CHURCH OF SAINT KATHARINE DREXEL
The Church of Saint Katharine Drexel was established on June 1, 2000, by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the Board of Consulters. The new parish boundaries were drawn from sections of seven surrounding parishes very symbolic of the Seven Hills of Rome.
The founding pastor, Reverend Joseph R. Ferrara, was appointed June 20, 2000. In December of 2004, our second Pastor, Rev. John J. Vignone was appointed by Bishop Galante.
The history of the Church of St. Katharine Drexel begins with John McKee born 1821 in Alexandria, Virginia. John McKee was the son of slaves and worked as an apprentice to a bricklayer through his teens. Throughout his life he worked hard and acquired many pieces of property which included 4,000 acres in Atlantic County, of which 2,500 are in Egg Harbor Township. Much of the property acquired in Egg Harbor Township became known as McKee City. Colonel John McKee died in 1902 before his dream city was finished. At the time of his death his obituary read, Colonel McKee is said to be the wealthiest colored man in the United States. In his Last Will and Testament, he bequeathed the remainder of his estate to the Most Reverend Patrick John Ryan, Archbishop of Philadelphia and his successors in Office, to be used for various uses and trusts.
The Diocese of Camden, under the Leadership of Bishop DiMarzio, began work on creating this new parish in collaboration with Egg Harbor Township officials. After establishing the parish in March 2000, the next step was to obtain this property from the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The property (#of acres)was conveyed by the Archbishop of Philadelphia to the Bishop of the Camden Diocese by Court Order dated March 9, 2001; thus the Church of Saint Katharine Drexel began its own distinct ministry as the 141st parish in the Diocese of Camden.
During the first five years, the Church of St. Katharine Drexel grew to over 1,028 families with 3,825 members Now, in 2013, the parish continues to grow at a steady rate. We are a "faith family" of nearly 1800 households with almost 5800 members.. The parish family has built a Rectory, which includes the Pastors residence, a meeting room, and a chapel. In 2004, the Parish Life Center (PLC) was completed. It consists of Drexel Hall, 3 offices, and 8 Instr. /Mgt. rooms.
We are a vibrant, worshiping community, which celebrates the presence of Christ Jesus through an extensive faith formation program. The future looks bright as we continue to Build Gods House; Build Our Home!
The Future: Family and Community
The Church of Saint Katharine Drexel is a parish for the third Christian era. Our parish is dedicated to the family and the community at large. Through the intercession of our patron, St. Katharine Drexel we hope to live out our baptismal calling through the parish mission and vision statements.
We are committed to each and every family within our boundaries and parish registry. Sunday worship is our priority--the spiritual nourishment that begins and ends every week of our lives. Fed by God's Word in the Scriptures and the Body and Blood of Christ in Eucharist, we are formed as disciples of Jesus and stewards of the Reign of God --called to make a difference in the world.
Gift is our blueprint to carry out this call and live out our faith. Let us be Gift now and forever.