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History of St. James

St. James parish was founded in 1925 with just 30 families and Father James Burns as its first pastor. The seven and a half acre campus was purchased that year for $18,000 by the first trustees, Dennis H. Dwyer and Kevin Byrne. The first Mass was celebrated on September 27, 1925 in the red brick house on the property. The parish continued to grow and in 1927, Father John Quirk was appointed the parish’s first assistant pastor.

In 1929, the parish decided to build a new church. Thomas Enright, an architect and parishioner, drew up the plans. Bishop Curley laid the cornerstone in 1934. The parishioners supplied all of the labor for the construction. In 1939, Father William Otey succeeded Father Burns as pastor.

The 1940’s brought two important changes. The Franciscan Sisters arrived in 1943 and set up a catechetical center.r the following year, Father Francis Horrigan became pastor. Bishop Foery authorized c construction of a parish school in 1953. The school was completed in 1954. In 1958 a fund drive was started to raise $250,000 to begin building a new church, which would cost around $500,000. The present church was complete in 1960 and the old church was remodeled for use as a gymnasium in 1961. The rectory and administration building was built in 1964.

The Golden Jubilee of St. James was held on October 26, 1975. After 32 years as pastor, Msgr. Horrigan was succeeded by Most Reverend Frank J. Harrison, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Syracuse. Father Jon Ahern was appointed administrator.

Father John Finnegan was appointed as the fifth pastor in 1977. The new convent was purchased and the present pipe organ was donated by Msgr. Horrigan. In 1980 the daily Mass chapel was built and dedicated to Msgr. Horrigan. The lower level of the gym was made into the parish center.

St. James had co-pastors for the first time in 1982 when Fr. Raymond Wood was appointed to share pastoral duties with Father Finnegan. In 1985, Father Wood became pastor and Father George Hartnett was appointed associate pastor. Early in 1988, Fr. Paul Alicati was named associate pastor. Fr. James Quinn was appointed the seventh pastor in July, 1988. Fr. Michael Meagher served as pastor from 1994 to 1998. Fr. Daniel O’Hara arrived at St. James in 1993 as an associate and was appointed pastor in 1998. He was succeeded by Fr. John Manno who served as pastor until 2015. Fr. Christopher Ballard was named administrator of St. James in 2015 and then pastor.

In October of 2017, St. James was officially merged with Our Lady of Lourdes Church and is now known as Our Lady of Hope.

History of Our Lady of Lourdes


On September 14, 1947, Bishop Walter Foery, recognizing the need for service to a growing Catholic presence in the Elmwood/Valley area of the City of Syracuse, announced the formation of a new parish to be known as Our Lady of Lourdes, Syracuse. The territory for the new parish was to be formed from sections of St. Anthony’s, Most Holy Rosary, and St. James parishes. The new parish church and buildings were to be erected on land that was purchased on Valley Drive and West Newell Street. The founding pastor would be Fr. Martin Watley.

Under the exceptional guidance of soon to become Msgr. Watley, over the next twenty eight years, the parish was to erect a temporary Church, a School to eventually educate and graduate more than 4,000 children, a convent for the Sisters of St. Francis, a rectory and, in 1969, a permanent Church.

At the passing of Msgr. Watley in August 1975, the succession of extraordinary pastors was to continue. Msgr. Thomas Costello assumed the pastorate and would serve until 1978 when he was elevated to Auxiliary Bishop.

During Msgr. Costello’s pastorate, the now famous statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was erected on the parapet over the front entrance of the church. The statue was given in remembrance of Msgr. Watley by his family through the leadership of Mr. Leo Kelly. The statue was to watch over the Valley from that location for the next 42 years. The statue of Our Lady will be prominently incorporated into the proposed grotto at Our Lady of Hope Parish sot hat she will be be able to continue there care for the faithful in the Valley area.

Once Fr. Costello was ordained a bishop, he was replaced by Fr. Ted Sizing, a native son of the parish. He would serve until he was called to minister in the Maryknoll Missions in Central America in June 1983.

At this time, Fr. Fred Mannara was appointed as pastor and served until July of 1995.

After Fr. Mannara’s transfer, Fr. Thomas Fitzpatrick was appointed pastor and served for 22 years, retiring on June 30, 2017.

Fr. Christopher Ballard was selected to be the next Pastor, to serve from July 1, 2017 to the final closing of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish had, for 70 years, been a dependable, valuable asset and anchor in the Elmwood/Valley area of the city. As the demographics of the Pastoral Care Area changed, so changed the need and purpose for the parish as geographically situated

Having fulfilled its original needs for service to a burgeoning, growing population in the Valley area, it now was time to reconstruct the mission of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and combine with St. James to facilitate the needs of the Church in a different manner. The Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes became inactive after the final Mass on October 7, 2017 and was to be officially closed after the final disposition of all parish assets.

Mission accomplished. Job well done.

Our Lady of Hope

Our Lady of Hope celebrated its opening Mass on October 14, 2017. Where our parish will go from here is still being written!

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