Pope St. Gregory the Great was born in the 6th century into an influential Roman family. Amid plagues and barbarian invasions, he stood out for his intellect. By age 33, he became a Roman prefect but later transitioned to monastic life. He didn't seek the papacy but accepted it, underscoring his servant-leadership approach.
St. Gregory the Great is most known for the Gregorian Chant, a form of liturgical music. But his influence extends far beyond that. He's also famous for initiating the first recorded large-scale mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity.
One of his major accomplishments was streamlining the administration of the Church. He was a practical man and focused on organization. For example, he clarified church teachings and liturgy, making them more uniform across the territories. He was responsible for sending Augustine of Canterbury to England to convert the population, which was instrumental in spreading Christianity to the British Isles.
St. Gregory the Great was also a prolific writer. His writings served as foundational texts for the Medieval Church. One of his famous works is "Pastoral Rule," which lays out the duties and qualities of bishops. It’s still studied and cited today. He had a talent for synthesizing ideas into a coherent framework, making complex theological issues accessible to everyday people.
Another interesting thing about St. Gregory the Great was his approach to poverty and social issues. He was a proponent of "servant leadership," leading by example. He sold church treasures to feed the poor during famine and took the title "Servant of the Servants of God," a title that is still used by popes today.
Pope St. Gregory the Great had a lasting impact on the Catholic Church. His administrative skills, missionary work, writings, and approach to social issues have left an indelible mark. He was canonized shortly after his death, and his feast day is September 3rd. He’s a figure worth studying for anyone interested in the history of the Catholic Church.
St. Gregory the Great's feast day is September 3.
Patron Saint of ...
St. Gregory the Great is the patron saint of musicians, singers, teachers, and students.
Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the readings of the day, the Common of Pastors: For a Pope, or the Common of Doctors.
- First Reading - 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5-7: In our ministry, we've abandoned deceit and shameful acts, focusing on the open declaration of truth. We don't promote ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord. God's light shines in our hearts, revealing his glory through Jesus. This treasure is held in imperfect vessels to highlight God's role.
- Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 96: Sing a new song to the Lord and announce his salvation every day. Praise him and tell of his glory among all nations. Acknowledge the Lord's reign, his stable creation, and fair governance.
- Gospel - Luke 22:24-30: The Apostles argue about who is the greatest among them. Jesus tells them that greatness comes from serving others, not lording over them. He praises their loyalty and promises them roles in his Kingdom, where they will judge Israel.
Homilies and Reflections
St. Gregory the Great, born in 540 AD to a privileged Roman family, chose a monastic life over worldly comforts. Despite intending to live in seclusion, he was called to serve as the Pope’s ambassador to Constantinople and later became Pope in 590 AD. His leadership was crucial for the Church’s role in stabilizing Europe as the Roman Empire waned. Gregory teaches us that a vocation isn't merely our choice but God’s decision for us. Emphasizing obedience to God's will, Gregory's life exemplifies how divine plans often exceed our own expectations, challenging us to also align our lives with God's decisions.