Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gregorian Masses for the Dead

Prayer for the Dead

The belief of the Church based on the Word of God as revealed in the second Book of Maccabees, is that it is a holy and worthwhile thing to pray for the dead that they may be freed from sin. The people of God from the earliest times have acted on this conviction in various ways.

St. Teresa of Avila interceding for the
souls in purgatory

Gregorian Masses

One tradition that has come down to us, as related by Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) in his treatise on the Immortality of the Soul, is that there is special efficacy in having Mass celebrated on thirty consecutive days for a deceased person. For this reason they are known as Gregorian Masses.

The Roman Catholic Church has established strict regulations concerning the celebration of Gregorian Masses.

1. Gregorian Masses are offered for only one deceased person.

2. Gregorian Masses cannot be offered for several deceased, nor for all the faithful departed.

3. Gregorian Masses must be offered one each day for thirty consecutive days. Should the series be interrupted for any reason, it must be begun again.

In addition, though the thirty consecutive Masses in the Gregorian series need not be celebrated by the same priest, nor at the same altar, they must each be offered for the same departed person for each of the consecutive thirty days.

As you will appreciate, few priests by reason of their work are free and able to offer the thirty consecutive Masses of the Gregorian series without interruption. Hence, it requires extra time to arrange to have the Gregorian Masses scheduled as this cannot be done usually in a place where only one priest is stationed; in case he falls ill, there must be at least one other priest available, and free to continue the Masses without interruption.

This will explain why a higher stipend is normally requested for the thirty Gregorian Masses.
Ancient Tradition

In accordance with a Catholic tradition of over 1,300 years, a series of thirty Holy Masses, known as Gregorian Masses, is offered on thirty consecutive days exclusively
for the repose of the soul of a departed person.

The name derives from Pope St. Gregory the Great who was the first to popularize this pious practice. St. Gregory relates in his Dialogues how, when he had finished the series of thirty Masses for a departed monk, the monk appeared to tell he had thus gained entry into glory on completion of the Gregorian Masses.

The hallowed tradition has been declared a “pious and reasonable belief of the faithful” on the authority of the Sacred Roman Congregation on Indulgences.

The customary offering for the uninterrupted series of thirty daily consecutive Gregorian Masses (for one deceased person only) is a donation of $400.

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