The Mission and Ministry of the Chautauqua Catholic Community is:
To Be A Welcoming Presence to All
To Be A Catholic Center for Spiritual Enrichment and Worship
A Community of Hospitality and Fellowship
A Resource for Fostering the Universal, Religious, Cultural and Educational Values that Shape the Human Family
To Offer Accessible Opportunity for the Chautauqua Experience
Over 100 years have passed since the first Catholic Mass was celebrated at Chautauqua by Father Edward Gibbons in the moorish styled college building. Father Gibbons went on to become Bishop of Albany; however, the “Catholic Presence” that began with that Mass in August of 1895 soon faded.
However, during the intervening years a small spark remained. Sunday Masses were offered in various locations by visiting priests and for the years on a regular basis by St. Mary’s of Mayville.
This spark ignited anew when a group of interested Chautauqua Catholics began to meet in July of 1987. Subsequent meetings led to the formal establishment in 1988 of the Chautauqua Catholic Community , a 501(c)3 corporation.
The goal of the Chautauqua Catholic Community was to enhance the “Catholic Presence” at Chautauqua through an expanded Mass schedule, two priests in residence each week, guest speakers, seminars and in any other way that would benefit Chautauqua’s Catholics and Chautauquans in general.
During the 1988 season, the first Saturday Vigil Mass was celebrated by Father Richard Hoar, a retired South Seas missionary affiliated with Canisius College. This Mass helped to alleviate the gross overcrowding of the Sunday Mass.
Since that time to the present the two priests in residence offer Mass twice daily. These priests are available for individual consultations, formal and informal programs along with many other priestly services.
In 2004 the CCC opened its own residence, Catholic House, on the Brick Walk offering accommodations, a small chapel for reflection, weekly socials and a haven for those wishing to pause in the frequently hectic Chautauqua Institution schedule.