Sunday, July 25, 2010

St. James the Greater

Happy Feast of St. James the Greater!

For Mass I attended the 10:30 am Mass at St. James the Greater in the Dogtown area of St. Louis.  Since it was the patronal feast of the parish, the readings were the readings for the Feast of St. James, instead of the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The Gospel was from Matthew and was about James and John asking to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus via their mother.

I have to admit, I don't know all that much about St. James other than he was an apostle and brother of John.  When I first walked into the Church, I noticed red decorations.  Apparently St. James the Greater was a martyr.  I asked Father and found out he was the first apostle to be martyred and was beheaded.

The choir was actually in the choir loft.  The music was very nice and some songs seemed to have an Irish flair.  There were bells, tamborines and drums along with the piano or organ depending the song.
Processional:  Here We Stand (They changed the lyrics to get St. James the Greater Community in there.)
Gloria:  Mass of Light
Preparation of Gifts:  Gather Your People
Rite of Peace:  Irish Blessing
Communion:  The Summons
Meditation:  Prayer (to the tune of O Danny Boy)
Recessional:  Canticle of the Turning

Father went all out for the feast day with the Full Penitential Rite, with the Kyrie in Greek and Eucharistic Prayer 1 (with bells)!  The Our Father was chanted.

At the beginning of Mass, Father asked us to pray that God makes us a saint like St. James (Can I pick a saint that wasn't martyred??)

The homily talked about how John and James were fishing when Jesus called them and how they left everything behind.  Father mentioned John and James were teenagers mostly likely looking to get out of work.  According to St. Paul, St. James was a vessel of clay and had weakness.  God finds it easier to work with those that are weaker, as His Glory shines through.  John and James were known as the sons of thunder because they were impetiuous and hot headed and followed Jesus without much thought.  In the Gospel, John and James tried to manipulate Jesus through their mother.  Jesus, like all men, apparently had trouble turning women down, especially crying women.  (Really?  That seems rather wussy of Jesus.. and note to self...cry when I want a guy to do something for me.)  Jesus chooses the weak and the impetiuous.  Additionally, in the most important parts of the Gospel, Jesus bring Peter, John and James along, like for the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden.  What can we learn from St. James? Jesus chooses vessels of clay; we can carry the Glory of God.

At the end of Mass, Father mentioned that St. James was Irish and the Irish were a lost tribe of Israel. (see my eyes rolling?)

Father was very friendly and it was a lovely visit.
There were also pancakes today to benefit the school.  YUM!

Exterior of St. James the Greater
St. James the Greater

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross Dedicated to the Priests of the Parish

View From the Back Pew of St. James the Greater
View From the Back Pew!

Sanctuary Wall
Close Up of Sanctuary Wall

St. James the Greater
St. James the Greater

Relic of St. James the Greater
Relic of St. James the Greater

Chapel of Our Lady
Chapel of Our Lady

Relic of St. Velo
Relic of St. Velo (Vela)
not sure really
the letter BMV are also seen
UPDATE: Apparently, this is a piece of the Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Eighth and Ninth Station
The Ninth and Eighth Stations
And a Consecration Cross

Jesus Teaching
Scenes from the Gospel: Jesus Teaching
I'm not sure what the young person with the dog is in the middle column
bottom row is.

Gospel Scenes Involving Boats
Thinks the theme for this is Jesus Rescuing people
There's Jesus in the boat
Jesus saving a lamb

Mary and Various Saints
Second Row: St. Dominic receiving the rosary
St. Simon Stock receiving the brown scapular
Third Row: St. Barbara and St. Cecilia (not sure I'm buyin that's a harp)
Not sure on the top row.

Link to more pictures by me on flickr.  (Feel free to leave comments on who or what is seen in the windows.

St. James the Greater Website
Pictures from Rome of the West
FYI:  The parish is selling cookbooks to raise money for the 150th anniversary celebration of the parish!


  1. I am going to guess without seeing the relic up close that its "Vela BMV" which is a relic of the veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary, such as this one

  2. That's exactly what it looked like!!
    I guess the fact it was Mary's altar should have been a hint...

  3. Glad to be of some help. It took me a few years of learning the latin abbreviations and now having a nice collection of first class relics in my private collection to be able to identify some of these.

  4. This was my parish as a child. I see that the Tabernacle has been returned to the main altar. It is a beautiful church and I am happy that it continues to be a vibrant community.