Photos courtesy of Don Flanders
St. James Catholic Church is located in Historic Mt. Rainier, MD and offers Mass in English and Spanish.
St. James begun as a mission church attached to St. Francis de Sales Parish in 1908. It wasn’t until 1946 that it became a Parish of the Archdiocese of Washington. It had a school, and a large community. Due to demographic changes in the area, the parish school closed its doors in 1978, and St. James’ faced a constant decline in attendance, as well as financially.
The Institute of the Incarnate Word took care of the Parish in 2004, by decision of the His Eminence Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington. Through the hard work of religious sisters, seminarians, lay volunteers, and priests, a pastoral plan was implemented, centered on the Eucharist as the center of Parish life, and directing all activities to Sunday Mass. By the grace of God, the Parish began flourishing again. Through door-to-door missionary work, the Parish, saw a constantly increasing number of its faithful coming from different backgrounds, especially Hispanics from Central America, Filipinos, and a vibrant Anglo young adult community. Many programs began at this time, such as English as a Second Language, the Save Haven program for the homeless, and specially a notable increase in religious education programs for children, youth, adults, families, and finally the Blessed Carlo Gnocchi group for handicap children. In these past few years, the religious edication program grew from 80 children a year to more than 700 hundred registered in the 2011-2012 cycle. And the Parish is still growing!