“Saint Gregory” was painted in 1626-1627 by Chiaroscuro Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664). (Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Sept. 3

This patrician prefect of Rome is counted among the doctors and Fathers of the Church. After his father’s death, he gave family estates to the Church, founding seven monasteries, including the one he joined in his family home in Rome.

Following ordination, he served as papal nuncio in Constantinople, 579-586, then was an abbot in Rome until 590, when he became the first monk elected pope.

Gregory I reformed the clergy, sent missionaries to England, promoted monasticism and chant, wrote prolifically and assumed civic duties in Rome in the face of natural disasters and the warring Lombards.

St. Gregory is a patron saint of choirboys, musicians, singers and England. He is also the patron of St. Gregory Parish and School in Phoenix and the Phoenix Gregorian Chant Group.