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Local Church Publishes Groundbreaking New History


BASKING RIDGE, NJ -  Saint James Catholic Church announces publication of a new parish history called Remember… Celebrate… Believe, which chronicles the development of the Catholic Church in northern Somerset and southern Morris counties.   The project started during the parish’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2014.  Various essays and booklets on St. James existed, but the celebration organizers began to ask “How do we know what we know?” and “Can we find out more about our properties, priests and people.” The ensuing effort took over three years, and the authors were careful to cite their sources to aid future researchers.

St. James began as a mission church served by priests from St. Vincent the Martyr in Madison and Assumption parish in Morristown.  The church was incorporated in 1864 with the Rev. Lawrence A. Hoey of Morristown as first pastor.  For several years, the pastors of St. James doubled as pastors for St. Joseph Church in Mendham.   Then in 1898, the Diocese of Trenton established a new parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in Bernardsville, NJ, and St. James became a mission again, attached to Bernardsville.  In 1948, St. James was reestablished as a separate parish in the original church building and with mission churches of its own:  Our Lady of the Mount in Mt. Bethel and Blessed Sacrament in Martinsville.  St. James developed rapidly in the following decades, building new churches in 1958 and again in 1999.  St. James School was established in 1965.  During the World Trade Center attack (2001), 13 parishioners or loved ones of parishioners were killed.  In response, the parish formed a bereavement group and dedicated a September 11 Oratory featuring a cross fashioned with wreckage from the twin towers. Today St. James boasts one of the largest congregations in the Diocese of Metuchen.  

The history is told in a timeline format interspersed with color and vintage B&W photographs, documents, newspaper articles, biographies of clergy, and reminiscences.  The book also covers the development of St. James School and numerous parish ministries.  Fully indexed.  146 pp.  ISBN: 978-0-9994389-0-9.  Price: $25.00

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