"Who in the days of his flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence."

Hebrews 5:7

Prayers & Hymns

Act of Contrition (Actus contritionis)

In the very nature of things the sinner must repent before he can be reconciled with God (Sess. XIV, ch. iv, de Contritione, Fuit quovis tempore, etc.). Therefore he who has fallen into grievous sin must either make an act of perfect contrition or supplement the imperfect contrition by receiving the Sacrament of Penance; otherwise reconciliation with God is impossible. This obligation urges under pain of sin when there is danger of death. In danger of death, therefore, if a priest be not at hand to administer the sacrament, the sinner must make an effort to elicit an act of perfect contrition. The obligation of perfect contrition is also urgent whensoever one has to exercise some act for which a state of grace is necessary and the Sacrament of Penance is not accessible. Theologians have questions how long a man may remain in the state of sin, without making an effort to elicit an act of perfect contrition. They seem agreed that such neglect must have extended over considerable time, but what constitutes a considerable time they find it hard to determine (Schieler-Hauser, op. cit., pp. 83 sqq.). Probably the rule of St. Alphonsus Liguori will aid the solution: "The duty of making an act of contrition is urgent when one is obliged to make an act of love" (Sabetti, Theologia Moralis: de necess. contritionis, no. 731; Ballerine, Opus Morale: de contritione).

(Edward Hanna, "Contrition," Catholic Encyclopedia)

DEUS MEUS, ex toto corde pænitet me ómnium meórum peccatórum, éaque detéstor, quia peccándo, non solum pœnas a te iuste statútas proméritus sum, sed præsértim quia offéndi te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super ómnia diligáris. Ídeo fírmiter propóno, adiuvánte grátia tua, de cétero me non peccatúrum peccandíque occasiónes próximas fugitúrum. Amen. O MY God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Source: http://www.preces-latinae.org/index.htm

Our Father/The Lord’s Prayer (Pater noster)

Although the Latin term oratio dominica is of early date, the phrase "Lord's Prayer" does not seem to have been generally familiar in England before the Reformation. During the Middle Ages the "Our Father" was always said in Latin, even by the uneducated. Hence it was then most commonly known as the Pater noster. The name "Lord's prayer" attaches to it not because Jesus Christ used the prayer Himself (for to ask forgiveness of sin would have implied the acknowledgment of guilt) but because He taught it to His disciples.

Many points of interest are suggested by the history and employment of the Our Father. With regard to the English text now in use among Catholics, we may note that this is derived not from the Rheims Testament but from a version imposed upon England in the reign of Henry VIII, and employed in the 1549 and 1552 editions of the "Book of Common Prayer". From this our present Catholic text differs only in two very slight particulars: "Which art" has been modernized into "who art", and "in earth" into "on earth".

The version itself, which accords pretty closely with the translation in Tyndale's New Testament, no doubt owed its general acceptance to an ordinance of 1541 according to which "his Grace perceiving now the great diversity of the translations (of the Pater noster etc.) hath willed them all to be taken up, and instead of them hath caused an uniform translation of the said Pater noster, Ave, Creed, etc. to be set forth, willing all his loving subjects to learn and use the same and straitly commanding all parsons, vicars and curates to read and teach the same to their parishioners". As a result the version in question became universally familiar to the nation, and though the Rheims Testament, in 1581, and King James's translators, in 1611, provided somewhat different renderings of Matthew 6:9-13, the older form was retained for their prayers both by Protestants and Catholics alike.

As for the prayer itself the version in St. Luke 11:2-4, given by Christ in answer to the request of His disciples, differs in some minor details from the form which St. Matthew (6:9-15) introduces in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, but there is clearly no reason why these two occasions should be regarded as identical. It would be almost inevitable that if Christ had taught this prayer to His disciples He should have repeated it more than once. It seems probable, from the form in which the Our Father appears in the "Didache", that the version in St. Matthew was that which the Church adopted from the beginning for liturgical purposes. Again, no great importance can be attached to the resemblances which have been traced between the petitions of the Lord's prayer and those found in prayers of Jewish origin which were current about the time of Christ. There is certainly no reason for treating the Christian formula as a plagiarism, for in the first place the resemblances are but partial and, secondly we have no satisfactory evidence that the Jewish prayers were really anterior in date.

Upon the interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, much has been written, despite the fact that it is so plainly simple, natural, and spontaneous, and as such preeminently adapted for popular use. In the quasi-official "Catechismus ad parochos", drawn up in 1564 in accordance with the decrees of the Council of Trent, an elaborate commentary upon the Lord's Prayer is provided which forms the basis of the analysis of the Our Father found in all Catholic catechisms. Many points worthy of notice are there emphasized, as, for example, the fact that the words "On earth as it is in Heaven" should be understood to qualify not only the petition "Thy will be done", but also the two preceding, "hallowed be Thy name" and "Thy Kingdom come". The meaning of this last petition is also very fully dealt with. The most conspicuous difficulty in the original text of the Our Father concerns the interpretation of the words artos epiousios which in accordance with the Vulgate in St. Luke we translate "our daily bread", St. Jerome, by a strange inconsistency, changed the pre-existing word quotidianum into supersubstantialem in St. Matthew but left quotidianum in St. Luke. The opinion of modern scholars upon the point is sufficiently indicated by the fact that the Revised Version still prints "daily" in the text, but suggests in the margin "our bread for the coming day", while the American Committee wished to add "our needful bread". Lastly may be noted the generally received opinion that the rendering of the last clause should be "deliver us from the evil one", a change which justifies the use of "but" in stead of "and" and practically converts the two last clauses into one and the same petition. The doxology "for Thine is the Kingdom", etc., which appears in the Greek textus receptus and has been adopted in the later editions of the "Book of Common Prayer", is undoubtedly an interpolation.

In the liturgy of the Church the Our Father holds a very conspicuous place. Some commentators have erroneously supposed, from a passage in the writings of St. Gregory the Great (Ep., ix, 12), that he believed that the bread and wine of the Eucharist were consecrated in Apostolic times by the recitation of the Our Father alone. But while this is probably not the true meaning of the passage, St. Jerome asserted (Adv. Pelag., iii, 15) that "our Lord Himself taught His disciples that daily in the Sacrifice of His Body they should make bold to say 'Our Father' etc." St. Gregory gave the Pater its present place in the Roman Mass immediately after the Canon and before the fraction, and it was of old the custom that all the congregation should make answer in the words "Sed libera nos a malo". In the Greek liturgies a reader recites the Our Father aloud while the priest and the people repeat it silently. Again in the ritual of baptism the recitation of the Our Father has from the earliest times been a conspicuous feature, and in the Divine Office it recurs repeatedly besides being recited both at the beginning and the end.

In many monastic rules, it was enjoined that the lay brothers, who knew no Latin, instead of the Divine office should say the Lord's Prayer a certain number of times (often amounting to more than a hundred) per diem. To count these repetitions they made use of pebbles or beads strung upon a cord, and this apparatus was commonly known as a "pater-noster", a name which it retained even when such a string of beads was used to count, not Our Fathers, but Hail Marys in reciting Our Lady's Psalter, or in other words in saying the rosary.

