The year was 1955. A small number of Catholics in the Mountain Lakes area were looking to establish their own identity as a Catholic community. These faithful were members of the parishes in Boonton, Denville and Parsippany. One year later the group organized itself under the leadership of Frederick P. Schwartz and sought out like-minded Catholics in Mountain Lakes, and to his surprise, some 150 families responded positively. Bishop Frank McNulty sent Father David McCarthy (a former chaplain in the Navy) to establish an exploratory mission. Father McCarthy explained that the bishop was looking for prompt action, and to prove his point, on July 15, 1956 the first Mass was celebrated at the Mountain Lakes Club. Over 425 people attended, and it was decided that a new, temporary home needed to be located, since the Club could not accommodate the huge crowds every week.
An agreement was reached with the Masonic Temple at Island Beach and the mission rented the building on Sundays and Holy Days. It was also used for catechetical instruction on Tuesday afternoons, until a church could be built. A residence was purchased by parishioner Fred Schwartz, at 18 Vale Drive and was rented as a daily chapel and rectory. In 1957, Saint Catherine of Siena was advanced to parish status and Father McCarthy was named the first pastor. Unfortunately, Father McCarthy became ill in 1958 and was replaced by Father Joseph Glynn; a family friend of the McCarthy’s who had grown up with Father David.
Father Glynn was the perfect person to continue the mission for this new parish, and on March 16, 1958, ground was broken for the new church. The first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Eve, 1958, and the dedication took place on August 22, 1959, with Bishop McNulty officiating. Father Glynn was the beloved pastor until his death in 1981, except for a short timespan during 1965 when Father Glynn unselfishly filled the position of Spanish speaking priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Paterson. During this brief time, Father Francis P. McGowan was named pastor. On November 20, 1982, Msgr. David P. Mahon was welcomed as the third pastor. During his time at Saint Catherine’s, an extensive building project was completed, including the construction of a Parish Center dedicated to the memory of Father Glynn, which has provided us with many opportunities to share our faith and educate our children. In 1990 the church was blessed and rededicated by Bishop Frank Rodimer upon completion of the renovation. In 1997, after Father Mahon’s sudden death, Father Patrick F. Rice was named our fourth pastor until 2010 when Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli appointed Father Peter Filipkowski as fifth pastor. On June 29, 2015, Father Jared J. Brogan was appointed Administrator. In December 2016, Father Jared was appointed the sixth pastor of St.Catherine of Siena Parish.