01 Mar

Found: A 700-Year-Old Ring Adorned With St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas ring
During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for wearers to don multiple rings, each signaling a different aspect of identity, from social class to political affiliation.

Last month, Dekel Ben-Shitrit, a 26-year-old gardener, found a 700-year-old bronze ring bearing an engraved image of St. Nicholas. The ring was studied by Dr. Yana Tchekhanovetz, an expert in Byzantine history at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“This special ring is amazingly well preserved and will contribute a great deal to science,” she explained, in a statement. “On the ring is the image of a bald man with a staff next to him. On preliminary examination, this seems to be St. Nicholas holding a bishop’s crook – his hallmark.”

Christian pilgrims to the Land of Israel from all over the Byzantine Empire (Turkey, the Balkans, Greece and present-day Russia) would carry his icon to protect them from harm. It is probable that the ring belonged to a pilgrim who sought the protection of St. Nicholas on his travels.

07 Feb

Local St. Nick Asks Bristolians Play Host to GIs

We found this while going through the archives at the Bristol Phoenix. From the December 9, 1952 edition of the Bristol Phoenix:

For servicemen away from home at Christmas, James D. Rielly today made an appeal. He would like to see Bristol families who will have an empty place at their Christmas table, invite some lonesome servicemen and make him feel at home although he may be miles away from it.
Bristol Phoenix

We continue Jim Rielly’s work today by working closely with local veterans and military family support groups in our community.

Learn more about our foundation and how you can help!

31 Jan

U.S. Senate: James D. Rielly – A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus

On January 31, 1979 — thirty-nine (39) years ago today, Senator Claiborne Pell entered Jim Rielly’s name to the United States Congressional Record.

In 1979, Jim Rielly was celebrating 51 years of donning the Red Suit. Jim went on to portray the Jolly Old Elf for the next 12 years, making him the longest running Santa Claus to date.

JAMES D. RIELLY – TRULY REMARKABLE “SANTA CLAUS: FROM RHODE ISLAND
Mr. President, before the pleasures and memories of the recent holiday season slip our minds completely, I would like to share with my colleagues a tribute to a truly remarkable “Santa Claus” from Rhode Island.

I am referring to Mr. James D. Rielly of Bristol, R.I. This past holiday period marks the 51st year in which Jim Rielly has donned red suit and white whiskers and with a large bag of goodies has visited hospitals, senior centers, and children’s centers throughout the East Bay area of Rhode Island.

His is a particularly effective and welcome presentation of Saint Nicholas because Jim Rielly is himself the personification of the spirit of cheerful, selfless giving of oneself for the benefit of others.

I am proud to be among the many thousands of Rhode Islanders who claim to be good friends of Jim Rielly, and I join all of those friends in the mutual hope that Jim will be bringing his special brand of seasonal joy to Rhode Island for many years more years.

U.S. Congressional Record 1979

In 2010, Jim Rielly was entered into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in recognition of his extraordinary selflessness and kindness, and his contribution to the Santa Claus community.

26 Dec

Warren RI, Family Gets Christmas Surprise

WARREN, R.I. (WJAR) — The Warren Fire Department, along with volunteers, made the holiday season a little more merry and bright for a family of six. And it was all a big surprise.

“I first was told to put on my shoes, and then I heard the sirens,” Chloe Durand told NBC 10 News Wednesday night. “And then I saw Santa Claus.”

Santa was happy to help.

“You’ll be unwrapping for weeks,” he told the family.

The truth is, it’s been a hard year for the Durand family. About eight months ago, Maya Durand was hit by a car. She suffered two broken legs. While she is lucky to be alive, the crash ultimately put their family through financial hardship.

“We just had struggles from there on out,” Sarah Durand said. “And, so this is unbelievable.”

But in this special moment, Chloe, Maya, Jonna and the youngest, Wyatt, forgot all their troubles.

“Thank you doesn’t seem enough to say,” Sarah said.

They were swept with joy – and even Santa got emotional.

“It did bring a little tear to Santa’s eyes his year,” he said.

The James D. Rielly Foundation coordinated the efforts.

