In the late October of 2008 Bishop Thomas G. Doran established the parish of St. Katharine Drexel in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The new parish was founded thanks to a major gift from Anthony, Jerry and Keith Rich, local Sugar Grove businessmen. In early November Bishop Doran named Rev. Robert Jones pastor of the first new parish formed in the Rockford Diocese since 1989.
Dr. Mike Cieslak, Director of Research and Planning for the Rockford Diocese, presented data that showed the growth of Sugar Grove over the past 30 years and provided projections of a future population explosion reaching 60,000 people. The data confirmed the real need for the establishment of the parish.
Once Rev. Jones assumed his pastorate, getting a feel for the community of St. Katharine Drexel became a priority. A survey, part of the planning study, was used to assess the views of St. Katharine Drexel parishioners. Parish members were solicited to give feedback regarding building priorities as well as their views regarding the impact church has on parishioners' lives, the neighborhood and the Sugar Grove community at large. Another important component of the survey was to assess the willingness of the parish to provide spiritual, emotional and financial support as the future vision and direction of the parish evolved.
Since the establishment of St. Katharine Drexel Parish it has become home to over 1000 registered families, registration in the Religious Education program exceeds 300 students pre-school through high school and attendance at weekend Masses regularly exceeds 1000 worshipers.
The spirit of the people of the parish mimics that of its patroness, St Katharine Drexel. The warm welcoming environment is evident to all.