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 Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

A litany is a devotional prayer for two or more people gathered together. The principal phrase (versicle = v.) is said or chanted by one person, and the responses (r.) by the others in unison.

This traditional Litany contains ancient titles of the Blessed Virgin, many of which have their origin in Scripture, and many of them have been used as names of parishes. (If you don't know the simple chant tones for the litany, you might ask a member of your parents or grandparents' generation. They would have learned these litany chants in school and at weekly parish devotions.)

Even very small children do like litanies, since the versicles are short and the responsorial phrases are easy to learn so they can participate fully in the family prayers. When the litany is prayed in families with children who are just learning to read and spell, it might be useful to explain the meaning of some of the unfamiliar words. (For pre-school children, it might be wise to say only part of the litany.)

(Note: You may print copies of this Litany for our own or parish use -- and save them to use again on the next feast day of Mary.)

Illustration © Alice Mankowski - watercolor


V. Lord, have mercy on us.

R. Christ, have mercy on us.

V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us.

R. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven: -- Have mercy on us. (repeat at end of each phrase.)
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world:
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,

Holy Mary, -- Pray for us. (repeat at end of each phrase.)
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of Heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without Original Sin,
Queen assumed into Heaven,
Queen of the most holy rosary,
Queen of Peace.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

v. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

r. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto us Thy servants, that we may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and, by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness, and enter into the joy of Thine eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Excerpts From Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Principles and Guidelines on the Vatican Website.

Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary

203. Litanies are to be found among the prayers to the Blessed Virgin recommended by the Magisterium. These consist in a long series of invocations of Our Lady, which follow in a uniform rhythm, thereby creating a stream of prayer characterized by insistent praise and supplication. The invocations, generally very short, have two parts: the first of praise (Virgo clemens), the other of supplication (Ora pro nobis).

The liturgical books contain two Marian litanies(246): The Litany of Loreto, repeatedly recommended by the Roman Pontiffs; and the Litany for the Coronation of Images of the Blessed Virgin Mary(247), which can be an appropriate substitute for the other litany on certain occasions(248).

From a pastoral perspective, a proliferation of litanies would not seem desirable(249), just as an excessive restriction on them would not take sufficient account of the spiritual riches of some local Churches and religious communities. Hence, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments recommends "taking account of some older and newer formulas used in the local Churches or in religious communities which are notable for their structural rigor and the beauty of their invocations"(250). This exhortation, naturally, applies to the specific authorities in the local Churches or religious communities.

Following the prescription of Leo XIII that the recitation of the Rosary should be concluded by the Litany of Loreto during the month of October, the false impression has arisen among some of the faithful that the Litany is in some way an appendix to the Rosary. The Litanies are independent acts of worship. They are important acts of homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or as processional elements, or form part of a celebration of the Word of God or of other acts of worship.


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