SOURCE: http://turnto10.com/news/local/warren-family-gets-christmas-surprise

27 Nov

James D. Rielly Foundation Helps Santa Visit Those in Need

James D. Rielly Foundation

Photo: Jennifer McGrath Winegeart

James D. Rielly Foundation Helps Santa Visit Those in Need

There’s a real life Santa Claus living right here in Rhode Island. Michael Rielly is from Bristol, Rhode Island, and he donates his time and talent to those who are in need by making appearances as Santa Claus.

Representing Santa is a Rielly family tradition that was started by Michael’s grandfather, James D. Rielly, during the Great Depression.

This year, Michael established a nonprofit in his grandfather’s name to preserve his legacy and continue his work of spreading holiday cheer. According to the James D. Rielly Foundation website, jdrfoundation.org, “In 1928 at the age of nineteen, Jim Rielly appeared as Santa Claus for a family living in an abandoned chicken coop. For more than sixty years, he would bring cheer to orphanages, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, churches, charitable organizations, military bases and the Rhode Island State House.”

SOURCE: http://www.rimonthly.com/james-d-rielly-foundation-helps-santa-visit-need/

29 Aug

James D. Rielly Foundation Receives 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status

James D. Rielly Foundation

Rhode Island based charity helps the children and families of veterans, active military, and first responders.

Providence, RI (PRWEB) August 29, 2017

The James D. Rielly Foundation is proud to announce that it has been formerly granted tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Contributions donated to the James D. Rielly Foundation are fully tax-deductible retroactive to the founding of the organization.

The James D. Rielly Foundation is also now eligible to apply for government and foundation grants, which will further broaden its access to resources and strengthen its ability to serve the members of the community.

Funded entirely by private donations, The James D. Rielly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer organization founded by Michael Rielly to honor the life and legacy of his grandfather, James D Rielly. The Foundation provides charitable support to the children and families of veterans, active military, and first responders.

Born in 1908, James (Jim) D. Rielly was a lifelong resident of Bristol Rhode Island and well known throughout New England for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts. Over the course of his lifetime, Jim Rielly was the recipient of numerous awards and received letters of recognition from celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world; Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators Theodore Francis Green, Claiborne Pell, and John Chafee, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, and even his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, just to name a few.

Jim Rielly was best known as Rhode Island’s own “Santa Claus”, where he portrayed the role of Jolly Old St. Nick for over 60 years. Much of his time in the red suit was spent bringing joy to the children and families of servicemen and women and first responders.

“In honor of my grandfather’s dedication to the community and those less fortunate, we established the James D. Rielly Foundation in his name”, stated Michael Rielly, James D. Rielly Foundation President. “Our mission is to preserve his legacy by providing charitable support to the children and the families of military and first responders hindered by economic status, physical or mental challenges.”

The IRS letter granting James D. Rielly Foundation its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is available upon request. For donation inquiries, please contact info(at)jdrfoundation(dot)org or visit www.jdrfoundation.org.

About James D. Rielly Foundation, Inc.
The James D. Rielly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, organized exclusively for charitable, religious, fraternal organizations, and educational purposes, including, the distribution of funds primarily to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under 501(c)(3). The James D. Rielly Foundation believes in giving back to the community both locally and nationally. We believe helping those in need will inspire others to do the same and in turn, improve the quality of life for all. To learn more, visit: www.jdrfoundation.org. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

28 Jul

Jim Rielly’s Bench

James D. Rielly Foundation

A big thank you to Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente and the Bristol Department of Public Works for repairs to Jim Rielly’s bench in Rockwell Park.

Thank you again!

24 Jul

International Santa Claus Hall of Fame

James D. Rielly Foundation

James D. Rielly – Inducted into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame – Charter Member 2010 Inaugural Class.

“A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island”
Bristol, Rhode Island
1908 – 1991

International Santa Claus Hall of Fame Charter Member – December 2010

James D. “Jimmy” Rielly’s career as Rhode Island’s most recognizable Santa Claus spanned over 60 years. He began his Santa Claus career in 1927 at the age of 19 at an abandoned chicken coop where several underprivileged children had made their home.
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