Ash Wednesday is February 17! What spiritual exercises will you be doing or that you need to do this Lent? I suggest doing something in each of the following categories – Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. Last week, I addressed Prayer. Let’s look at Fasting and Almsgiving this week.
On December 8, 2020, Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph to run through December 8, 2021. St. Joseph is the spouse of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus. He is the man that Almighty God trusts the most! After all, the Father entrusted into the hands of this man the Incarnate Son and his most precious creation, Mary.
Sunday, January 31st, begins Catholic Schools Week! (I wonder if it is the week after St. Thomas Aquinas’ feast day every year…perhaps!) This week we celebrate the beauty of our Catholic Schools throughout the Diocese of Savannah, but in particular, we celebrate the great gift of our parish school!
This weekend, January 23-24, 2021, we kickoff the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) which supports the growth of the Catholic faith and the practice of the faith by the people of the Diocese of Savannah. These funds collected help us send young men to the Seminary to be formed and trained for the priesthood.
Tomorrow, January 18th, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! This man fought and died for the dignity of the human person. A person’s worth and dignity is not determined by the color of their skin but by the mere fact that this person is just that – a human person.
Merry Christmas to each of you and your families! As we celebrate these Holy Days, be assured that I remember and include all of you in my prayers and masses. One of the blessings of Christmas is the beautiful tradition of the Octave (eight days)! As a Christian community, we celebrate the eight days, the Octave of Christmas as if we were celebrating Christmas! Now that is a beautiful gift!
“Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Today we light the pink candle in our Advent wreathes at home and in the Church to signify the 3rd Sunday Advent known as “Gaudete Sunday”. It is so named because of the Entrance Antiphon for that Sunday is the verse above from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We are a people of joy!
Tuesday, December 8th, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This feast marks the conception of our Blessed Mother Mary in the womb of her mother Anne. When Mary was conceived, Almighty God in a singular act of grace preserved her from original sin. Another way of thinking about it is that her soul was like that of Eve – correctly ordered with the intellect and will in proper relation. There was no effect of original sin, no concupiscence. She was without sin or even the inclination to sin.
I hope that you and your families had a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving! In the midst of such a crazy year, we still have much to give thanks to Almighty God for. I am thankful for the gift of life and faith and the gift of family and good friends. Faith (God), Family, and Friends got me through this year of pandemic, transition of Bishops, and disarray. Leaning on those three helped me remain steadfast through those rough waters. I am so grateful for them!
This past week has proven once again that our trust cannot be placed in the things of this world. All things are passing and fleeting. Our hope is in heaven and our trust is in God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes.
Tuesday is Election Day. The candidates for the Presidency and other Congressional seats both local and federal have bombarded us with ads, debates, and policies. I cannot think of another election year that has been so contentious and at times rancorous. The division and discord in our country is palpable. Honestly, it is exhausting. I am so glad it will be over soon.
October baseball is magnificent! At the time I am writing this, the Atlanta Braves are up 1-0 in the National League Championship Series having scored 4 runs in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers! By the time you read this, you will perhaps know the outcome of that 7 game series. Game 1 was fantastic and great baseball and I look forward to the remainder of the series!
One of the great reformers in the history of the Church is St. Teresa of Avila. On Thursday, October 15th, we celebrate her feast day! The 16th century was tumultuous in the Church. Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, and others fractured the Church and severed ties with their brothers and sisters in faith.
Last night, we had an amazing 3rd Annual Pro-Life Dinner! This year, we focused on the reality of Human Trafficking in our world and in our community of Savannah-Chatham County. The evil of slavery still abounds today. Tragically, lives are destroyed and damaged.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned here that we have installed and will be installing air and surface purification systems from American Ion in every building on our St. James campus. Consummatum est! It is finished! Now, we can boast of the cleanest air and surfaces in all of Savannah! Thank you, American Ion, for this blessing!
COVID-19, like the other corona viruses, are here to stay. We must learn how to live with it, thrive in spite of it, and determine that it doesn’t rule our lives. One of the results of confronting this virus is the greater emphasis on cleaner air and surfaces in which we live, work, learn, and play. We are doing that here at St. James the Less Church and School.
It is difficult to believe that I have already been at St. James as pastor for 3 years! Time flies when you are having fun, when you are right where the Lord Jesus wants you, when you are ministering to the people entrusted to your care! There have been so many blessings and graces! Coming to know you and walk with you on your journey of faith has been beautifully edifying and encouraging in my own discipleship of Jesus.
Tomorrow will be the first day of the new school year! The church campus will once again teem with life as the parents begin dropping off their children for the school day and the laughter and voices of the children fill the halls and the fields with joy! Each year St. James comes back to life as a new school year begins.
Beginning this week our Mass and Confession schedule will be as follows:
Beginning the first week of August, we will be offering mass at 5:30 PM on Wednesdays. It is my hope that people coming home from work on Wednesdays can stop by for mass on the way. It is daily mass so it will be 30 minutes or less. This mass will be in addition to the 7:00 AM and the 8:30 AM mass schedule. To accommodate this, the Pro-Life Holy Hour and confessions will be moved to Tuesdays at 5:00 PM.
Looking around Savannah at the times daily mass is offered at all the parishes, we noticed that there is no weekday evening mass offered. Morning masses and noon masses are offered, but not one parish offers a daily mass in the late afternoon or evening.
Happy July 4th weekend! On Saturday, we celebrated Independence Day! The founders of these United States of America looked tyranny in the face and threw it off. These flawed men saw a country that could be unified under one vision – freedom based in Divine and Natural Law and in just man-made laws.
