In 1926, Fr. James E. Carey of Sacred Heart Parish in Portland founded Catholic children’s camps throughout the area including St. Gregory’s for boys on Crystal Lake in Gray. Under the direction of the chaplain at St. Gregory’s, Mass was celebrated in the recreation hall for the campers and local people who wished to attend during the summer months.
Part Two: The Road Towards a Parish
As summer visitors increased, there was a drive in 1958 to build a chapel on the grounds. Father Knox was the campground chaplain at the time. The Catholic Holy Name Society of Portland and many other interested groups and individuals helped to make the drive a success. The chapel was built and named in honor of St. Gregory the Great. It was formally dedicated and blessed on August 2, 1959, and then became a Mission of Sacred Heart of Yarmouth.
Part Three: Renovations
With the increased number of families in the area, the people desired a church that would be open all year. With the encouragement of the Most Reverent Daniel J. Feeney, the summer chapel was winterized in the fall of 1964.
On April 15, 1967, St. Gregory’s was established as a parish with its own resident Pastor. Rev. James Knox who served the families of Gray, New Gloucester and West Cumberland. There were 200 registered Catholic families at that time. They had no rectory then and Father Knox lived in a campground cabin for part of the winter with no plumbing and only a fireplace for heat. The campground had, at one time, 448 campers (boys) and 39 staff members.
The rectory was built in 1968 by a Lewiston contractor but mostly by parishioners. The parish hall was completed in 1970. In 2011, St. Gregory Church joined the Parish of the Holy Eucharist.
Today St. Gregory is an active church, working in partnership with Holy Martyrs, St. Jude and Sacred Heart as the Parish of the Holy Eucharist to proclaim and celebrate our faith.
1967 – 1971 Fr. James Knox
1971 – 1974 Fr. P. Robert Roche
1974 – 1983 Fr.. Donald Lonsdale
1983 – 1986 Fr.. James Morrison
1986 – 1989 Fr.. Raymond Gauthier
1989 – 1991 Fr. Maurice Morin
1992 – 1997 Msgr. Raymond Begin
1997 – 2007 Msgr. Robert Lavoie
2007 –2012 Fr. Joseph Ford
2012- Fr. Daniel Greenleaf
1925 – St Gregory’s Boys Camp founded. People from the area attend Mass in the
Recreational Hall during summers.
1958 – A drive to build a chapel to accommodate all those attending in the summer.
1959 – August 2: Chapel built and named in honor of St. Gregory the Great. Dedicated and
blessed by Most Rev. Daniel J. Feeney, Bishop of Portland. It became a mission c
hurch of Sacred Heart in Yarmouth.
1964 – Fall: Chapel was winterized.
1964 – Christmas: First Mass at midnight in heated chapel. Mass celebrated year round by
priests from the Cathedral.
1967 – April: St. Gregory Church established as a parish.
1968 – Rectory built by contractors from Lewiston.
1969 – Chapel built at Pineland – first Mass 12/14/1969 – Served by pastor of St. Gregory.
1969 – Parish Hall built by parishioners. completed in 1970.
1973 – Final camping season for boys
1977 – Campground property purchased by St. Gregory Parish.