Name of Church St. John the Baptizer
Address 4400 Palm Avenue, La Mesa CA 91941
Phone number (619) 697-5085
Divine Liturgy Schedule Sundays at 9:30 am; on weekdays as requested.
Confessions 30 minutes before services or by appointment.
Names of priests Father James Bankston, pastor. Father Bankston is an orthodox, welcoming pastor, with a wealth of knowledge about the eastern rite Church. Fellowship with him and St. John the Baptizer parishioners after the liturgy, when the parish hosts a coffee social. Father Bankston, who is married and has children, came to the parish in 2008.
Special activities Saturdays and Vigils of Feasts, 6 pm Great Vespers (in English); monthly men’s prayer breakfast (sponsored by the Knights of Columbus).
Liturgy The liturgy is sung, the congregation stands throughout the service. (Although you sit at the homily, or at other points of the liturgy if you need to.) You do not kneel during the liturgy. The liturgy uses a mix of Ukrainian and English. To receive Holy Communion, open your mouth and tilt your head back (do not stick your tongue out); the priest will give you the Host dipped in the chalice on a spoon. Do not be surprised if you see small children, even babies, receiving Holy Communion, as it is the practice in this rite. You’ll enjoy the colorful icons in the church, which are incorporated into the liturgy.
Parking No problem.
Fellow parishioners Most of Ukrainian descent, some Anglos.
Cry room Yes.
Additional observations This is a parish of about 50 families. It is in union with Rome and is part of the Saint Nicholas Eparchy, which includes the Western and Midwestern United States, led by Bishop Richard Seminack. The eparchy encompasses about 45 parishes; the bishop is headquartered in Chicago. The parish began as Our Lady of Perpetual Help mission in 1960; the church building was purchased in 1966. The church was relocated to the La Mesa site in 2001. (It was a former wedding chapel and rehabilitation center.) It was renamed St. John the Baptizer at that time.
This is also another parish that we attended. We love this parish! When we use to attend on regular basis we had Father John there, who use to be our pastor at that time but they promoted him to another parish at another state.. We always seem to see good holy priests be moved.
I love their mass, it is so beautiful! Great JOB Cal catholic for this article!
“We always seem to see good holy priests be moved.”
Well, yes, we do, because this is how the priesthood works. Bad unholy priests get transferred also.
Furthermore, we are to focus on Jesus and not the personality of the priest, not to become a fan club for him.
Mackz we are focused on Jesus especially when the priest is holy and really lives a life that is representative of that. I don’t know if you have children, a family, but once you build a bond with a good priest that gives you excellent spiritual guidance, one that leads you closer to Christ, especially one that leads you to a contrite heart… its hard not to miss them.
I know that some are very critical of us who have had a special bond with a Holy priest. It must be hard to understand I suppose and I don’t expect anyone to understand that. Especially in other Rites, where parishes are smaller, usually their priests are very poor and they are usually guests at our homes for dinner. They become part of our family too. Whereas at bigger parishes, well sometimes you only see your priests on Sunday.
I almost forgot to mention this is where my son and my nephew received a special blessing to join the Society of alter boys. They actually have a beautiful ceremony and treat it so special. My nephew was also baptized here and my children did their confirmation too. I miss Father John when he was pastor here. I didn’t get to meet this new pastor, maybe someday we can revisit to meet him.
I noticed that they only have one mass on Sundays. When we attended back then, there was an English Mass, usually the Latin Rite faithful attended that one, and shortly after they had their mass after with their own language. It’s too bad, I hope they grow, I don’t see how this pastor is able to live on such low income with a family. I will keep them in my prayers.
This parish is what got me to have St. Nickolas as one of my favorite saints. We had good memories there, the pastor that use to be there, also taught us a lot on church history. These priests sure know the faith well. They can converse well with those of other faiths because they always seem to know how to answer well when others outside for the faith have questions. God bless them!