News & Events from around the Parish...

Dear Parishoners

On departing St. James for my new assignment, I wish to thank each and every one of you for your loving support during these seven years of my pastorate. On descending the long driveway for the first time, I knew that I had been graced with a very special opportunity. Ministry here has proven to be a most joyful experience, and I have many fond memories of many important moments. I do believe that much was accomplished in this period for the enduring benefit of the parish. And the future looks bright. Thank you, again, for making these years so blessed!


Fr. J. Joseph Dionne, C.Ss.R

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

OurLadyOfPerpetualHelpOur Mother of Perpetual Help
150 years, “Make Her Known”
1866 – 2016

In 1798, French troops occupied Rome. General Massena, the governor, decided that Rome had too many churches. Undoubtedly, he had his eyes on the valuable property which they occupied. He ordered thirty churches to be closed and destroyed. St. Matthew’s among them. For sixty-eight years nothing more was heard of St. Mary of Perpetual Help. People who did give it a passing thought presumed it had been destroyed along with St. Matthew’s church. The series of events that resulted in the restoration of the icon to public veneration is so completely beyond chance that it had to be Our Lady who wrote the scenario making it happen.

When the Augustinian Fathers were ordered to leave St. Matthew’s church they moved to a nearby church, St. Eusebius, taking the sacred painting of Our Lady with them. Several years later they relocated again to the church of Santa Maria Posterula. Here the icon was eventually moved and placed over a side altar in a small oratory because the main altar already enshrined a Madonna called Our Lady of Grace.

During the pontificate of Pope Pius IX, the Redemptorists were invited to set up a mother house in Rome. They chose a vacant lot on the Via Merulana, without realizing that it once had been the site of St. Matthew’s church and the shrine of the famous icon. They built next to their general headquarters the small church of St. Alphonsus. One day at recreation, one of the fathers mentioned that he had read an account on old shrines of Our Lady in Rome and recounted how the icon of Perpetual Help had been enshrined in St. Matthew’s church that stood close to the place now occupied by St. Alphonsus’ church.

One of the Redemptorists present was a young priest, Michael Marchi, who became visibly excited. When the older priest stated that the Perpetual Help picture had been lost, Father Marchi burst in, “But it is not lost! It is enshrined in the little oratory of Our Lady in Posterula. When I was a boy, I often served Mass there and one of the old brothers, named Augustine Orsetti, often pointed to the picture and used to say to me, ‘Don’t ever forget it, Michael. This picture is the one that hung for three hundred years in St. Matthew’s church. Many, many miracles were worked for the crowds of people that always came to pray before it!’ So,” continued Father Marchi, “I feel sure that this is the very same picture!”

The fact that the original icon was not lost and that St. Alphonsus church was midway between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran must have caused bedlam at that community recreation as the Redemptorists put the pieces of the mystery together. Their own church of St. Alphonsus occupied the very ground on which the old St. Matthew’s Church was located, and now the lost sacred icon had been found. They came to the conclusion that even as Our Lady had chosen this location for the Perpetual Help image to be enshrined many years before, the Blessed Mother must have been instrumental in setting the stage for the icon to be returned to its original site.

The Father General of the Redemptorists, Most Rev. Nicholas Mauron, decided to bring the whole matter to the attention of Pope Pius IX. The Pope listened attentively and felt sure it was God’s will that the icon should be gain exposed to public veneration and the logical site was their church of St. Alphonsus, standing as it did between the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The Holy Father at once took a piece of paper and wrote a short memorandum ordering the Augustinian Fathers of St. Mary in Posterula to surrender the picture to the Redemptorists, on condition that the Redemptorists supply the Augustinians with another picture of Our Lady or a good copy of the icon of Perpetual Help.


After serving as Vice Provincial of the Vice Province of Richmond for 11 years (and after a briefFrJerome stint replacing Father Geiger as Parochial Vicar), Father Jerome Chavarría, C.Ss.R. will be the new Pastor of St. James for the coming four years (2015-2019) beginning next weekend. Father Jerome will be accompanied by Father Charles FrDonovanDonovan, C.Ss.R., presently stationed as Parochial Vicar in the Catholic Community of Sumter, South Carolina. We welcome Father Donovan to Saint James and pray that his ministry here at Saint James proves to be a blessing both for him and us. Father Fabio Marín, C.Ss.R. will continue to administer the Hispanic Ministry for this quadrennium.

Father Dionne has been assigned to the new initiative that is being assumed by the Redemptorists of the Mother (Baltimore) Province in conjunction with the Vice Province in eastern North Carolina in the Diocese of Raleigh. He will be residing in rural Newton Grove (a house constructed by the Redemptorists in the 1950’s) and has been appointed Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Clinton, North Carolina, effective on August 17. He can be contacted at: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 104 E. John Street, Clinton, NC 28328. Tel.: 910-592-1384. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Free Eye Screening

(Examen de la Vista Gratis)
Sponsored by Concord Lions Club
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
(Miércoles-Agosto 19, 2015, 9:00 am hasta 1:00 pm)
Logan Multi-Purpose Center
184 Booker Drive, SW
Concord, NC
No appointment needed (No Necesita Cita)

Life Teen Summer Series Presents:

twistedThe Emoticoaster: A Guide to Drama-Free Relationships. Today’s dating scene is more complicated than ever, especially with social media, texting, and the endless pressure of the world’s expectations. Dating, opposite sex and relationships can often be an emotional rollercoaster…. an emoticoaster! How can men and women overcome the interior and exterior battles and discover the love they desire?

For rising 9th to 12th graders – guys and ladies! Friends are welcome! The dates are June 17th and 24th; July 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th; and August 5th from 5:00pm to 8:30pm in Gill Hall. The cost is $10 and includes the Emotional Virtue Book, handouts and a weekly dinner.

Registration is required by contacting Kelli Olszewski at 704-720-0600 ext 22 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank You

I want to thank all of the parishioners for their warm and heartfelt expressions of affection for me on leaving Saint James, especially for the parish gift of a laptop computer for use in my next destination (I most probably will need one; it is a poor parish without a lot of resources). I will pray daily that the Lord reward your great goodness and generosity, which has always been evident to me.                            


                                      Fr. Joseph Dionne, C.Ss.R.

Knights of Columbus Poker Night

Poker2Knights of Columbus Poker Night will take place on Saturday, August 1st at 6:30 pm in McGiveny Hall located in Gill Hall. Games take place the 1st Saturday of the month. Parishioners 18 years of age and older, men and women, are invited to join the Knights for their monthly Poker Night. Refreshments are available at the game, so come and spend an evening with fellow card players.

Try your hand, if you're feeling lucky play in the tournament! Refreshments will be available

St. James the Greater 2015 Trip

AustriaJoin travelers from St. James the Greater Parish on a trip through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria from Sept 1 – Sept 14, 2015. Visit Heidelberg, Lucerne, Interlaken, Innsbruck, Munich, Neuschwanstein, Salzburg, Melk Abbey, and Vienna. There will be an information session in the Parish Hall classroom at 6:15pm on January 31st.

The cost for the trip, $4,599 per person, includes Airfare, hotels, daily breakfasts, six dinneSwitzerlandrs, and all entry fees. Contact: John Green: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 704-782-7370. For the complete itinerary and to sign up, go to or call GoAhead Tours @ 877-264-1348