They also participated in the Friend to Friend program, held a reception for the Sisters and sent small gifts to the Camp Waterloo Project. The Convent and school were remodeled to accommodate six classrooms. Tom Galbraith was President of the Parish Council. Ted Williams and Eugene Every were Choir Directors in the 1970’s.


The Annual Diocese Development Fund Drive was completed in May with $3,078 pledged. On June 10th St. James welcomed Fr. George Zabelka as its new Pastor in June along with his dog “Earl”. He was appointed by Most Reverend Alexander M. Zaleski, Bishop of Lansing. A Welcome reception was held for Fr. George on July 18th. The Parish Council included Charles Brandell, Juras Philo, John Gerrish, Don VanderVeen, Betty Evans, Grace Young and Sister Helen Smith, SND. A teenage dance was held in the St. James parking lot on September 1st. On December 27th, Phil Schmitter, son of parishioners Charles and Ruth Schmitter, was ordained a Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Lansing by the Most Reverend Paul V. Donovan. Virginia Guarnaccia hosted the annual Rosary and Altar Society Membership Tea at her home. Eva Cool was the Housekeeper. After the 11:00 Mass, “Earl” would carry the collection bag to the Rectory.


How proud the St. James Family was on January 3rd when newly ordained Fr. Phil Schmitter returned to St. James to say his first Mass. A buffet dinner followed with a great celebration. Fr. Phil was assigned to Holy Redeemer Parish in Flint. The Discussion Club met in February with the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and a few members of his congregation. They followed up in March meeting with the Pastor and some members of All Saints Lutheran Church. Our First St. James Pictorial Directory was completed and delivered to Parishioners. Sister Helen Smith, S.N.D (72-76) was appointed parish coordinator with responsibilities of directing and supporting all areas of Parish life. A welcome reception for Sister was held on September 10th. CCD classes were held in the First Methodist Church. Plans for expansion of the Church began by the Administration Committee directed by William Archer. Sister Helen held an eight week long class on “What you always wanted to know about the Catholic Church” that started in November. It was reported that the Ushers Club had 40 members.


Fr. George was admitted to the hospital in April with heart issues. He returned to St. James on May 20th. Fr. John McFee filled in for Fr. George along with assistance from Sr. Helen. The St. James School building was sold in April for $36,000. Many discussions were held throughout the year regarding a new Church building. A number of plans or options were submitted and voted on by the Parishioners. They ranged from $160,000 to $200,000. The Diocese of Lansing stated that we should not build a new Church due to their projections of our finances and the size of our Parish. The new Church building options were scrapped in favor of adding wings to the existing building and doing some internal remodeling. A new committee was formed to assist pregnant girls who had no financial means to bring their babies to full term. The committee had a budget of $2,000. Members were Marge Bergeon, Betty Rodriguez and Kathy Klco. Bingo started at St. James on September 18th. The St. James Rosary and Altar Society held its Membership Tea at the home of Mrs. Lori Allaire. Officers were Kathy Trudeau, Betty Rodriguez, Joan Foss, Marilyn Gibbons, Mary Mendleson, Lori Allaire and Eva Cool. 


