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St. James Church

First slide

What’s distinctive about your parish?

St. James is a very historic parish that is more than 125 years old and is located in the heart of Falls Church. The church has a historic cemetery, which is a beautiful location to visit. We are blessed to have the presence of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as part of our parish and school. They have been teaching here since 1923.

What is your parish’s charism?

St. James is strongly oriented toward service. Our Social Outreach Committee provides opportunities for parishioners to put into action the corporal works of mercy. We have a group that provides dinner for the hungry once a month at Christ House in Alexandria and contributes to a local day care that assists the children of families in need. 

What is a new ministry that you’ve started? Or, alternatively, share some recent activities of longstanding ministries.

St. James hosts Creation Care Ministry, which grows vegetables, herbs and more to donate to those in need at our parish as well as other parishes. 

What’s the one unique thing visitors to your parish should do or see while there?

Visitors should see the beautiful Holy Spirit rose window above the altar dedicated to IHM Sister Callista, who was a beloved St. James teacher from the 1940s. The 12 areas of red glass hold 12 tiny images of the Infant of Prague, for whom she had a great devotion.

Also, behind our parish library is a parish garden that the Creation Care Ministry maintains and harvests for those in need in the local community.

How are you supporting the faith journey of particular cultures represented in your parish?

We have a very active Hispanic ministry. They celebrate many feasts including Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12. We also have religious education for Hispanic families under the guidance of the IHM sisters.

What would a visitor say about your parish, and how do new parishioners get involved?

Our parish is a very welcoming one. New parishioners can find ways to get involved by contacting our rectory office, checking out our website, reading our bulletin and following us on social media.

What’s something we should know about your clergy?

During the pandemic, Father Paul D. Scalia, pastor and diocesan episcopal vicar for clergy, and Father John Paul Heisler, parochial vicar, hosted a weekly Facebook Live theological talk show that was entertaining and spiritually uplifting during a difficult time. It helped parishioners stay connected to our priests. Father Scalia also sends weekly emails of spiritual guidance and parish information that is very popular. His weekly Sunday homilies are posted on social media and the parish website.

Our three priests bring diversity. Father Scalia is a native of this area. Father John Paul Heisler grew up in Front Royal in a family that has many nuns and priests. Father Joseph D.Q. Vu was born in Vietnam. He escaped from Vietnam with his two older sisters when he was 16 years old. The family spent two years in refugee camps in Thailand and Indonesia before coming to the United States in 1984.

Quick Facts:

St. James Church

905 Park Ave.

Falls Church, Va.



Social media:

Facebook @StJamesCatholicChurch, Instagram @StJamesCatholic, Twitter @St_James_CC

Pastor: Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Parochial vicars: Fr. Joseph Vu and Fr. John Paul Heisler

Mass times:

Monday-Friday: 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and 12 p.m.

Saturday: 8:30 a.m., 5 p.m. (vigil)

Sunday: 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. (Spanish),7 p.m.

Year established: 1892

Total parishioners: More than 3,000 families


St. James Catholic School

830 West Broad St.

Falls Church, Va.



Preschool, K-8

465 students

Principal: Sr. Mary Sue Carwile, IHM

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021