The Narthex


The narthex is a place of welcome - the gathering space at the main entranced to the church building, just outside the nave.   The area aids the transition from the outside environment of daily life to the celebration of the liturgy in the worship space.   It is intended to offer a comfortable and spacious environment for fellowship without upsetting the quiet, reverent atmosphere of the sanctuary and nave.   Besides the open area for gathering, the narthex area includes a nursery/bride's room, a library space, a coat room and restrooms.

Nursery/Bride's Room

This large room is situated on the northeast side of the narthex and serves as a nursery and a bride's room.   It contains a vanity with a stink and outlets, as well as a separate bathroom.   During Sunday Masses and other church events, it can accommodate up to 20 infants and small children for baby-sitting.   In 2015 a live broadcast of Mass was added to allow parents and children to worship when children need a "timeout".  For weddings, it provides convenient space for the bride and attendants.   The space is also used as a meeting room.


   


Library


On the northwest side of the narthex is the library.   Its roll-up window facing the narthex allows people to readily purchase items such as HOPE certificates and other items, before and after church events.  The room contains bookshelves and glass cabinets for displaying items and books for borrowing by parishioners.   The library also serves as an extra meeting room.   Lost and found items are kept in the library.   Large containers are kept in the library for food donations to the St. James Parish St. Vincent de Paul chapter.


Memorial Gifts Book

Located in the narthex just north of the nursery entrance, the memorial gifts book contains the names of St. James donors and/or those memorialized by their gifts.   The names are engraved on the book's metal pages.   The donations noted in the book include commemorative gifts or designated gifts for items such as the altar, windows, pews and baptismal font.   The book is kept in a metal box mounted on the wall with a picture of St. James Church on its front.


Cornerstone


The 2-foot-by-2-foot precast concrete cornerstone is just to the left as you approach the main entrance to the church.   It also ties into the them of a pilgrimage.   Imprinted on it are a scallop seashell and words from Psalm 122. "I rejoiced when I heard them say, let us go up to the house of the Lord."

Mounted on the back of the cornerstone, out of sight, is a copper box serving as a time capsule.   The box has a variety of contents that give meaning both to the parish and to the year in which the church was built, including a 40th anniversary parish pictorial directory, new 2002 coins and a copy of the Catholic Voice.

ZBM designed the cornerstone, and it was cast by an Omaha-based company, Artisan Stone.

Restrooms and Coat Room

At the west end of the narthex, double doors lead to the Parish Center where many meetings and receptions are held.   To the right are restrooms with baby changing facilities and handicap access.   To the left is a coat room.  A wheelchair is kept in the coat room for emergency use.