There was a successful pledge drive for the construction of the new wings to be added to the existing Church building. The Building Committee was Don VanderVeen, Tom Bergeon and Al Boilore. They met with all the Church committees and groups to explain what was going on and to hear their questions and ideas. The Building Committee met with the Diocese Building Committee and the plans were approved. Bids were sent out and they were opened on May 30th. Originally, all six bids were rejected as they were too far over budget. The Committee negotiated with the low two bidders to reduce the total cost. The selected contractor was Wayne Chapman of Mason.  Auxiliary Bishop James Sullivan administered the sacrament of confirmation to 21 candidates on June 2nd.  On July 14th a ground breaking ceremony was held for the $130,000 expansion project. North and South bi-level wings were added along with teaching areas for CCD classes. The social hall was redecorated and the new area included a kitchen, nursery, library, office and storage. The sanctuary was remodeled by Al Orlando, Keith Griswold, Doug Mumby, Bill Vincent, Bill Laws, and Paul Mendelsohn with John Gerrish directing the project. The front steps were eliminated by creating a circle drive leading up to the front doors. A ramp was also included at the rear of the Church providing easy access to the basement area. The new stained glass windows were donated by Marguerite Cave and Bill Meier. The windows were designed and installed by Parishioner Ron Lukas. Parishioner Betty Rodriguez was our representative on the Michigan Right to Life Committee and had been for several years. She also helped organize the Right to Life booth at the Ingham County Fair each year. The St. James Women’s Softball team played other Church teams in the area. Some members were Sister Helen Smith, Angela Rodriguez, Theresa Rodriguez, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Kathy Rodriguez, Betty Philo and Carolyn Rodriguez. The Ushers Club presented Fr. George a check for $4,000 from proceeds from Bingo. Bernard Schmitt (74-76) was hired in the position of Youth Minister. Fr. Zabelka finally parted ways with his old VW camper. Sister Jane Rose was the choir director. The Rosary and Altar Society, under the leadership of Theresa Spagnuola, held its Membership Tea at the home of JoEllen Hannold on September 17th. The Constitution of the St. James Ushers Club was adopted on October 14th. St. James had a men’s bowling team from 1974 through 1984. In November St. James provided 20 small gifts to inmates of Camp Waterloo.


Bingo returned on January 5th after being suspended during the construction of the new wings. The inside of the Church along with the inside of the new wings were painted by Parishioners in March. The Church basement flooded on April 19th and many volunteers bailed out the water and then did the same at the Rectory. Bernard Schmidt, Sister Helen and Debbie White started the Parish newsletter, the Sounding Board. The St. James Dinner Dance and card party was held on May 10th with music by Jack O’Berry. A Charlie McCarthy Workshop was held at St. James in May. Parishioner Mike O’Malley and the Mason FFA planted corn on the Church property. Dr. Vincent Guarnaccia was commissioned Parish Council President on June 1st. On September 7th, the new wings were dedicated with a Mass, Social and Chicken Barbecue serving 700 people. Betty Evans and Mildred VanderVeen co-chaired the event. Concelebrants included Aux. Bishop James Sullivan, Msgr. Charles Keating (42-55), Fr. Paul DeRose (55-57), Fr. William Rademacher (63-66), Fr. Phil Schmitter and Fr. George Zabelka. Deacon Jim McDougal assisted at the Mass. Other Priests and Religious in attendance were Msgr. Jerome MacEachin, Msgr. Melko, Fr. Koenigsknecht, Fr. Weber, Fr. Hornberger, Sister Ann Laudine, Sister Pat Dulka and Sister Sally Andary. Other special guests were Rev. and Mrs. Keith Hayes from the Methodist Church, Dr. and Mrs. Graham, Jeanette Dart, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Parker and Mr. and Mrs. Donald Lockwood from the Presbyterian Church. Others included Rev. Vernon Frederickson from the Columbia Road Nazarene Church, Rev. and Mrs. Gerald Smith and Deacon Ray Spence from the Episcopal Church, Rev. and Mrs. Paul Row from the Lutheran Church and Mr. and Mrs. Bud Dunn from the Ball Dunn Funeral Home. We greeted our adopted Vietnamese Refugee Family at the Airport. Father Tran Van Nghi, mother Tran Thi Tao, children Hoa, Nghi, Nhiem, Thuy, Thanh, Hgng, Quyet and baby Tam. They settled into a house on Okemos Road with the assistance of a ten person task force under the direction of Vernice Laws. In September Fr. Zabelka gave every parishioner a “Round Tuit”. Rev. Fr. Kenneth Povish was installed as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing in November. Grace Young was Parish Secretary. Fr. Sam Jadin and Sister Carmelia O’Connor from Sienna Heights College provided a five session program on Moral Development starting on November 13th. The Most Reverend Alexander M. Zaleski, former Bishop of Lansing, passed away on May 16th.



