Gregorian Masses are Masses that are celebrated for thirty consecutive days for a particular departed soul.
This thirty-day series is called “Gregorian” because its origin goes back to Pope St. Gregory the Great, who reigned in the sixth century. Pope Gregory was a monk who founded a monastery on his family’s estate in Rome.
According to legend, a monk named Justus who belonged to this monastery committed a grave fault against his Rule by keeping a few gold pieces for himself. This was such a serious sin against the vow of poverty that he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory.
The monk repented and died a holy death. Later, Pope Gregory, out of compassion for the monk, ordered that Masses be celebrated for his soul on thirty consecutive days. On the thirtieth day, Brother Justus appeared to a fellow monk and proclaimed his deliverance from purgatory and entrance into heaven.
Thus began the beloved tradition of “Gregorian Masses.” Though diocesan parishes often are unable to celebrate thirty Masses in a row for one person, religious communities often offer this as a regular service to the faithful.
The Holy Mass really is the best and most fruitful offering we can make on behalf of the poor souls in purgatory, whose suffering is beyond anything we can imagine on earth. Learn more about what you can do for the holy souls in Good Catholic’s new series, Purgatory: Cleansing Fire. In this fascinating series, you’ll learn about why purgatory exists, what torments the poor souls most of all, how time works there, and how we can speed these souls on their journey to heaven. Starts Monday! Head over to Good Catholic to sign up now!