Gregorian Mass - 30 Masses For One Dead Person

Yesterday during a discussion, I found out about the Gregorian Mass.

Below is an excerpt from EWTN:

: The practice of Gregorian Masses goes back to a tradition hailing from Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). According to legend, a deceased monk appeared and requested 30 Masses to be celebrated for the release of his soul from purgatory. On completion of the stipulated days he appeared once more radiant in heavenly glory.

From this legend the practice of celebrating 30 consecutive Masses for one and the same person with the intention of procuring release from purgatory became an established custom which has been regulated in various ways over the centuries.

Anyone familiar with Gregorian Masses? Has anyone asked that a Gregorian Mass be said for someone? I understand there is a cost.

Is this just superstition that most Catholics don’t believe?

I hang out with a very traditional bunch and I am having a hard time separating superstition from standard Catholic discipline.

Anyone ever heard of this or is this truly a fringe practice?

I believe this is actually a mainstream practice with roots in early medieval practice starting with St. Gregory. I’ve seen religious orders who will do it for you if you ask.

Thanks. I was beginning to think no one had heard of it.

Do you know of anyone personally who has done it?

It is not at all uncommon. However, it can be difficult to find a priest willing to do it, and the cost is not insignificant. (a typical Mass stipend is $10 or $15, multiplied by 30).

Yes, that’s exactly what I was told. The person who did it payed about $300.

And as far as I understand, you can’t say the mass for two people at a time for example and if you miss one day out of the 30, you have to start over again?

I dont understand this part of dedicating masses. I was born Catholic but have fallen away from the faith and returned many times…only to fall away and return again.

When I was younger I remember church bulletins listing sunday mass dedicated to several people. Now that I am older (and memory is more vague,) I am told that mass can only be dedicated to one cause. Trying to get mass celebrated for the repose of my mother’s soul has become quite difficult. Anniversary of death is traditionally the most beneficial to the deceased. Is this single dedication new or am I mistaken?

(sorry to have interrupted your post, but this is quite troubling to me.)

I don’t mind you asking this question. It’s related to the subject matter. I’d love to know the answer as well.

I believe having mass dedicated to several people as you see in the church bulletins is different from the Gregorian mass. Hopefully someone else will chime in.

The origin is not clear, probably much later than St Gregory the Great, but still in the first millenium.

After the great epidemics when the Church lost her main source of income the tithe, such Masses became more popular. Usually land was donated to the Church for yearly memorial masses, significantly more land for yearly Gregorian Masses. In Hungary some of such foundations were released when I was child, although in that time they were reduced to anniversary single Masses.

If one thinks it over such Masses exclude others from the benefit of the Mass offered for them.

Hi Lazlo,

So I was wondering…Is this a regular mass where parishioners attend or is it just the priest offering the mass?

I thought it was offered at religious houses.

Also, in what way does it exclude? I see daily masses offered for different people all the time.

If you attend the TLM daily often requiem masses will occur (at least where I go) as a votive mass. The requiem mass basically cuts out all the parts of the TLM that would be inappropriate for a requiem. Thus, the prayers at the foot of the altar are basically cut out, the Gloria is omitted, as is the creed I believe, the Angus Dei rather than asking for “mercy” asks “grant them peace,” and the ending rites are altered a little bit. In addition the Priest wears black, which is a bit shocking to see for the first time if you are used to the Novus Ordo.

I had never heard the specific tradition you mentioned, but from you posted I don’t see anything incompatible with Catholic teaching. It never guarantees the release of the souls after 30 days. And yes praying for the dead, which is what the requiem mass is, is a very Catholic thing to do.

Ah, I attended one of those by mistake one day. It was when I was new to the TLM and I was utterly confused because it didn’t quite match my missal.

As to justtryin’s question, how easy it is to have a requiem mass, like the one you described, said for a family member? I think this is what he wants said for his mother.

Priest can offer only one Mass a day; also with some exceptions even to celebrate only one Mass a day since the time of the Reformation. On the good old time some of such Masses were offered out to other parishes. Also there were usualy Requiem Masses in black as much as it was possible, and this possibility was much larger set than now.

Either religious houses and parishes or dioceses themselves had such Masses.

In the good onl time one Mass was offered only for the intention of one single person. This was clearly restricted by law. In the 1982 Law also

Can. 948 Separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.

The Masses offered as a part of the Gregorian Mass for the dead can be any Mass at all that the priest says during the 30 days. Parish priests, however, usually can’t take these Masses because they’ve got a parish to take care of and in most parishes, there are a lot of people who want Masses offered for their intentions.

Therefore it makes more sense for religious priests to offer these Masses, since they don’t have a parish full of people all trying to have Masses said for their intentions. Sometimes a parish priest will take on the Masses, and then hand them (and the stipends) off to some other priest who can actually do it.

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks.


Heve you heard about the Marianist Mission?

We received a card from a family friend who moved away years ago.

In the card it says,

       Perpetual Membership
               in the
      Marianist Spiritual Alliance
      has been conferred upon


members are forever remembered in
Marianist Masses and Prayers.

 presented by

I haven’t heard of them, but everything is new to me. :wink:

It seems like a nice idea but I always research carefully any organization I give my money to.

Now I’m curious. Are there Religious Orders in the United States that celebrate 30 consecutive Gregorian Masses? Are there Religious Societies other than the Marianists who celebrate perpetual Masses and Prayers in the US for the deceased?

Something like that, but more specific to saying Masses for the deceased is a purgatorian confraternity. The Transalpine Redemptorists have organized such a confraternity and daily say Masses for its members:

Very interesting.

On another note, can one get something like a Gregorian mass said for deceased Protestants?

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