SOURCE: Legion of Christ

June 17, 2008 16:54 ET

What Is the Gregorian Mass Series?

The Legionaries of Christ Offer Gregorian Masses for the Souls of the Deceased

CHESHIRE, CT--(Marketwire - June 17, 2008) - Many Catholics are not familiar with the term, but "Gregorian Masses" are 30 consecutive Masses offered for the repose of the soul of a particular person. The practice goes back to St Gregory the Great, who ruled the Church from 590 to 604 as its first Benedictine pope.

While St Gregory was abbot of a monastery, one of the monks passed away after living a good life marked by some imperfections in the vow of poverty. St Gregory was concerned that this monk, named Justus, might have to suffer for a long time in purgatory, so he ordered 30 consecutive Masses to be said for the repose of his soul. At the end of the 30 day period, Justus appeared to a brother in the monastery, telling him that he was now freed from purgatory because of the Masses that had been said for him.

Since then, the Gregorian Masses have been a traditional, if nowadays relatively unknown, act of charity toward the faithful departed. The practice fell into disuse after the social upset of the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution. Prior to that time, it was customary to celebrate Gregorian Masses for the soul of each and every faithful departed.

The Sacred Congregation on Indulgences has said that this practice "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."

Due to the serious obligation on the part of a priest to offer the 30 Gregorian Masses without interruption, it may be difficult to find one priest or several priests who can make the commitment. Since diocesan priests are often busy with special Masses such as funerals, weddings, and the like, it is more common for people to ask priests from religious orders to fulfill these requirements for the soul of a loved one.

The Legionaries of Christ do offer Gregorian Masses upon request. The Legion's Mass program, coordinated by Mary Sill, assigns these and other Mass requests to over 750 Legionary priests. The usual offering for the series is $300.

For more information about the Legion's Mass program, contact Mary Sill at mary.sill@legionofchrist.org.

Contact Information

  • NOTE TO EDITORS: If you would like a Legionary priest for commentary on
    television, radio or print media contact:

    Jim Fair
    Director of Communications
    Legion of Christ
    Phone: 630-858-6398
    CELL: 312-953-9864
    Email Contact

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