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History of St. James 2019 - 2022

2019

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 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 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 a 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 cleanup 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 from 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 a Deacon 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 18 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 initial session. In October all the large overgrown trees in the Memorial/Meditation Garden were removed and another 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, and Mary and Joseph reside there. Fr. Kusi introduced the Senior Leadership Team that 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 his 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.

2020   

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 20thA 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 concelebrated 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 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 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 to 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 canceled 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 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 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, brush, 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 the 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 daughter Anna decided to purchase 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 assist 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 assist with seating instructions for distancing purposes. No hymnals/worship aids, no communal singing as it carries a heightened risk of infections. No exchange of signs 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 proceeding 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. 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 homebound 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, the Mason Knights of Columbus held their first-ever drive-thru fish fries. The first three were for council charities and the second three benefited the International Outreach Ministry.  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 Advent Project and collection proceeds went to build a home in Haiti. For Christmas, 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. Goodbye, 2020.

2021

“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 required. 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 Formed.org. During the first week of Lent, we were invited to watch Fr. Chris Alar on Explaining the Faith. He is also on Formed.org. 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 Formed.org 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 lead 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 Formed.org 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 required. The Church fully reopened in June. Gina Orlando resigned her administrative assistant position at St. James. Father Kusi placed emphasis on 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 the Fr. Gerald Chapman Knights of Columbus Council #13516. This represented the opening of all regular activities in the parish including servers at Mass. Heather Dunivon resigned 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 Viet Nam to Mason, Michigan. We welcomed Deacon Gideon from St. Peters in Eaton Rapids the weekend of November 13th & 14th. Fr. Kusi stated that Bishop Boyea finalized 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.

2022

We started the new year anticipating the 80th Anniversary of the St. James Campus this coming Christmas Day. The Omicron strain of the Covid virus was setting new infection records, and 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 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 proceed to Fiji. His vacation was interrupted by a nine-day Covid quarantine in California before he could proceed to Fiji. "Into the Breach" men's Group met Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. "Case for Jesus" bible study groups were held from 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 a drive-thru-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 the month of 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 for the whole world. Long-time parishioner Ann Marie Bodary passed away on June 26th. She and her late husband Charles were the second 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 formed.org

 

This timeline 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 timeline 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 it to [email protected] or drop it off at the Parish Office.                                                                                                                   

Our Priests and Service Dates

Msgr. Fr. Charles Keating  Rip                       December 1942 – July 1955

Fr. Paul J. DeRose   Rip                                               July 1955 – June 1957

Fr. James W. Lee  Rip                                                June 1957 – January 1963

Fr. William J. Rademacher  Rip                          January 1963 – August 1966

Fr. Brendan K. Ledwidge Rip                                August 1966 – June 1971

Fr. George B. Zabelka   Rip                                       June 1971 – January 1976

Msgr. Fr. Raymond Goehring                          February 1976 – March 1980

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

Fr. William J. McKeon                                       January 1983 – June 1983

Msgr. Fr. Richard Groshek                                       July 1984 – January 1985

Fr. Phillip Gallagher  Rip                                     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  RIP          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, Senior Status                Deacon                          2000-2019

Al Turkovich                                           Deacon                         2010-Present

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 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 1/20/22