In 1954, much of the area where the church, rectory, and school now stand was vacant land. Bishop Matthew F. Brady determined that there was a sufficient number of Catholics living in the North End of the city to warrant the establishment of St. Catherine of Siena Parish. Previously, St. Joseph Cathedral Parish ministered to the needs of North End Catholics.
During the construction of the church and rectory, Monsignor John Foley, the first pastor, and his two associates, Father Arthur Sullivan and Father Paul McHugh, lived in rented rooms on Elm Street. New parishioners attended services in the old Strand Theater in Manchester.
In 1959, prompted by the steady growth of the North End population, Monsignor Foley decided that a parish school was needed. Sister Mary Paula, RSM, was the first principal of this school that then housed grades one through eight. The construction of the building was planned with an eye on the future. Thus, St. Catherine of Siena School remains an up-to-date modern, cheerful school that easily adapts to the demands of new technology.
Upon the death of Monsignor Foley in 1966, Monsignor Philip J. Kenney became the pastor. In 1971, he was appointed to serve as Vicar for Community Affairs for the Diocese of Manchester. The parish then welcomed its third pastor, Monsignor J. Hannigan, who served for 36 years until he retired in early 2007. Rev. Paul D. Montminy served as pastor from 2007-2018. In the fall of 2018, the parish welcomed Fr. Chris Martel, who quickly became an integral part of our school. With over 2300 registered families, St. Catherine of Siena is not only the largest parish in the city of Manchester, but one of the most active and thriving parishes as well.
The Sisters of Mercy administered the school from the time of its foundation (1959) until the end of the 1971 school year when the administration was placed under the direction of Sister Janet Belcourt, CSC, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Holy Cross. She continued her position as principal until her retirement in 2014. Sr. Janet's appointment to St. Catherine of Siena School came on the heels of the closing of St. George School where she also served as principal. Because of financial stress and a decline in the number of religion teachers, the Diocese of Manchester opted for a program of mergers. The plan consolidated St. Catherine of Siena School with St. George and St. Joseph parishes, and was comprised of grades one through six. Later, all Catholic schools that were consolidated from the East Side became known as Manchester East Catholic Regional Schools. That same year saw the opening of the Kindergarten.
After a number of years, Monsignor Hannigan concurred with the administration that some changes were in order. As a result, Monsignor petitioned the diocese to reinstate St. Catherine of Siena as a Parish School. Permission was granted after some lengthy negotiations. It was a very happy day for all concerned and it proved to be a wise decision. St. Catherine of Siena School has since thrived. That same school year marked the opening of a Pre-Kindergarten. Students have had remarkable success in their transition from elementary to junior high school. The quality of the education offered to the children continues to surpass expectations.