Rite of Christian Initiation

Rite of Christian Initiation commonly known as RCIA is an opportunity for Catholics and non-Catholics to explore the Catholic Faith through Scripture, learning and discussion.

Are you or do you know someone who might be interested in becoming Catholic, or an adult Catholic who needs preparation for Confirmation and or Communion?

St. James will join St. Bede’s RCIA weekly sessions on Tuesday evenings starting in late August. Don’t miss this opportunity to be On Mission with the Church Alive!

For more information, contact the St. James Rectory at 412.241.1392 or click here to send an email.

All are welcome!

A Prayer for Charlottesville

A Prayer for Charlottesville 

Let us pray  for those who were injured, for their families, for those who were traumatized by the reckless behavior of one person, and for all those who oppose evil in all its forms.

We pray too for those who consider racist ideologies acceptable
that they will see through their confusion to the deeper truth of God’s love for all and our need of one another.

We ask that you would give us grace for the deep challenges facing our country. We ask that you would form us to be us peacemakers. May we be people who speak the truth in love as we work for a reconciled world. We commit our lives to you God, believing that You are working in the world in spite of destructive powers. Bring healing to those who are hurt, peace to those who are anxious, and love to those who are fearful.

We wait for Your help Dear God.      Amen

2 Events Countering Hate on Friday, August 18, 2017

There will be two events to counter hate on Friday, August 18, 2017:

  • “Prayer for Pittsburgh, Prayer for Peace” at 12 noon, the City-County Building on Grant Street. The gathering will feature community and faith leaders.
  • Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill’s Shabbat Service at 7 pm, 5505 Forbes Avenue.  Leaders of Christian and Muslim congregations are among those who have committed to participate.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article on Events

Reflection for August 20, 2017: Life with Conflicting Opposites


Life with Conflicting Opposites

Remembering Hiroshima

My Camino

A Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela – April 25 to May 6, 2002

by Chris Forbes

St. James Santiago in Spanish, was the first apostle to be martyred, apparently in Jerusalem, but legend says his miraculously preserved body was discovered in the ninth century in a field located in Galicia in northwest Spain.  How his body ended up in Spain is a mystery, but miracles began to happen and the faithful have flocked to the site ever since.  A church was built there and the town of Santiago de Compostela grew up around it.  The grave of St. James became an important Christian pilgrimage site in Europe, but what set it apart from all the others for me is that it has always been a walking pilgrimage.

In Spanish it’s called El Camino de Santiago, in English The Way of St. James. There are actually many different pilgrimage routes to Santiago from all over Europe, but the most popular is the Camino Frances that winds from France right across northern Spain.  It has also become a celebrated cultural undertaking for people of all faiths, so much so that it has been designated a World Heritage Cultural site by UNESCO.  All the routes have the same destination: the magnificent cathedral in Santiago with the silver casket holding the relics of St. James.

Everyday at noon a pilgrims’ High Mass is celebrated in the Cathedral and most of the year it is packed with arriving pilgrims, for while the pilgrimage began in the middle ages it is still very much a modern devotion for Christians.  At the pilgrim’s Mass on feast days and other special days a huge incense burner, the great silver botafumeiro, is swung from the roof of the transept to incense the pilgrims, purifying them, countering any unpleasant pilgrim odors, and creating a great spectacle.

Over the years a lively commerce in support of the pilgrims has sprung up along the Camino with inexpensive or free dormitories (refugios) every few miles, and a host of hostels, restaurants, shops and bars to feed and slake the thirst of thousands of pilgrims.  So, with a little planning what may at first seem like a daunting expedition can easily be undertaken as a serious and inexpensive walk.  I decided to undertake it in the spring, while the weather was cool and the number of pilgrims modest.


It takes four or five weeks to walk the 800 km (500 miles) to Santiago from the French/Spanish border.  I had only ten days, so after buying a special guide from one of the many websites on Santiago I decided to start my pilgrimage from Ponferrada.  This town is about 140 miles to the east of Santiago.  I reckoned that if my feet gave out and I could not walk the whole way I could take a bus.  So I flew to Madrid, took a bus to Ponferrada, walked all the way to Santiago averaging about 20 miles a day, spent the nights in hostels along the way, and took a couple of days in Santiago to sightsee and contemplating what I had done before returning to Pittsburgh.

St. James the Great is of course the patron of our parish in Wilkinsburg.  I had known about the pilgrimage for a long time, and Fr. Metzler once gave me a brochure about it, but it took many years for me to make the trip.  I decided to do it, to make my Camino as I call it, to take time alone to shed some tears and fears, to get closer to myself, and to chat with my Lord and his friends.  I wanted to see if there was anything more to insert into my life as I wend my way into old age.  I wanted to be alone for a while doing something physically and mentally difficult, to see if my life could support greater spirituality, and to help me plumb my depths and make some adjustments.  I walked through some lovely countryside, got lost along the way, found it easy to be understood, trusted that there would be somewhere to stay at the end of the day, thought and prayed a lot, and let St. James help me find my Camino.  It more than met my expectations.  One day I would like to do it again, next time all five hundred miles of it.  To anyone who would like to try it, I’ll gladly offer help and a “Buen Camino!”


Letter Writing Thanks

Thanks to all who have written letters over the past several months about the state budget. Funding for the State Food Purchase Program and the PA Agriculture Surplus System have maintained level funding. $2 million was added for improvements and expansion of the school breakfast program.

Please participate in this monthly ministry of civic engagement by bringing the values of our faith into public policy development.

Back to School Supplies (Donation)

If you are shopping for your own child, please consider a donation of items for our St. James Mary’s Child program and our school Sr. Thea Bowman Catholic Academy. Students are always in need of pencils, notebooks, crayons and scissors, while our school can greatly benefit with a ream of copy paper or a gift card for teacher’s supplies.


St. James the Greater

 James was the son of Zebedee and Salome and the brother of St. John the Apostle. Fishermen like their father, James and John were on their father’s boat mending his nets when the Lord passed by. Jesus called James and John, and asked them to follow him. He told them, as his disciples they would become fishers of men. They would help him to spread the Good News about God’s kingdom. Zebedee watched as his two sons left the boat to follow Jesus.

…the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:17-18)

 James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa. He is the only apostle whose death is recorded in scripture (Acts 12:2). His shield shows a scallop (or cockle) shell, a symbol of pilgrimage by sea, and the sword of martyrdom. Sometimes three shells are shown without a sword.


Bridges: Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote the Spiritual Exercises to assist people in deepening their faith and finding God in all things, through a concentrated experience of 30 days. Ignatius also wrote instructions that showed how the Spiritual Exercises could be used in everyday life.

Bridges, a 9 month long guided experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, begins in September 2017 and continues to May 2018.

Please see brochure for details: