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Saint James Cathedral: a Legacy of Community Building

In 1978 downtown Orlando consisted of empty storefronts and an economic recession darkened the nation. It was at this critical point in the history of Orlando that Father David Page of St. James Cathedral envisioned expanding the church at the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street.

Fr. Page, a community builder, wanted to create a gathering place for community life and social functions. He wanted people to feel connected to their community. Tom Wilkes, a parishioner of St. James Cathedral, arrived at St. James just weeks before the church rectory was demolished to make room for the Community Life Center.

He details the church’s contribution to The City Beautiful in  this excerpt   (4:51)    from an oral history interview on March 26, 2011.  

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First Communion Procession at Saint James Cathedral

Photo of the First Communion procession through the atrium at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando. Circa 1970's.   Photo courtesy...

Coffee and Donuts at Saint James Cathedral

1984 Christmas photo of coffee and donuts in the atrium of the Cathedral Center after Mass at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando. &nb...

Saint Patrick's Day at Saint James Cathedral, 1982

1982 photo of Saint Patrick's Day festivities at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.   Photo courtesy of the Mario Mesa Photo Archives.

Mardi Gras at St. James Cathedral

March 1982 photo of Cathy Buning Steiger and her husband Jim Steiger enjoying Mardi Gras festivities in the Community Life Center at St....

Valentine's Day at St. James Cathedral

February 1992 photo of Jim and Cathy (Buning)  Steiger at a Valentine's Day celebration in the Community LIfe Center at St. James Cathe...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

1980's photo of parishioners enjoying  coffee and donuts  in the atrium of St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando. Eve Rupp, President of...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Groundbreaking for the Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center at the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street in downtown Orlando. ...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Photo of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Community LIfe Center at Saint James Cathedral on the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Saint James Cathedral  property  at  the  corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street cleared for construction of the new Communi...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Photo of Saint James Cathedral property at the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street cleared to make room for the construction of the...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Photo of the excavation for the Community Life Center on the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street at Saint James Cathedral in...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Photo of Saint James Cathedral Choir and parishioners at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center in downtown...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Bishop Grady enjoys a donut in the kitchen of the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.   Fr. Page, Pastor...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Parish social  event coordinator Elsee Smith prepares  Father John McCormick for Saint Patrick's Day festivities in the Community Life Cente...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Parishioner Glenette Mesa greets Father Bill in the atrium of the Community LIfe Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando. The Communi...

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Photo of the Community Life Center Atrium under construction at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

Mardi Gras at Saint James Cathedral

March 1992 photo of Mardi Gras at Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center in downtown Orlando.   Fr. Page, Pastor of St. James Cathedral...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

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Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Frank and Betsy Walters, right, greet other parishioners in the atrium of the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown...

Saint James Cathedral

Parishioners enjoy a delicious community potluck at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.   In addition to many parties and parish activiti...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Parishioners enjoying coffee and donuts in the atrium of the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

Parishioners fellowship in the atrium of the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.   The Community Life C...

Saint Patrick's Day Celebrations!

Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Parishioners meet after Mass for coffee and donuts in the Community Life Center Atrium at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

 Vincent and Arline Benedetti, long time parishioners of St. James, enjoy a church dinner in the Community Life Center at Saint James...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life

1983 photo of parishioners enjoying community in the atrium of the Cathedral Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

  Sharing hospitality in the Community LIfe Center of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando. In addition to many parties and parish acti...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life

Community plant sale at Saint James Cathedral Community LIfe Center in downtown Orlando.   Fr. Page, Pastor of St. James Cathedral 1972-1986, en...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Church fellowship in the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.  In addition to many parties and parish activities, ...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Dramatic presentation  in the Community Life Center of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, March 31, 1985.  Father David Page,  ...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Dramatic presentation in the Community Life Center of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, March 31, 1985.  Father David Page, Pa...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Dramatic presentation in the Community Life Center of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, March 31, 1985.  Father David Page, Pa...

Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center

Religious education dramatic presentation in the Community Life Center of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, March 31, 1985.   Fathe...

Saint Patrick's Day at Saint James Cathedral

You're never too young to dance a jig! 1982 photo of Saint Patrick's Day festivities in the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral...

Saint Patrick's Day at Saint James Cathedral

1982 photo of Saint Patrick's Day  festivities  in the Community Life Center at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.   Fr. P...

Mardi Gras at Saint James Cathedral

Enjoying Mardi Gras in the Saint James Cathedral Community Life Center in downtown Orlando.   Father David Page, St. James Cathedral Pa...

Father David Page, Saint James Cathedral

1983 photo of Father David Page Pastor of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando from 1972-1986.    

Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Saint James Cathedral Pastoral Ministry

From Germany to America, from Arlington to Altamonte, the educational heritage of the Sisters of Notre Dame enriches the lives of individuals throughout the world.

In this 13 minute excerpt from an oral history interview on March 18th, 2011 at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Sisters of Notre Dame nun, traces the history of the Sisters of Notre Dame from their religious persecution in Germany in 1875 to their welcome in the United States as educators of German immigrants.

