HISTORY OF SAINT KATHARINE DREXEL MISSION
St. Katharine Drexel Mission began as a “Mass of Convenience,” celebrated at Pace West Elementary School in Haymarket, Virginia, on September 10, 2000. Fr. Joe Binick, Administrator of St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church in Middleburg, VA, realized his parish covered a large and rapidly growing area and sought an opportunity to reach out to his parishioners.
The first Mass in Haymarket was attended by 135 people. In those first days everything for Mass needed to be transported from Middleburg to Haymarket in a van. One of the parishioners designed and built a portable altar, cross and lectern that could be taken apart for transporting. By the end of 2000, attendance had grown to over 300.
2002 brought several big changes to the young community. In March a Steering Committee was formed to work in an advisory capacity to the pastor and to help guide the community growth. Space was rented and remodeled in the commercial building next to Pace and a “Catholic Center” was opened. A Hospitality Crew started “Bagels after the Blessing” on Sunday mornings and parishioners were invited to gather, have coffee and get to know each other. This did much to foster a family feeling that continues to mark the community.
In December 2002 a move to Bull Run Middle School was required to accommodate the growing community. Additional Sunday Masses were added as needed because of growth. A cadre of visiting priests, as well as the pastor, served on a rotating basis to assure that Mass could take place each Sunday.
What began as a Mass of Convenience officially became St. Katharine Drexel Mission in June of 2005. Upon Fr. Joe’s retirement, Fr. Sean Rousseau was appointed temporarily to St. Stephen the Martyr to act as Administrator. In 2005 Fr. Sean became Administrator of Corpus Christi Mission in Chantilly, founded at the same time as St. Katharine Drexel.
In 2005 Fr. William Schardt became Pastor of St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg.
In 2009 a new “Mission Office” opened on John Marshall Highway in Gainesville. This new office is handicapped accessible and offers plenty of space for meetings and other Mission functions
Although a “Church without Walls,” St. Katharine continues to celebrate its existence as a vibrant worshiping community.