Church Profile: St. James Catholic Church

By Christie McNeal/NEMS Daily Journal

St. James Catholic Church in Tupelo has grown tremendously from what longtime parishioner Jerry Bristow remembers as a child. He said in those days, the church had so few members that weekly religious training consisted of sitting around the table of the first resident priest, the Rev. Robert Reitmeier’s, house. He also remembers serving as an altar boy at the first church, which was located near downtown Tupelo on Green Street.
Now the church, which relocated to a new building visible from N. Gloster Street in 1960, has grown to over 800 families.
The Rev. Tom Lalor, who has served as priest for the past four years, said the church enjoys reaching out to the community and teaming up with other churches.
“We are only about one percent of the population of this town, but we are very involved in it,” he said.
The church helps with the Red Cross, Helping Hands Ministry and works alongside Calvary Baptist Church at the Tree of Life-Arbol de la Vida Free Clinic. St. James is also currently involved in Bridges out of Poverty.
Lalor said the church has a very active Hispanic community. Elquin Gonzalez serves as Hispanic minister, and the church offers English as a second language and Spanish as a second language classes.
“We feel the need to minister to all of God’s people, no matter who they are or where they are from,” said Lalor.

“My personal mission statement is to live as a man, as a Christian and as a priest, all with faith and love.”
Father Tom Lalor, pastor

• Denomination: Catholic

• Pastor: the Rev. Tom Lalor

• Established: The first church was built in 1914.

• No. of members: just over 800 Anglo families

• Worship days: Rosary – 4:05 p.m.; Saturday – Vigil 4:30 p.m., Reconciliation 3-4 p.m.; Sunday – 8 and 10:30 a.m., Spanish Mass at 2 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – 8 a.m.; Wednesday 6:30 p.m.

• Address: 845 Lakeshire Drive, Tupelo

• Phone: (662) 842-4881

• Website:

• Email:

The Daily Journal spotlights churches in the community. To nominate a church, contact Christie McNeal at

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