She details the educational foundations they contributed to our country as teachers, principals, educational leaders and founders of organizations such as Notre Dame College as well as their origins in Florida.

In the 1970's teachers were needed in Florida and pastors heard from bishop friends, "If you want good teachers get the Sisters of Notre Dame." The first places in Florida that the Sisters of Notre Dame began to teach were Our Lady of Lourdes in Dunedin, Saint Mary Magdalene in Altamonte Springs and St. Joseph's in Winter Haven. Listen to this fascinating account of history and culture from Sister of Notre Dame nun, Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Pastoral Minister at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.




Easter Memories

In this excerpt from an oral history interview March 18th, 2011 Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Sisters of Notre Dame nun and Director of Pastoral Ministry at Saint James Cathedral in Orlando, shares her childhood memories of Easter. 




Sister Mary Katherine Palisin - Coming to Florida

Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Sisters of Notre Dame nun, shares how she came to Florida to serve in the field of education. She details the communities in Florida where she taught and the transition she made  to become Pastoral Minister at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando in this excerpt    from an oral history interview on March 18th, 2011.




Sister Mary Katherine Palisin - Life of a Minister

Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Director of Pastoral Ministry at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, shares how serving our community has affected her life in this excerpt (12:59) from an oral history interview on March 18, 2011.




Sister Mary Katherine Palisin - The Future of St. James Cathedral

Director of Pastoral Ministry for St. James Cathedral, Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Sisters of Notre Dame nun, reflects on the future of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando in this excerpt   from an oral history interview on March 18th, 2011.




Sister Mary Katherine Palisin - Love of Country

Sister Mary Katherine Palisin, Sisters of Notre Dame nun, remembers how her parents had a "living love for this country," the United States of America, which they passed on to her and her siblings. In this excerpt from an oral history interview at St. James Cathedral on March 18th, 2011 she describes how their love for our country along with her experiences teaching in Washington, DC and diverse areas of the United States brought her to treasure America. As a teacher these are values she has tried to hand on to the children in her work in Catholic education. "We pray and we pledge.... We honor our God and we honor our country. All the ideals it stands for and all that we try to strive to do in our lives to make it the country we were meant to be."




St. James Cathedral Community Life Center

In 1978 downtown Orlando consisted of empty storefronts and an economic recession darkened the nation. It was at this critical point in the history of Orlando that Father David Page of St. James Cathedral envisioned expanding the church at the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street. Fr. Page, a community builder, wanted to create a gathering place for community life and social functions. He wanted people to feel connnected to their community parish. Tom Wilkes, a parishioner of St. James Cathedral, arrived at St. James just weeks before the church rectory was demolished to make room for the Community Life Center. He details the church's contribution to the city beautiful in this excerpt from an oral history interview on March 26, 2011.




Community Giving: A History of Sharing Time, Talent, and Treasure in Orlando

From a $90,000 a year thrift store for the poor to soup and sandwiches for the hungry, St. James Cathedral's history of community giving is dedicated to serving the needy in our area. As an Orlando organization tithing 10 % of their collection, St. James financially supports such worthwhile institutions as Apopka Family Learning Center, B.E.T.A. Center, Coalition for the Homeless, Covenant House of Central Florida, Fresh Start, Health Care Center of the Homeless, iDignity, JMJ Life Center, Morning Star School, Russell Home for Atypical Children and more. In this excerpt from an oral history interview at St. James Cathedral on August 15, 2011, Frank and Mary Jane Sevick highlight the origins and outreach of a few St. James community activities such as offering soup and sandwich to those hungry at lunchtime which grew into the Daily Bread and the development of the Christian Service Center. They recall St. James parishioners such as Kathy Hummel one of the founding members of B.E.T.A., Beverly Gawlick who started Outreach Love,  Dick Rupp who assisted with the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Parramore, and Fr. David Page who worked diligently with the downtown community to establish the Christian Service Center. The legacy of community building continues as 2,789 people in Orlando were assisted by St. James through St. Vincent de Paul donations last year. Learn more about the history of community organizations in the Orlando area and the contributions made to the lives of our citizens in this interview.




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St. James Cathedral 1885-1985 Centennial Directory

Saint James Cathedral 1885-1985 centennial publication with pictorial directory of families.
"The Good News of St. James Cathedral: A Short History of the First 100 Years of a Catholic Parish" by Edward Hayes, who attended St. James and was a columnist for The Orlando Sentinel for many years is included in the directory.
Early church benefactors noted in the directory include Joseph Bumby, Mahlon Gore, A. M. Hyer, E. P. Hyer, J. Perey Keating, J. H. Livingston, M. R. Marks, J. B. Parramore, C.H. Spellman, Anna Churchill, Catherine Lansing, Nat Pointz, Maria Reilly, J.M. O"Connell, Charles Green, J. F. Lanaghan, Peter Mack, J. W. Keller, C.F. Howes, G. Kennedy, C. H. Shattuck, J. Campin, M. Massey, John G. Sinclair, E. R. Gunby, L. O. Garrett and brothers, N. H. Brown and C. A. Boone.
Use the index to locate people, organizations and locations. Note: the directory does not have page numbers. The index numbers refer to the pdf page numbers.
 
 
 


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