(Herbert Thurston, "The Lord's Prayer," Catholic Encyclopedia)


PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen. OUR FATHER, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

See also:

  • Tertullian of Carthage, On Prayer (De oratione) 1–10
  • Origen of Alexandria, On Prayer (De Oratione) 18–30
  • Cyprian of Carthage, On the Lord’s Prayer (De oratione dominica; Treatises 4)
  • Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses mystagogicae 5.11–5.18
  • Gregory of Nyssa, On the Lord’s Prayer (De oratione dominica; 5 Sermons)
  • Ambrose of Milan, On the Sacraments (De sacramentis) 5.4.18–5.4.30
  • Evagrius Ponticus, Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer (Expositio in orationem dominicam); Clavis patrum graecorum (CPG) no. 2461
  • John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 19 (In Mattheum); Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer (Oratio dominica ejusque explanatio)
  • Augustine of Hippo, On the Sermon on the Mount 2.4.15–2.11.39; Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament 6–9 (Benedictine edition 56–59 )
  • John Cassian, Conferences 9.18–9.25 (On the Lord’s Prayer, De oratione Dominica)
  • Peter Chrysologus, Sermons 67–72
  • Maximus the Confessor, A Brief Explanation of the Prayer Our Father to a Certain Friend of Christ (Orationis Dominicae expositio)


Trinity Prayer (Glory Be to the Father / Gloria Patri)


In general this word means a short verse praising God and beginning, as a rule, with the Greek word Doxa. The custom of ending a rite or a hymn with such a formula comes from the Synagogue (cf. the Prayer of Manasses: tibi est gloria in sæcula sæculorum. Amen). St. Paul uses doxologies constantly (Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; etc.). The earliest examples are addressed to God the Father alone, or to Him through (dia) the Son (Romans 16:27; Jude 25; I Clement 41; Mart. Polyc., xx; etc.) and in (en) or with (syn, meta) the Holy Ghost (Mart. Polyc., xiv, xxii, etc.). The form of baptism (Matthew 28:19) had set an example of naming the three Persons in parallel order. Especially in the fourth century, as a protest against Arian subordination (since heretics appealed to these prepositions; cf. St. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 2-5), the custom of using the form: "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost", became universal among Catholics. From this time we must distinguish two doxologies, a greater (doxologia maior) and a shorter (minor). The greater doxology is the Gloria in Excelsis Deo in the Mass. The shorter form, which is the one generally referred to under the name "doxology", is the Gloria Patri. It is continued by an answer to the effect that this glory shall last for ever. The form, eis tous aionas ton aionon is very common in the first centuries (Romans 16:27; Galatians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; Epistle of Clement 20, 32, 38, 43, 45, etc.; Mart. Polyc., 22, etc.). It is a common Hebraism (Tobit 13:23; Psalm 83:5; repeatedly in the Apocalypse 1:6, 18; 14:11; 19:3; etc.) meaning simply "for ever". The simple form, eis tous aionas, is also common (Romans 11:36; Doctr. XII Apost., 9:10; in the Liturgy of the Apostolic Constitutions, passim) Parallel formulæ are: eis tous mellontas aionas (Mart. Polyc., xiv); apo geneas eis genean (ibid.); etc. This expression was soon enlarged into: "now and ever and in ages of ages" (cf. Hebrews 13:8; Mart. Polyc., 14:etc.). In this form it occurs constantly at the end of prayers in the Greek Liturgy of St. James (Brightman, Eastern Liturgies, pp. 31, 32, 33, 34, 41, etc.). and in all the Eastern rites. The Greek form then became: Doxa patri kai yio kai hagio pneumati, kai nun kai aei kai eis tous aionas ton aionon. Amen. In this shape it is used in the Eastern Churches at various points of the Liturgy (e.g. in St. Chrysostom's Rite; see Brightman, pp. 354, 364, etc.) and as the last two verses of psalms, though not so invariably as with us. The second part is occasionally slightly modified and other verses are sometimes introduced between the two halves. In the Latin Rite it seems originally to have had exactly the same form as in the East. In 529 the Second Synod of Vasio (Vaison in the province of Avignon) says that the additional words, Sicut erat in principio, are used in Rome, the East, and Africa as a protest against Arianism, and orders them to be said likewise in Gaul (can. v.). As far as the East is concerned the synod is mistaken. These words have never been used in any Eastern rite and the Greeks complained of their use in the West [Walafrid Strabo (9th century), De rebus eccl., xxv]. The explanation that sicut erat in principio was meant as a denial of Arianism leads to a question whose answer is less obvious than it seems. To what do the words refer? Everyone now understands gloria as the subject of erat: "As it [the glory] was in the beginning", etc. It seems, however, that originally they were meant to refer to Filius, and that the meaning of the second part, in the West at any rate, was: "As He [the Son] was in the beginning, so is He now and so shall He be for ever." The in principio, then, is a clear allusion to the first words of the Fourth Gospel, and so the sentence is obviously directed against Arianism. There are medieval German versions in the form: "Als er war im Anfang".

The doxology in the form in which we know it has been used since about the seventh century all over Western Christendom, except in one corner. In the Mozarabic Rite the formula is: "Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui sancto in sæcula sæculorum" (so in the Missal of this rite; see P.L., LXXXV, 109, 119, etc.). The Fourth Synod of Toledo in 633 ordered this form (can. xv). A common medieval tradition, founded on a spurious letter of St. Jerome (in the Benedictine edition, Paris, 1706, V, 415) says that Pope Damasus (366-384) introduced the Gloria Patri at the end of psalms. Cassian (died c. 435) speaks of this as a special custom of the Western Church (De instit. coen., II, viii). The use of the shorter doxology in the Latin Church is this: the two parts are always said or sung as a verse with response. They occur always at the end of psalms (when several psalms are joined together as one, as the sixty-second and sixty-sixth and again the one hundred and forty-eighth, one hundred and forty-ninth and one hundred and fiftieth at Lauds, the Gloria Patri occurs once only at the end of the group; on the other hand each group of sixteen verses of the one hundred and eighteenth psalm in the day Hours has the Gloria) except on occasions of mourning. For this reason (since the shorter doxology, like the greater one, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, in naturally a joyful chant) it is left out on the last three days of Holy Week; in the Office for the Dead its place is taken by the verses: Requiem æternam, etc., and Et lux perpetua, etc. It also occurs after canticles, except that the Benedicite has its own doxology (Benedicamus Patrem . . . Benedictus es Domine, etc. — the only alternative one left in the Roman Rite). In the Mass it occurs after three psalms, the "Judica me" at the beginning, the fragment of the Introit-Psalm, and the "Lavabo" (omitted in Passiontide, except on feasts, and at requiem Masses). The first part only occurs in the responsoria throughout the Office, with a variable answer (the second part of the first verse) instead of "Sicut erat," the whole doxology after the "Deus in adjutorium," and in the preces at Prime; and again, this time as one verse, at the end of the invitatorium at Matins. At all these places it is left out in the Office for the Dead and at the end of Holy Week. The Gloria Patri is also constantly used in extraliturgical services, such as the Rosary. It was a common custom in the Middle Ages for preachers to end sermons with it. In some countries, Germany especially, people make the sign of the cross at the first part of the doxology, considering it as chiefly a profession of faith.


A short expression of praise to the Trinity from the very early Church. Authors such as Hippolytus (d. 235) and Origen (ca 231) use very similar phrases in praise of the Trinity. It is used extensively in the Mass, the Divine Office, and also many other devotions such as the Rosary.

(Adrian Fortescue, "Doxology," Catholic Encyclopedia)

GLORIA Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be [world without end]. Amen.

Fatima Prayer (Oratio Fatimae)


While not part of the original tradition of the Rosary or in the original text of the vulgate, many Roman Catholics choose to add it after the Glory Be to the Father after the Blessed Virgin Mary was said to have requested its use during her apparition at Fátima, a miracle deemed "worthy of belief" by the Church. The following text of the prayer appears first in Latin and then in English.

Domine Iesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, libera nos ab igne inferiori, perduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim eas, quae misericordiae tuae maxime indigent. Amen.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Here is a Portuguese version:

Ó meu bom Jesus perdoai e livrai-nos do fogo do inferno, levai as almas todas para o céu e socorrei as que mais precisarem de vossa infinita misericordia.

According to the book Our Lady of Fátima by William Thomas Walsh (Macmillan, 1947), in an interview with the author,[1] Sr. Lucia states that "The correct form is the one I have written in my account of the apparition of July 13: 'O my Jesus, pardon us, and save us from the fire of hell; draw all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.'" This version does not have the commonly added phrase "of thy mercy" at the end of it.

It also gives the original Portuguese in a footnote: "Ó meu Jesus, perdoai-nos e livrai-nos do fogo do inferno; levai as alminhas todas para o Céu, principalmente aquelas que mais precisarem." The third petition, "levai as alminhas todas para o Céu" is more accurately translated as "lead all little souls toward heaven." "Little souls" is a term of endearment among Portuguese Catholics for the souls in Purgatory, equivalent to the phrase in English "poor souls." The context of the phrase refers to the deliverance of all souls from purgatory into heaven; and thus this petition never signified universal salvation.


