Besides being the birthday of Bishop Loverde and Labor Day, Monday was the feastday of St. Gregory the Great. My first association with this saint is Gregorian chant, but his work for the Church extended well beyond that. He is recognized as the patron saint of teachers, so those starting the academic year may wish to pray for his intercession as they impart knowledge to their students!
Gregory the Great: Pope and Doctor of the Church
540 – 604 AD
Well known for:
- Gregorian Reforms: Pope Gregory undertook a reform of the Pre-Tridentine liturgy. Among several of the changes he enacted, he moved the Our Father to the position it holds in the liturgy today.
- Missions: Gregory sent missionaries to evangelize the Saxons in Britain. It is from Britain that missionaries then went to Germany and the Netherlands to preach the Good News.
- Gregorian chant: This form of chant was collected and codified during Gregory’s papacy. Take a few minutes to listen to some great examples of chant. At a monastery in Solesmes, France, monks work to preserve and perfect this form of sung prayer:
Gregory was proclaimed a saint by many almost immediately upon his death. His zeal was that evident and inspiring. Interestingly though, he always had prefered the monastic life and did not proclaim any ambition to be Pope. He expressed a desire to live a life of contemplation and prayer, yet willingly took on the work he was called to by God.
So the next time I need to devote myself to work when I would rather not, I’ll certainly remember to pray to St. Gregory.
St. Gregory the Great, Pray for Us!