Saint of the Day for 03 September: St Gregory the Great
St Gregory the Great: the Pope who inspired the Western Church and culture
St Gregory the Great
Pope and Doctor of the Church
c. 540, Rome
12 March 604, Rome
Saint Gregory, you have been a distinguished pastor of the Church of Christ, by your life you have poured out Christian piety and doctrine into the world. You sought to show everyone, believers and non-believers alike, the face of Jesus as the humble and Good Shepherd! Teach us today to serve our brothers and sisters with simplicity of heart, not trying to show ourselves better in the eyes of men, but as we really are in the eyes of God. Guide us on the journey of life, to one day come to contemplate that longed-for mystery of God. St Gregory encourage us to seek Christ in the worn-out body of a sick person, in the empty eyes of a scruffy person, in the dark face of a sinner, in the welcome of a prisoner, in the closeness of an excluded person, in helping someone less fortunate than us, in our neighbour. Saint Gregory the Great pray for us.
Patron Saint of
Napoli, Manduria, Crispano, San Gregorio di Catania, Valdobbiadene, Roverbella, Vizzini, San Gregorio Magno, Basiano, Casalfiumanese
Singers, musicians, popes
Memory of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church: after having taken up the monastic life, he served as Apostolic Legate to Constantinople; elected to the Roman See on this day, he settled earthly matters and as servant of servants took care of sacred ones. He showed himself to be a true shepherd in governing the Church, in helping the needy in every way he could, in fostering monastic life and in consolidating and propagating the faith everywhere, writing famous moral and pastoral books to this end. He died on 12 March.
The Saint and Mission
Saint Gregory the Great is a figure who emblematically embodies the concept of ‘mission’ in the Christian context. Known as one of the greatest popes in the history of the Church, Saint Gregory left an indelible mark not only through his writings and theology, but also through his concrete actions in the service of others.
His election to the papacy in 590 A.D. came at a time of great instability and suffering. Rome had been devastated by floods, plagues and barbarian invasions. In these difficult circumstances, Gregory saw his mission not just as an administrative or liturgical task, but as a real mandate to alleviate people’s suffering.
St Gregory the Great popularised the idea of ‘Pastor Bonus’, the good shepherd, emphasising the role of service and spiritual guidance in the mission of the Church. For him, being the head of the Church meant being the first servant of the faithful. He organised food aid, sent missionaries like Augustine of Canterbury to evangelise lands as far away as England, and worked tirelessly to reform and improve monastic and clerical life.
We cannot speak of Gregory’s mission without mentioning his literary work. His works, such as the Dialogues, in which lives of saints and miracles are explored, or the Pastoral Rule, in which he gives advice on how to be a good spiritual leader, are direct expressions of his mission to educate and inspire both clergy and laity.
Gregory understood that the mission of the Church is complex and multifaceted: it is not only the conversion of unbelievers or the administration of the sacraments, but also the material and spiritual support of communities, education, and the promotion of social justice. His life is a model of how mission can be integrated into every aspect of our being, thus becoming a true vocation.
In summary, St Gregory the Great teaches us that mission is not just something ‘done’, but is a way of living. His life is an eternal testament to the transformative power of faith in action, a mission that goes beyond words and manifests itself in concrete service and mercy for all.
The Saint and Mercy
Saint Gregory the Great is one of the most representative figures when it comes to mercy in the Christian context. Rising to the papacy at a time of deep crisis for Rome and the Church, his magisterium was a beacon of hope and charity for a world in need of both.
Gregory is known for coining the idea of the ‘Pastor Bonus’, the good shepherd, who put the care of the flock at the centre of his leadership. This care was not only spiritual for him, but also material and social. He implemented a system of care for the poor, orphans and the sick, bearing witness to a tangible mercy that went beyond mere preaching.
He not only preached mercy, he lived it himself. Gregory was convinced that true mercy required a total commitment, an embodiment of God’s love for humanity. This conviction led him to become actively involved in alleviating the suffering caused by famine, plague and other calamities that struck Rome during his papacy.
His letters and writings, such as the ‘Pastoral Rule’, deeply reflect this ethic of mercy. In them, Gregory emphasises the responsibility of every pastor to be merciful, to understand human weaknesses and to be willing to forgive. His theology of mercy merges with his praxis, making his life a model of Christian consistency.
At a time in history when the Church and society were marked by conflict and suffering, Gregory the Great showed that mercy is not just an abstract theological concept, but a living and working reality that can transform communities and bring hope.
St Gregory the Great remains a pillar of the Christian tradition, not only for his theology and ecclesial service, but especially for his immeasurable mercy. His life and work remain an eternal reminder that mercy is at the heart of the Christian message and should guide every aspect of our mission and being.
The Church has rightly decorated this holy Pontiff with the title of Great, a title he deserved with the splendour of his actions, the excellence of his virtues and his writings. His life marks one of the most beautiful pages of both ecclesiastical and civil history.
He was born in Rome in the middle of the sixth century. He had a vast mind and a…