Tupelo St. James celebrates centennial, follows Camino de Santiago


TUPELO – On July 9, 1914, then Bishop John Gunn dedicated St. James the Apostle church. In July, 2014, hundreds of parishioners, many descendants of founding families, gathered to celebrate 100 years of faith.
The parish organized a weekend of activities, starting on Friday, July 25, the feast of St. James the Major, with a pilgrimage meant to mimic the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James, a famous pilgrim’s trail in Spain. Parishioners boarded a bus to Chickasaw Village and walked back into town praying and singing.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz celebrated two of the weekend Masses which drew almost 700 people. The parish has been served by traveling priests, Benedictines and diocesan priests since its founding.
“We are very thankful for all who helped with our celebration of our patron saint, James the Apostle, and our parish’s 100th anniversary. Bishop Kopacz mentioned to me how pleased he was with the two liturgies he celebrated with us over the weekend,” wrote Father Lincoln Dall, pastor, in the bulletin.
“There are so many people to thank, that the list of names would be endless. But we thank those on the 100th anniversary committee, led by Christi Houin. We thank those who were in special roles in our liturgies last weekend: our wonderful musicians, the liturgy committee, and the lectors who provided us the readings in different languages. Raquel Thompson and the kitchen team; and those who planned the pilgrimage walk did a fantastic job. The Apostle James would be proud of the celebration we had in his honor.  Thanks to all who attended our festivities this past weekend,” he added.
In the mid 1800s, Irish immigrants founded the community when they settled in the area once most-likely trekked by Hernando deSoto and his company in the 16th century. Descendants of those early Irish families are still there while new immigrants from Mexico and Central America are also now members of a vibrant Catholic community there.