Pastor St. Mary of the Angels Roman Catholic Church
Vicar Forane of Southern Cattaraugus County in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York
Rev. Greg Dobson, Pastor
St. Mary of the Angels Church
202 S. Union Street
Olean, NY 14760
Email Fr. Greg
Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Col. 3:15
“In the seminary, the words of St. Paul touched me deeply. Those simple words spoke of Priesthood, the Eucharist, indeed, the life of a disciple of Jesus.”
Born and raised in South Buffalo, Very Rev. Gregory J. Dobson is the eldest of six children of Patrick and Margaret Dobson. He attended St. Teresa of Avila School and the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary.
A graduate of Canisius College, he holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in religious studies with a major in Scripture. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.
Before entering the seminary, he was on the faculty at St. Martin’s School in Buffalo where he taught junior high for eight years. He also served as vice principal, director of religious education, and director of the folk ensemble.
While at the seminary he completed a pastoral assignment at Queen of all Saints in Lackawanna. Ordained to the diaconate in 1982, he served his assignment at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Buffalo. Fr. Greg was ordained to the priesthood in 1983 by Bishop Edward D. Head at St. Martin of Tours Church.
During his first 14 years as a priest, Fr. Greg served as parochial vicar in the following parishes: Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (Depew); St. Mary of the Assumption (Lancaster); and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Orchard Park). He also took on the responsibilities as chaplain for Villa Maria Academy.
While at St. Mary’s in Lancaster (assigned in 1986), he distinguished himself in Catholic youth ministry receiving the Moderator of the Year award from the Buffalo Diocesan Youth Department in 1989. His work with youth was a significant component of his ministry in all three of his first assignments. Highlights include working with a peer group ministry, conducting workshops and seminars for youth and teachers and leading Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) meetings and retreats. He assisted as a liturgical presider for the Life Teen group at Nativity Parish in Orchard Park, was active in Christian drama with The Renaissance Theater Group, and served as the spiritual director for the Young Adult Ministry (YAM).
In a 1989 newspaper article, he admitted that he does things “with a certain gusto” in his ministry with young Catholics. This included traveling with Villa Maria Academy students on their senior trips and even acting in their school plays (he played the role of Rooster Hannigan in their musical, Annie). Other highlights of his ministry to young Catholics include traveling with his parish youth group to World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 and twice to a sister parish in Mexico.
During his tenure in the Buffalo area, Fr. Greg also served as a team member for the diocesan Christian Leadership Institute, an intensive leadership training program for young Catholics.
Villa Maria Academy honored him with an award for Dedication and Service in 1997.
In 1995 he was invited to co-host the television program, Comfort My People, a weekly media ministry focused on Scripture reflections. He was the program’s Scripture commentator for eleven years enjoying a wide following throughout western New York. In 1996 the diocese appointed him honorary chairperson of the Catholic Communication Campaign.
His first assignment as pastor came in 1997 with his appointment to St. Mary of the Angels parish in Olean. With this assignment came the additional appointment as Episcopal Vicar, Southern Cattaraugus Vicariate. This assignment gave new meaning to his nomenclature, “A Simple Country Priest.”
In 2003 he assumed the pastorship of Sacred Heart parish in Portville, a position he maintained until the 2007 merger with St. Mary’s in Olean. Under his pastorship St. Mary’s parish debt was retired and new programs and ministries were added including Youth Ministry, Stephen Ministry, weekly and monthly Eucharistic Adoration, Grief Share, Angel Outreach, the annual Christmas Dinner, Pro-Life Ministry, Morning Star Family Holy Hour, annual Eucharistic Youth Rally, and many others. A new Parish Life Center has been established in the former Southern Tier Catholic School building on South 1st Street. The vocations arm of the Diocese of Buffalo chose him as a featured priest to highlight on their vocations web site — February, 2009 Parish Priest Stories.
Fr. Greg is not only a product of Catholic education, he is a champion for it. He serves as Canonical Administrator for Southern Tier Catholic School–designated by Business First as the #1 elementary school in all of western New York State in 2010 and again in 2011. He also serves on Archbishop Walsh Academy’s governing board.
Fr. Greg is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker at Catholic, ecumenical and community events. His continuing education and his travels to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Europe, Greece (footsteps of St. Paul), the Middle East (with St. George’s College in East Jerusalem) and the Holy Land have given life to his homilies/lectures dealing with history, the Church, Scripture, culture and social justice issues.
Some of the region’s top civic citations have been bestowed upon Fr. Greg. Among them:
- the Chamber of Commerce’s Good News Award (2001)
- The Olean Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellow (2001), Rotary’s highest honor.
- Unity Award by the Bahá’í Community (2002) for his work in fostering religious unity in the community
- The Olean YMCA’s Salute to Olean (2007) in which he was honored for humanitarian leadership in the community
- The BPO Elks Man of the Year (2007); he joined their ranks in 2008
- In 2011, St. Bonaventure University chose Fr. Greg as a recipient of its prestigious Gaudete Award for his leadership in western New York exemplifying the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi through his “joy, hope, positive outlook on life, sincerely compassionate spirit and desire to serve humankind.”
- The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Heart of Olean Distinguished Service Award in November, 2014. This is one of the highest civic honors in the region recognizing recipients for their “business acumen, loyalty and love for the Olean community.”
Fr. Greg has served on several governing boards including the Olean YMCA, Greater Olean Association of Churches (president), Friends of Good Music (president), the Renodin Foundation of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, and Genesis House family shelter in Olean.
In addition to the governing boards, Fr. Greg serves as chaplain to the Olean Knights of Columbus and was assistant Father Prior for Youth for the State Knights of Columbus. He is the chaplain for the Olean Police Department and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. In 2006 he was appointed to serve on the Diocesan Committee for the Journey in Faith and Grace. He served as chairman of the advisory team for Strengthening Our Future Together, the diocesan-wide parish offertory appeal initiated in 2010. In 2011 the diocese chose him to chair the annual Cure of Ars Award dinner which supports the diocesan seminary. In the Fall of 2014, Fr. Greg was appointed to the Catholic Charities of Buffalo Board of Trustees. Coinciding with the worldwide Christian Unity Week in January, 2016, Fr. Greg was awarded the Ecumen Award by the Greater Olean Association of Churches for fostering an ecumenical spirit in the Olean-area for almost 20 years.