June 29th is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul – the two apostles and leaders of the early Church. Their witness of preaching and teaching culminated in the shedding of their blood – Peter by being crucified upside down and Paul by being beheaded.
Please pray for three of our sisters, Sr. Lisa, Sr. Catherine, and Sr. Carolyn, this week as they go on retreat!
Retreats are a time of rest and relaxation, rejuvenation and resolution. Time away from the normal pace of life for the sole purpose of being with, listening to, and speaking with Almighty God is a treasure!
At all the masses this weekend, our 2nd graders experienced for the first time the wonderful grace and blessing of receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ! Such joy and life fills us when we receive and now around 50 of our young people will be joining us around the Altar of the Lamb of God!
The Welcoming and Celebrating continue! At the 11:30 AM mass two people will receive Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion. Four people will make a profession of faith and receive Confirmation and First Communion. One person will receive Confirmation. These 7 people join two others who made their professions of faith and received Confirmation and First Communion and another person who received Confirmation last week! What a blessing to welcome you all into the fullness of the Christian Faith!
Welcome back, brothers and sisters in Christ! Inexpressible joy fills my heart to overflowing that on this Pentecost Sunday we have the opportunity to gather around the altar of Almighty God in person as a family of faith for the first time since March 25th – 9 Sundays! Today we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Mary 50 days after Easter.
We are reopening the Church for prayer and mass on May 25th! The schedule at St. James will return that day. We will have confessions at 7:45 AM and mass open to all the Catholic faithful will begin at 8:30 AM. Daily mass will continue as normal. Pentecost Sunday, May 31st will be our first Sunday back with a full schedule of masses.
Bittersweet are these days before us filled with Congratulations and news of Farewell.
Congratulations Class of COVID-19!
Schools are all ending in fascinating fashion these next couple weeks! All of the graduation ceremonies which were tradition in the past have to be done a little differently. It has been interesting to see the different ways that the schools are honoring their graduates not just here in Chatham County, but across the nation! The Faculty and Staff have really put together wonderful events for everyone given the pandemic limitations.
Today marks the 8th Sunday in a row not having public masses or gatherings at the Church. The School has been closed for that time and so has the Early Learning Center. We have all adjusted to how we can provide ministry to each other and we have been creative to reach out and provide some type of community for you.
As the clergy of St. James were speaking (we have weekly meetings), we realized that in the liturgical rhythm of the parish, the only Devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary is the rosary before the 9:00 AM mass on Saturday. We pray the rosary for life on Wednesdays and we pray a rosary at our 3:00 PM Holy Hour, but we need another specific devotion to our Lady.
What a glorious Easter Sunday and Easter Week! We are beginning this Easter Season which will last another 7 weeks until Pentecost on May 31st! God willing, on that day at the 11:30 mass, we will have baptisms, Confirmations, and receive people into full communion with the Catholic Church! This is our Easter Hope! Please keep all of those people in your prayers!
My trip to Rome for the Ad Limina Apostolorum with Bishop Hartmayer and Bishop Boland was amazing and a trip that I will not forget! It was so stunning that I developed a cold and came down with Bronchitis which I got over at the beginning of the week!
The last two months on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, we have sung the Our Father (Pater Noster) in Latin. We began the First Sunday of Advent. After hearing from many parishioners, I have decided that we will no longer be singing this as part Latin in the mass Sundays.
This past week, if you missed it, two programs began again and picked up right where they left off! Walking with Purpose, our woman’s bible study, began again on Monday and That Man Is You, our men’s program, started back on Wednesday morning. Both of these programs have borne great fruit in the lives of the men and women attending them!
Sunday, January 26th, marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week! Each year, we celebrate the gift of Catholic Education, namely our Catholic Schools! Our parish celebrates the incredible gift our own St. James School has been, is, and will be to our parish and our community!
This weekend, January 18-19, 2020, we kickoff the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). The Diocese decided to change the name from the Bishop’s Annual Appeal to the Annual Catholic Appeal. This is a more accurate name because it is an appeal not for the Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, but to support the growth of the Catholic faith and the practice of the faith by the people of the Diocese of Savannah.
Wednesday, January 8th, the 2nd graders experienced for the first time the Sacrament of Reconciliation! It was a beautiful evening! These young people received the gift of the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy through this Sacrament of Healing for the first time! This Sacrament is magnificent and is a treasure.
Here we are. The Last Sunday of Advent has arrived! It has been so quick this year! By now, I hope that all of you have your shopping done and there will be no more bustling around and running from this place to that place, from this party to that party. Rather, I hope and pray that these next two days can be spent with and in a good amount of quiet for you and your families.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this fall, we participated in the Forming Disciples, Leading All to Christ program to increase our offertory for the purposes of increased evangelization opportunities and strengthening our ministries. This program gave everyone a chance to reevaluate what they were giving in the weekly offertory so that St. James could continue the good work being done and increase evangelization and outreach efforts. I would like to give a little report on the results in this Pastor’s Corner.
Today marks the 1st Sunday of the New Liturgical Year for us! We begin every New Liturgical Year with these 4 weeks of Advent anxiously awaiting to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on December 25th at Christmas! Here are a few ways we are marking this New Liturgical Year.
Congratulations, Dr. Les Haddad and Mrs. Cindi Vogel!
Today, Bishop Hartmayer will bestow the Bishop Gartland Award upon them at the 11:30 AM mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. They are both a blessing to our parish. As they continue to serve, may we see in them an example of how to use our gifts and talents at the service of our fellow parishioners, our parish community, and our Church.
St. James the Less Catholic Church
8412 Whitefield Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31406
Office Hours: M–F | 9A – 5P