Pastor’s letter for September 4, 2016: Robert on St Gregory
Fr. Vincent has been on retreat for the past week, and has asked me to write the parish letter for this Sunday. We think of any time away from work as “vacation,” a time to relax and do things we enjoy. A retreat is also a time dedicated to rest, but it is specifically a time to rest with God. It is a time of prayer, of quiet, of deepening connection with Jesus. Retreats are not just for priests. We all can benefit from setting aside time to enjoy God’s presence – whether an hour in adoration, a week at a monastery, or a few minutes each evening before bed.
On Saturday, we celebrated the feast of St. Gregory the Great, one of the most significant popes in our history. He was born to a wealthy Roman family around 540, and converted his family estate into a monastery. He was a happy monk until he was made ambassador from Rome to Constantinople, where he could not avoid politics. When the pope died in 590, Gregory was immediately elected to the see of Peter, although he longed to return to the peace of his monastery.
As pope, Gregory reformed a Church in crisis since the sack of Rome. He sponsored the first mission to England (headed by St. Augustine of Canterbury) and invented a system of accounting for distributing the Church’s goods to the poor. He is maybe best known for his liturgical reforms, many of which still shape our liturgy today. He described the role of the pope as servus servorum Dei: the servant of the servants of God. He died in 604.
This Thursday, we’ll celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Usually, we celebrate saints on or around the day they entered heaven; but Our Lady and John the Baptist are also celebrated on their birthday because they prepared the world for the birth of Jesus.
May God bless you, and his saints guide you, throughout this week!
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Pastoral Associate for Adult Faith Formation