St Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor
Born at Rome in 540, St. Gregory, the historian of St. Benedict, transformed his house into a monastery where the great patriarch's rule was observed. Becoming successively Abbot, Cardinal and Supreme Pontiff, he was one of the greatest popes established by God over his family (Communion). While he actively propagated the truth through the barbarian world, he watched over the temporal interests of his Roman people with supreme intelligence and devotion, and has justly been named Gregory the Great.
He is with St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Jerome one of the four great Latin doctors and the torch of his doctrine raised on the candlestick (Gospel), shines throughout the world.
England owes her conversion to him: he sent her a company of Benedictine monks under whose guidance he hoped the Angles would become angels.
To him chiefly belongs the honour of having collected and published the beautiful and chaste forms of liturgical prayer and those harmonious melodies called for ever after him "Gregonan Chant".
"The Gregorian Ghant, says Pius X, possesses in the highest degree the only chant she has inherited from the ancient Fathers, which she has jealously guarded through the ages in her liturgical manuscripts, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, and which, in certain parts of the lIturgy she prescribes exclusively.
"For these reasons the Gregorian Chant has always been considered the supreme model of sacred music. The traditional ancient chant is therefore to be made good use of in the functions of the church, all being well assured that an ecclesiastical function loses nothing of its solemnity when no other music accompanies it. And particular care should be taken to re-establish the Gregorian Chant in popular practice, in order that the faithful may again take a more active part, in the celebration of ecclesiastical offices, as was once the custom" (Motu proprio, Nov. 22th 1903).
St. Gregory died on March 12th, 604. At this season, consecrated to penance, let us ask God, through the intercession of this Saint, to deliver us from the weight of our sins (Collect).
Sacerdotes Dei, benedicite Dominum: sancti et humiles corde, laudate Deum. * Benedicite, omnia opera Domini, Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye holy and humble of heart, praise God. * All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
(Daniel 3:84,87,85 from the Introit of Mass)
Deus, qui animae famuli tui Gregorii aeternae beatitudinis praemia contulisti, concede propitius; ut, qui peccatorum nostrorum pondera premimur, ejus apud te precibus sublevemur.
O God, who didst bestow upon the soul of Thy servant Gregory the rewards of eternal happiness; mercifully grant, that we who are oppressed by the weight of our sins, may be relieved through his intercession.
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06780a.htm