On February 1st farewell Masses were held for Fr. George Zabelka and his dog Earl, with receptions following the Masses. Fr. Raymond Goehring (ordained on June 6, 1964) was appointed Pastor on February 5th by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish, Bishop of Lansing.  Sister Helen Smith, S.N.D left St. James Parish for St. Paul’s University. The Ushers Club sponsored a trip for Altar Servers to the Detroit Zoo on June 14th. In August, Patrick Casey of New Lothrop was hired as our first Director of Religious Education (DRE). Our Parish census was 340 registered families. A pancake breakfast was held by the high School Mission Society benefiting the Guatemala Earthquake victims. The Ushers Club donated $1,500 for parking lot lights. Penny Cool was the Housekeeper. The Parish phone number was changed to 676-9111. Fr Zabelka retired from the active ministry due to health issues.


Bishop Povish preached at all Masses the weekend of January 15-16. Grace Young resigned as Parish Secretary after nine and one half years of service. Dr. Vincent Guarnaccia was the President of the Parish Council, Dennis O’Brien was the Youth Choir Director and Virginia Price was appointed Parish Secretary. Bingo was held every Sunday during the winter months. Diocesan Publications started printing our Church Bulletin at no cost to us with paid advertising on the back cover on May 8th. The first Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist were appointed and commissioned at St. James. They were Patrick Casey, William Laws, Barbara Fore, Mary Ellen Smith, Dr. Vincent Guarnaccia and John Weiler.     Bishop Povish approved the option of receiving communion in the hand in the Diocese of Lansing on October 2nd.  Mary Ann Jensen was President of the St. James Rosary and Altar Society and the Membership Tea was held on October 17th. They also held a Mother-Daughter Banquet and all the former Presidents were honored. The Bazaar was held on November 5th.  The St. James Education Commission included Ginny Guarnaccia, Joyce Mullin, Sue Parsons, Pat Casey, Fr. Goehring, Jim Wolcott, Bev O’Berry, Bob Neuman, Dave Fellows, Robin Runyan and Paul Mendelsohn. The Rosary Makers began at the home of Mary Ann Jensen making wire type rosaries. Mary Mendelsohn was elected Parish Council President. A new Paschal Candle Holder was donated in memory of Jared Smith. The Ushers Club held a New Years Eve Party.


Patrick Casey, DRE (76-78) left St. James and William E. Hebekeuser, DRE at St. Paul Church in Owosso, assumed the position of Director of Religious Education here. Mary Mendelsohn was elected Parish Council President. The Hathaway Family donated the tapestry of Leonardo De Vinci’s “Last Super” to be displayed during lent in the social hall. Years later, (1990) it was permanently displayed in Cave Hall in the new Church. The Saturday Mass was moved from 6:30 PM to 5:00 PM in September. Pope John Paul I was elected Pope on August 26th. He died on September 28th. Pope John Paul II was elected Pope on October 16th. The St. James Rosary and Altar society provided funds to repair the double doors in the Church, purchased a stove for the kitchen and brought the vent fan up to code. The St. James Men Softball team had a perfect season. Leroy Cool was appointed Youth Choir Director in November.  The Church Bazaar was held on November 11th. A roof over the ramp to the basement of the Church was constructed in December. Terry Cool was the Housekeeper. The Ushers Club held a New Year’s Eve Party chaired by Charles Brandell with music by Leroy Cool.


On March 29th, Monsignor Eugene Chromoga from the St. Michaels Byzantine Catholic Church in Flint celebrated the Byzantine Ruthenian Eucharistic Liturgy at Sl. James with a group discussion held after the service. With encouragement from Charles Brandell, Arnie and Betty Rodriguez started a Parish Taco Dinner Night with all the Mexican Traditional Food and it was a big success. New metal shutters were installed on the Church in August to replace the old wood shutters. The Mother-Daughter Banquet was held on May 10th. Vacation Bible School was held from June 11th to June 15th. On September 23rd, a 25th Anniversary of the new Church Building Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish and Fr. Goehring followed by a social, dinner and dance. Fr. Keating, (42-55), Fr. Zabelka (71-76) and Fr. Schmitter were special guests. Construction of the new St. James Rectory was completed across the driveway from the Church. It was built by David Lambertson of Mason. Fr. Raymond Goehring was the first resident. Moving day was November 17th. On December 8th, the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish celebrated a special Mass for the occasion of the new Rectory and blessed the building. The blessing was followed by a potluck dinner in the social hall.


