Catholic believers pray for the intercession of the saints in heaven so that they may pray for us on our behalf. Saints are able to intercede on our behalf and offer up to God the prayers of those on Earth. Patron saints are recognized as the heavenly advocates and special intercessors for many things, even states. If you want to ask for the special intercession on behalf of your state, do you know who to pray to?

St. James the Greater, one the twelve apostles, was often affectionately known as St. James the Fisherman. He was the brother of John the Evangelist and is considered the first martyr of the Christian faith, beheaded in Rome. St. James the Fisherman, whose symbol is a scallop shell, is also the patron saint of Cape Code and is considered the protector and guardian of the fishing industry, anglers, laborers, pilgrims and travelers.

St. James the Greater and his brother, John, shared a unique nickname given to them by Jesus: “Sons of Thunder.” Most biblical historians believe this nickname could be attributed to an event that occurred when some Samaritans refused to open their hearts to messages of Jesus— St. James and John desired to call fire down from heaven upon them.

Because Cape Cod is known as a historic seaside town near where the first pilgrims landed when seeking religious freedom by traveling to this new, unknown land, St. James the Fisherman Chapel was built in his honor in 1953.

The building was constructed to reflect the spirit of St. James in both materials and design and to express the importance of thanksgiving and of all believers. The architectural design was initially controversial but proved to become part of the chapel’s identity and brought more worshippers by its namesake—the beloved St. James. With a shingled steeple above the altar, interior beams similar to those of old fishing vessels, a round worship center and a shell forming the baptismal font, the chapel has been a unique place of worship for more nearly 70 years.

St. James’ passion can be felt through the structure, and his legacy and commitment to God resonates within the walls of this unique church in the heart of Cape Cod. For more information, visit www.stjameschapelwellfleet.org.

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Kelly Legg has been writing for the Osprey Observer as a freelance writer for three years, and has recently taken on the role of managing editor for the Christian Voice newspaper. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications. She currently resides in Riverview with her husband and three children.