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Pope Saint Gregory the Great first implemented the Gregorian Masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.In the summer of 2016, the Provincial Office of the Missionaries of the Holy Family (MSF) in Saint Louis, Missouri took over the work of the MSF Mission Office that was previously in West Point, Virginia. While most requests for Masses and special Gregorian Masses come from within the United States, many are received from countries all over the world via the website of the North American Province. We are happy to report that: Gregorian Masses are making a big comeback!

Gregorian Masses

It seems that Gregorian Masses are growing in popularity. Following are excerpts from an article written by Rev. James Beegan, M.S.F. for the summer 2017 issue of The Messenger magazine:

Gregorian Masses are special Masses offered for a deceased person for 30 consecutive days. The purpose of Gregorian Masses is to help obtain the deliverance of a soul from Purgatory. This is made possible through the dispensation of God’s mercy.

Belief in the power of Gregorian Masses is based on a private revelation made to Pope Saint Gregory I, also known as Pope Saint Gregory the Great. According to Servant of God Father John Hardon, S.J.“The Church has declared that the special effectiveness of Gregorian Masses is both pious and reasonable. More than one series of Masses may be offered (for a soul), but not more than one person at a time (per series).”

Purgatory 

Gregorian Masses are rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching on Purgatory. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: All those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter into the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030)

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this process of purification. For a scriptural reference, please read Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

Gregorian Masses are named after Pope Saint Gregory I. According to tradition, Our Lord appeared to Pope Gregory and said to him, “All souls in Purgatory for whom 30 consecutive Masses are offered will immediately be relieved, however great their temporal punishment.”

Similarly, in the writings of Pope Gregory, he explains that the soul of a monk appeared to him, and the monk told him that had been liberated from Purgatory after 30 Masses had been celebrated for his deliverance.

Why 30 Masses? Because Pope Gregory brought back the tradition from the Old Testament — Israelites mourned the dead for 30 days, such as for Moses and Aaron.

Indulgences 

Regarding temporal punishment due to sin, this can be alleviated by indulgences. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1471):

"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." (Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.)

In Scripture, indulgences are linked to the authority Jesus Christ gives to His Church: "I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19

+JMJ+

© Excerpts from an original article written by Rev. James Beegan, M.S.F. and published in The Messenger magazine from the Missionaries of the Holy Family, Saint Louis, Missouri. All rights reserved.

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