Fr. Michael Kelly was our “fill in” Priest between Fr. Goehring and Fr. Meyers. In March, St. James Parish welcomed the Nguyen and Khuat Vietnam refugee families. The old Rectory at 1003 South Lansing Street was sold. On April 19th, Fr. William Meyers (Ordained on July 2, 1955) was appointed Pastor by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish, Bishop of Lansing. He also served as executive secretary of the newly formed Diocesan Pastoral Council and Director of the Diocesan Office of Priestly Life and Ministry. Fr. Meyers move into the Rectory was delayed initially by commitments he had from his Diocesan responsibilities and then by an automobile accident. He was moved in by late May. On June 28th, the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish celebrated the Triple Silver Anniversary for our Parish, for Fr. Meyer’s ordination and for parishioners celebrating 25 years of marriage. Concelebrants were Fr. Darin Robert, Fr. Sylvester Fedewa, Fr. Richard Groshek, Fr. John Hayes, Fr. William Hankerd, Fr. Will Holleran and Fr. Albert Hornberger. Vacation Bible School served 423 children from five faith communities assisted by 52 St. James volunteers. Fr. Meyers installed Sandy Nichols as the new president of the Rosary and Altar Society taking over from Carol Levandowski. Lee Latig was the Housekeeper. Custodians in the 1980’s included Gordon Singer, John Wompler, Dave Hedglen, Doug West, Dale Glynn, Jack Weiler, Roseanne & Tom Sherwood, Bob Leyko, Mark Sherwood, Teresa Kill, Vince Guarnaccia, Mark Leyko and Jeff Maltby. Our founding Priest, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles Keating (42-55) died on May 8th.


The St. James circular Driveway officially became One Way but the signs did not go up until December. Vince Guarnaccia was elected Parish Council Chairman in July. Marylou Pax became the Parish Secretary/bookkeeper in September. A new storage building was constructed on the edge of the ball field for equipment storage compliments of the Ushers Club and Bingo. Choir Directors in the 1980’s included Marilyn Newman, Carl Starkey, Peter DeFore, John & Sandy Gerrish and Ricky Belknap. 


Marguerite Cave, long time parishioner and St. James benefactor, died on January 25th leaving a large part of her estate to St. James Church. The Summer Fest ’82 Fundraiser was held on June 18th-19th with a pig roast, Las Vegas Night, kids games, craft show, food and beer tent. Casablanca fans were installed in the Sanctuary for better circulation. In October, the Parish celebrated the newly remodeled Sanctuary including four faceted stained glass windows designed and fabricated by Ronald Lukas plus a new tabernacle that features the scene of the last supper on the door. Some of the items were purchased with funds from the estate of the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles Keating (42-55). Just before Christmas, Dr. Vincent Guarnaccia ceremoniously burned the mortgage to the old Church at a Mass witnessed by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish, Bishop of Lansing, Fr. William Meyers, Pastor, and Margaret England, cousin of Marguerite Cave.


