archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

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Township, Lancaster County, Pa

"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968

Irishmen engaged on the farms and in the foundries along the Octoraro, the Pequea, and the Conowingo Creeks united as a Catholic congregation about 1830. Father Bernard McCabe, the pastor of St. Ma1achy's Church in the woods of Doe Run, Chester County, cared also for the Catholics in Coatesville, in Parkesburg, and in southern Lancaster County. Each month he administered baptism, heard con-fessions, and offered Mass in the farmhouse of Bernard McCaffrey, which is now the home of Carl Johnson. McCaffrey's will be- queathed two acres of land and a trust fund to the bishop of Philadelphia for a church and cemetery The parishioners built a simple stone structure in 1843. It had a roof of Peach Bottom slate. Construction costs amounted to $970. The Most Reverend Francis Patrick Kenrick, Bishop of Philadelphia, dedicated the building on May 4, 1844.

In 1894 the parishioners voted to abandon the building at the cemetery and to build in the newly developing Quarryville. The stone walls of the original church were razed in 1933. The cemetery, often called "Dry Wells Cemetery," is still in use by the congregation. When the diocese of Harrisburg was established in 1868, the parish became the responsibility of successive Lancaster parishes or of suc-cessive chaplains of St. Joseph's Hospital. Because of the continuing migration of farm people to the cities or to the West, hardly a score of the present-day members of St. Catherine's trace their ancestry to the pioneer parishioners. Father Jeremiah Loony bought two lots from the Quarryville Land Improvement Company, for $75; and the com-pany donated two lots. The first resident pastor, the Reverend Herman Fischer, served from 1930 until 1933. His successor, Father Arthur Brandt, led the congregation for twenty-six years, dying in January, 1960. The present pastor is the Reverend John R. Campion.

The parochial territory includes the eight townships of the Solanco School District, plus Martic and Sadsbury townships. Including children, there are about six hundred members.

The congregation offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every Sun-day at 8:00 a.m. and at 10:00 a.m., and nearly every day or evening at varying times. The sacrament of penance (confession) is administered before every Mass, on request, and every Saturday from 4: 00 to 5: 30 p.m. and from 7: 00 to 8: 30 p.m. Baptism of infants takes place, ordinarily, at 1: 00 p.m. on Sundays. Religion classes for twelve different groups are taught on Sundays from 9: 00 to 10: 00 a.m. Any adult interested in studying the doc-trines of the Catholic Faith is very welcome, without obligation, to enroll in the series of forty lessons which are required for those wishing to join the Catholic Church. These series are conducted throughout the year at the convenience of inquirers. The present pastor, Father John Campion, lives in the rectory which is built onto the church, at 15 East Third Street, Quarryville.

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