ABOVE: Photo of the interior of Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, May 1974.
St. James Cathedral celebrates 125 years in downtown Orlando with a reunion this weekend of priests, religious and parishioners. The church continues its service to the community with a St. Vincent De Paul stewardship drive for the needy in our area and a celebration of community life with Sunday breakfast hosted by the Knights of Columbus service organization.
ABOVE: Color linen postcard of St. James Catholic Church circa 1940-1950.
In this excerpt from an oral history interview on March 26th, 2011, St. James parishioner Tom Wilkes shares his perspective on the future of St. James Cathedral and the rejuvenation of downtown Orlando.
READ 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 INDEX to locate people, organizations and locations. Note: the directory does not have page numbers. The index numbers refer to the pdf page numbers.
Search OrlandoMemory.info using the terms “St. James” and “Saint James” for many more oral history interviews, photos and documents.
Peruse the Images and Documents below under Attachments. Click on the first image to begin the slide show and be sure to read the description.Back to top
In this March 26th 2011 oral history interview at St. James Cathedral parishioner Tom Wilkes traces the history of the development of the altar server program at St. James Cathedral from the early 1980's when you had a dozen servers in the ministry to the investiture of new altar servers this year with over a hundred servers in the program. Mr. Wilkes recalls the program leaders through the years and the contributions they made. He begins with local entrepreneur Tom Riggs who led the program in the early 1980's and gave the young people discipline and training. Richard Niland provided leadership from the mid 1980's to the early 1990's and insisted on reverence. Then Debbie Ferrone led the way for the Investiture Service to be part of the Mass at Saint James Cathedral as it was this May 15th 2011. Kevin and Kelly Wilkes, Tom and Jean's son and daughter, now lead the ministry. Their younger daughter Kelly who has served as an altar server since the fourth grade was selected by her peers to lead as Knight Commander this year.
Tom notes that the youth involved in the ministry are all high achievers, leaders in the community with special accomplishments in academics, athletics, club work, and community organizations. His wife Jean Wilkes sees the altar servers as the Christian leaders of the future. Tom says, "I don't think it is an overstatement to say that the altar server program at St. James may be the best in the United States, it may even be the best in the world." When the magisterium was here meeting in Orlando, one of the bishops from Rome told St. James Rector Fr. John McCormick, "That not even in the holy city of Rome are there altar servers that show the reverence and discipline and perfection that St. James altar servers show." Tom says, "This is an example of the kinds of things at St. James that are so important to our families, the school, the altar server program, so many programs here at St. James are such an integral part of family life and such an integral part of the downtown, of the city of Orlando
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.
St. James Catholic Cathedral May 2011 Revelations newsletter featuring the graduating Knights of the Altar who have distinguished themselves by years of service to their church and the Orlando community: Bobby Burnes, Sarah Delahunty, Jose DeSantiago, Cameron Karaus, Bradley Metzger, Mallory Necrason, Ben Porter, and Judy Scharf.
Commemorative booklet for the St. James Cathedral School Golden Anniversary Benefit Dinner Dance, Saturday, December 2, 1978 at Rio Pinar Country Club. Includes: An October 27th, 1978 letter from the Bishop of Orlando, Thomas J. Grady, to the Orlando community. Letter from Mayor Carl T. Langford to the school regarding the "tremendous number of outstanding citizens who have graduated from St. James School and who have contributed so much to the moral fiber of this area". School and church history with names, dates, and chronology of events beginning with October 7, 1889 when the Sisters of St. Joseph arrived to begin teaching students at St. Joseph Academy. The school was located at the corner of Robinson Street and Main Street (now Magnolia Avenue) where the U.S. Post Office and Diocese of Orlando building are now. The present school building on Ridgewood Avenue opened in 1929.
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.
St. James Cathedral School 75th Anniversary Gala, October 18th 2003, in honor of the 75th birthday of St. James School on Ridgewood Avenue in downtown Orlando. Gala booklet includes chronological list of St. James Cathedral Pastors and St. James Cathedral School Principals as well as an Honor Roll of Donors with charitable giving sponsorship.
St. James Cathedral Pastors
Rev. Felix Prosper Swenbergh 1885-1887
Rev. Joseph J. Creed 1888-1892
Rev. Michael Fox 1892-1933
Monsignor John Gregory Bishop 1933-1957
Monsignor Terence J. Farrelly 1957-1972
Rev. David P. Page 1972-1987
Rev. Joseph A. Nolin 1987-1992
Rev. Sean Heslin 1992-2001
Rev. John McCormick 2001-present
St. James Cathedral School Principals
Sister Theresa Joseph
Sister St. Anne
Sister Anne Olivia
Sister June Mary
Mr. Robert DeSormier
Mrs. Blanca Roberts
Mrs. Mary DeVault
Mrs. Barbara Bozeman
Mrs. Geri Gendall
In this first issue of The St. James Legacy newsletter, Summer 2003, vol. 1, No. 1, Alumnus Pat Conroy, bestselling author, recalls his school days at St. James Cathedral School on Ridgewood St. in downtown Orlando.
"My year at St. James was the happiest in my childhood... every time I visit Orlando, I return to that sacred spot where I first shot a basketball."
"A Century Of Growth At St. James Cathedral School"
Details the history and contributions of St. James in the Orlando area beginning with the founding of St. Joseph's Academy in 1889. St. James School changed its name to the Cathedral School of St. James in 1977 when St. James Church was renamed St. James Cathedral for the Diocese of Orlando. St. James opened Orlando's first Catholic Montessori school in 1989. Some of the many community acts of giving are highlighted in the history such as the St. James Cathedral School Golf and Tennis Tournament to scholarship funds, the Junior Civilian Club 10 district awards for collecting for the needy in Orlando, and the students collecting school supplies for children in the Dominican Republic.