Monday 14th June 2021

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Gregory The Great By CAROLE BRESLIN

September 27, 2018 saints No Comments

In 1994 a musical phenomenon took the world by storm. Nothing like it had ever been popular before, but this new recording became a hit around the world. People raved about the peace it brought them when they listened to it. The songs were sung by Benedictine monks from their monastery near Burgos, Spain.
Although Gregorian Chant may have been refined years later, the essence of this music originated with Pope Gregory I in the sixth century.
Gregory was born in 540 in Rome to a couple prominent not only in civil matters but also in Church affairs. His father, Gordianus served as a senator, as the prefect of Rome, and “Regionarius” in the Church.
Gregory’s mother, Silvia, also came from a wealthy and noble family. Gregory’s mother and two of his father’s sisters are venerated as saints. They lived in a villa on the Caelian Hill, opposite the residence of the emperor that now lies under the monastery church of St. Andrew and St. Gregory.
The family also had homes on Sicily, where Gregory received his early education since the Goths captured Rome in 546 and 552. The family had left Rome for Sicily.
Over the years, different invaders sacked Rome and destroyed the surrounding farmlands. The famine and the resulting plagues left a lasting impact on Gregory, leaving him with a melancholy nature as shown in his writings where he predicted a quick end to the world. Perhaps the ruins of the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus also contributed to his sadness.
Another cause may have been the Plague of Justinian. When it spread through Rome in 542, nearly one-third of the population died. The survivors were devastated both emotionally and spiritually.
When the Franks were repelled in 554, Romans finally experienced some peace. During those decades of pillage and destruction, Gregory excelled at his home studies as his parents made sure that his brilliant mind was well formed both spiritually and academically. Primarily he studied law; but he also mastered grammar, rhetoric, the sciences, literature, Latin, history, and mathematics — as well as music.
He finished his studies and, after serving the government, Gregory was appointed Prefect of Rome at the age of 33. Through this experience, Gregory learned the need for law, order, and respect for authority to have a peaceful society.
When Gordianus, his father, died, Gregory turned his ancestral home into a monastery dedicated to St. Andrew. After much prayer and discernment he decided to become a monk, leaving all his worldly recognition and riches behind.
Now a widow, his mother left Rome to live in a conventual retreat. Gregory then gave the rest of his properties to charity, going to Sicily to establish six monasteries in the various family properties there.
For three years he lived in seclusion at the St. Andrew monastery — years he called the happiest of his life. The penances and fasting he practiced most likely led to the gastric troubles from which he suffered for the rest of his life.
Much to Gregory’s disappointment, Pope Pelagius II selected him to be one of the seven deacons of Rome. Once again he would live outside the walls of isolation.
With the Lombards marching on Rome, Pope Pelagius sent Gregory to Constantinople to seek the help of Emperor Tiberius II. Gregory avoided the court as much as possible, spending his time in seclusion and prayer. While there, he wrote his commentaries on the Book of Job, requested by St. Leander of Seville.
A controversy between Gregory and Eutychius, the patriarch of Constantinople, escalated to the point where the emperor intervened and sided with Gregory. The animosity was so extreme that both Gregory and Eutychius became ill. Eutychius never recovered, recanting his error on his deathbed.
Because Tiberius had to hold off the Persians, the mission failed and Gregory returned to Rome. Joyfully he went back to St. Andrew’s monastery and was elected abbot.
His leadership and example drew many, leading the monastery to become widely known for producing many holy men and Church leaders. Gregory lectured on Sacred Scripture and most likely during this sojourn he saw the fair youths from England at the slave market. The future Pope then sought ways to convert the Angles and received Pope Pelagius’ permission to go to the boys’ native land to do so.
Three days into his journey to England, he was recalled to Rome and then assigned the task of bringing the schismatic Three Chapters back into union with Rome, which also failed.
In 589, the Tiber flooded Rome and destroyed all the stored food. Famine and starvation ravaged the city, leaving most of the people dead.
In 590 Pope Pelagius died and the clergy quickly elected Gregory to become Pope. Gregory refused the appointment, writing to Emperor Maurice and begging him not to confirm the appointment. The letter was blocked by the emperor’s assistant and instead a schedule of the installation was sent back to Rome.
With the famine still raging in Rome, Gregory called for a procession from each of the Seven Hills of Rome to meet at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for an end to the plague. Their prayers were answered and legend holds that people saw St. Michael put away his sword, marking the end of the plague. He also ordered many of the Church assets to be sold to feed the poor, vowing that he would not eat until they first had been fed.
In August 590, word finally came to Rome confirming Gregory as Pope. While he contemplated fleeing Rome, the people seized him and took him to the Basilica of St. Peter where he was consecrated on September 3, 590, the day his feast is celebrated.
Gregory bore this appointment as one of his heaviest crosses. He wrote many letters explaining both his reluctance to fill the office as well as his praise for the monastic life.
The new Pope inherited a Church crippled by years of ineffective leadership. Unity in doctrine and spirituality was lacking. Many bishops acted autonomously. This was dealt with by sending missions to northern Europe and the British Isles. Then from England, missions were sent to the Netherlands and Germany. All of these missions preached the same truths.
Pope Gregory also instituted many reforms in the liturgy which are still used to this day, such as placing the Our Father after the Roman Canon. In addition, he instituted the use of Gregorian Chant in liturgical ceremonies.
Until Pope Gregory’s reign, the people looked to the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire for confirmation of Church appointments. Gregory ended this practice more by his example and excellent leadership as the people looked to the Pope in Rome for guidance.
In his last years Pope Gregory suffered greatly from arthritis. He died on March 12, 604 and is buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Both Anglicans and Lutherans venerate Pope Gregory who also is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers; and he has been given the title Pope St. Gregory the Great for his lasting contributions.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Springfield’s Bishop Paprocki says area Catholics are obligated to start returning to Mass

