From a mission church,St. Catherine’s came into its own as an independent parish in 1922 to serve both Graniteville and Forge Village. The population has grown in response to the changing economic and social environment. While continuing to serve many founding families and their successive generations,today’s parish is composed primarily of families with young children who have great concern and deep respect for the older members of our community. It is the town’s only Roman Catholic ministry serving a large geographic area.
We are a Eucharistic family,believing deeply in Jesus Christ and His teaching,and committed to fostering these truths in our children. We are concerned about the deep spiritual and physical well-being of not only our neighbors,but of all men and women. We seek to enrich our lives and those of others through the practice of our faith.
St. Catherine of Alexandria
Saint Catherine of Alexandria,the patron saint of philosophers and unmarried women,was martyred in the year 310 AD. According to legend,she was extremely learned even as a child. In Alexandria,she rebuked the Roman emperor Maxentius for his persecution of Christians and converted the philosophers he had ordered to debate with her. Maxentius condemned her to be broken on the wheel,but,by a miracle,the wheel collapsed. She is called one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers because of the many miracles and cures attributed to her.
St. Catherine’s symbols are depicted in our church’s statue. The Broken Wheel recalls the wheel on which the Roman authorities of Alexandria tortured her. The Book represents her learning as a philosopher. Her Crown represents her aristocratic background. The Lily represents her chastity.
St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish is located in a section of Westford known as Graniteville.
The original mission church,which was complete in 1892,had a seating capacity of 300 people. The size of the parish increased over the next two decades and the church building was enlarged and the seating capacity was increased to accommodate this growth. In 1907,the pastor and the parishioners realized that the existing church building lacked many basic essentials. Economic conditions interfered with the building of a new church,so repairs and alterations were made to the existing church. St. Catherine’s Mission became a parish in June 1922,with its first pastor,Father Aloysius S. Malone. He was given permission by the Archdiocese for the construction of a rectory.
The second church structure,built in 1934,offered a seating capacity of just fewer than 500 persons. St. Catherine’s Church was dedicated on June 17,1935 and the last Mass was celebrated in the old church across the street on the same day. With the new problem of automobile parking,it was decided to raze the old church and try to sell the lumber. A parking lot was created in its place.
In 1994,St. Catherine’s added a parish center. It consisted of 1 office,a coat room,5 classrooms,a music room,several storage rooms,a library,a conference room and a large function hall with a kitchen. Soon after,the basement was finished off by volunteers to accommodate our ever-growing Religious Education program as well as a growing staff. Today’s parish center consists of 10 offices,a youth ministry lounge,a music room,7 classrooms,several storage rooms,a multi-functional mezzanine,a conference room,a large function hall with a kitchen and a coat room.
In 2001,St. Catherine’s underwent a major renovation and expansion of the original church to expand the seating capacity to around 800 persons. Now parishioners enjoy a large,beautiful and esthetically magnificent church building.
To learn more about the history of St. Catherine’s,you can purchase “The History of St. Catherine of Alexandria Roman Catholic Church”written by Doris R. Karkota from the parish office for only $25.00. The book can also be mailed to you for an additional $3.95. To request your copy,send a check payable to St.Catherine,107 North Main St,Westford,MA 01886.