Domine Iesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, salva nos ab igne inferiori, perduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim eas, quae misericordiae tuae maxime indigent. O, My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.

Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

The Hail Mary (sometimes called the "Angelical salutation", sometimes, from the first words in its Latin form, the "Ave Maria") is the most familiar of all the prayers used by the Universal Church in honour of our Blessed Lady.

It is commonly described as consisting of three parts. The first, "Hail (Mary) full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women", embodies the words used by the Angel Gabriel in saluting the Blessed Virgin (Luke, I, 28). The second, "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Jesus)", is borrowed from the Divinely inspired greeting of St. Elizabeth (Luke 1:42), which attaches itself the more naturally to the first part, because the words "benedicta tu in mulieribus" (I, 28) or "inter mulieres" (I, 42) are common to both salutations. Finally, the petition "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." is stated by the official "Catechism of the Council of Trent" to have been framed by the Church itself. "Most rightly", says the Catechism, "has the Holy Church of God added to this thanksgiving, petition also and the invocation of the most holy Mother of God, thereby implying that we should piously and suppliantly have recourse to her in order that by her intercession she may reconcile God with us sinners and obtain for us the blessing we need both for this present life and for the life which has no end."


It was antecedently probable that the striking words of the Angel's salutation would be adopted by the faithful as soon as personal devotion to the Mother of God manifested itself in the Church. The Vulgate rendering, Ave gratia plena, "Hail full of grace", has often been criticized as too explicit a translation of the Greek chaire kecharitomene, but the words are in any case most striking, and the Anglican Revised Version now supplements the "Hail, thou that art highly favoured" of the original Authorized Version by the marginal alternative, "Hail thou, endued with grace". We are not surprised, then, to find these or analogous words employed in a Syriac ritual attributed to Severus, Patriarch of Antioch (c. 513), or by Andrew of Crete and St. John Damascene, or again the "Liber Antiphonarious" of St. Gregory the Great as the offertory of the Mass for the fourth Sunday of Advent. But such examples hardly warrant the conclusion that the Hail Mary was at that early period used in the Church as a separate formula of Catholic devotion. Similarly a story attributing the introduction of the Hail Mary to St. Ildephonsus of Toledo must probably be regarded as apocryphal. The legend narrates how St. Ildephonsus going to the church by night found our Blessed Lady seated in the apse in his own episcopal chair with a choir of virgins around her who were singing her praises. Then St. Ildephonsus approached "making a series of genuflections and repeating at each of them those words of the Angel's greeting: 'Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb'". Our Lady then showed her pleasure at this homage and rewarded the saint with the gift of a beautiful chasuble (Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B., saec V, pref., no. 119). The story, however, in this explicit form cannot be traced further back than Hermann of Laon at the beginning of the twelfth century.

In point of fact there is little or no trace of the Hail Mary as an accepted devotional formula before about 1050. All the evidence suggests that it took its rise from certain versicles and responsories occurring in the Little Office or Cursus of the Blessed Virgin which just at that time was coming into favour among the monastic orders. Two Anglo-Saxon manuscripts at the British Museum, one of which may be as old as the year 1030, show that the words "Ave Maria" etc. and "benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui" occurred in almost every part of the Cursus, and though we cannot be sure that these clauses were at first joined together so as to make one prayer, there is conclusive evidence that this had come to pass only a very little later. (See "The Month", Nov., 1901, pp. 486-8.) The great collections of Mary-legends which began to be formed in the early years of the twelfth century (see Mussafia, "Marien-legenden") show us that this salutation of our Lady was fast becoming widely prevalent as a form of private devotion, though it is not quite certain how far it was customary to include the clause "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb". But Abbot Baldwin, a Cistercian who was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1184, wrote before this date a sort of paraphrase of the Ave Maria in which he says:

To this salutation of the Angel, by which we daily greet the most Blessed Virgin, with such devotion as we may, we are accustomed to add the words, "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb," by which clause Elizabeth at a later time, on hearing the Virgin's salutation to her, caught up and completed, as it were, the Angel's words, saying: "Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."

Not long after this (c. 1196) we meet a synodal decree of Eudes de Sully, Bishop of Paris, enjoining upon the clergy to see that the "Salutation of the Blessed Virgin" was familiarly known to their flocks as well as the Creed and the Lord's Prayer; and after this date similar enactments become frequent in every part of the world, beginning in England with the Synod of Durham in 1217.

The Hail Mary a salutation

To understand the early developments of this devotion it is important to grasp the fact that those who first used this formula fully recognized that the Ave Maria was merely a form of greeting. It was therefore long customary to accompany the words with some external gesture of homage, a genuflection, or least an inclination of the head. Of St. Aybert, in the twelfth century, it is recorded that he recited 150 Hail Marys daily, 100 with genuflections and 50 with prostrations. So Thierry tells us of St. Louis of France that "without counting his other prayers the holy King knelt down every evening fifty times and each time he stood upright then knelt again and repeated slowly an Ave Maria." Kneeling at the Ave Maria was enjoined in several of the religious orders. So in the Ancren Riwle, a treatise which an examination of the Corpus Christi manuscript 402 shows to be of older date than the year 1200, the sisters are instructed that, at the recitation both of the Gloria Patri and the Ave Maria in the Office, they are either to genuflect or to incline profoundly according to the ecclesiastical season. In this way, owing to the fatigue of these repeated prostrations and genuflections, the recitation of a number of Hail Marys was often regarded as a penitential exercise, and it is recorded of certain canonized saints, e.g. the Dominican nun St. Margaret (d. 1292), daughter of the King of Hungary, that on certain days she recited the Ave a thousand times with a thousand prostrations. This concept of the Hail Mary as a form of salutation explains in some measure the practice, which is certainly older than the epoch of St. Dominic, of repeating the greeting as many as 150 times in succession. The idea is akin to that of the "Holy, Holy, Holy", which we are taught to think goes up continually before the throne of the Most High.

Development of the Hail Mary

In the time of St. Louis the Ave Maria ended with the words of St. Elizabeth: "benedictus fructus ventris tui"; it has since been extended by the introduction both of the Holy Name and of a clause of petition. As regards the addition of the word "Jesus," or, as it usually ran in the fifteenth century, "Jesus Christus, Amen", it is commonly said that this was due to the initiative of Pope Urban IV (1261) and to the confirmation and indulgence of John XXII. The evidence does not seem sufficiently clear to warrant positive statement on the point. Still, there, can be no doubt that this was the widespread belief of the later Middle Ages. A popular German religious manual of the fifteenth century ("Der Selen Troïst", 1474) even divides the Hail Mary into four portions, and declares that the first part was composed by the Angel Gabriel, the second by St. Elizabeth, the third, consisting only of the Sacred Name. Jesus Christus, by the popes, and the last, i.e. the word Amen, by the Church.

The Hail Mary as a prayer

It was often made a subject of reproach against the Catholics by the Reformers that the Hail Mary which they so constantly repeated was not properly a prayer. It was a greeting which contained no petition (see. e.g. Latimer, Works, II, 229-230). This objection would seem to have long been felt, and as a consequence it was not uncommon during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries for those who recited their Aves privately to add some clause at the end, after the words "ventris tui Jesus". Traces of this practice meet us particularly in the verse paraphrases of the Ave which date from this period. The most famous of these is that attributed, though incorrectly, to Dante, and belonging in any case to the first half of the fourteenth century. In this paraphrase the Hail Mary ends with the following words:

O Vergin benedetta, sempre tu

Ora per noi a Dio, che ci perdoni,

E diaci grazia a viver si quaggiu

Che'l paradiso al nostro fin ci doni;

(Oh blessed Virgin, pray to God for us always, that He may pardon us and give us grace, so to live here below that He may reward us with paradise at our death.)

