of St. James the Apostle Catholic Church

The history of St. James Catholic Church spans to the early 1920’s. The Reverend Joseph L. Quillien served as pastor as the Catholic community of North View joined together to form St. Margaret Mary Parish. In 1925, Fr. Joseph R. Siever had replaced Fr, Quillien, and in 1927, ground was broken to construct a new St. James church at an estimated cost of $14,000. English gothic in style, the new building featured a stained wood beamed ceiling and stained-glass windows which were obtained from Sacred Heart Parish in Bluefield, WV. During a 10:30am liturgy on December 11, 1927, Bishop John J. Swint dedicated a new edifice. Four years later in 1931, a bell obtained from the Harrison County Courthouse was dedicated.

From 1934 to 1936, Fr. John S. Kelly served as pastor, followed by Fr. John B. Quinn, and in 1948 Reverend George Walter was appointed. It was under his pastorate the St. James School was constructed at a cost of $92,700. This formidable effort was made possible by the generous support of the people of the parish. The school was dedicated in 1950, as the parish celebrated its silver anniversary, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling arrived to teach in the school.

In 1956, on land adjacent to the church, a new rectory was constructed to house our pastors. Fr. Frederick Swallow arrived as pastor in 1963, and about that time, came changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council. Fr. Swallow introduced the parish community to the wide-ranging changes, implemented by him, and completed by Fr. Eugene Schmitt, who was appointed in 1967. These included the arrangement of the altar, removal of the communion rail, and the establishment of the parish council.

Fr. Schmitt served for five years and was followed by Rev. Bert W. Valdez in 1972. Fr. Valdez undertook the renovations of the early seventies, and on June 14, 1974, Bishop Joseph Hodges dedicated the completely new St. James church. Boasting many modern influences, the building kept the original beamed ceiling, but the interior was designed to be multifunctional. In 1981, Bishop Hodges appointed Fr. Joseph Dene as pastor, and he served until 1990, when Fr. Robert Perriello arrived. Toward the close of Dr. Dene’s tenure, Mrs. Edmire “Elma” Morel Rolland passed away and bequeathed the parish a very sizable amount, which allowed the parish to retire its debt, one of the first tasks undertaken by Fr. Perriello and the parish council.

With the guidance of Almighty God working through his pastors, together with the people of God, St. James Church will continue the viability began 100 years ago.