Youth Groups

Praisers | Altar Servers | Children’s Liturgy of the Word | Challenge Club for Girls | Cub Scout Pack 55 | Girl Scouts USA | CYM Basketball | Moms and Tots | BOLD Youth Ministry


Karen Sutherland

For information, please visit Music Ministry.

Altar Servers

Sr. Esther Falzone, S.C.C.
908-766-0888, X238

For information, visit Altar Servers under Liturgical Ministries

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

Kathy Mastriano

The Children’s Liturgy of the Word provides an opportunity for the young people of our parish to enhance the formation of their faith. During the 9:00 a.m. Mass on Sundays from late September through mid-May, children pre-school through grade 5 are invited to join adult volunteers to experience the Gospel in a child-friendly format and environment. The children begin Mass with their families in the church and then are dismissed prior to the first reading to join their group leader. They return to their families after the homily.  

The Seeds program is designed for ages 3–5 and introduces preschoolers to Jesus’ love for them. Seeds establishes a ritual and enables children to develop a warm and loving first memory of the exercise of their faith. 

Good News, for children in Kindergarten through grade 4, engages youngsters in discussion and group activities designed to enhance their understanding of the Gospel message. Both the Seeds and Good News groups are exposed to prayers, songs, readings and an activity or discussion. Children also hear the Gospel each week in an age-appropriate format.  

Adult volunteers are always needed! Seeds and Good News have accompanying teacher handbooks that provide a complete outline of the lesson and Gospel for each week, including ideas for activities and discussion. Teacher volunteers are not required to develop a curriculum or lesson plans. Assistant volunteers aid the teachers, display the banners, welcome parishioners as they enter church, and guide the children as they process out and back into Mass.

Confirmation candidates, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and junior high and high school students are also welcome to help out and to earn service hours in the process.

Challenge Club for Girls

Alison Wessels

Girls ages 10 to 16 are invited to join Challenge, a club for Catholic girls that focuses on helping its members to develop apostolic hearts so they can grow in virtue, friendship, and their Catholic faith, thus preparing them to function as Christian role models to their peers and others. The older girls serve as team leaders and run the meetings for the younger girls who are grouped in teams by age/grade.

Challenge meets on Sunday evenings from September through June at 6:00 pm until 7:30pm in the Monsignor William Capik Pastoral Center at Saint James Church.

In addition to the Sunday meetings, Challenge offers retreat opportunities, faith sharing, service and apostolic projects, and fun activities that encourage a deepening relationship with Christ and unite the girls with their team leaders, their teammates and the other girls in the club as they seek to find happiness and make a difference in their families, in the parish, in the community and ultimately, in the world.

Appropriately, the club motto is: Challenge Yourself. Challenge Others. Challenge the World!

Cub Scout Pack 55

Neal Griffin

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness. For nearly a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.

Saint James Church sponsors Cub Scout Pack 55 (Black River District, Patriots’ Path Council) for boys in Grades 1 through 5. Cub Scouting positively influences character development and encourage spiritual growth; helps boys develop habits and attitudes of good citizenship; encourages good sportsmanship and pride in growing strong in mind and body; improves understanding within the family; strengthen boys’ ability to get along with and respect others; fosters a sense of personal achievement by helping boys develop new interests and skills; shows how to be helpful and do one’s best; provides fun and exciting new things to do; prepares boys to become Boy Scouts. In addition to fun and learning adventures, Pack 55 participates in service activities for Saint James Parish and the surrounding community. The Pack meets monthly. Individual Dens set their own meeting schedules.  Training for adult leaders is available through the Patriots’ Path Council.

The Diocese of Metuchen supports the Boy Scout program, especially that component of the Scout Law that states, “A Scout is reverent,” and helps Scouts to fulfill their Promise to “do my duty to God and my country.” To this end, boys are encouraged to earn the Catholic religious emblems offered at each level of Cub Scouting: Light of Christ for Tiger Cubs in Grade 1 and Wolf Cubs in Grade 2; and Parvuli Dei (Children of God) for Bear Cubs in Grade 3 and Webelos Scouts in Grades 4 and 5.

Visit Pack 55 for a calendar of events/activities and pertinent forms.

Girl Scouts USA

Stella Perna

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—through which, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, patriotism, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

Founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scouts membership has grown from 18 members in Savannah, Georgia, to 3.7 million members throughout the United States, including U.S. territories, and in more than 90 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas.

At Saint James, the Girl Scout movement offers girls (Kindergarten through grade 12) an opportunity to build courage, confidence, and character in a noncompetitive, supportive environment that reflects the needs and interests of participating girls with a wide variety of activities, trips, and outdoor experiences. Girl Scouting encourages responsibility and promotes the development of decision-making ability, good conduct, and the desire to serve.

The Diocese of Metuchen recognizes the Girl Scout program as an instrument to strengthen the spiritual life of the girls it serves and to help prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetimes, thus fulfilling the Girl Scout Promise: On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law. To this end, girls are encouraged to earn the Catholic religious awards offered at each level of Girl Scouting: Family of God (Grades 2-3); I Live My Faith (Grades 4-6); Mary, the First Disciple (Grades 7-10); The Spirit Alive (Grades 9-12).

Meeting days, times and locations are set by individual troops.  Training for adult leaders and volunteers is available through the Heart of New Jersey Council. For more information, visit Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey.

To learn more about the Religious Awards program, contact Stella Perna. 

CYM Basketball

For information, visit CYM Basketball

Moms and Tots

Kathy McCarthy  

Six mothers, who met by chance at local parks, founded Moms and Tots in 1984 as a vehicle for socializing their preschool children and reaching out to other mothers for advice, support, and companionship. Moms and Tots sponsors and annual bake sale, donating all the proceeds to Saint James Church, our gracious and generous host. All other activities are designed for the sole benefit of our children

The Saint James Moms and Tots playgroup is parent-run and gives moms and dads with children ages birth through preschool a chance to socialize and participate in constructive play. The group meets on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the chapel auditorium. Playgroup consists of approximately one hour of free play followed by 20 minutes of organized activity such as songs and instruments, Play Doh, or parachute time.

Field trips are also offered. Among these are a hayride, story time at the library, an airport tour, pony rides, firehouse tour, trips to local playgrounds, and a tour at the Environmental Center. There are also holiday parties and a year-end family picnic. Visiting musicians, dancers, and magicians come a few times a year to perform and entertain the children and their parents.

Moms and Tots also promotes service through projects like the annual toy drive, food drives, and seasonal visits to the Somerset Hills Adult Day Care Center.

New members are always welcome. Our mission today is the same as it was in 1984: To create a welcoming, fun and wholesome opportunity for moms (and dads!) and their tots to interact with each other and to meet new people who share their values.

BOLD Youth Ministry

Karen Dziekonska

For information, visit BOLD Youth Ministry.