A Reflection for St. James Day
It’s St. James Day, and so we celebrate with a special mass and picnic and the giving of several awards to some very special parishioners. At the present moment, I suppose someone could find a lot to complain about, from the lingering effects of the teardown of the church to the uncertain future of a Michigan Avenue relocation. And yet there is a lot of hope here. St. James has been a part of the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1855, and it is still doing a huge amount of good in its neighborhood and still calling forth love and dedication on the part of its members, both the new ones and the longstanding pillars of the parish.
Finis and Verda Abernathy are two such pillars. We remember Finis in prayer as he moves through his treatments, and here below, we reprint a piece by Verda on what St. James has meant to them. HAPPY SAINT JAMES DAY!!!
We’ve been members of St. James Church for more than forty years. We lived in Prairie Shores community and were married at St. James thirty-nine years ago on September 18, 1971. Our proximity to St. James enhanced our sense of community and we felt welcomed as a married couple.
We shared an exciting event: we participated in the 150th year celebration of our parish. We are proud to be part of a church that was described by one of Chicago’s bishops as belonging to “a collection of some of the oldest Catholic communities in Chicago and that, since prior to the Civil War, has welcomed and embraced a variety of people.”
We have continued to serve in ways that have deepened our sense of belonging to a very special and diverse community of young and old, many ethnicities and diverse social backgrounds. We have served as board members. We have served as Eucharistic Ministers, and have participated in the Anointing of the Sick. We have participated in evangelization efforts with the bus stop ministry, and been part of the hospitality team which welcomes new parishioners. We have served on the food distribution programs. We have enjoyed being part of scores of fundraising events over the past forty years, sharing our time, talent, and treasures.
A year after our wedding, we saw our beloved church nearly destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in a large part by the love of its parishioners. We have seen a stronger, more vigorous, diverse community continue to grow out of the ashes.
Recently we attended the Salome pancake breakfast in support of the scholarships for St. James students. We were delighted to meet a couple who joined St. James two years ago. Barbara and Ron expressed to us their feelings of having been welcomed to St. James much the same way we felt that we had been welcomed over forty years ago.
Through our worship and participation, we have grown, our marriage has grown, and our St. James friendships and connections have grown for almost four decades. The reason that we serve St. James is to help perpetuate that community that welcomed us and will continue to welcome individuals, couples, and families. We hope to continue to strengthen our commitment and efforts in support of St. James’ wonderful and unique humanity.