Did you know that there is a way to get the soul of a deceased loved one out of Purgatory, faster? Yes, you can get plenary indulgences and pray the daily rosary for them, but there’s one more thing that can help them get out of purgatory even sooner. With the month dedicated to the Holy Souls in purgatory having just begun, now is a good time to think about having Gregorian Masses said for them.
What are Gregorian Masses?
Gregorian Masses are a series of 30 consecutive Masses offered for the soul of a deceased loved one. The Masses are offered for a single soul, so you can’t give the priest(s) a long list of names. It’s customary to have these Masses said as soon as possible following the person’s death but it’s never too late to ask for them.
It is said that the number of Masses required (30) gives the soul time to be prepared to enter Heaven as some may need the cleansing fire of purgatory first. Through the intercession of Christ at the sacrifice of the Mass, the souls receive the graces to chip away the imperfections thus allowing them to be ready to enter Heaven.
How they got their name and number
The name “Gregorian Mass” was given to these types of Masses because of the spread of this devotion by Pope Gregory the Great. He encouraged these Masses during his pontificate as a way to help the souls in purgatory.
Still wondering why 30 Masses? Because Pope Gregory said Masses for a deceased monk and on the 30th Mass, the monk appeared to him to tell him that his soul was now headed to Heaven as a result of those 30 Masses.
How to have them offered
These Masses are rarely offered at a parish level for practical reasons. Thankfully, there are plenty of monasteries, seminaries, and by priests who don’t have many pastoral commitments and are able to offer these Masses. Where you choose to have them celebrated is up to you. A quick Google search will bring up some of the more frequented websites that others have used to ask for the Masses to be said. Just do your research and make sure the website is connected to an actual order, monastery, etc. There are some dioceses, like the Diocese of Omaha, that will also have a link to where you can inquire about the Masses more locally so be sure to check your own as a starting place.
It’s customary—but not required!—to make a small donation for a Mass. A typical donation for the Masses is $10 per Mass for a total of $300. This seems to be the norm for all Mass intentions (not just for Gregorian Masses). Remember that money and earthly wealth is temporary but what we’re going for those poor souls in purgatory is, quite literally, for all eternity. It is not a “fee” to pay a priest off, but is a thoughtful donation for their time and effort.
Your own Memento Morí
Not to be completely morbid but here’s a little advice that I’ve heard given over the years regarding Gregorian Masses: make plans for your own. Save up the donation stipend and look at where you would like them to be offered. Let trusted family members or friends know your wishes and leave the stipend in a secure place that can accessed after your passing. Yes, I know that no one likes to think about their mortality but it will save a lot of stress to those you leave behind, especially if they’re barely making ends meet themselves.
If you have it in your heart to help get a parent, grandparent, sibling, or any other loved one out of purgatory, Gregorian Masses are one of the best ways to do it. Of course, if you need to save for them, you can always offer up little sacrifices and prayers for them. Either way, don’t forget those who we (still) love and are no longer with us.
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