All Roman Catholics across the Springfield diocese are obligated to attend Mass in person on Sundays and holy days of obligation starting this weekend, said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. Paprocki’s decision comes as Illinois Friday moves into Phase 5, the final step of the Restore Illinois plan. More news:Illinois’ long-awaited reopening is Friday. Here’s what you need to know That means churches can celebrate Masses and other functions without any capacity restrictions. Since April 11, a par

I definitely felt the Spirit’ – Bishop Olmsted leads hundreds in Eucharistic Procession through Downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX — Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted led more than 400 Catholics in a eucharistic procession of adoration, prayer, hymn singing and silent reflection Sunday morning. The eucharistic procession on June 6, Corpus Christi Sunday, followed Bishop Olmsted’s recent Apostolic Exhortation “Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling,” in which he called on parish pastors to lead such a procession annually to promote a deeper understanding and love of the Eucharist.

Archbishop Cordileone: We need ‘major effort’ to ‘re-catechize’ Catholics on the Eucharist

The Archbishop of San Francisco said this week there must be a “major effort” to “re-catechize” Catholics on the Eucharist and worthiness to receive Communion. In an interview which aired on Thursday on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said that the matter of “Eucharistic coherence” applies to all Catholics, not just Catholic public officials. The bishops are scheduled to discuss the topic at their upcoming spring meeting from June 16-18, and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Marx offers resignation to Pope Francis

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the 67-year-old archbishop of Munich and Freising, has offered his resignation to Pope Francis. The influential cardinal is a member of the pope’s Council of Cardinals, the coordinator of the Vatican Council for the Economy, and until last year the chairman of the German bishops’ conference. The archdiocese of Munich and Freising published the cardinal’s letter to the pope and personal declaration on June 4 in German, English, and Italian. In his May 21 letter to the pope,…Continue Reading

