With Pope Francis in the news on a daily basis, it’s worth recalling another famous reforming pope. Sept. 3 marks the Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604. In his own way he made a similar impact on the Church of his time.
Most people today have heard of Gregorian chant, a type of sung prayer made famous in recent years by the monks of the Abby of St. Pierre in Solesmes, France, whose recordings have sold millions. This kind of plainchant, as it is called, can be traced directly back to the papacy of Gregory, whose influence made it the music most closely identified with the Church.
Gregory was also known for his energetic reform of liturgy and his prolific writings. He was so loved during his life that he was canonized by popular acclamation after his death.
Popes place their stamp on the Church in a way unmatched by any other religious figure. We identify eras in our history by the papacies. Hence some Catholics refer to themselves as “John Paul II Catholics”. No doubt we will have “Francis Catholics” in the years to come.
This month the papacy will be top of mind for us here in North America. Pope Francis will visit the continent in late September, finishing in Philadelphia at the close of the World Meeting on the Family. He will address the U.S. Congress, the United Nations General Assembly and what is expected to be more than one million Catholics on his final Mass.
Novalis is marking the occasion with some new titles to share Francis’ thought and prayers with the world:
- In This Economy Kills: Pope Francis on Capitalism and Social Justice, authors Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi analyse the pope’s stern warning to the rich countries of the world that we need to be less greedy and more compassionate toward the poor.
- On Care for Our Common Home is a group reading guide for those who want to study the pope’s latest encyclical, Laudato Si. Author Bill Huebsch distills the pope’s text to its essence.
During this September, let us listen to Francis and take to heart his message of mercy and compassion.
-Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director
Order online and save 30%! Place the books in your basket and apply promotion code Blog09 before checking out. Offer available online only.
By Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi
$22.95 On Sale Online: $16.07!
By Bill Huebsch
$4.50 On Sale Online: $3.60!