Mission Prayer of Gregory the Great Academy

Every morning, the faculty gathers in the chapel to pray for the mission of the Academy, reciting a prayer composed for this specific purpose. The Mission Prayer of Gregory the Great Academy invokes the guidance, wisdom, and blessing of St. Gregory the Great, together with all of our patron saints, as every day begins with the happy challenge of providing a beautiful, life-changing education to our students. Please read the prayer below and feel free to join the faculty in reciting it every morning at 8:30 am.

Pope Gregory the Great,
our Holy Father among the Saints,
you lived in times that seemed the end of the age.
While Christian culture continues to collapse
under new barbarians and invaders,
we look to you for strength and solace
as we take up the same defense that you took up:
the art of education.

Through the liberal arts, music, and the Benedictine rule,
you rose to lead the Church through turmoil.
Give us the humility and the bravery
to carry on your work to win souls for Christ the King.
Teach us to love all that we do fearlessly
and to wield the power of love with mercy and might.
Open our eyes to see angels in those lost to captivity,
to see comrades in lowly beggars,
and be, as you were, servants to the servants of God.

O Doctor of Desire,
guide us in giving an education of love:
the zeal for goodness, truth, and beauty,
the love of learning, and the desire for God.
Bid the Holy Spirit alight on our shoulders
even as He alighted on yours,
that He may whisper in our ears
and enkindle in us that fire,
that light, that love, that dispels darkness,
making our hearts leap up with yearning for God.

Bring us to that eternal symposium,
to that dialogue of wonder and delight
that leads on to wisdom and beatitude.
You taught that the greatness of contemplation
is given to none but those who love.
Enlighten our minds and hearts
that we may enlighten those of our students
with the inspiration that touches the mind
and by touching, lifts it up,
repressing temporal thoughts,
inflaming it with eternal desires,
hearing the hidden word,
and conceiving the speech
of the Holy Spirit in the heart.

Let us cultivate desire as we cultivate the virtues.
Make us educators that lead with light.
Help us engage the heart, to love our students,
and to love one another in the friendship of Christ.
Give us eyes for beauty, minds for truth, and desire for goodness.
Grant us prudence in judgment,
compassion in correction,
diligence in labor,
and joy in sacrifice.
Bring laughter and wonder to our students
that they may grow like great rooted trees,
grounded in wisdom and grasping the stars.

As the world pines for the restoration of faith,
we invoke your patronage, Holy Father Gregory,
great priest, great pope, great teacher,
but great lover first and foremost.
For this we call you great,
and hearken to your words,
“Where love exists, it works great things.”
St. Gregory the Great, hear our prayer.
Make us great in love.

Let us pray.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St. Joseph the Wonder Worker, pray for us.
St. Nicholas, Helper of the Poor, pray for us.
St. George, Model of Chivalry, pray for us.
St. Benedict, Father of Duty, pray for us.
St. Francis, Jongleur of God, pray for us.
St. Julian, Clown of God, pray for us.
St. John Bosco, Saver of Souls, pray for us.
St. Sebastian, Champion of Athletes, pray for us.
St. Patrick, Missionary Heart, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelic Doctor, pray for us.
St. Gregory the Great, Musical Teacher, pray for us.

May the Divine assistance remain always with us,
and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.


All Saints and All Souls Days

The mission of Catholic education, the mission of Gregory the Great Academy, is arguably the most important one in the world—to make citizens for the next world. Dr. John Senior, the teacher whose educational methods and ideas informed the origins of our community, described Christian culture as the cultivation of saints. During this time of year when we honor all the saints and all those souls who will become saints, we are reminded of this truth and, again, honored that we have been given the incredible opportunity to labor in this bright corner of the vineyard and tend to our harvest. Teaching is like tending, like gardening—constantly requiring weeding, watching, and waiting. The faculty at Gregory the Great bear this ever in mind as we engage in the art of teaching and, God willing, in the work of cultivating saints. There are 63 spirited boys at the Academy, each one giving their all to the good school that God has provided for them. May it prove their path to heaven.

Robin Hood Days 2019

Life isn’t all beer and skittles,” wrote Thomas Hughes in Tom Brown’s Schooldays, “but beer and skittles, or something better of the same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman’s education.” The things that often best define a society are the things done when unconstrained by the necessities of society. Leisure is the basis of culture, to borrow Josef Pieper’s title, and what people do in their leisure time is, therefore, central to self-identity and to the quality of life. Education can, by this principle, be either enhanced or undone when school is out. Amusements and activities are a vital aspect of formation, and thus the “beer and skittles” of life have a serious part to play in a serious education.

In Hughes’ words:

Don’t let reformers of any sort think that they are going really to lay hold of the working boys and young men of England by any educational grapnel whatever, which isn’t some bona fide equivalent for the games of the old country… something to put in the place of the back-swording and wrestling and racing; something to try the muscles of men’s bodies, and the endurance of their hearts, and to make them rejoice in their strength. In all the new-fangled comprehensive plans which I see, this is all left out…

Every year at Gregory the Great Academy, there is an event called Robin Hood Days, where the students and faculty process with bows, belts, knives, and flags under the greenwood tree where all live together as merry men for several days. After setting up elaborate campsites, an outdoor kitchen, and a chapel, the boys feast on pit-roasted meats washed down with birch beer as they compete in a series of woodland skittles: archery tournaments, knife and axe throwing, whittling, wrestling, quarterstaff bouts, fire-starting races, and old Native American relay games.

All this may sound unusual for boys of our times to be doing, but to experience it is the most natural thing in the world. Laughter, songs, climbing trees, fires, food and drink, stories, games, hearty cheers, the occasional bloody nose, the ever-accompanying helping hand up, communal prayer, conversation beneath the stars. This is leisure, and it is profoundly educational. Hughes was right — beer and skittles, or their betters, must form a good part of any education.