Monday, May 15, 2006

Gregorian Masses


Gregorian Masses derive their name from St. Gregory the Great, the first Benedictine pope who ruled the Church from the year 590 to 604. Masses are called "Gregorian" if they are offered for thirty consecutive days for the repose of the souls of a particular person.

St. Gregory was the first to have a series of Masses said for a departed soul. The event which started this pious practice took place prior to his election to the papacy, while he was abbot of St. Andrew monastery in Rome. In the fourth book of his "Dialogues", St. Gregory relates how one of the monks of his monastery, named justice, did not keep his vow of poverty very well. When justice died, St. Gregory feared that the good monk might have to spend a long time in Purgatory because of his failures with regard to poverty. He therefore ordered that the Holy Sacrifice be offered up for Justus for thirty consecutive days without a break. On the thirtieth day Justus appeared to a brother monk telling him that he was now freed from his sufferings because of the thirty Masses St. Gregory had caused to be said for him.

Following St. Gregory's example, Catholic people throughout the ages have continued the pious custom of having thirty Masses said for their departed relatives and friends.

The Sacred Congregation of Indulgences has declared that the "offering of Gregorian Masses has a special efficacy for obtaining from God the speedy deliverance of a suffering soul, and that this is a pious and reasonable belief of the faithful. "

Gregorian Masses may be offered only for the dead; they can be offered only for one particular person; they must be said on thirty consecutive days; if the series is broken, the priest who assumed the obligation must start all over again. (Source: Salesians of St. John Bosco, San Francisco).

Things to do:

1. Have a Gregorian Mass said for a deceased family member. Order here.

2. Include Gregorian Masses in your will. Since the cost of a Gregorian Mass is usually $250, it would be wise to save up for this, depending on how many Masses you want said.

3. Teach your children to pray for the dead so that they learn to pray for you when the time comes.


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