Comparing the versions of the Ave existing in various languages, e.g. Italian, Spanish, German, Provençal, we find that there is a general tendency to conclude with an appeal for sinners and especially for help at the hour of death. Still a good deal of variety prevailed in these forms of petition. At the close of the fifteenth century there was not any officially approved conclusion, though a form closely resembling our present one was sometimes designated as "the prayer of Pope Alexander VI" (see "Der Katholik", April, 1903, p. 334), and was engraved separately on bells (Beisesel, "Verehrung Maria", p. 460). But for liturgical purposes the Ave down to the year 1568 ended with "Jesus, Amen", and an observation in the "Myroure of our Ldy" written for the Bridgettine nuns of Syon, clearly indicates the generally feeling.

Some saye at the begynnyng of this salutacyon Ave benigne Jesu and some saye after 'Maria mater Dei', with other addycyons at the ende also. And such thinges may be saide when folke saye their Aves of theyr own devocyon. But in the servyce of the chyrche, I trowe it to be moste sewer and moste medeful (i.e. meritorious) to obey the comon use of saying, as the chyrche hath set, without all such addicions.

We meet the Ave as we know it now, printed in the breviary of the Camaldolese monks, and in that of the Order de Mercede c. 1514. Probably this, the current form of Ave, came from Italy, and Esser asserts that it is to be found written exactly as we say it now in the handwriting of St. Antoninus of Florence who died in 1459. This, however, is doubtful. What is certain is that an Ave Maria identical with our own, except for the omission of the single word nostrae, stands printed at the head of the little work of Savonarola's issued in 1495, of which there is a copy in the British Museum. Even earlier than this, in a French edition of the "Calendar of Shepherds" which appeared in 1493, a third part is added to the Hail Mary, which is repeated in Pynson's English translation a few years later in the form: "Holy Mary moder of God praye for us synners. Amen.". In an illustration which appears in the same book, the pope and the whole Church are depicted kneeling before our Lady and greeting her with this third part of the Ave. The official recognition of the Ave Maria in its complete form, though foreshadowed in the words of the Catechism of the Council of Trent, as quoted at the beginning of this article, was finally given in the Roman Breviary of 1568.

One or two other points connected with the Hail Mary can only be briefly touched upon. It would seem that in the Middle Ages the Ave often became so closely connected with the Pater noster, that it was treated as a sort of farsura, or insertion, before the words et ne nos inducas in tentationem when the Pater noster was said secreto (see several examples quoted in "The Month", Nov., 1901, p. 490). The practice of preachers interrupting their sermons near the beginning to say the Ave Maria seems to have been introduced in the Middle Ages and to be of Franciscan origin (Beissel, p. 254). A curious illustration of its retention among English Catholics in the reign of James II may be found in the "Diary" of Mr. John Thoresby (I, 182). It may also be noticed that although modern Catholic usage is agreed in favouring the form "the Lord is with thee", this is a comparatively recent development. The more general custom a century ago was to say "our Lord is with thee", and Cardinal Wiseman in one of his essays strongly reprobates change (Essays on Various Subjects, I, 76), characterizing it as "stiff, cantish and destructive of the unction which the prayer breathes". Finally it may be noticed that in some places, and notably in Ireland, the feeling still survives that the Hail Mary is complete with the word Jesus. Indeed the writer is informed that within living memory it was not uncommon for Irish peasant, when bidden to say Hail Marys for a penance, to ask whether they were required to say the Holy Marys too. Upon the Ave Maria in the sense of Angelus, see ANGELUS. On account of its connection with the Angelus, the Ave Maria was often inscribed on bells. One such bell at Eskild in Denmark, dating from about the year 1200, bears the Ave Maria engraved upon it in runic characters. (See Uldall, "Danmarks Middelalderlige Kirkeklokker", Copenhagen, 1906, p. 22.)

(Herbert Thurston, "Hail Mary," Catholic Encyclopedia)

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. HAIL MARY, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)


The opening words (used as a title) of the most celebrated of the four Breviary anthems of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is said from the First Vespers of Trinity Sunday until None of the Saturday before Advent. An exception is noted in Migne's "Dict. de liturgie" (s.v.), namely that the rite of Châlons-sur-Marne assigns it from the Purification B. M. V. until Holy Thursday. An other variation, peculiar to the cathedral of Speyer (where it is chanted solemnly every day "in honour of St. Bernard"), may have been based on either of two legends connecting the anthem with the saint of Clairvaux. One legend relates that, while the saint was acting as legate Apostolic in Germany, he entered (Christmas Eve, 1146) the cathedral to the processional chanting of the anthem, and, as the words "O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria" were being sung, genuflected thrice. According to the more common narrative, however, the saint added the triple invocation for the first time, moved thereto by a sudden inspiration. "Plates of brass were laid down in the pavement of the church, to mark the footsteps of the man of God to posterity, and the places where he so touchingly implored the clemency, the mercy, and the sweetness of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (Ratisbonne, "Life and Times of St. Bernard", American ed., 1855, p. 381, where fuller details are given). It may be said in passing that the legend is rendered very doubtful for several reasons:

the narrative apparently originated in the sixteenth century, and relates a fact of the twelfth;

the silence of contemporaries and of the saint's companions is of some significance;

the musical argument suggests a single author of both the anthem and its concluding words.

The authorship is now generally ascribed to Hermann Contractus. Durandus, in his "Rationale", ascribed it to Petrus of Monsoro (d. about 1000), Bishop of Compostella. It has also been attributed to Adhémar, Bishop of Podium (Puy-en-Velay), whence it has been styled "Antiphonade Podio" (Anthem of Le Puy). Adhémar was the first to ask permission to go on the crusade, and the first to receive the cross from Pope Urban II. "Before his departure, towards the end of October, 1096, he composed the war-song of the crusade, in which he asked the intercession of the Queen of Heaven, the Salve Regina" (Migne, "Dict. des Croisades", s.v. Adhémar). He is said to have asked the monks of Cluny to admit it into their office, but no trace of its use in Cluny is known before the time of Peter the Venerable, who decreed (about 1135) that the anthem should be sung processionally on certain feasts. Perhaps stimulated by the example of Cluny, or because of St. Bernard's devotion to the Mother of God (the saint was diligent in spreading a love for the anthem, and many pilgrim-shrines claim him as founder of the devotion to it in their locality), it was introduced into Cîteaux in the middle of the twelfth century, and down to the seventeenth century was used as a solemn anthem for the Magnificat on the feasts of the Purification, Annunciation, and Nativity B. V. M., and for the Benedictus at Lauds of the Assumption. In 1218 the general chapter prescribed its daily processional chanting before the high altar after the Capitulum; in 1220 it enjoined its daily recitation on each of the monks; in 1228 it ordered its singing "mediocri voce", together with seven psalms, etc. on every Friday "pro Domino Papa" (Gregory IX had taken refuge in Perugia from Emperor Frederick II), "pro pace Romanae Ecclesiae", etc. etc. — the long list of "intentions" indicating how salutary was deemed this invocation of Our Lady. The use of the anthem at Compline was begun by the Dominicans about 1221, and was rapidly propagated by them. Before the middle of that century, it was incorporated with the other anthems of the Blessed Virgin in the "modernized" Franciscan Breviary, whence it entered into the Roman Breviary. Some scholars say that the anthem had been in use in that order (and probably from its foundation) before Gregory IX prescribed its universal use. The Carthusians sing it daily at Vespers (except the First Sunday of Advent to the Octave of Epiphany, and from Passion Sunday to Low Sunday) as well as after every hour of the Little Office B. V. M. The Cistercians sang it after Compline from 1251 until the close of the fourteenth century, and have sung it from 1483 until the present day — a daily devotion, except on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. the Carmelites say it after every hour of the Office. Pope Leo XIII prescribed its recitation (6 January, 1884) after every low Mass, together with other prayers — a law still in force.

While the anthem is in sonorous prose, the chant melody divides it into members which, although of unequal syllabic length, were doubtless intended to close with the faint rhythmic effect noticeable when they are set down in divided form:

Salve Regina (Mater) misericordiae,

Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.

Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae;

Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle.

Eia ergo advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O Clemens, O pia,

O dulcis (Virgo) Maria.

