During all weekend Masses on Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6, St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Egg Harbor Township celebrated their 10th anniversary as a community, with history lessons, scavenger hunts, and family fun all with a “carnival-like” atmosphere.
Named after St. Katharine Drexel, who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and was canonized on Oct. 1, 2000, the parish was established on June 1, 2000, with Father Joseph Ferrara as pastor, and originally held Masses at Alder Avenue School, with a Parish Center/Rectory on church property.
On May 31, 2003, groundbreaking for the Parish Life Center with classrooms and a church, took place, and on June 1, 2004, Bishop Joseph Galante celebrated the parish’s dedication and first Mass.
The 10-year anniversary is the culmination of a series of parish events celebrating its history and community, that began during the feast of Christ the King last year.
At the beginning of each of the four weekend Masses on June 5-6, a parish history video was shown, and four different colored banners were brought into the parish life center, symbolizing the four hemispheres from which its parishioners hail from.
At the altar stood a “giving tree” whose branches were made up of photographs, artwork, and writings created by parishioners, to express how their lives have been shaped by the parish community.
After the Masses, parishioners took part in a scavenger hunt, gathering clues while listening to parish history from designated storytellers, while magicians, music and refreshments kept the festive mood.
Two large maps were placed in the gathering space, and parishioners placed pins on their hometowns, showcasing their rich diversity during a parish unity event.
Sister Dorothy “Dot” Urban, pastoral associate at St. Katharine, called the weekend a time of reflection on the past 10 years, and what is to come, a “time to look ahead and ask ‘How do we live our mission? What might God ask of us?’”
Calling the weekend a “community-building” celebration, current pastor Father John Vignone is optimistic for the future, remarking that the festivities brought “renewed enthusiasm…that will bring us into the next decade.”