Thursday, August 31, 2006

St. Gregory I, the Great

Sunday, 3 September, will be the feast day of St. Gregory the Great. (Click the title for a good biography of him.)
Before the reform of the Roman Calendar, (see this link for information at
this feast was held on 12 March. However, in the desire to remove saints' feasts from Lent, Gregory was moved to 3 September, the day of his ordination as Bishop of Rome.
Since he is my holy patron saint, I think that a few words about him are in order. He is considered to be the first Pope of the Benedictine Order, although that's probably stretching it since we cannot really say that the "order" existed until the time of Charlemagne (even though many individual monastic houses followed Benedict's Rule for Monasteries). He included a chapter about St. Benedict in his book Dialogues and had very good things to say about him and St. Scholastica, Benedict's sister. As a matter of fact, all that we know of the life of St. Benedict is contained in Gregory's Dialogues. So we Benedictines claim him as our own, one of a long line of Popes that our order has contributed to the Holy Roman Church.
Patron saints have been a wonderful affirmation of the communion of saints in the Catholic Church. I have always had a devotion to Gregory, and have tried to model my pastoral care on his teachings. But there are other saints whom I invoke to aid me, viz.: Our Lady of Einsiedeln (the patroness of the monasteries that founded Subiaco); St. Joseph, Sts. Benedict and Scholastica; Meinrad and Gall (early Swiss monks); St. Alfred the Great, King of England (my middle name is Alfred, after my grandfather); St. Pius V, Domincan and Pope on whose day I was baptized; the Prophet Ezekiel whose feast is my birthday, 10 April (Ezekiel spoke about being a watchman for the house of Israel, and Gregory means "the Watchman."); St. Thomas Pilcher, a kinsman of mine and an English Martyr under Bloody Lizzie I, (bastard daughter of Henry VIII and the witch, Ann Bolyn) who was drawn and quartered in Dorchester; and finally, my Guardian Angel, whoever he/she may be.
There was a king of France, whose name escapes me now, who used to wear a hat with medallions of all his patron saints on it. When he was in need, he'd take off the hat, hang it on a nearby bush or something, and kneel and pray to his patrons. They always seemed to come through for him, and mine have always come through for me. I have tried to upload some icons of St. Gregory, but Blogger is being contentious today. The URLs above have some good pix.
Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us!

The Last Day of August

We're already at the end of the month. How quickly the summer has gone. The children are already back in school. We had a very moving blessing of teachers and students at Mass last Sunday. The old Holy Redeemer school campus that was bought by the local school board has been completely refurbished and now houses the kindergarten and first grades for Yocum School right across the street. Shows what you can do when you have a lot of money and a lot of workmen. While it is sad not to have our parish school anymore, it is a great financial relief to the parish.
George Hoeltzman (click on the title above for a link to see his work) of Hattieville, AR came here last Sunday and presented a workshop for the RCIA. I'm hoping that this will jump-start our program this year.
The work is proceeding rather haphazardly on the new parking lot across the street from the front of the church. We're hoping that people can park on it starting the second Sunday of September.