Support The Build Out of The New Space

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The picture above is an artists drawing of the current plans for the altar area. Plans include a usable altar rail and a hidden curtain that can be pulled across this area in order to cordon off the sacred area. The nave seating area (where the people sit) can then be used as a gathering area for potlucks and other events. These plans are still being finalized

Video of Moving Testimonials from Parishioners

Letter from Father Mayer

Thanks so much for taking time to learn about this exciting new building project of St. James Catholic Church. This, to be developed space, will allow us to expand our ability to evangelize here in Jacksonville and beyond.

On March 12, 2024, in the presence of the St. James Council, I signed a six year lease for 4,500 square feet of space that will be used for worship, classrooms, offices, and gatherings in order to expand our ability to evangelize. This was an exciting day that came after two years of searching and six months of negotiating. We were able to obtain excellent lease terms due to being blessed with a team with many years of experience in brokering and real estate law.

We are now moving through the next stage. The space is in need of a good deal of work in order to arrange it for our use and for this I need your help. The success of the vision relies on your dedication and financial support. We are making great progress, but still have not yet reached our goal. If you have not yet given, or would like to increase your gift and to be part of laying the foundation of this parish for years to come, please do so soon.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration. With your ongoing support, I am confident that we will build a beautiful space for reverent worship.

Faithfully, your pastor,

Father Mayer



Why move from the current location at the Mandarin Community Club?

The main issue with the current location is that the growth and development of St. James is restricted.  Lack of meeting room spaces creates difficulties and conflicts between ministries. Hosting any sort of daily Masses is difficult because this requires a substantial team to take everything out of the closet and get it set up. During any of our larger Masses we easily hit or bypass the known eighty percent capacity rule. It has been well documented that when a church reaches eighty percent capacity in either the main worship space or meeting room spaces, the church will cease growing. For us to continue our mission of evangelization, more space is needed.

Why are you leasing instead of buying?

We would of course prefer to purchase rather than lease a building, but this is not currently an option for us, though we are hoping to possibly purchase in 2029 or 2030. For the past couple of years, we have been looking into all possible options.  for the past couple of years. The cost to purchase a church in workable location Jacksonville would be over a million dollars plus any needed fixup or renovation costs. Other options have been suggested:

  • Purchase an inexpensive building on the north side of Jacksonville or outside of the city. We could potentially do this, but because of the distance from our current location we would lose a majority parishioners which means that we could not pay the bills.
  • Purchase Land and Build: This is an even more expensive option than purchasing an already existing building.

Leasing or renting prior to buying is a common practice for Catholic parishes. For example, Assumption Catholic Church on Atlantic Blvd here in Jacksonville met in a storefront during their early years.

Why are you leasing in a disreputable location?

The Emerson area was a nice neighborhood prior to I 95 being built which split the community in two and it has since become reputed as a seedy area, however this is an excellent location for St. James for three reasons:

  1. Easily Accessible Centralized Location: Moving to Emerson Street allows St. James to be in an accessible location to a much larger number of people. This allows those who are attracted to the particular type of liturgy at St. James to get to the mission much more easily.
  2. Area of need: A drive or walk around that area makes clear that this is an area in much need of the transformative power of the gospel. We will have a great opportunity to work together with the local community.
  3. Proven History: Within the Ordinariate, there have been a number of parishes that have gone into what were considered bad areas and have done very well and even transformed the neighborhood. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham is an excellent example of this. They leased a warehouse, then bought an old auto parts store that they used as a church prior to building the current Church. All of this took place in what was considered a disreputable location.
  4. Location is on the upswing: As the city of Jacksonville grows and there are fewer areas to develop, there are business owners that have begun to realize that the area around Emerson is a prime location. In response to this, there have recently been a number of businesses that have been built in the area: Wawa, Community First Credit Union, McDonalds, Starbucks, AT&T, Wingstop, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Chipotle Mexican Grill.
What is the new space like?

The 1969 building is located within Emerson Office Park which has plenty of area for parking, a ramp into the building, and multiple entrances. The space we are leasing is composed of 4,500 square foot space made up of four bathrooms, multiple offices, a more open area, concrete floors, and a good amount of wood paneling. When the buildout is complete, the outside will still appear as an office building from the outside, but instead will have an English gothic feel (giving hints of what is to come in the future when we own our own actual church building), a beautiful altar area, a kitchen, and multiple spaces for classrooms, and offices.

What is the timeline for getting moved into the Emerson Building?

We are hoping conservatively to be celebrating Mass in the new location by Christmas of this year. The best estimates right now is that it will take three to four months to complete demolition, architectural drawings, and permitting. Once this is complete the actual buildout can take place which is estimated to take another three to four months.  

Can I help get the new building ready?

Yes. That would be great. Though much of the work will be completed by licensed contractors some of the DIY projects that we plan to complete ourselves include demolition, painting, flooring, trim work, and blowing insulation into the attic. If you would like to help, please email or use the Contact Us form. 

Financial Update on a New Home for St. James

Leased Building, Rough Goals (numbers may change based contractors finalization, supplies, and volunteer capabilities and availabilities):

  • Monthly Giving increased to $10,000 which is about what is needed to cover ongoing lease expenses. Complete 😊
  • Emergency Reserves of $30,000 (three months of operating expenses): Complete😊
  • Phase 1 Usability: $121,414.76 raised ($76,244.76 composed of capital fund and savings + $45,170 Tenant Improvement Reimbursement which will be paid by Landlord once everything is complete). These funds will be used for permitting, walls, plumbing, electrical, floors, chairs, lights. Funding Complete😊
  • Phase 2 Beautification and Welcome: $644 raised toward $28,680 needed for Sacristy Cabinets, Tables, Ambo, Baptismal, Kitchen/Break Rm, Arched Window Frames, Grand opening Advertising and Food

These figures were last updated on July 6, 2024


Progress Update

  • Asbestos Remediation Complete
  • Bathroom Renovation in progress
  • Interior Design Meetings with one of most sought after designers in the southeast
  • Contractor Chosen: Florida Development & Construction Corporation
  • Architecture plans are now signed and sealed and ready for submission
  • Demo of existing walls and floor patching – thanks to the volunteers who got this done!
  • Rotten soffit repair and painting is almost complete
  • Landscaping plans submitted to building owner for approval
  • Church sign design is nearly finalized
  • Obtained two electrical bids, waiting on one other
  • Obtained project navigation counsel from Diocese of St. Augustine Real Estate Planning and Property Development director
  • Hiring Engineering Firm MB Engineering/Intrepid Dynamics Co to complete MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) plans as required by the city for permit submissions
  • Church Chair Research in Progress



Buildout Plans

Before Construction (current layout)

After (layout after construction)

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St. James Catholic Church is a nonprofit corporation and no goods or services are provided in return for charitable donations. St. James Catholic Church Federal Tax ID is 87-4445325.