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September 3

St Gregory the Great - September 3

Saint Gregory the Great
Pope, Monk
Doctor of the Church
(Around 540 – 604)

“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.”

Saint Gregory the Great

His Early Years

Gregory was born in Rome about the year 540. His father, Gordianus, was a well-to-do Roman Senator and his mother, Saint Sylvia. He was the nephew of Saint Emiliana and Saint Tarsilla and the great-grandson of Pope Saint Felix III.

His family was wealthy, distinguished and known for their piety. He was well educated and began a career in public office, becoming Prefect of the city and one of the richest men in Rome by the time he was thirty.

Monk and Deacon

Though he held the highest civil office, Gregory decided to give up his career, money and possessions, resigning within a year to pursue monastic life and dedicate himself to God.

He founded with the help of his vast financial holdings seven monasteries, of which six were on family estates in Sicily. A seventh, which he placed under the patronage of Saint Andrew and which he himself joined, was erected on the Clivus Scauri in Rome. For several years, he lived as a good and holy Benedictine monk.

During his time as a monk, Gregory witnessed the sale of English children in the Roman Forum. Touched by this sight, he felt called to missionary work in England. In obedience to this call, he sold even more of his possessions to fund missionary efforts. Gregory sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury, along with a group of monks, to evangelize England.

Then, Pope Pelagius made him one of the seven deacons of Rome. For six years, he served as Papal Legate to Constantinople. In the year 586, he was recalled to Rome, and with great joy returned to St. Andrew’s Monastery. He became abbot soon afterwards and the monastery grew famous under his energetic rule.

Gregory’s contributions to liturgical music are notable. He is credited with collecting the melodies and plain chants that are now known as Gregorian Chants. These chants have become synonymous with his name and have greatly influenced the musical traditions of the Catholic Church.

Elected Pope

When the Pope died, Gregory was unanimously elected to take his place because of his great piety and wisdom. However, Gregory did not want that honor, so he disguised himself and hid in a cave, but was found and made Pope anyway. Gregory was elected 64th Pope on September 3, 590, the first monk to ascend and to be elected to the papacy. Even as the Pope, he continued to live with monastic simplicity.

As Pope, he continued his missionary efforts, furthering the spread of Christianity across various regions. Gregory worked tirelessly to consolidate and strengthen the authority and influence of the papacy.

Beyond his missionary and administrative roles, Gregory was a prolific writer. He penned several seminal works, many of which focused on the Mass and Divine Office. Some of these works were dictated to his secretary, Saint Peter the Deacon. composed a number of important pastoral works, including his Dialogues. This collection of reflections and biographies includes the earliest life of Saint Benedict of Nursia and Saint Scholastica.

A generous and kind man, Gregory strove to ease the sufferings of the poor, feeding them on a regular basis. He converted many Jews in Rome using an uncommon method: instead of coercion, he declared that they were to be converted by meekness and charity and did not allow them to be oppressed or deprived of their synagogue. Using the same method, he converted many in England. It’s said Gregory was responsible for the custom of responding to the sick with “God bless you.”

His Death

Gregory passed away on March 12, 604, in Rome, Italy from natural causes and was buried in Saint Peter’s Church. His feast day is celebrated on September 3, which marks his ascension to the papacy. He humbly called himself “servus servorum Dei,” Servant of the servants of God. He is the first pope given the title of “Great.”

Pope Saint Gregory the Great is revered as one of the four great Doctors of the Latin Church, alongside Saint Ambrose of Milan, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Jerome. His writings and teachings have had a lasting impact on the theological and liturgical development of the Catholic Church.

Born :                   Around 540 in Rome, Italy

Died:                    March 12, 604 (Feast Day – Sep 3) in Rome, Italy

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          September 3, March 12 (on some calendars prior to 1969)

Patron Saint:     Against Gout; Against Plagues; Diocese of Legazpi, Philippines; Educators; England; Kercem, Malta; Musicians; Order of Knights of Saint Gregory; Singers; Students; Teachers; West Indies

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Gregory the Great’s decision to leave a prestigious civil role for monastic life underscores the value of humility and service to God. His liturgical reforms remind us of the importance of tradition and meaningful worship practices.

How can you prioritize today spiritual growth and service over worldly success? What ways can you seek to deepen your spiritual experiences through heartfelt worship?

Prayers

Saint Gregory the Great,

You who served the Church with wisdom, humility, and unwavering dedication, we seek your intercession today.

You left a life of comfort and prestige to embrace the monastic calling.

Help us to prioritize our spiritual growth and seek God’s will above all else.

Inspire us to serve others with the same dedication, humility and selflessness that you exemplified.

May we always approach worship with reverence and devotion, drawing closer to God through our prayers and hymns.

Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – St. Gregory the Great

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 3 September – St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) – Father & Doctor of the Church – “Father of the Fathers”

Angelus – Saint of the day: Gregory the Great

Butler’s Lives Of The Saints Complete Edition – St Gregory the Great

Catholic Culture – Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor

Catholic Exchange – St. Gregory the Great

Catholic Fire – St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor

Catholic Ireland – Sep 3 – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Monk and Pope

Catholic News Agency – Saint Gregory the Great Feast day: Sep 03

Catholic Online – Pope Saint Gregory the Great

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Gregory the Great, Pope Doctor – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Christian Iconography – St. Gregory the Great: The Iconography

Franciscan Media – Saint Gregory the Great

Independent Catholic News – St Gregory the Great

Loyola Press – Saint Gregory the Great Feast day September 3

Melanie Rigney – Gregory the Great

National Catholic Register – St. Gregory the Great — A Saint for Today

New Advent – Huddleston, G. (1909). Pope St. Gregory I (“the Great”). In The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Newman Ministry – Saint Gregory the Great

Popes in a Year – Pope St. Gregory the Great

RC Spirituality (Uncle Eddy) – St Gregory the Great

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Gregory the Great’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Gregory the Great (c.540-604)

Sanctoral – Saint Gregory the Great Pope, Doctor of the Church (540-604)

The Dialogues of St Gregory the Great

uCatholic – Pope Saint Gregory The Great

Video Link

Pope St. Gregory the Great – YouTube (Catholic Online)