St Gregory The Great Parish was created on February 9, 1951, by Archbishop James Francis McIntyre. During construction of the church, Masses were celebrated at the clubhouse at what is now Candlewood Country Club. Our first Mass was a High Mass celebrated by Fr. Michael Galvin, our first pastor, on June 8, 1952.
Fr. Leo Mackey became our second pastor in December 1952. By 1953, we had grown to 1,250 families and Fr. Mackey sought approval to build a school. CCD classes started the same year with 330 students. February 14, 1953, saw the groundbreaking of the school. On September 13 of that year, now-Cardinal James Francis McIntyre solemnly dedicated our church.
In 1954, Dominican Sisters arrived to begin the new school year with 440 students in the first four grades. A building drive to expand the school was launched the following year.
Fr. Donald Ruddy arrived in 1956 as assistant pastor. He stayed over 6 years (and returned in 1973 as parish administrator). In 1958, our parish hall was built and Fr. Mackey celebrated his silver jubilee.
School enrollment was now 929. June 16, 1959 Father Mackey saw the school's first 8th grade graduation.
Our parish grew to 2,500 families by 1962. Remodeling and enlarging of the church began in January 1963.
The years 1965 through 1975 saw many enhancements done throughout the church including stained glass windows and mosaics. After the Second Vatican Council, the altar was "turned around," and the Mass began to be celebrated in English. A new rectory was constructed in 1968. In 1976, Fr. Mackey retired and Fr. Ruddy became our third pastor. The Presentation Sisters of Ireland replaced the Dominicans at the school in 1976. Fr. Mackey died October 18, 1976. A Mass in Spanish was added to the Sunday schedule in 1977.
In 1980, Fr. Ruddy celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest, and in 1985 Servando Patlan became our first Deacon. Fr. Ruddy was designated a Monsignor in 1995, and the Msgr. Ruddy Center was constructed the following year. Upon Msgr. Ruddy's retirement in 1998, Fr. John Schiavone became our fourth pastor.
Msgr. Ruddy died peacefully in September 2000, after more than 30 years of service here. That same year, our outreach ministry "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" was created. In 2003, the Perpetual Adoration Chapel was opened, enabling worshipers to encounter Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at any time, day or night.
Fr. Ikechukwu Ikeocha was installed as our fifth pastor in 2010. He oversaw a number of improvements to the parish facilities, refurbished the convent to become the Faith Formation Center, and installed a new baptismal font in the sanctuary in 2011.
Fr. Brian T. Castaneda became our sixth pastor in 2015.
For more current news about our parish, please see our weekly bulletin.
“Be not anxious about what you have, but about what you are.” (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church) The Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church (A.D. 540 – 604) is September 3.