St. Augustine Catholic
Hope for Our Future
Something to Work For
Lessons from the Disabled
Kara's Courage
Twins Learn Early the Gift of Giving
in this issue... 
editor's notes
saint of the month
bishop's message
in the know with Fr. Joe
work life
spiritual fitness
youth ministry profile
around the diocese
calendar of events
editor's notes
welcome to our first teen issue

Beginning this month, our September issue will be devoted to the youth of our diocese.

Our theme is “What do you hope for?” It is also the question we posed to high school seniors as part of our first annual Msgr.

Joseph James Writing Scholarship Award. This spring, the St. Augustine Catholic sponsored an essay contest with our two finalists announced in July.

The awards include a $1,000 scholarship for a senior attending a Catholic high school and a $1,000 scholarship for a high school senior active in their parish youth ministry. I want to congratulate our finalists and all the students who participated in the essay contest.

Some of you may be asking who is Msgr. Joseph James and why are the scholarships named in his honor?

My good friend and fellow journalist Margo Pope fondly remembers Msgr. James as a balancer. “He balanced the life of a priest with the life of a journalist,” she said.

Now associate editor of the St. Augustine Record, Margo met Msgr. James shortly after going to work for the Florida Times-Union in 1970. Msgr. James had just launched Community - a weekly page published in the Sunday newspapers in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Pensacola and Gainesville.

Community was an innovative approach to sharing the news and views of the Catholic Church with Catholic and non-Catholic readers.

Msgr. James got his start in journalism when he was called in 1963 to be the assistant editor of The Catholic Week, the newspaper of the Diocese of Mobile, covering Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. He studied journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He also became a long-time member of Sigma Delta Chi, The Society of Professional Journalists.

Along with Margo, Msgr. James was a charter member of the Jacksonville chapter of Sigma Delta Chi. “For all the time we had a chapter, we could count on Joe being active and involved,” she said.

In the late 1960s, he was brought into the Diocese of Saint Augustine when he was assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Pensacola. A change in boundaries shifted Pensacola from the Diocese of Mobile to the Diocese of Saint Augustine.

He immediately became a member of the Board of the Florida Catholic newspaper and later served as Chairman of the Board.

In 1970, Msgr. James became the founding editor of Community. He served as editor for eight years, until 1978.

Msgr. James died May 7, 2003 at the age of 67. He was pastor of Mary, Queen of Heaven Parish in Jacksonville at the time of his death. At his funeral, retired Bishop John J. Snyder fondly remembered Msgr. James as having “the gift of preaching and writing and the ability to relate to communication professionals. He touched the lives of so many in so many ways. We are all better for his involvement in our lives.”

“Msgr. James was a consummate journalist. He would love this award because he loved the written word for getting the message across,” said Margo.