In Your Midst


Fall 2001

In This Issue:
Have you noticed more children at St. James?

Maybe it’s the Baptisms, which seem to include more babies each month; or the youth music program, which now features not just one but four choirs for young people; or maybe it’s the nearly 100 youngsters who stream toward the altar each Sunday at Noon Mass for their own celebration in the Chapel. From any way you look at it, though, it’s indisputable. St. James, which used to have almost no children, has become a parish that is positively bursting at the seams with them.

That fact, of course, leads instantly to questions. How can we as a parish community best serve these young people and their families? How can we help them grow in their faith as they grow up among us?

To answer these questions, the Pastoral Vision Committee created a Youth and Family Ministry Task Force late last year. The task force began its work with a survey of parish families.

The response was enthusiastic, with over 100 families writing of their delight with the Cathedral’s programs for children. But they also wrote of their frustration, that the parish, for many decades, simply didn’t have children around.

Babies and Toddlers: Over 100 babies have been baptized at St. James during the past year. But after the ceremony is over, there’s often no role for young families but to try to keep their children attentive during Mass. Task force members hope to create new programs for young families: from parent support groups and potlucks to family outings and a more comprehensive child care program during Masses and Cathedral events.

Religious Education: St. James’ Sunday School program has been held together for years, thanks to the dedication of Marianne Coté and a handful of volunteer teachers. Religious Ed will have new curriculum, ongoing training for teachers, more comprehensive preparation for First Communion, expanded classroom space and more.

Youth Music: St. James’ youth choirs have become known around the Archdiocese as a wonderful way to involve children and teens in the liturgy. The outpouring of support for the program from parish families has been so great that Dr. Savage and his staff are dreaming up new ways to expand.

Support for Middle and High School Students: St. James already has a large number of teens involved in its ministries. Many participate in liturgies as altar servers and readers. Others are preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. Still others sing in the choir, among them, 18 young women who are members of this season’s Jubilate! But there is always room for growth and teenagers won’t be forgotten in the task force’s efforts which will be working with them to design new volunteer programs, outreach to the poor and elderly and many social opportunities.

Mary Burguignon is a Cathedral parishioner and a member of the Pastoral Vision Committee.

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