Dear St. James Family,

Happy Holy Cross Day. Today is known as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and is celebrated in remembrance of the day when St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, found the true cross back in the year 326. It is said that she was told by God in a dream to search for the true cross and that the Lord gave her the location where she would find it buried. At the place they found a number of crosses buried which made it difficult to discern which cross was the one upon which Jesus died, but St. Helena did not give up. She instructed that these crosses be touched to a very ill, elderly woman. When the true cross was touched to her sick body she was instantly healed.

Pieces of the Cross: These relics of the true cross began to be venerated by Christians soon thereafter and this practice continues to the present day. There are a very small number of pieces of this true cross that are preserved in certain churches and there are people living today who continue to personally testify to God’s healing power through them.

Celebrate: Holy Cross day is a Feast Day so enjoy it. Whip up some Holy Cross Buns and give thanks to our Lord Jesus for his work for us on the Cross.


Angry Toward Someone Who Hurt You? Come Hear this Sunday’s Homily

This Sunday I will be preaching on the often misunderstand notion of forgiveness. Come and learn why there is no such thing as unconditional forgiveness and why unconditional forgiveness actually lacks charity. Learn also how to forgive even when it is hard and painful and be moved by the inspirational examples of forgiveness lived out by the saints of the Church.

News and Happenings


Autumn Ember Days are Next Week: Fasting, Prayer, Consecration of the Fall Season

This coming Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (September 20, 22, 23) are the Autumn Ember Days, a prayer and fasting practice that was celebrated by a majority of the Catholic Church, but then fell to the wayside during the 1970s. However, the Ordinariate, this new diocese that we are part of, is one of the movements within the Church that is bringing this rich practice back to the fore.

History: Since ancient times the Church has set aside time once a quarter at the beginning of each of the seasons (fall, winter, spring summer) for prayer and fasting. It is traditional during these days to pray against famine and disease, and to consecrate each season of the year through penitential and charitable acts, as well as praying for the souls in Purgatory. These three days are known as Embertide. Medieval lore says that during Embertides, the souls in Purgatory are allowed to appear visibly to those on earth who pray for them. These days are also special times of praying for vocations to the priesthood. These three days are traditionally observed at the beginning of each season.

Why Three Days? Why a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday? The ancient Christian fasting days of Wednesday and Friday are brought back during Embertides and to this Saturday is added. Our Israelite ancestors once fasted weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Christians changed the fast days to Wednesdays (the day on which Christ was betrayed) and Fridays (the day on which He was crucified). The weekly two day fasts were later amended in the Roman Church to keeping only Fridays as penitential days, but during Embertides, the older, two-day fasts are restored. Saturdays (the day He was entombed) were added to these Ember times of fasting and are seen as a sort of culmination of the Ember Days.

Fasting from Meat: The current discipline for Ordinariate members is that fasting is optional on Ember Wednesday and Saturday, but that abstinence from meat is obligatory on Friday, September 22. Learn more about Ember Days.


Larger, Centralized Location for St. James Delayed, Yet There is Joy in the Journey

I was recently contacted by our real estate agent and notified that the space that we were hoping to move into and lease, is no longer on the market. The current tenants unexpectantly decided not to move out, but instead to sign another five year lease. So, this means we are back to looking around for a good fit for the St. James community. So far, I have only been able to find spaces that cost $3-4,000 more per month than the space that we had previously settled on.

Though I am disappointed that the space did not work out, I’m grateful for all of the things that I have learned over the past few months from this experience: what it is like to work with the city of Jacksonville, all about permits and codes, contractors, architects, buildout costs, and timelines. However, the greatest benefit of this experience was to see how the people of St. James came together in unity around this project, both prayerfully and financially. I am blessed to be part of such a great little community and I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us, especially after these last few educational months.


Dealing with an Unrepentant Sinner – Last Sunday’s Homily

Know someone who has a sin that they really like and do not want to give up? Maybe they don’t even see it as a sin. How do you respond to this? Learn about what Jesus says you should do with that sinner that refuses correction or change. Maybe that sinner is you (wink). I think that you’ll be surprised by the answer and maybe even scandalized :-). The good news of our Lord has a way of doing that.

Listen to this and my other homilies at or by searching “Fr. Mayer’s Preaching & Teaching” wherever you get your podcasts


Upcoming Events


Check out Serve Sunday. Find Opportunities to Get Involved

September 17 after both Masses you will have the chance to learn about and meet with people from the various St. James ministries. Come and learn about all of the great things taking place at this little mission and see if perhaps the Lord tugs on your heart about possibly learning about or helping out with one of these ministries: music, family ministry, hospitality, setup, finance, classes, photography, website, podcasting, videography, record keeping.


Welcome Dinner for New Attenders and Curiosity Seekers: RSVP Due today

Would you like to learn more about the history and vision of St. James and opportunities that you might be interested in? This Sunday, September 17 at 4:00 PM, we are hosting a special dinner for you and about a dozen or so others. You will get a chance to introduce yourself and meet others. I’ll be telling my story as well as sharing about the mission, vision, and values of St. James. These orientation dinners are a lot of fun, but they only come along every so many months so if you have not been to one, be sure to jump on board this one. Today, September 14, 2023 is the deadline, so please let me know as soon as possible if you will be joining us (I might let you sneak in if you let me know a day late :-). Here are the full details and location for the dinner.


Angelic Evensong, Food, Angelology, Fun, Friday, September 29, 6:00 PM

Welcome the fall season with us by celebrating Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels Feast. Experience evensong, a sung version of evening prayer, followed by a potluck (traditional foods for this fall feast include roast goose with apples, mutton pies, blackberry crumble, Sruthan Mhìcheil, St. Michael’s Bannock, and nuts to be cracked). During the potluck I am planning on giving you a peak into the vast unseen world of angels. During this time there will also be games for the kids outside that will include the likes of foot racing, sword fighting, and jousting. There will be prizes :-). Check out the full details.


Other Upcoming Dates

Check out More Upcoming Events at the Website



Other Local Catholic Events


Exhibition of the Eucharistic Miracles, Sept. 29 – Oct. 10

Join St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 4600 Belle Terre Parkway, in Palm Coast for this traveling display of photographs and historical descriptions of Eucharistic miracles recognized by the Catholic Church that have taken place throughout history. The times are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 29 through Oct. 8 and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 9-10. For more details, call (386) 445-2246.  


Going through Serious Marriage Issues? Retrouvaille Retreat Weekend, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1

This weekend retreat will be held at Marywood Retreat & Conference Center, 235 Marywood Dr., in St. Johns. It is for couples with marital problems that want marriage help. Those who are considering marriage separation and those who are already separated or divorced are encouraged to consider this program as well. The cost is $350 per couple. For more information, visit or contact Jan Albers at


Diocese of St. Augustine Night at the Ballpark, Sept. 16

121 Financial Ballpark, 301 A Philip Randolph Blvd., in Jacksonville for a doubleheader between the Jumbo Shrimp and the Gwinnett Stripers starting at 5:05 p.m.! There is reserved section with seats for $14 per person or upgrade your ticket to include an all-you-can-eat buffet for $33.43 per person. Check out this flyer or purchase tickets here.

Faithfully, your pastor,

Father Mayer