Similarly, Notker Balbulus ended with the (Latin) sound of "E" all the verses of his sequence, "Laus tibi, Christe" (Holy Innocents). The word "Mater" in the first verse is found in no source, but is a late insertion of the sixteenth century. Similarly, the word "Virgo" in the last verse seems to date back only to the thirteenth century. Mone (Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, II, 203-14) gives nine medieval hymns based on the anthem. Daniel (Thesaurus hymnologicus, II, 323) gives a tenth. The "Analecta hymnica" gives various transfusions and tropes (e.g. XXXII, 176, 191-92; XLVI, 139-43). The composers adopt curious forms for the introduction of the text, for example (fourteenth century):

Salve splendor praecipue

supernae claritatis,

Regina vincens strenue

scelus imietatis,

Misericordiae tuae

munus impende gratis, etc.

The poem has fourteen such stanzas. Another poem, of the fifteenth century, has forty-three four-line stanzas. Another, of the fifteenth century, is more condensed:

Salve nobilis regina

fons misericordiae, etc.

A feature of these is their apparent preference for the briefer formula, "O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Maria."

The anthem figured largely in the evening devotions of the confraternities and guilds which were formed in great numbers about the beginning of the thirteenth century. "In France, this service was commonly known as Salut, in the Low Countries as the Lof, in England and Germany simply as the Salve. Now it seems certain that our present Benediction service has resulted from the general adoption of this evening singing of canticles before the statue of Our Lady, enhanced as it often came to be in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, which was employed at first only as an adjunct to lend it additional solemnity." (Father Thurston; see BENEDICTION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT for some elaboration). Luther complained that the anthem was sung everywhere throughout the world, that the great bells of the churches were rung in its honour, etc. He objected especially to the words "Queen of mercy, our life, our sweetness, our hope"; but the language of devotion is not that of dogma, and some Protestants, unwilling that it should disappear from Lutheran churches, reconstructed it "evangelically" (e.g., a version in use at Erfurt in 1525: "Salve Rex aeternae misericordiae".) The Jansenists found a like difficulty, and sought to change the expression into "the sweetness and hope of our life" (Beissel, I, 126). While the anthem thus figured largely in liturgical and in general popular Catholic devotion, it was especially dear to sailors. Scholars give instances of the singing of Salve Regina by the sailors of Columbus and the Indians.

The exquisite plainsong has been attributed to Hermann Contractus. The Vatican Antiphonary (pp. 127-8) gives the revised official or "typical" form of the melody (first tone). The now unofficial "Ratisbon" edition gave the melody in an ornate and in a simple form, together with a setting which it described as being in the eleventh tone, and which is also very beautiful. An insistent echo of this last setting is found in the plainsong of Santeul's "Stupete gentes." There are many settings by polyphonic and modern composers. Pergolesi's (for one voice, with two violins, viola, and organ) was written shortly before his death; it is placed among his "happiest inspirations", is deemed his "greatest triumph in the direction of Church music" and "unsurpassed in purity of style, and pathetic, touching expression."

(Hugh Henry, "Salve Regina," Catholic Encyclopedia)

SALVE, Regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.

R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante, praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

HAIL holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

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

Let us pray, Almighty, everlasting God, who by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary to become a worthy dwelling for Thy Son; grant that we who rejoice in her commemoration may, by her loving intercession, be delivered from present evils and from the everlasting death. Amen.

Rosary (Rosarium)

The Rosary is perhaps the most popular non-liturgical prayer in the Latin Rite. It has appealed to people of all stations in the Church, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, religious or laity. It has been recommended by recent Popes from Leo XIII to John Paul II, and by saints, such as St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716), and St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787). Aside from its spiritual benefits, its appeal no doubt lies with its ease of recitation, its soothing repetitiveness, and its intimate connection with Scripture and the life of Christ.

The standard Rosary with which most people are familiar is known as the Dominican Rosary. It is composed of 15 decades broken into three sets of 5 decades each. This is by no means the only Rosary around. There are numerous other Rosaries, such as the Franciscan Rosary, the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, and the Brigittine Rosary. Each has its own unique construction and emphasis. For example, the Franciscan Rosary is composed of seven decades in honor of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Furthermore, Rosaries are not restricted to devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary alone. There are rosaries in honor of the Sacred Heart, the Holy Name, the Holy Spirit, the Angels, Saint Joseph, Saint Patrick and many other saints. The one considered here is the standard Dominican Rosary.

The origins of the Dominican Rosary are obscure. There is a popular tradition that the Rosary originated with St. Dominic (c 1170-1221). This legend, however, is unsupported by historical documentation. Critical scholarship, including much research carried out by Dominicans themselves, indicates that St. Dominic had little, if anything, to do with the Rosary. St. Dominic certainly had a deep and abiding devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but there is no mention of his authorship of the Rosary in any of his writings, nor is there any mention by any of his contemporaries or his biographers of his involvement. Given the silence of the historical record of his time, it is difficult to see how St. Dominic could have been its author. Instead the origin of the legend of St. Dominic's involvement appears to have been due to the writings of Alan de la Roche (Alanus de Rupe) c 1428-1475. It is in his writings that we see the legend of St. Dominic's authorship of the Rosary appear for the first time. Alan de la Roche did much to promote the Rosary, and it is no doubt due to him that the notion of St. Dominic as the author of the Rosary became fixed in people's minds. Eventually what was originally a pious story turned into hallowed history.

Prayer beads themselves are of very ancient usage in the Church, probably originating with the monastics of the early Church. Desert monastics were in the habit of reciting a specified number of prayers daily and such a method of keeping track of them is natural. In the life of the Egyptian Abbot Paul (d. A. D. 341), we read that he used to collect three hundred pebbles every day and throw away each one as he finished the corresponding prayer he was accustomed to recite (Palladius, Hist. Laus., xx; Butler, II, 63). It is easy to see how one can start with pebbles and progress onto a string of pebbles or beads of some sort. The Countess Godiva of Coventry (c. 1075) specified in her will that "the circlet of precious stones which she had threaded on a cord in order that by fingering them one after another she might count her prayers exactly" were to be placed on a statute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Malmesbury, "Gesta Pont.", Rolls Series 311). Fragments of prayer beads have been found in the tomb of the holy abbess Gertrude of Nivelles (d. 659) and in the tombs of St. Norbert and of St. Rosalia, both of the twelfth century. It is thus easy to see that prayer beads are not by any means a recent development.

The earliest known prayer form associated with prayer beads was not the Hail Mary. While the Hail Mary had been used since ancient times as an antiphon to our Lady, it really was not used as a prayer form in and of itself until sometime around the 12th or 13th centuries, nor did it take its present day form until the 15th century. Instead the prayer most often associated with these early prayer beads in the Middle Ages was the Our Father. The beads had such a close association with the Our Father that they were commonly known as Paternoster beads, "Pater noster" being the first two words of the Our Father in Latin. Many pious customs of reciting Paternosters existed in the Middle Ages. For example, the monks at Cluny were urged to recite 50 Paternosters at the death of one of their fellow monks (Udalric, 1096). The Knights Templar, from a rule dating from about 1128, were required to say the Lord's Prayer 57 times if they could not attend choir, and on the death of any of their brethren they had to say the Pater Noster a hundred times a day for a week.

The Dominican Rosary as we know it today grew out of a combination of many factors, a complete history of which would be far too long to present here. Briefly, the basic origins of the Rosary lie in the monastic practice of reciting all 150 Psalms in one week. In the desire to give the laity a common form of prayer that had ties to the monastic community, the laity were encouraged to recite 150 Paternosters in imitation. Parallel to this practice were those who had a Marian devotion. They used the Angelic salutation (the opening line of the Hail Mary) instead. These prayers were grouped in sets of 50, 100, or 150 Aves, as are the psalms.

