History of St. James 2019 - Present


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 Sts. JC&C 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 Sts. James, Cornelius & Cyprian. The RCIA Class of 2019 included four members and was lead 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 Sts. 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 Sts. 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 a Deacon on May 20, 2000 and assigned to St. James. The Youth mission trip took place from July 21st through July 27th. On July 28th, all parishioners were gifted with the book “Letter to a Suffering Church” by Bishop Robert Barron.


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 Sts. 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 31, 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 modified the weekend of February 22nd and 23rd to include the Senior Leadership Team and to include the various Commissions. Gene Havens resigned his maintenance position at St. James. On March 11th, the novel corona virus, COVID-19, was declared a world wide pandemic. World wide travel restrictions were imposed along with large group gatherings and sporting event venues with no fans in the stands. Locally, hand shakes were discouraged, no communion from the chalice and stay 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 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 determined 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 preparation of 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 and Sunday Masses will continue using the Zoom program and live streaming until we get the all clear.


This time line is dedicated to the memory of Betty Evans, long time St. James Parishioner and St. James Historian who passed away on February 18, 2010. Without her many years of collecting and compiling our Church history, much of this time line and its details would not have been possible.


Our goal is to have our St. James Campus Historical information as accurate as possible. If you find errors, or have additional information regarding our history, please send to [email protected] or drop off at the Parish Office. 


Our Priests and Service Dates

Msgr. Fr. Charles Keating                               December 1942 – July 1955

Fr. Paul J. DeRose                                                        July 1955 – June 1957

Fr. James W. Lee                                                        June 1957 – January 1963

Fr. William J. Rademacher                                January 1963 – August 1966

Fr. Brendan K. Ledwidge                                     August 1966 – June 1971

Fr. George B. Zabelka                                              June 1971 – January 1976

Msgr. Fr. Raymond Goehring                         February 1976 – March 1980

Msgr. Fr. William F. Meyers                                   May 1980 – June 1984

Fr. William J. McKeon                                       January 1983 – June 1983

Msgr. Fr. Richard Groshek                                       July 1984 – January 1985

Fr. Phillip Gallagher                                            January 1985 – June 1985

Fr. Kenneth McDonald                                             June 1985 – June 1999

Fr. Alan J. Wakefield                                                 June 1999 – August 2010

Fr. Kusitino Cobona, (Fr. Kusi)                     September 2010 – 


Our “Favorite Sons”

Fr. Phil Schmitter                                       Ordained December 28, 1971

Deacon Gordon Kilburn                            Ordained September 29, 1984

Deacon Tom Feiten                                   Ordained May 20, 2000

Deacon Vince Guarnaccia   RIP Ordained May 20, 2000  

Fr. Michael Jacobus                                    Ordained June 6, 2008


Our Religious and Lay Ministers

Sister M. Helen Ballard OP                        School Principal 1957-1963

Sister Immaculate Marie OP   Assistant Principal 1957-1961 & 1963-1970

Sister Dorothy Marie Beers OP                 Teacher 1958-1959

Sister M. Bartholomew Kitko OP              Teacher 1959-1960

Sister Raphael Marie OP                             Teacher 1959-1960

Sister Marian Therese OP                           Teacher 1960-1962

Sister Ann Laudine OP                                 Teacher 1961-1966

Sister Jean Raymond OP                             Teacher 1962-1965

Sister M. Bartholemew Kitko OP              School Principal 1963-1970

Sister John Kiera OP                                     Teacher 1965-1966

Sister Peter Elaine OP                                  Teacher 1966-1968

Sister Joseph Helen OP                                Teacher 1967-1968

Sister Rose Edward OP                                 Teacher 1968-1970

Sister Helen Smith S.N.D                      Parish Coordinator 1972-1976

Sister Maureen Martin CSJ                  Parish Ministries 1987–2014

Virginia Guarnaccia Commissioned Ecclesial Lay Minister          1997

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                                       Deacon 2000-2019

Al Turkovich                                           Deacon 2010-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 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 February 27, 2008.

Most Reverend Earl Boyea of the Archdiocese of Detroit became the fifth Bishop of Lansing on April 29, 2008.

                                                                                                                          Revised 7/30/2019

St. James Catholic Church Historian Team

Paul S. Miller-Historian, 

Bonnie Gurzenda-Member

 Charlie Heiler-Member

 Jay Jensen-Member