Welcome to St. James Catholic Church. St. James is a medium size parish located in the city of Alexandria, LA It is a very friendly parish that is family-oriented. It is traditional but keeps up with the implementations of Vatican II. It is an active parish – all the way from our youth to the senior citizens.
Please come to visit or attend church services. You will leave with a spirit of love that Christ pours forth upon you.
Altar Society, Betty Mills 445-3087
Organist, Rodessa Metoyer 443-6949
Eucharistic Ministers, Gloria Coleman 448-4648
Youth Group, Donald Collins 792-4371
Senior Travel Club, Contact Betty Mills – 445-3087
Ushers, Leonard Ford 473-8983
Lectors and Altar Servers
Interfaith Community Services, Sherrie Dunn 487-0329
Knights of Peter Claver Council #91, Willard Brown 448-3874
Ladies Auxiliary Court #91, Linda Brown 448-3874
Knights of Peter Claver Jr. Knights Council #91, Gary Barbin 448-6452
Knights of Peter Claver Jr. Daughters Court #91, Helen Barbin 448-6452
RCIA, Lucy Rachal 563-9102
1894 – Sister Mary Xavier of the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence of San Antonio, Texas, opened a one-room school for black children. It was named Sacred Heart School.
1902 – New school was built on property purchased by Father Menard between Fisk and Beauregard Streets. Sister Pierre Fourier, CDP., opened the school with an enrollment of 80 pupils.
May 1911 – Father Marcos of St. Francis Xavier Church established a separate black church and dedicated it to the Sacred Heart.
Nov. 1911 – Father Anthony J. Schmodry, C.S.Sp. replaced Father Marcos, who was in ill health, as pastor. Thus begins the first Holy Ghost Fathers mission in Louisiana. Holy Ghost Fathers served St. James for 75 years until 1986.
Feb. 1912 – Father Kirkfleet, O. Praem., conducts first parish mission. Holy Name Society is formed.
April 1914 – Father Joseph H. Cronenberger, CSSp, replaces Father Schmodry as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. The building era of the parish was begun at this time. A vacant half block fronting Winn Street between 7th and 8th Streets was purchased.
May 1915 – Ground broken for the new church. Father Joseph Smith of Cleveland, Ohio donated the money for the building in memory of his brother, James. His one condition attached to the donation was that the Church be named St. James – hence the change from Sacred Heart to St. James Memorial.
Dec. 1915 – Dedication of the new church which had been built at a cost of $7,500 by the LeGras Brothers Construction Company.
March 1916 – Completion of St. James Rectory, a two story, eight-room and basement brick building, costing $2,600.
1916 – New school built on Winn and Seventh Streets. The merry crowd of children and teachers said goodbye to the little two room frame building on Beauregard St. and St. James School doors opened.
1916 – Sister Roche, CDP opened a high school. Sisters of Divine Providence formed the St. James Community and moved into a cottage near the school. The Sisters had lived at St. Francis Xavier.
1919 – Two story convent blessed by Bishop Van de Ven; First High School Graduation; Sister Mary Xavier returned to Alexandria.
1927 – State approbation for the school was received. The graduates received teacher’s certificates until 1933 when the state took teacher training out of high schools.
1938 – A larger building was purchased and moved to Eighth Street where it was renovated and used for a convent until it was demolished in 1971.
1943 – Charter granted to Bishop Desmond, Council 91, Knights of St. Peter Claver
1948 – Father Cronenberger died at St. James; Cardinal Stritch Auditorium dedicated.
1949 – New high school built.
1952 – Kindergarten opened at St. James School.
1955 – A house and garage at 1503 Eighth St. were purchased for $6,500. Building was used as a kindergarten. Today it is used as the Knights of St. Peter Claver Hall.
Oct. 1956 – Dedication of Holy Family Mission, blessed by Bishop Greco. Solemn Mass celebrated by Father Frederick Lachowsky, pastor of St. James.
1965 – Ordination of Father Charles Boykins, SVD, a parishioner of Holy Family and a former student of St. James School.
1967 – Over the years, the parish and its school thrived until 1967 when Grades 1-3 were closed after 53 years of existence and 50 graduating classes. Sisters of Divine Providence leave St. James after 73 years.
1971 – St. James Elementary School closed after contract signed between St. James and Cenla Community Action Committee to lease St. James School and cafeteria for a day care center.
1971 – Renovation of St. James Church and Rectory.
1972 – Installation of mobile home at Holy Family Mission. Mobile home becomes “home” for Father Tom Miller.
1974 – Burning of St. James High School debt.
April 1974 – Groundbreaking for Holy Family Hall.
Aug. 1974 – Sisters of Divine Providence return to St. James to do parish work.
1975 – Completion of Holy Family Hall, Ujima Center.
1975 – Sister Elise Bengfort and Father Matthew C. Evanstock on June 1, 1975, celebrated their silver jubilees in St. James Church.
1976 – Sisters Jane Shafer and Elise Bengfort along with Father David Seiter organized the 65th Anniversary. A mission was also held by Father Thaddeus Boucree.
1976 – Anniversary celebration, Sept. 25, 1976. Rev. David Seiter to act as pastor until the new pastor arrives. New organ purchased.
1977 – Rev. John Schlecht CSSp, Pastor. Sisters Jane Shafer and Elise Bengfort leave.
1978 – Rev. John Schlecht returned to Mexico.
1979 – Rev. William Hurney, CSSp, Pastor, Holy Family Mission begins to be served by St. Juliana Parsh.
1981 – New siding installed on rectory
1982 – Bishop Desmond Court 91 of Knights of St. Peter Claver formed 4th Degree Assembly 27 and named it in honor of Msgr. Henry A. Thompson; appointment of first Eucharistic Ministers.
1983 – Bishop Desmond Court 91 of Knights of St. Peter Claver formed 4th Degree Assembly 27.
1985 – Parish Finance Council formed; St. James Federal Credit Union merges with England Air Force Base Credit Union.
1986 - After 75 years Holy Ghost Fathers leave parish because they no longer had enough priests to serve. Rev. Bruce Miller, J.C.L., (a diocesan priest) named new pastor; 75th Anniversary Celebration.
1991 – Rev. August L. Thompson becomes pastor.
1997 - Rev. Vincent Manuel, SAC, Pastor.
June 18, 2003 - Rev. Kenneth Michiels appointed pastor.
June 30, 2004 - Rev. James A. Foster appointed pastor.
2007 - Father Remigius Owuamanam, appointed pastor of St. James Memorial Catholic Church and St. Juliana Catholic Church. Fr. Ignatius Achiazutanwa Ibe assistant pastor until June 2008.
June 26, 2013 - Father Stephen Soares, appointed pastoral administrator of St. James Memorial Catholic Church.
June, 2015 - Father Gabriel Uzondu appointed pastoral Administrator of St. James.
Most of the history recorded here has to do with the buildings and other material things but the greatest asset of the parish has been and is today the PEOPLE who make up the Church –their spirit, faith, enthusiasm. So together we thank you, God, and each other.