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James R. Smyth, St. James Cathedral Parishioner

Listen to this  interview with Orlando native James R. Smyth   recorded  at the “Sneak Preview” for the restored Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, November 13th, 2010.

 

Mr. Smyth has been a member of St. James for 77 years and remembers going to church in the old wooden church. There was no air conditioning and he says people fainted a lot because it was very hot. Father John Bishop was the pastor who baptized him, celebrated his First Communion, performed the wedding ceremony for his brothers and sisters, and graduated them from high school. Mr Smyth started in St. James kindergarten in 1938 and continued through high school. He says back then “everybody knew everybody”, it was a very close knit group as there were few Catholics in the area, less than 5 % of the population. Mr. Smyth adds, “My whole life I’ve been pretty close to it [St. James] right along.”

He has the perspective of history which he shares in this interview. He recalls, “Back in the days of segregation the last pew in St. James had a sign ‘Reserved for Colored’. Now they weren’t discriminating – it was to say that they were welcome to come in because without that they wouldn’t dare have come into the church.” When asked about the future of St. James, Mr. Smyth sees the church growing as a vibrant community and says, “It’s been central to my life the whole time and still is.”

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James R. Smyth, St. James Cathedral Parishioner

Interview  with Orlando native James R. Smyth at the "Sneak Preview" for the restored Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, November 13th,...

James R. Smyth, St. James Cathedral Parishioner

Interview with Orlando native James R. Smyth at the "Sneak Preview" for the restored Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, November 13th, 2010.

Mr. Smyth has been a member of St. James for 77 years and remembers going to church in the old wooden church. There was no air conditioning and he says people fainted a lot because it was very hot. Father John Bishop was the pastor who baptized him, celebrated his First Communion, performed the wedding ceremony for his brothers and sisters, and graduated them from high school. Mr Symth started in St. James kindergarten in 1938 and continued through high school. He says back then "everybody knew everybody", it was a very close knit group as there were few Catholics in the area, less than 5 % of the population. Mr. Smyth adds, "My whole life I've been pretty close to it [St. James] right along."

He has the perspective of history which he shares in this interview. He recalls, "Back in the days of segregation the last pew in St. James had a sign 'Reserved for Colored'. Now they weren't discriminating - it was to say that they were welcome to come in because without that they wouldn't dare have come into the church." When asked about the future of St. James, Mr. Smyth sees the church growing as a vibrant community and says, "It's been central to my life the whole time and still is."




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St. James School Gala Event of the Year!

 

Commemorative Booklet for the St. James School Gala Event of the Year! Scholarship Dinner - Dance, Friday November 5, 1976 at the Carlton House Resort Hotel, 6515 International Drive. Includes letter from the Pastor of St. James Church, Father David Page, outlining the purpose of the event is to provide scholarships funds for students, an "investment in the youth" of our community. A history of St. James School, "St. James School: The Past" begins on page 8. Jack Hardin, General Manager of the Carlton House Resort Hotel gave all the facilities of the hotel for the event at no cost. Arline Benedetti did the banquet decorating. Scholarship donors and patrons are listed by name including many area businesses such as the George Stuart Foundation, Southern Fruit Distributors, Inc. Blue Bird Brand Citrus Products. Last page of the booklet gives a history of George Stuart, Inc. with a photo of George L. Stuart, Sr. September 4, 1905 - January 11, 1976. Photos of school staff and scholarship committee begins on page 10.     

 


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