The Church of St. Gregory the Great was founded on June 15, 1951 to meet the needs of a rapidly developing Highland Park. Archbishop John G. Murray appointed Reverend Thomas R. Jude as the first pastor of the parish. With no building available to celebrate Mass, it was decided that a tent could be used as a worship space until a permanent church was built. For $2,000, a 110-ft. tent was purchased in Mason City. Iowa. On June 23. 1951, a wood floor was laid and the tent was erected on parish property at the corner of Montreal and Davern. Chairs and a temporary altar were set up and on Sunday, June 24, 1951, two Masses were offered for a total of about 400 people.
At the invitation of Fr. Murray from St. Leo, Fr. Jude resided at the St. Leo rectory until November 1951 when, after much repair and reconstruction, the St. Gregory rectory was available. Construction of the church, however, was delayed until 1952, which posed the problem of where to worship during the winter months. Fr. Murray extended another invitation, this time for St. Gregory parishioners to celebrate Mass in the basement of St. Leo until the new church was built.
On May 12, 1952, ground was finally broken for the new church. The first Mass was offered on November 9, 1952, and although there were no pews, no tile on the floor, no Communion railing and only a temporary altar, it was home to St. Gregory parishioners. On June 7, 1953, Archbishop Murray dedicated the new church and school.