In 1922, two years after Warren Harding became President and one year before Calvin Coolidge became President, Rev. Maurice Riley organized St. Gregory the Great Parish, named after a man who was born about 540 A.D. and was a Pope, Saint, and had the honor of the title “The Great.”
The first church was wooden with unpainted plaster walls. It was torn down in 1961 and was replaced with a larger structure. The new church was dedicated in March of 1962 under the pastorship of Father Towell. The church was built on a six acre piece of land. The sanctuary mosaics came from Milan, Italy. The church marble came from Tivoli, Italy. The twelve pillars symbolize the twelve apostles supporting God’s church. Each of the sixteen beautiful stained glass windows tells a story or represents an important seasonal event like Epiphany or Pentecost.
The school was established in 1925 with four portable classrooms borrowed from St. Ann’s. Grounds didn’t break for a new school until 1949. In 1950, the seventeen room new school was dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima with the help of a marble statue that arrived from Italy.
In 1976, our parish celebrated the 200th birthday of our nation and a new pastor, Monsignor Novicky. The fireworks at the celebration were a good signal that something great was happening for our parish. Monsignor Novicky, former superintendent of Catholic schools, proved to be totally dedicated to our school and parish. During his time here we have watched our school grow and seen a new parish family center be constructed. A successful “Light for Tomorrow” campaign has meant first floor restrooms in the church, a new chapel, a church library, a bride’s room, a better sound system and refinished pews.
It was interesting to talk to Ruth Liptow who worked in the rectory and who also went to St. Gregory School and later graduated from Brush. She has lots of interesting memories. When she was young, a school day began with attendance at Mass at 8:00 a.m. There was no kindergarten. There were two grades per classroom and each class had 40-50 students with only one nun as teacher. In 1937 they added four more classrooms, a dining room, and two washrooms. Every day you had to bring your lunch to school, but if you lived a mile and a half away or less you had to go home for lunch; lunch was an hour and a half long. The most popular high schools for eighth graders to select at that time were St. Ignatius, Cathedral Latin, Notre Dame, and Charles F. Brush.