PERRIS—Nearly 40 years in the making, the parish community of St. James the Less in Perris finally celebrated the opening of its new worship space when Bishop Gerald Barnes blessed and consecrated the church on May 25.
The new 1,500 seat church is located at 22190 Dunlap Drive on unincorporated Riverside County property near Perris. It replaces the small 300-seat parish church that had been built in the 1950s. The St. James community first began planning for the new church in 1981; the Dunlap Drive property was purchased in 1996.
At the dedication Mass, the new church was filled beyond capacity as Bishop Barnes performed the many rites of a new church dedication Mass, including the anointing of the church walls and the altar, and specific blessings of the tabernacle and baptismal font. Religious sisters and members of the St. James community brought altar cloths and flowers to the altar after it had been anointed by Bishop Barnes.
Since the opening of the new church weekly Mass attendance and donations have increased by more than 100 percent. The old St. James Church will remain in use for school Masses, weddings, Quinceaneras and other smaller functions.