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St. Katharine Drexel Mission hopes to build a permanent church in Haymarket

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The St. Katharine Drexel Mission in Haymarket opened in 2000, the year the saint was canonized. Since then, the mission church has been without a permanent home. They meet weekly in Bull Run Middle School in Gainesville to celebrate Mass.

The goal of building a permanent church for the community is close to a reality. The mission recently completed a second capital campaign to raise money for construction.

“With this effort, they’re closer than ever to achieving their goal with pledges made by more than 200 families,” said David O’Flynn, head of the St. Katharine Drexel building committee. “(The mission) expects to achieve its goal with ongoing efforts, including the Mardi Gras Ball.”

The third annual ball, co-chaired by Casey Parker, Mary Banworth and Dianne Lemanski, will be held at Piedmont Golf Club in Haymarket March 2. There will be a live and auction, buffet dinner and dueling pianos for the entertainment. All the proceeds will go to the building fund, including tips given to the piano players.

“It was our intention when we started the gala in 2017 to build a bond in our community,” said Parker. “We needed social interaction without the set up and take down of the school for Mass.”

Parker said the community is strong and has grown, with an active Knights of Columbus and Legion of Mary.

Father Christopher D. Murphy, pastor of St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg and the mission, said the new church will serve the people of Gainesville and Haymarket. When the boundaries of the diocese changed 10 years ago, many parishioners from the geographic area joined other churches including Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville. Father Murphy said the mission needs the support of those parishioners as well.

Father Murphy will celebrate Mass at the mission and a reception for the feast of St. Katharine Drexel March 3. Parishioners will receive updates from the building committee’s annual report on the progress.

“We want to convey that our second capital campaign is almost complete,” said Father Murphy. “That depends on everyone’s enthusiasm remaining high and that we all follow through with our pledges.” 

If you go

St. Katharine Drexel Mardi Gras Ball, March 2, 6:30 –11 p.m.

Piedmont Golf Club, 14675 Piedmont Vista Drive, Haymarket

Purchase tickets online at katharinedrexelcc.org/st-katharine-drexel-mardi-gras-ball/.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019