The first mass in the history of DeKalb County was offered Sunday, September 19th, 1976 at the Hitchin’ Post restaurant, Smithville, Tennessee. There were thirty-four people attending the service. Father Gregory Putzer of St. Catherine’s in McMinnville was the celebrant.
Following the mass, pictures were taken and a general meeting was held. During the meeting a discussion on a location for future masses was held. The Westinghouse Plant’s cafeteria was selected. On September 29, 1976 Bishop Niedergeses accompanied Fr. Gregory and met with all the interested Catholic families in the area. Initially the masses were called Masses of Convenience. Once the attendance at the masses increased then a Mission Church would be established. At this meeting they selected St. Gregory as the name for the future Mission. The Bishop also approved having weekly masses.
Mission status was not easy to come by. Meetings at McMinnville, telephone calls, correspondence with the Bishop in Nashville and congregational meetings were numerous. Being the only Catholic parish in DeKalb County, this active group of fifteen families were determined to make the venture a success. On Sunday, October 31, 1976, the first official weekly mass was celebrated. There were thirty-eight present and thirty-three registered as permanent members. On January 16, 1977, Fr. Gregory announced that St. Gregory’s was officially a Mission.
Initially St. Gregory’s was under the jurisdiction of St. Catherine’s in McMinnville. In December 1976 they were switched to Cookeville and on January 30, 1977, they would be a Mission of St. Thomas Aquinas Church with Father Gerald Sirois and Father Don Loskot. CCD classes were also started and in June 1977 St. Gregory’s held its first Holy Communion. On June 6, 1979 the Mission of St. Gregory signed the paperwork to purchase the Calvary Baptist Church. St. Gregory’s now had a permanent home and was on it way to developing a catholic parish.
St. Gregory’s Catholic Church welcomes Fr. Michael Baltrus as our new administrator. He did his undergraduate studies at Valdosta State College in Valdosta, GA and earned his B.S. degree from Holy Cross College, New Orleans, LA. Father Michael received his M.A. degree from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Fr. Michael was ordained to the priesthood June 15, 2007 in the Diocese of Nashville. Father Michael is a gifted speaker who will help you ask and see where God is taking you on your spirit-filled journey.
Loaves and Fishes Ministry
Loaves and Fishes ministry falls under the Catholic Charities of Tennessee and the program administrator is Wendy Overlook. She is assisted by two gentlemen, Jim and Jeff. The program operates n the Parish Center of Holy Name Catholic Church, located behind the church at 508 Main Street, Nashville, TN. Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday the Loaves and Fishes program provides a hot midday meal to the hungry and homeless in East Nashville without restriction of religion, race or proof of need. Each week approximately 600 meals are served in a caring environment. At Loaves and Fishes, the people who come to eat around the tables are our guests. Guests of the program are also provided referral to appropriate services for housing, additional food, and clothing, within the community. For the past 25 years, Loaves and Fishes , a community-wide effort enlisting the help of 23 volunteer groups representing many denominations, schools and associations, remains committed to serving the growing needs of the hungry in Nashville.
About St. Gregory’s Part in the Ministry
St. Gregory has been performing this outreach for over 15 years. St. Gregory serves 3-4 times a year from June to August. Some folks do not provide the food but prepare and serve it. We are helping this ministry in two ways. More than 60% of the program’s financial support is from individual donors and our food donation is part of this. The meal we prepare and serve consists of chili, green salad(complete with tomatoes and ranch dressing), crackers, corn bread and a fruit cup. We usually also have grated cheese and chili peppers to put out for those who enjoy them on their salad or chili. No group provides any dessert because the program stopped doing this a few years back when the budget became so tight. In this regard, we provide fruit cups which are donated by a St. Gregory’s member. We serve between 140 to over 200 each time we serve. Due to the economic situation, this ministry is seeing many new faces as well as some who are returning that have not been to Loaves and Fishes for quite some time. This ministry could not exist without the assistance of the volunteers. St. Gregory’s volunteers are members who travel the Holy Name to prepare and serve the meal. Other volunteers prepare the corn bread muffins the day before we travel to Nashville. This ministry is administrated by Social Action Commission. Volunteers are always welcome.
The youth of St. Gregory’s is a very active and inspiring group. Participation is for young adults in grades 6th through 12th. Four years ago they named themselves “Klass of Awesome”. They continually show just how Awesome they are through their love of God, church, retreats, doing ministries, skits, live nativity and in class participation. They are truly a “Awesome” group of young adults. If you would like more information contact Mary Barrientos at 615-597-1970.
The Haiti Project At River Mancelle
We are a non-profit organization, that has served the 15,000 people of the remote parish of Riviere’ Mancelle, in the northern part of Haiti for 13 years. We provide the connection between concerned people here in the United States and the people of Rivier’ Mancelle. The Haiti Project at Riviere’ Mancelle has been an on-going ministry since 1999 when Denise and Bob Snyder led a group of young adults in a mission studies class in Smithville, TN. Each program within the Haiti Project is funded through donations specified for that program.
Our programs include:
• School sponsorship
• School Libraries
• School Lunch Program
• Medical Services
• Annual shipping container
• Shoe box program
• Agriculture services and The Fr. Jim Bretl Agriculture Center
• Clean Water
• Erosion control
• Power systems, solar ovens, rocket stoves, gassifier stoves, generators and solar electric systems
General operations fund
We believe that stewardship of the resources entrusted to us is vital to the success of this mission.
If you would like to know more about this project or make a donation please go to their web site at www.feedhaiti.org. or contact Denise or Bob at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St Gregory’s Church supports our community with a local food bank. Throughout the year we provide food baskets and during the holidays volunteers fix and deliver hot meals to residents who are homebound or are in need of assistance. If you would like to donate food, money or volunteer to assist the food bank contact Brenda Davis at 615-597-1970 and leave your contact information or email St. Gregorys@dtccom.net.
Sunday - 8:00 am
Wednesday - 6:30 pm
712 W MAIN ST