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In June 1941, Archbishop John J. Mitty purchased a dairy farm to be the site for a new parish. Fr. John Scanlon, who had just returned from Rome after receiving a Ph.D. in Theology, was appointed Pastor of a parish he named Saint Gregory, after the great Pope and Theologian of the sixth century. On the farm there was an old ranch house which became the priests’ home and the Manor Theater, a few blocks away served as the church. The 400 energetic parishioners rallied to construct their first church. The school and convent soon followed at a cost of $265,000.
By 1953, the parish of 1,000 families dedicated themselves to collect $358,000 for the construction of yet a newer church. This was necessary because the Village and Foster City were developing and becoming a part of our great parish.
In 1963, the transfer of Fr. Scanlon created the appointment of Msgr. James Brown to Pastor of St. Gregory. He built offices for the religious education department, a gymnasium and administered the decision of changing the school staff to a lay faculty. He established the first lay board of education.
In 1977, Msgr. Brown retired and the new Archbishop, John R. Quinn, appointed Fr. William Worner to the responsibilities of our parish. All of the buildings were refurbished, the school developed in standards and in enrollment, the religious education program was enhanced by the acquisition of three Sisters of Mercy, the care of the homebound and elderly became a priority by appointing Sister Sylvia to this ministry, the seniors developed a new club and youth were guided by a youth minister. The liturgy and worship committees became a functioning part of the parish.
Upon Fr. Worner’s retirement in 1991, Fr. Edward Murray came aboard as Pastor. He created a Parish Finance Council made up of parishioners. A Pastoral Associate, Parish Manager and bookkeeper were added to the staff. He energetically led all of the ministries that were established prior to his appointment, encouraged family and youth participation in liturgical services and promoted the importance of lay ministry involvement in the future parish.
In 1996, Fr. Murray returned to hospital chaplaincy work and Msgr. Robert McElroy was appointed Pastor of Saint Gregory Church. He revived many wonderful traditions from our long parish history: bringing back and expanding the annual parish festival, reviving the Men’s Club, re instituting annual women’s retreats and completing the original plans for the church by installing stained glass windows. A capital campaign provided for the renewal of our wonderful parish and we celebrated our golden jubilee with a festive Mass and reunion. In September 2010, Msgr. was ordained a bishop at Saint Mary’s Cathedral by Archbishop George H. Niederauer. Many parishioners were there to celebrate with him. Monsignor now Bishop McElroy served our church for 14 years.
In July 2011, Fr. Paul Arnoult was appointed Pastor of our church. In the short time since his arrival, Fr. Paul has been instrumental in establishing a new Women’s Club, Men’s Prayer Group, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Spiritual Bouquets as well as initiating many plant improvement projects. He has taken great care to preserve the many long standing traditions unique to Saint Gregory and they continue to flourish under his leadership.
With eight hundred students in our parish school and religious education programs, blessed with faith-filled and committed parishioners who give generously of their time and talents to our parish, and served by a splendid parish and school staff and clergy, St. Gregory’s enters its eighth decade grateful for its past and looking forward ardently to its future!