From the Pastor
22nd Sunday in
Ordinary Time – A
September 3, 2017
At the onset of a new academic year is the feast day of the patron saint of, among other things, students
and teachers! Born around 540, Saint Gregory the Great was Pope from 590 until he died on March 12, 604, which immediately became his feast day, as he was ‘acclaimed’ a Saint by the people at his death; the canonization process came centuries later. But in the liturgical reforms of the 1960’s, Saints with an Obligatory Memorial were moved out of Lent, and September 3
became his ‘new’ Feast Day.
His great, great grandfather was Pope Felix III [celibacy was optional then!] and although the Western Roman Empire was long gone, his family was still politically powerful and wealthy. His father was a Senator and Prefect in Rome; his mother was of noble birth, so he was set for an easy, luxury-filled life, but felt called to be a monk. He strictly adhered to the monastery’s harsh lifestyle, but was regularly called to public service, in the Church and the secular world. After Pope Pelagius II died, whom he had served as one of his Seven Deacons and as ambassador to Constantinople, Saint Gregory the Great was elected Pope in 590; here are his orations.
Collect – Saint Gregory the Great, Pope & Doctor
O God, who care for your people with gentleness and rule them in love,
through the intercession of Pope Saint Gregory,
endow, we pray, with a spirit of wisdom those to whom you have given authority to govern,
that the flourishing of a holy flock
may become the eternal joy of the shepherds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ … and ever. Amen.
THE TRIPLE TIARA.
Although the papal crown did not exist until centuries AFTER
Saint Gregory, he is depicted wearing it since he was the first Pope to truly serve as 1] Universal Pastor; 2] Father of all Earthly Rulers; and 3] Vicar of Christ.
Blessed Paul VI was the last Pope to wear it; his tiara, on display in Washington D.C.’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, was sold to Catholics in the USA, its proceeds given to the poor, which would elate Saint Gregory. For he used his authority and position to send missionaries to the ends of the then-known world, i.e., he sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury to bring the Faith to Anglo-Saxon Britain. During plagues and war, he used the Church’s assets and her ministers to care for the poor and displaced. From his time on, people looked to the Roman Church, not their government, for aid and protection.
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Gregory the Great
Grant our supplication, we pray, O Lord,
that this sacrifice we present in celebration
of Saint Gregory may be for our good,
since through its offering
you have loosed the offenses of all the world.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE SACRED MYSTERIES.
During his time in monastic life he gained great insight and experience with the sacred liturgy which had yet to be formally organized. A prolific writer [his symbols are a pen
and book], the Preface on Christmas, Easter and the Ascension, and other prayers still used at Mass, are attributed to him.
He is credited with composing and/or promoting ‘plainchant’ or simple singing of the Mass; there is little historical proof for this, but we still call it ‘Gregorian chant’ in honor of him. A legend says a scribe saw a dove, the biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit, whispering into his ear. Thus, through Word and Sacrament, Saint Gregory helped form the foundation of the holy Mass; in fact, we still pray the “Our Father” where he placed it in the rubrics for holy Mass!
Prayer after Communion – Saint Gregory the Great
Through Christ the teacher, O Lord, instruct those you feed with Christ, the living Bread,
that on the feast day of Saint Gregory
they may learn your truth
and express it in works of charity.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
CHARITY IN ACTION. He removed lazy clerics, saw that each Parish had a Deacon, whose main role is to care for the poor, and regularly invited a few poor people to his table for dinner, thus exhibiting charity in action; may we do so as well. Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS