Irishmen engaged on the farms and in the foundaries along the Octoraro, the Pequea, and the Conowingo Creeks united as a Catholic congregation about 1830. Father Bernard McCabe, the pastor of St. Malachy’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 confessions, and offered Mass in the farmhouse of Bernard McCaffrey, which is now the home of Carl Johnson. McCaffrey’s will bequeathed two acres of land and a trust fund to the bishop of Philadelphia for a church and cemetery dedicated in the name of St. Patrick. 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, blessed the building on May 4, 1844. Blessed John Neumann rededicated it to St. Catherine of Siena and blessed it on July 26, 1857.
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 1932. 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 successive 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. Catherines’s trace their ancestry to the pioneer parishioners. Father Jeremiah Loony bought two lots from the Quarryville Land Improvement Company, for $75; and the company 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 Reverend John R. Campion succeeded Father Brandt and served until 1992. The Reverend Joseph C. Coyne followed Reverend Campion and served until his death in July 2001. The present pastor is ……Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by