Gregorite church rapidly gaining followers.

St. Gregory's church rapidly gaining followers

The moral teachings of the Church of St. Gregory have struck an almost immediate chord with a large number of San Franciscans. Although an actual congregation has not yet been established, many enthusiastic followers and newly converted have been gathering at Market Square every day at 6:00AM, to attend open air services by Father Bascoli, who spearheads the Church’s efforts in San Franciso.
This paper had the pleasure of briefly interviewing Father Bascoli, as well as Roy Dobbs, official media spokesperson for the Church.

[SFT] “Why is the Church of St. Gregory opening a congregation in the city? “

[Bascoli] We’ve come because this is where we should be. I realize that sounds a bit vague, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. Usually, when we expand to a new city, the reasons for our presence are not yet revealed to us. But they always are, in time … He has not led us astray yet.

[Dobbs] As the Father says, we’re simply here to spread the Gospel, and to do good works in His name. Of course, we understand that SF has a certain liberal image, and us coming here may lead people to think we come to judge or to damn certain ways of life. While we do believe in the sanctity of marriage, the Church’s motivation is not to damn those who do not conform to the stereotypes in religious dogma. We aim to include, and to aid those in need. We are answering the silent scream of the masses.

[SFT] “How do you explain the immediate draw of San Franciscans to your services? “

[Bascoli] We preach a simple message, a message that simply makes sense. It does not surprise me that so many hear the call and welcome it. Man is corrupted and preyed upon daily by what we see, what we hear, what we read. Ordinary people tend to feel something is amiss, but may not yet have been able to give their discontent a voice. Our teachings basically come down to: be a decent person, help those in need, and contribute what you can spare so that the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts. As Mr. Dobbs said, we aim to include where people in this city, in this country, seem to only have been driven apart these last decades. By fear, by lies, by corruption. I am not surprised our Message resonates with many.

[Dobbs] *laugh* I really don’t have anything to add to Father Bascoli’s words.

[SFT] “Due to the generous donations new converts seem to give to the Church, voices have arisen, claiming that the Church of St. Gregory is just another organization masquerading as a religion, but is in fact merely a fundraising apparatus. How do you respond to these allegations? ”

[Dobbs] I’ll respond to this, if I may. Of course, we’ve heard these opinions as well, and we are grateful for them. We welcome critical discourse in our Church, and see an opportunity for open discussion any form of praise or disdain. But, naturally these allegations are nothing but fiction. As you know, we are able to apply for tax exempt status, among other legal benefits, but you may not be aware that we have not made use of any of these ‘loopholes’ in tax legislature. Also, I believe we are the only religious organization in the country that publishes a quarterly and annual financial report – something we are under no obligation to do. This may sound odd, but for us it is quite simple to do. We are a not for profit organization. I invite anyone to have a look at our books.

[SFT] “City Hall has voiced minor concern over the congregations on Market Square, which are growing in size. How do you respond to this? “

[Bascoli] Personally, I am elated that we can welcome more souls at our services every day. Of course, I also understand the problems this may pose for the city. In order to keep our services as non-disruptive as possible, we convene at 6:00AM. This way, our attendees have a long productive day ahead of them, and we do not put additional strain on the morning commute, etcetera.

[Dobbs] *laugh* We hear the city’s concern, but I don’t believe there’s a problem at the moment. Naturally, we would like to open an actual congregation – a Church – but we have not found a fitting location yet. Of course, City Hall is more than welcome to help us find one. For now, the weather is great!

[SFT] “Thank you both for this interview. We’ll be following the success story of the Church of St. Gregory closely in weeks to come. In parting, do you have any words for our readers? “

[Bascoli] You are not alone. You are not crazy. Come join us, and hear what we have to say. You may just find friends here, kindred spirits. Come join us on Market Square, and make up your own mind. You might just discover a strength and purpose in you that you somehow lost, over the years. I look forward to meeting you all.

[Dobbs] I’d like to thank the San Francisco times for giving us a podium to talk about our work. We feel very welcome in this city, and being here has just been a heartwarming experience. And I could not agree more with the words of Father Bascoli – come on down to Market Square!