Numerous forms of these Ave devotions were recited by religious and laity alike over the centuries, some very lengthy and elaborate. We are told of St. Albert (d. 1140) by his contemporary biographer that "A hundred times a day he bent his knees, and fifty times he prostrated himself raising his body again by his fingers and toes, while he repeated at every genuflection: 'Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb'." A set of 150 short Marian Psalms with an intervening Ave Maria appears in Migne's collection of the works of St. Anselm (ca 1033-1109). It should be noted that by this we can conclude that the recitation of 50, 100, or 150 Aves actually preceded the good St. Dominic by at least 50 years, if not more. Another example can be found in the Hortulus Animae, a popular prayer book whose first known edition was printed at Strasbourg by William Schaffener of Rappeltsweiler in 1498. In it we see a set of 50 Aves grouped into 5 decades. After each decade, the Our Father and the Creed are recited. Each Ave is associated with an event in Christ's life, starting with His conception and culminating with His Resurrection and Judgment Day, making a total of 50 mysteries. This form of the Rosary was quite popular in the 14th - 16th centuries and may be said to be an early example of Scriptural Rosaries, where each Hail Mary has a Scriptural passage relating to the decade's mystery associated with it.

The Rosary as we know it today started to take its final shape in the fifteenth century. In 1483, a Dominican composed a Rosary booklet called Our Dear Lady's Psalter. It had a Rosary of 15 decades with 15 mysteries, all of which except the last two are what we have today. In 1569, Pope Pius V officially approved the 15 decade form of the Rosary we have today, and in 1573 the same Pope instituted the Feast of the Rosary in thanksgiving for the victory at the battle of Lepanto by Christians over Moslem invaders in which the Rosary played an important part.

It should be noted that while the decades and mysteries have been standardized since the time of Pope St. Pius V, the beginning and ending prayers vary with time and place. In the US, for example, the Rosary begins with the recitation of the Creed and ends with the Salve Regina and concluding prayer (Deus, cuius Unigenitus). Another form, as practiced in Rome, begins with the "Domine, labia mea aperies", which is the starting prayer of the Hours, omits the Creed, and ends with the Litany of Loreto. Various other prayers, such as the Sub tuum praesidium have been employed as well. The prayers most often associated with the Rosary have been included here.

The most recent development in the form of Rosary occurred with the publication of Pope John Paul II's Rosarium Virginis Mariae. In it the Holy Father has added a new set of mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries, which focus on Christ's public ministry from the time of His Baptism until His Passion. Traditionally the Joyful mysteries are recited on Mondays and Thursdays, the Sorrowful mysteries are recited on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Glorious Mysteries are recited on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. With the addition of the Luminous Mysteries, Pope John Paul II proposes that the Joyful mysteries be recited on Mondays and Saturdays, the Luminous Mysteries be recited on Thursdays, the Sorrowful mysteries are recited on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Glorious Mysteries are recited on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Source: http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/BVM/Rosarium.html

Read also: The Catholic Encyclopedia article by Herbert Thurston and Andrew Shipman, titled, "The Rosary.”


Sign of the Cross

In Rome:

  1. V. Thou, O Lord, wilt open my lips,
  2. R. And my tongue shall announce Thy praise.
  3. V. O God come to my assistance,
  4. R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

At the Crucifix:

Apostle's Creed

On the large beads:

Our Father

On the small beads:

Hail Mary

At the end of the decades:

Glory Be

On Good Friday, the following may be used in place of the Gloria Patri

  1. R. Christ became obedient for us unto death.
  2. V. Even unto death on the Cross.

On Holy Saturday, the following may be used in place of the Gloria Patri

  1. R. Christ became obedient for us unto death, even unto death on the Cross.
  2. V. For which God hath exalted Him and hath given Him a name which is above all names.

Fatima Prayer

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.




On Mondays and Saturdays


  1. Joyous Mysteries
  1. Him Whom thou didst conceive. [Mt 1:18, Lk 1:26-38]
  2. Him Whom thou didst carry while visiting Elizabeth. [Lk 1:39-45]
  3. Him Whom thou didst give birth to. [Lk 2:6-12]
  4. Him Whom thou didst present in the temple. [Lk 2:25-32]
  5. Him Whom thou didst find in the temple. [Lk 2:41-50]

On Thursdays


  1. Luminous Mysteries
  1. He Who was baptized in the Jordan. [Mt 3:13, Mk 1:9, Jn 1:29]
  2. He Who revealed Himself at the wedding feast of Cana. [Jn 2:1-11]
  3. He who announced the Kingdom of God. [Mk 1:15, Lk 10:8-11]
  4. He Who was transfigured. [Mt 17:1-8, Mk 9:2-9]
  5. He Who instituted the Eucharist. [Jn 6:27-59, Mt 26:26-29, Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:15-20]

On Tuesdays and Fridays


III. Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. He Who sweated blood for us. [Lc 22:39-46]
  2. He Who was scourged for us. [Mt 27:26, Mk 15:6-15, Jn 19:1]
  3. He Who was crowned with thorns for us. [Jn 19:1-8]
  4. He Who carried the Cross for us. [Jn 19:16-22]
  5. He Who was crucified for us. [Jn 19:25-30]

On Wednesdays and Sundays

  1. Glorious Mysteries
  2. He Who arose from the dead. [Mk 16:1-7]
  3. He Who ascended into heaven. [Lk 24:46-53]
  4. He Who sent the Holy Spirit. [Act 2:1-7]
  5. He Who assumed thee into heaven. [Ps 16:10]
  6. He Who crowned thee Queen of Heaven. [Rev 12:1]

Prayers at the End of the Rosary

Hail Holy Queen

  1. V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
  2. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

O GOD, Who by the life, death, and resurrection of Thy only-begotten Son, hath purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of the Heart

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner.”

(cf. Luke 18:10-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)


  • On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination by Diadochos of Photiki, as found in the in the first volume of the Philokalia. Diadochos ties the practice of the Jesus Prayer to the purification of the soul and teaches that repetition of the prayer produces inner peace.
  • John Cassian's, Conferences 9 and 10, which gives, as the formula used in Egypt for repetitive prayer, "O God, make speed to save me: O Lord, make haste to help me."
  • The use of the Jesus Prayer is recommended in the Ladder of Divine Ascent of St. John Climacus and in the work of St. Hesychios the Priest, Pros Theodoulon, found in the first volume of the Philokalia.

Thanksgiving (Grace) before and after Meals (Benedictio Mensae)

The word grace, which, as applied to prayer over food, always in pre-Elizabethan English took the plural form graces, means nothing but thanksgiving. (Cf. the Latin gratiarum actio and the Italian grazie, "thanks".) Although the expression of gratitude to God for His bounty when He has supplied the wherewithal to satisfy the most primary of human needs is an idea which is by no means exclusively Christian (see Deuteronomy 8:10; Exodus 18:12; Livy, XXXIX, xliii; Athenaeus, 4:27), still in the Christian dispensation, following the personal example of our Saviour (John 6:11 and 23), the obligation of thanksgiving seems to have been emphasized from the very beginning. Thus, under conditions which altogether exclude the idea of a Eucharistic celebration, we are told of St. Paul (Acts 27:35) that "taking bread he gave thanks to God in the sight of them all and when he had broken it he began to eat" (Cf. 1 Timothy 4:3-5; Romans 14:6; 1 Corinthians 10:30). Passing over the "Didache", in which the formulae of prayer over food may be connected with the Eucharist of the Agape, we find (C.A.D. 123) the apologist Aristides declaring of his fellow Christians that "over their food and over their drink they render God thanks" (Camb. Texts and Studies, I, 49). Similarly Tertullian, "We do not recline at a banquet before prayer be first tasted — in like manner prayer puts an end to the feast" (On Prayer 25). In nearly all the Fathers similar passages may be found. In particular the Christian poet Prudentius, at the beginning of the fifth century, has a set of hymns "Ante cibum" and "Post cibum" in which occur such verses as the following (Cath. Hymn., III, Ante cib., ii, 10 sq.):

"Without Thy presence, nought, O Lord, is sweet,

No pleasure to our lips can aught supply.

Whether 'tis wine we drink or food we eat,

Till Grace divine and Faith shall sanctify."

