The Bell Tower and Statue

The Bell Tower

The position of the 42-foot bell tower makes it the focal point of the site from the 90th Street entrance.   Its positioning - next to the main entrance on the east side of the building - is a symbol of a call to worship.

Its key feature is a bell-and-clapper system from the Verdin Company in Cincinnati, which was founded in 1842 and is one of the world's largest suppliers of bells.   The bells themselves were manufactured by the Royal Dutch Bell Foundry in the Netherlands, a company hundreds of years old.

The system includes three bells of different tones and sizes in a tuned set.   The bells are stationary, but the clappers, operated through an electronic system, move to ring the bells.   (In other words, these are real bells with an authentic bell sound.)  The system can be set in a variety of ways, including random tolling for events such as weddings and funerals.

Each of the three bells is inscribed with one of these phrases.

Praise to God the Father
Praise to God the Son
Praise to God the Holy Spirit
These photographs are from Summer and Fall 2002 while the church was under construction.


Four crosses, each about 24 feet high, adorn the bell tower.  Another, even more visible, cross,
about 8 feet high, is mounted on the south end of the main roof, the highest point of the church.   
That cross is about 70 feet above Tomahawk Boulevard to the south.



Statue of St. James

The statue of St. James is located at the base of the bell tower.  The plaque reads:

This image represents St. James the Greater's strength, courage and determination to fulfill his Christ-given task of evangelization.

He moves swiftly, taking great strides with his staff along the Spanish banks.  Charged with the Spirit, he preaches, emphasizing every word with dramatic gestures, calling all to follow Christ.   He looks down, symbolizing his humility and is oblivious to any obstacles in his path.

The shells at his feet symbolize his patronage of pilgrims and his devotion to Christ for whom he left everything to become a "Fisher of Men."  - Timothy P. Schmalz, Master Sculptor

St. James Apostle and Friend of Jesus, pray for us!

The Cross of Spikes

In the midst of the grassy courtyard between the church and the school is the Cross of Spikes.   The plaque reads:

"The Cross of Spikes (Brother Mike Wilmont, S.J. artist)

The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity.   It is a reminder of the suffering and death
that Jesus Christ endured as the supreme act of love that redeemed the human family.

This life-sized cross is made of 330 railroad spikes which represents the 33 years of Jesus' life and the three spikes drive into our Lord's hands and feet that held his tortured body to the cross.   Its weight of 1200 pounds is symbolic of the burden of sin.   Embedded in a concrete base and reaching to the heavens, it reminds us that God's love for us through Christ is forever.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.
(Acclamation from the Stations of the Cross)