St. Gregory the Great's History
St. Gregory's history is short, but proud. Our first mass was offered on October 12, 1942 in the Lafayette Public School Auditorium by Father Edward Clemens, who was then Pastor in Gaylord, Minnesota. At first, Mass was offered only every other Sunday in the school with Religious Instruction for the children being held after Sunday Mass and one day a week, usually Saturday. Just 3 months after the first Mass, the parish was incorporated and on December 15, 1942, a building was rented on the site where Dave's Place, the former Kapaun store, later Municipal Liquor store and City Hall, now stands. Mass was still offered there only every other Sunday. The first Confirmation was held on July 18, 1943. The parish then purchased the William Krohn home on Lafayette Avenue and Father Clemens moved to Lafayette on September 1, 1943. At the same time, 8 lots in Block 9 of the City of Lafayette were purchased as the site for the new church. In January of 1943, arrangements were made to buy the "Valley Club" building, the former "Blue Moon Night Club" which was situated on Highway 15 just north of the Minnesota River. This was moved to the parish property with Father Clemens walking behind the whole way to Lafayette, where a basement had been dug and foundations prepared. After remodeling. the first Mass in the new church was offered on December 3, 1944 by Father Clemens. He offered just 2 Sunday Masses in the new church before his transfer on December 14, 1944 to St. Joseph's Church in Rosen, Minnesota. Before he left, land was purchased for a new cemetery just north of town. The first burial was on September 29, 1947. Father Leo Krzmarzick served St. Gregory's from December 15, 1944 to December 14, 1955, during which time the Rectory was built in 1951. Father Robert Merth served from December 15, 1955 to June 1960. It was during his tenure in 1957 that the Archdiocese of St. Paul was divided, and Lafayette became part of the Diocese of New Ulm. Father Eugene Hackert served from June of 1960 to September 1964. Father Germain Rademacher served from September 1964 to 1968 and supervised the building of the present church and social hall. The new church and hall were dedicated on the Silver Anniversary of the parish on May 21, 1967 with an estimated cost of $130,000.00. The first Mass was offered on Easter Sunday, March 25, 1967.