Many anecdotes also might be cited from such early writers as Gregory of Tours and Bede, clearly attesting the prevalence of the practice of saying grace. Bede, for example, when he wishes to tell us that Oswald and Bishop Aidan were about to begin dinner, remarks that "they were on the point of stretching out their hands to bless the bread" (Hist. Eccl., III, vi). The Welsh legal codes, ascribed to the ninth and tenth centuries, when speaking of the king's three indispensable attendants, name first "his priest to say Mass and bless his meat and drink", while the function of the queen's priest is also to bless her meat and drink (Haddan and Stubbs, I, 231 and 235). William of Malmesbury (Gest. pont., IV, 140) refers to St. Wulstan's blessings at table as if they perpetuated some custom that was peculiarly English; but that the Normans were no strangers to such a practice is curiously proved by a scene in the Bayeux tapestry, where we look on Bishop Odo at Bayeux as he stands up before the table at the banquet, while the inscription beside him tells us: "Et hic episcopus cibum et potum benedicit."

In the religious orders, naturally the custom of grace was much insisted upon. A special section is assigned to it in Chapter 43 of the Rule of St. Benedict, and this was much amplified in later expositions. The early monastic rules in fact generally required that each dish brought to table should be separately blessed before it was set before the community. In the "Ancren Riwle" (C.A.D. 1200), which preserves perhaps the earliest instance of the word "graces" in an English treatise, the grace is described as said standing, and, since it included the "Miserere", it must have been pretty long. The souls of the faithful are also prayed for in the thanksgiving after meat. Great importance was attached to the proper learning of the grace by children. It is commonly a prominent feature in the Books of Curtesye and other medieval works for the instruction of the young. Moreover most educational foundations, like the English public schools and the colleges at the universities, had special forms of grace prescribed for them, often metrical in part, some of which are maintained to the present day. The grace officially provided by the Church is contained in the "Breviarium Romanum" under the heading "Benedictio Mensae". The form for supper, both before and after eating, varies slightly from that assigned for dinner, and during the octaves of certain greater festivals special verses are substituted for those in ordinary use. Grace begins with the acclamation "Benedicite", which is spoken by the officiant and repeated by all present. The "Grace before and after meals" commonly found in the catechisms for children and used by the laity consists substantially of a translation of two items in the longer Latin grace, the blessing spoken before the meal and the thanksgiving afterwards.

As or this longer Latin grace contained in the Breviary, Abbot Cabrol says with reason that the whole series of formulae with their appropriate citations from the Psalm, particularly Psalm 33, possess a very high antiquity. In point of fact a great part of the existing forms can be traced back to the ninth century. See for example Rhabanus Maurus, "Deins. cleric.", II, x. The benediction, "Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts", etc., which is retained in our short grace, is to be found in the "Gelasian Sacramentary", which is considerably earlier. Moreover, without precise verbal coincidence, it may be said that our existing longer grace echoes the language of the very earliest document of the kind preserved to us. This is contained in a treatise dubiously ascribed to St. Athanasius, but certainly of early date and, probably at least, the work of a contemporary. It is upon this treatise that G. von der Goltz largely bases his theory of the development of grace for meals out of the primitive Eucharist (Goltz, "Tischgebete und Abendmahlsgebete", pp. 33 sq.). This work (De virginitate) is remarkable for the circumstance that the writer recommends as a prayer which we find in the "Didache" in connextion seemingly with a Eucharistic celebration. We also find in this fourth-century document the versicle, "Our merciful and compassionate God has given food to them that fear Him", and in the existing Breviary grace we have:

"The Lord merciful and compassionate, has perpetuated the memory of His wonders. He has given food to them that fear Him."

Another early grace may be found in the "Apostolic Constitutions", VII, xliv.

(Herbert Thurston, "Thanksgiving before and after Meals," Catholic Encyclopedia)


Benedictio Ante Mensam
Blessing Before Meals


BENEDIC, Domine, nos et haec tua dona quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Ante prandium:

Mensae caelestis participes faciat nos, Rex aeternae gloriae. Amen.

Ante cenam:

Ad cenam vitae aeternae perducat nos, Rex aeternae gloriae. Amen.

BLESS us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Add for midday:

May the King of everlasting glory make us partakers of the heavenly table. Amen.

Add for evening:

May the King of ever-lasting glory lead us to the banquet of life eternal. Amen.

Benedictio Post Mensam
Blessing After Meals


AGIMUS tibi gratias, omnipotens Deus, pro universis beneficiis tuis, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

V. Deus det nobis suam pacem.

R. Et vitam aeternam. Amen

WE give Thee thanks, almighty God, for all Thy benefits, who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

V. May the Lord grant us His peace.

R. And life everlasting. Amen

The Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)

This well-known prayer dates its origin from the first half of the fourteenth century and was enriched with indulgences by Pope John XXII in the year 1330. All the manuscripts practically agree as to these two facts so there can be no doubt of their exactness. In regard to its authorship all we can say is that it was, perhaps, written by John XXII. Of this we are not certain, as this Pope has been falsely accredited with similar pious compositions, and a mistake could easily be made of confounding the one who gave the indulgence with the real author. The Anima Christi was and is still generally believed to have been composed by St. Ignatius Loyola, as he puts it at the beginning of his "Spiritual Exercises" and often refers to it. This is a mistake, as has been pointed out by many writers, since the prayer has been found in a number of prayer books printed during the youth of the saint and is in manuscripts which were written a hundred years before his birth (1491). James Mearns, the English hymnologist, found it in a manuscript of the British Museum which dates back to about 1370. In the library of Avignon there is preserved a prayer book of Cardinal Peter De Luxembourg, who died in 1387, which contains the Anima Christi in practically the same form as we have it today. It has also been found inscribed on one of the gates of the Alcazar of Seville, which brings us back to the times of Don Pedro the Cruel (1350-69) This prayer was so well known and so popular at the time of St. Ignatius, that he only mentions it in the first edition of his "Spiritual Exercises", evidently supposing that the exercitant or reader already knew it. In the later editions, it was printed in full. It was by assuming that everything in the book was written by St. Ignatius that it came to be looked upon as his composition. All this has been told at length by Guido Dreves (Stimmen aus Maria-Laach LIV, 493) and B. Baesten (Précis Historiques, XXXII, 630)

(Samuel Frisbee, "Anima Christi," Catholic Encyclopedia)

ANIMA Christi, sanctifica me.

Corpus Christi, salva me.

Sanguis Christi, inebria me.

Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.

Passio Christi, conforta me.

O bone Iesu, exaudi me.

Intra tua vulnera absconde me.

Ne permittas me separari a te.

Ab hoste maligno defende me.

In hora mortis meae voca me.

Et iube me venire ad te,

Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem tein saecula saeculorum.


SOUL of Christ, sanctify me.

Body of Christ, save me.

Blood of Christ, inebriate me.

Water from the side of Christ, wash me.

Passion of Christ, strengthen me.

O good Jesus, hear me.

Within Thy wounds, hide me.

Separated from Thee let me never be.

From the malignant enemy, defend me.

At the hour of death, call me.

To come to Thee, bid me,

That I may praise Thee in the company

Of Thy Saints, for all eternity.


Prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory (Requiem aeternam)

(One should substitute ‘them’ for ‘him/her,’ when praying for the souls of those who have recently passed away.)

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.

R. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

R. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.

And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Come, Holy Spirit… (Veni, Sancte Spiritus)


A prose invocation of the Holy Ghost. The Alleluia following the Epistle of Whitsunday comprises two parts: (1) a chant in the fourth tone: "Alleluia, alleluia. V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur; et renovabis faciem terræ" (Psalm 103:30, Vulgate edition, with change of "emittes" into "emitte"); (2) a chant in the second tone: "Alleluia. V. Veni sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende." A rubric directs all to kneel when the "Veni Sancte Spiritus" begins. Then follows the sequence (see VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS ET EMITTE COELITUS). An invocation much used in schools and in private devotions is constructed from the above "Alleluia" by taking first the "Veni . . . accende", then the "Emitte . . . terræ", and concluding with the prayer of the feast: "Deus qui corda . . . gaudere" (omitting the words "hodierna die"). From the plainsong melody (composed in the eleventh century) of this Veni was developed the exquisite plainsong of the sequence following it.

(Hugh Henry, "Veni Sancte Spiritus Reple," Catholic Encyclopedia)


(Short Version)

VENI, SANCTE SPIRITUS, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. COME, HOLY SPIRIT, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur; V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.


Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti. Da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. Amen.

