Saint of the day:
Saint Gregory (Pope)
Patron Saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers
St. Gregory is often depicted with a scroll with the words,“Ora pro nobis Deum” which translates, “Pray for God”
Saint Gregory the Great’s Story
Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate, and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome.
Ordained a priest, Gregory became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, but at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.
Gregory was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, and for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is disputed.
Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king.
His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily Gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” Gregory has been given a place with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.
An Anglican historian has written: “It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great.”
St Gregory the Great
(d. 604, Rome, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy)
A major part of the relics of St Gregory the Great and the body of St Sebastian are said to have been taken to Soissons, France in 826 AD. Alban Butler in The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints claims that in 1564 these relics were stolen and thrown into a ditch by Calvinists. This tradition then maintains that some of these desecrated relics were recovered and subsequently placed into surrounding churches in that area. Despite this tradition the veneration of St Gregory the Great’s relics in Rome has been maintained for centuries.
St Peter’s Basilica
Altar of St Gregory the Great
*Located within the left transept near the entrance to the sacristy.
*Relics of St Gregory the Great rest below this altar. The mosaic above this altar recounts a Eucharistic miracle attributed to him.
Churches of Honor in Rome
San Gregorio Magno al Celio
(Saint Gregory the Great at the Celio)
Piazza di San Gregorio 1
*This church is south of the Colosseum. It is not open often.
*The land upon which this church now rests was once owned by the family of St Gregory the Great. In the 6th century he built a monastery upon this property. It was from this monastery that St Augustine of Canterbury and his fellow missionaries were sent out to proclaim the Gospel in England. A plaque within this church recalls the importance of this event.
Santa Maria della Pietà (Our Lady of Mercy)
Via del Portico d'Ottavia / Piazza di Monte Savello 9
*This church is near the Jewish quarter and is alongside the Via Lungotevere De Cenci.
It is known also as San Gregorio a Ponte Quattro Capi. It is not open often.
*Tradition holds that this church is built over the location of St Gregory’s birth home.
San Gregorio dei Muratori
(Saint Gregory of the Bricklayers)
Via Leccosa 75
*This tiny church is near the Cavour Bridge along the Tiber River. It is difficult to find as it is at the end of a cul-de-sac and blends into the surrounding buildings. It is dedicated to St Gregory the Great. It is not open often.
Legend has it that on St. Mark’s Feast Day, St. Gregory the Great, when he was the pope, suddenly had a great craving for cherries. The servants and gardeners were puzzled at what to do, since the cherry trees, which were plentiful, were just in bloom. As the legend goes, one gardener, in search of cherries, was visited by St. Mark in a cloud of fire, and asked why he was in such a state. When St. Mark heard the story about Pope Gregory, he gave a blessing upon one cherry tree, and it was suddenly covered with ripe, red cherries. In gratitude, it is said that the pope
“wolfed down a bellyful.”
2 cups of fresh sour cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons of blanched slivered almonds
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk (2% or whole milk)
3/4 teaspoon of almond extract (can sub 2 teaspoons of Amaretto)
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
Butter and flour baking dish, scatter with cherries and slivered almonds:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9X9 or 10X7 baking dish.
Scatter the cherries and slivered almonds over the bottom of the dish.
Make batter with eggs, sugar, salt, and flour:
Whisk the eggs and sugars together until smooth. Whisk in the salt and flour until smooth.
Add the milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into the baking dish over the cherries and slivered almonds.
Bake: Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned
and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Check about halfway through the baking and if the top is getting well browned
tent it loosely with aluminum foil.
Remove from oven to cool: When you pull it put of the oven it will wiggle a bit which is normal.
Place on a wire rack to cool. The clafoutis will have puffed up quite a bit and will deflate while cooling.
Dust with powdered sugar: When cool dust the clafoutis with powdered sugar. Serve.
Grilled Stone Fruit Sangria
Vegetable oil (for grill)
2 peaches, halved, pitted
2 plums, halved, pitted
1 nectarine, halved, pitted
12 cherries, 6 halved, pitted, 6 left whole for serving
1 (750ml) bottle red wine
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup simple syrup
Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium heat; oil grates. Grill peach, plum,
and nectarine halves, flipping once, until lightly charred and tender, 8–10 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board and let cool, then cut into 1" chunks.
Muddle grilled fruit and 6 halved cherries in a large pitcher with a wooden spoon.
Top with wine, orange juice, brandy, and simple syrup; stir to incorporate.
Chill at least 1 hour.
Fill glasses with ice. Add sangria and muddled fruit and top each with a cherry.
Ora pro nobis Deum