Fr. William J McKeon was appointed St. James Administrator in January and served until June. Fr. Richard Groshek was appointed Administrator of St. James in June. Both were appointed by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish, Bishop of Lansing. Upon his return from a six month sabbatical in Rome, Fr. William Meyers presented St. James with a plaque bearing a replica of the painting of St. James that is housed in the St. James Armenian Church in Jerusalem. It currently hangs on the wall of the Chapel. {(James, Son of Fisherman Zebedee, Brother of John Evangelist, Called by Jesus in Galilee, Son of Thunder, To Be Apostle, Companion at his Transfiguration, And Agony in Gethsemane, First Apostle to be Martyred, Beheaded by Herod Agrippa II, Pray for us who Pray to You, that we too be Apostles of Jesus’ Gospel, Faithful to Death, Witnesses of His suffering and sharers of His Glory, Amen. Fr. William Meyers, 1983)} Summer Fest ’83 was held in August including a 10K run, food, Las Vegas night, games, crafts, auction and a beer and dance tent. An Ushers Club was reestablished by James Birney Sr. and included Art VanCampe, Larry Cool, Frank March Sr. Charles Brandell, Mitch Grahek, Dick Grahek, Dick Woods, Duff Williams, Les Jones and James Birney Jr. Gordon McMann was our organist and choir director and Nancy Manning was our Parish Secretary/bookkeeper.  St. James men started a softball team and used the ball field west of the Church. They played from 1983 through the 1990 season. They played other denominational church in the area. Teams like Leslie Methodist, Edgewood Baptist, Childs, Eden United Brethren, Mason Nazarene, Capital City Baptist, Holt Baptist, Okemos Baptist, Mason Methodist, Charity Baptist, All Saints, Columbia Road Baptist, Bunker Hill and others. Gene Murawski was the early coach and Bob Rodriguez in later years. They had names like “Sons of Thunder” and the “St. James Cornhuskers” Fr. Paul J. DeRose (55-57) died on January 31st.


Fr. Richard Groshek served as St. James Administrator throughout the year. On September 29th, Deacon Gordon Kilburn was ordained by Bishop Kenneth Povish with the laying on of hands and was assigned to St. James Church.  Fr. William Meyers left St. James in June to become Academic Dean of St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. William Hebekeuser DRE. departed St. James for a new position in Texas. His duties were transitioned to a “Team” consisting of Sandy O’Malley, Ginny Guarnaccia, Pat McNeill and Mary Theis. Ann and Frank Hughes were Youth Ministers for the Junior High and High School. To kick off the RENEW Program, the Parish celebrated Sunday Mass on September 9th at the Ingham County Fairgrounds with Fr. Richard Groshek as celebrant and John and Sandy Gerrish leading the music. Mass was followed by a Parish Picnic in Rayner Park. Betty Guerriero was the RENEW coordinator. Eva Cool was the Housekeeper. Betty Evans was appointed St. James Historian by Fr. Richard Groshek. Mary Theis became the Parish Secretary/bookkeeper. The St. James Christmas Party and Pageant was held on December 10th.


Fr. Phillip Gallagher (ordained October 14, 1978) was appointed St. James Administrator in January by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish, Bishop of Lansing, after he had returned from two years in the Fiji Islands where he was teaching in the Pacific Regional Seminary in Suva. (One of the seminarians there was Kusitino Cobona, who would be ordained in 1984 and many years later appointed Pastor of St. James Catholic Church, Mason, Michigan, in 2010). Fr. Kenneth McDonald was appointed Pastor during the summer by the Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish, Bishop of Lansing. We soon learned a lot about the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the color Red. His dog Sunshine was his constant companion. Ginny Guarnaccia was appointed Coordinator of the Religious Education Team. Informational meetings regarding the role and function of the Knights of Columbus were held on August 29th, September 29th and November 6th. The Knights of Columbus, Mason Council #9182, was officially charted at St. James on December 1st. Eugene Murawski was installed as the Charter Grand Knight.


The first regular meeting of the new Knights of Columbus Mason Council #9182 at St. James was held on January 12th with Eugene Murawski as the Charter Grand Knight.  Douglas P. Moore was hired as full time coordinator of Youth Ministry in July. The 1986-1987 Budget for St. James Catholic Church was $35,150.00. A Career Night was held by the Knights of Columbus. Fr. Ken started his Basic Doctrine Class on October 13th.


