History of St. Catherine
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church was dedicated on Sunday, October 17, 1948, by the Most Rev. Emmet Walsh, D.D., Bishop of Charleston.
The imposing Gothic structure, made of hand-cut Indiana limestone, was dubbed by many Lancastrians as the “Little Cathedral.” The Building Fund consisted not only of Catholics, but also included friends who practiced other faiths, such as Protestants and Moslems.
This was the first of many giant steps that the Catholic Church has taken in the community. Masses were previously held in the home of Mr. Waddy Francis, who converted his large buffet into an altar. Once a month, thirty people attended the Mass celebrated by Fr. James Sharples, C.O., an Oratorian priest.
Father Sharples continued his ministry in the Parish, “setting up shop” in the sacristy and travelling from county to county educating children in the Catholic faith.
The Ladies Guild formed in 1949; and in 1952, the regular C.C.D. program (now called “Christian Formation Program”) began. In 1969, the Parish Council was formally established. Throughout, regular participation and outreach to the community has continued.
The present Office, used for a time as the Rectory, was originally the home of the devout Caron family. In the 1960’s, the Parish Hall was added to accommodate faith formation classes, as well as Parish and community meetings and events. Countless Liturgies, Sacraments, and life changing events have transpired here.
It is only through the generosity of so many that all this has been possible. Without our predecessors’ sacrifices, we would not be the blessed community we are. We are in debt to them for their gifts of time, talent and treasure.
Today, the Parish has continued growth, and a continually growing Christian Formation Program for children, Youth Ministry, and Hispanic population.
The spirit of St. Catherine has by no means dwindled. The house of God that was erected in 1948 still invites, and still hosts Holy Mass and divine worship throughout the week.
At it’s 65th Anniversary in 2013, St. Catherine has the opportunity to enhance the Church and it’s mission further, by providing much-needed access to physically-challenged parishioners and by enlarging its border.
Thus, after much prayer and consultation, and the approval of our Bishop, the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, the Parish has embarked upon a two-year Capital Campaign to undertake needed enhancement to our facilities and to provide for current and future ministries.
In all we do, may our Lord Jesus Christ be lifted up and draw many to Himself, and may God receive great glory.
Priests Who Have Been Assigned to St. Catherine
Since its dedication in 1948, St. Catherine has been served by the following priests assigned by the Bishop:
James J. Sharples, C.O.
Robert Leo Sweeney, C.O.
John J. Gallagher, C.O.
Edward V. Wahl, C.O.
F. Robert DaVola, C.O.
William F. Pentis, C.O.
Edward V. Wahl, C.O.
Joseph A. Wahl, C.O.
David D. Valtierra, C.O.
J. Michael Burton
Donald S. Abbott
John O’Holohan, S.J.
David A. Runnion
Philip S. Gillespie