Today is the feast of St. James, brother of St. John. Put to death by Herod, it happened that one brother was the longest living Apostle, while he, James, had the shortest life.
This is the feast day of everyone named James. It invites you to remember the good men bearing that name. Pray for them on their feast day.
For me, the first to come to mind is Father Jim Corry, who is still doing well in Ireland. I was privileged to serve with him at St. Paul’s for twenty years. His room was around the corner, down the hall, and two closed doors between us; but still I could hear his hearty welcome to anyone who phoned him. Another priest from his order, Billy Butler, often called him, and I delighted in his thundering welcome, “Billy, I can’t believe it. It’s Billy!”
Jim and I were quite opposite in many ways. He had his own extra prayers he added at Mass, and I guess I had more peculiarities than he did. Husbands and wives, take note! Jim and I got along beautifully by letting each other be different.
Another James who immediately comes to my mind is Jimmy Stewart. There was much about him that helped make America a fine country. As a boy, he was a fan of Lindbergh. The week Lindbergh was to fly the Atlantic, Jimmy stayed home from Princeton, using the window of his father’s hardware story to show the flight, he had the Atlantic and the Eiffel Tower there.
I was on vacation in Kyoto Japan in 1957 when I saw an advertisement for the movie “The Spirit of St. Louis.” I was almost alone in the theater, sitting in the cockpit with Jim and Lindy, waving to the people in our fly over of Dingle Bay.
James Stewart joined the Army as a private, but his flying experience pushed him up into the Air Corps. From the day he joined he never gave another movie interview. In the bombing raids over Germany all the pilots wanted to be in his wing, because he was the most skilful and safest man to work with. Happy feast day, James! We know you are again up there above the sky.
After I get started on this a good number of fine men named James came calling on me. I’m sure it is that way with you to. Happy Feast Day, James, one and all!