Biden eliminates Hyde amendment from 2022 budget request

President Joe Biden on Friday did not include a 45 year-old pro-life policy in his final budget request to Congress for the 2022 fiscal year, thus allowing for funding of abortions. The Hyde Amendment, enacted into law since 1976, bars federal funding of most elective abortions in Medicaid. It is not permanent law, and is attached as a rider to budget bills specifying that the health care funding therein cannot be used for elective abortions…Continue Reading

The End Of Ethics

By DONALD DeMARCO There are two solutions on the horizon to our present national crisis. The first is a purely political one, which seeks to impose a way of life on people in the form of a set of arbitrary rules. We see this today with the widespread imposition of political correctness. The second is…Continue Reading

What Is America’s Cause In The World?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Take away this pudding; it has no theme,” is a comment attributed to Winston Churchill, when a disappointing dessert was put in front of him.Writers have used Churchill’s remark to describe a foreign policy that lacks coherence or centrality of purpose.For most of our lifetimes, this has not been true of…Continue Reading

Christianity, The Soul Of The World

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA One of the most concise yet revealing statements identifying Christianity in the ancient pagan Roman world is from the Letter to Diognetus: “A Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.” All of these four nouns themselves prompt a certain definition, to be sure, but the…Continue Reading

The Holy Eucharist, The Passion, And The Priesthood

By JAMES MONTI On May 29 I had the privilege of attending in New York the Ordination of ten men to the priesthood at St. Patrick’s Cathedral — six men for the Archdiocese of New York and four for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.Even with all the dire news of current evils besetting our…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima . . . The June 13 Apparition: “Don’t Lose Heart”

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The June 13, 1917 saw the second apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the young shepherds, Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia. The message given by the Blessed Virgin on that day is a very important one, indeed vital, but it has been somewhat overshadowed by what she said during the first…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. When was the Catholic Church born? Was it when Jesus proclaimed, “The kingdom of God is at hand,” when the side of Jesus was pierced and blood and water flowed, or at Pentecost? — J.B., Washington State.A. According to Pope Pius XII, all three of those events signaled the birth of the Church. Writing in his 1943 encyclical on…Continue Reading

Turning Holy Mother Church Into A Repressive State

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A most un-Catholic spirit is abroad in Rome, seeking to devour legitimate Catholic freedoms. It reveals itself as a repressive regime which values obedience to arbitrary human preference among legitimate options over the free, unchecked movement of the Holy Spirit among the People of God. This approach threatens to choke out the freshness and life…Continue Reading

The Usual Suspects

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, in our English lexicon is found the phrase: “The Usual Suspects.” Most often it seems to be a phrase that evokes scorn or, at the very least, significant dismay. “The Usual Suspects” typically is understood in the same vein as “the same cast of characters.” In simple terms, it means that the same set…Continue Reading

The Kingdom Of God Within

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eleventh Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Ezek. 17:22-242 Cor. 5:6-10Mark 4:26-32 In the readings today we have two complementary perspectives regarding the Kingdom of God on Earth. One is more objective and focuses on the Church while the other is subjective and focuses on each person. Regarding the Church, God tells the Prophet Ezekiel…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Sheila Kippley is an authority on Natural Family Planning (she and her husband John co-founded NFP International) and on the benefits of breastfeeding (see her book The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding). She has summarized these benefits in an article (“Breastfeeding Does Space Babies and So Much More”) in the online edition of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. You…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Cardinal Von Galen, “The Lion Of Munster”

By DEB PIROCH As efforts to combat unorthodoxy in Germany continue, we would do well to remember another German of the era of the Second World War, one who remains an eternal witness for us today. Just over a year ago, Germany’s Constitution Court determined physician assisted suicide is constitutional. Until recently, any form of euthanasia has been highly taboo,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Andrew Bobola

By DEB PIROCH “Andrew,” the name of Christ’s first apostle, is a name taken from the Greek, meaning “strong and manly.” Two of the Gospel writers say Andrew was brother to Peter, both fishermen famously called to follow Christ and become “fishers of men.” Tradition says the first St. Andrew even traveled as a missionary to some of the Slavic…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)