The Knights of Columbus Council #9182 sponsored a Dessert Meal on January 31st in support of Seminarians going to the Holy Land. On April 21st, a twelve member building committee, appointed by Fr. Kenneth McDonald, held its first meeting with Vince Cimala elected chairman. The Committee included Tom Bergeon, Hunt Burroughs, Emmett Clark, Ralph DeVitto, Betty Evans, Dan Hancock, Haislip Hayes, Cliff Nichols, Frank Selinsky, KC Vincent, Theresa Spagnuola and David Washburn. Subsequently, the committee recommended the architectural firm of Strong, Drury and Elkins of Traverse City to prepare the plans and specs. Clark Construction Company of Lansing was selected to oversee the construction of the new building. A Parish wide Building Committee meeting was held on June 30th. The Parish census was 457 families. Our DSA goal was $16,000. St. James was responsible for the Migrant Worker Clinic on July 13th, 20th & 27th. The Michigan Peace March camped on the baseball field on July 25th and St. James held a potluck dinner for the group. Rose Robertson wrote a 10 year history of St. James covering 1976 to 1987. The Catholic Diocese of Lansing celebrated its 50th Anniversary on August 4th.  Jerry Fore was elected Parish Council President. Barbara Hiranpradist was the St. James Choir Director. The Men’s softball team won their league title. The R.O.C.K. Youth Group was formed and first included in the Parish Bulletin. Pope John Paul ll paid an historic visit to the State of Michigan and on September 19th, twenty members of St. James shared a bus with members of St. Peter’s in Eaton Rapids and went to the Pontiac Silverdome to attend the Liturgy with Pope John Paul II.  Fr. Ken started his Basic Doctrine Class on October 12th. The CCW Bazaar was held on November 13th & 14th. On November 18th, Sister Maureen Martin, CSJ, (aka Weezie) joined St. James with various Parish Ministry responsibilities. Paul Brandenburg started a small Pax Christi group in Mason. The Mason Knights of Columbus held a New Year’s Eve Party.


A Fiesta Bowl/Rose Bowl inside tailgate party, hosted by Fr. Kenneth McDonald, was held at St. James on January 1st. On March 20-24 Favorite Son and former Mason resident Fr. Phil Schmitter and Sister Joanne Chiaverini conducted a Parish Mission at St. James, Give Thanks and Remember: We are the Living Sign. Mark Manning and Tom Feiten co-chaired the Pledge Drive under the direction of John V. McCarthy and Associates, Inc. of Southfield. The initial pledge drive, chaired by Tom Feiten and Mark Manning, realized $533,000 of the estimated $1,200,000 needed to build the new Church. A second pledge drive was also conducted. Plaques recognizing those who contributed are located in the main entrance to the Church. Rose Robertson was appointed coordinator of elementary and sacramental programs. Ginny Guarnaccia was designated Pastoral Assistant and was responsible for RCIA. The RENEW Program started in various homes of St. James Parishioners. The St. James Rosary and Altar Society became the Council of Catholic Women. Boy Scout Troop 141 was chartered at St. James Church and included six scouts. The leaders included Scoutmaster Roger Robertson, Rose Robertson, Royce Pugh, Richard Surato and Ron Surato.


The first edition of the “Spirit of St. James” was printed in February after a naming contest was won by Sister Maureen Martin CSJ and Friends. The Youth Group held a Valentines Lock In and a Ski Trip to Brighton. The St. James Women’s Club held the Ladies and Girls Spring Banquet. The St. James appreciation Dinner was held on April 1st at the Mason Hills Golf Club. On April 14th, the Parish received a letter from the Diocese limiting the new construction project to one million dollars. Dottie Little was hired as the Parish Secretary in May. Sue Bauer was the St. James Director of Music. Fr. William Meyers (80-84) made a farewell visit to St. James on June 11-12 prior to his assignment in Rome. Ground breaking ceremonies for new Church were held on September 3rd with an outdoor luncheon. Seven Charter members of St. James were present to turn the first shovel of dirt. They were Virginia Simone, Mary DeRose, Mildred VanderVeen, Elizabeth Raymond, Lucille Graham, Marie Peek and Helen Bell. Heavy machinery moved in on October 11th. The site plan for the new Church was presented to the Parish on October 30th