By Maria McEneany
An enthusiastic crowd filled La Colonia Park Sunday afternoon, Sept. 25, for the “The Way,” a festival celebrating 100 years of faith for the St. James-St. Leo’s Catholic Community. Canopies filled the park showcasing Church Ministries and offering a diverse menu of specialty foods, desserts, face painting, activities and field games for adults and children. The stage was a burst of vibrant energy with a four-hour line up of spiritual song that included St. Leo’s dancers, parishioner Earl Flores, the “Singing Cowboy,” and Jackie Francois.
Though the current church, located at 650 South Nardo, is a far cry from its humble beginnings outside the Rock Haus on 15th Street, Del Mar, where St. James Catholic Church initially began, and parishioners sat alongside a dusty Highway 101 near a myriad of horses, buggies and wagons to celebrate Mass, as others traveled lengthy distances from the back country and up the coast to worship, Father John Howard, the 10th and current pastor will tell you, “the faith is as alive and well in this community as when Bishop Thomas Conaty led it in 1911.” Thousands of parishioners later, including diverse cross-generational cultural families, all surely have something to celebrate. Happy 100th birthday, St. James!