Let us pray:

O God, Who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that, by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Long Version)

VENI, SANCTE SPIRITUS, et emítte cǽlitus lucis tuæ rádium. Veni, pater páuperum, veni, dator múnerum, veni, lumen córdium.

Consolátor óptime, dulcis hospes ánimæ, dulce refrigérium.

In labóre réquies, in æstu tempéries, in fletu solátium.

O lux beatíssima, reple cordis íntima tuórum fidélium.

Sine tuo númine, nihil est in hómine, nihil est innóxium.

Lava quod est sórdidum, riga quod est áridum, sana quod est sáucium.

Flecte quod est rígidum, fove quod est frígidum, rege quod est dévium.

Da tuis fidélibus, in te confidéntibus, sacrum septenárium.

Da virtútis méritum, da salútis éxitum, da perénne gáudium.

Amen, allelúja.

COME, HOLY SPIRIT, send forth the heavenly radiance of thy light. Come, father of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation.

In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace.

O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of thy faithful.

Without thy grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes astray.

Give to thy faithful, those who trust in thee, the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

Amen, alleluia

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel (Oratio ad Sanctum Michael)

For an in depth treatment of the St. Michael prayer, read, “Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael,” by Kevin J. Symonds. (https://www.amazon.com/Pope-Leo-XIII-Prayer-Michael/dp/0984013962)

(Short Version)

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen. Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

(Long Version)

PRINCEPS gloriosissime caelestis militiae, sancte Michaël Archangele, defende nos in praelio et colluctatione, quae nobis adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus. Veni in auxilium hominum, quos Deus creavit inexterminabiles, et ad imaginem similitudinis suae fecit, et a tyrannide diaboli emit pretio magno.

Praeliare hodie cum beatorum Angelorum exercitu praelia Domini, sicut pugnasti contra ducem superbiae luciferum, et angelos ejus apostaticos: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in coelo. Sed projectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus et satanas, qui seducit universum orbem; et projectus est in terram, et angeli ejus cum illo missi sunt. En antiquus inimicus et homicida vehementer erectus est. Transfiguratus in angelum lucis, cum tota malignorum spirituum caterva late circuit et invadit terram, ut in ea deleat nomen Dei et Christi ejus, animasque ad aeternae gloriae coronam destinatas furetur, mactet ac perdat in sempiternum interitum.  Virus nequitiae suae, tamquam flumen immundissimum, draco maleficus transfundit in homines depravatos mente et corruptos corde; spiritum mendacii, impietatis et blasphemiae; halitumque mortiferum luxuriae, vitiorum omnium et iniquitatum.

Ecclesiam, Agni immaculati sponsam, faverrrimi hostes repleverunt amaritudinibus, inebriarunt absinthio; ad omnia desiderabilia ejus impias miserunt manus. Ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est, ibi thronum posuerunt abominationis et impietatis suae; ut percusso Pastore, et gregem disperdere valeant.

Adesto itaque, Dux invictissime, populo Dei contra irrumpentes spirituales nequitias, et fac victoriam.  Te custodem et patronum sancta veneratur Ecclesia; te gloriatur defensore adversus terrestrium et infernorum nefarias potestates; tibi tradidit Dominus animas redemptorum in superna felicitate locandas.

Deprecare Deum pacis, ut conterat satanam sub pedibus nostris, ne ultra valeat captivos tenere homines, et Ecclesiae nocere. Offer nostras preces in conspectu Altissimi, ut cito anticipent nos misericordiae Domini, et apprehendas draconem, serpentem antiquum, qui est diabolus et satanas, ac ligatum mittas in abyssum, ut non seducat amplius gentes.

V. Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae.

R. Vicit Leo de tribu Juda, radix David.

V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.

R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.

V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

V. Dominus vobiscum.

R. Et cum spiritu tuo.


Deus, et Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, invocamus nomen sanctum tuum, et clementiam tuam supplices exposcimus ut, per intercessionem immaculatae semper Virginis Dei Genitricis Mariae, beati Michaëlis Archangeli, beati Joseph ejusdem beatae Virginis Sponsi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, adversus satanam, omnesque alios immundos spiritus, qui ad nocendum humano generi animasque perdendas pervagantur in mundo, nobis auxilium praestare digneris.  Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O GLORIOUS Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.

Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.

R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.

V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.

R. As we have hoped in Thee.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving to the Trinity

(by St. Catherine of Siena)

O Eternal God! O Eternal Trinity! Through the union of Thy divine nature Thou hast made so precious the Blood of Thine only-begotten Son! O eternal Trinity, Thou art as deep a mystery as the sea, in whom the more I seek, the more I find; and the more I find, the more I seek. For even immersed in the depths of Thee, my soul is never satisfied, always famished and hungering for Thee, eternal Trinity, wishing and desiring to see Thee, the True Light.

O eternal Trinity, with the light of understanding I have tasted and seen the depths of Thy mystery and the beauty of Thy creation. In seeing myself in Thee, I have seen that I will become like Thee. O eternal Father, from Thy power and Thy wisdom clearly Thou hast given to me a share of that wisdom which belongs to Thine Only-begotten Son. And truly hast the Holy Spirit, who procedeth from Thee, Father and Son, given to me the desire to love Thee.

O eternal Trinity, Thou art my maker and I am Thy creation. Illuminated by Thee, I have learned that Thou hast made me a new creation through the Blood of Thine Only-begotten Son because Thou art captivated by love at the beauty of Thy creation.

O eternal Trinity, O Divinity, O unfathomable abyss, O deepest sea, what greater gift could Thou givest me then Thy very Self? Thou art a fire that burns eternally yet never consumed, a fire that consumes with Thy heat my self-love. Again and again Thou art the fire who taketh away all cold heartedness and illuminateth the mind by Thy light, the light with which Thou hast made me to know Thy truth.

By this mirrored light I know Thou are the highest good, a good above all good, a fortunate good, an incomprehensible good, an unmeasurable good, a beauty above all beauty, a wisdom above all wisdom, for Thou art wisdom itself, the the food of angels, the fire of love that Thou givest to man.

Thou art the garment covering our nakedness. Thou feedest our family with Thy sweetness, a sweetness Thou art from which there is no trace of bitterness. O Eternal Trinity! Amen.

Te Deum

An abbreviated title commonly given both to the original Latin text and the translations of a hymn in rhythmical prose, of which the opening words, Te Deum Laudamus, formed its earliest known title (namely in the Rule of St. Caesarius for monks, written probably when he was Abbot of Lérins, before A.D. 502). This longer title is used in the "Rules for Virgins" composed by St. Caesarius while Archbishop of Arles, and by his second successor in the same see, St. Aurelian, also in the Rule of St. Benedict; and generally in earlier literature. The hymn is also sometimes styled "Hymnus Ambrosianus", the "Ambrosian Hymn"; and in the Roman Breviary it is still entitled, at the end of Matins for Sunday, "Hymnus SS. Ambrosii et Augustini". It is interesting to note that the title has been changed to "Hymnus Ambrosianus" in the "Psalterium" of the new Roman Breviary of Pius X. This Psalterium has been printed (1912), but became obligatory only from I Jan., 1913. The Te Deum is found in the first part of the "Psalterium Ordinarium", etc. The tradition that it was spontaneously composed and sung alternately by these saints on the night of St. Augustine's baptism (A.D. 387) can be traced back to the end of the eighth century, and is referred to in the middle of the ninth century by Hincmar of Reims (ut a majoribus nostris audivimus) in his second work, "De praedestinatione" (P.L., CXXV, 290), and in an elaborated form in a Milanese chronicle attributed to Datius, Bishop of Milan (d. about 552), but really dating only from the eleventh century (thus Mabillon, Muratori, Merati, etc.). This tradition is now generally rejected by scholars.

(a) It should naturally have held, from earliest times, a prominent place in Milan; but of the earlier manuscripts of the Te Deum which refer to the tradition in their titles, none has any connection with Milan, while the "Milan Cathedral Breviary" text (eleventh century) has no title whatever. (b) The tradition ascribing the authorship to the two saints is not unique. Another tradition is represented by the remark of Abbo of Fleury (A.D. 985) in his "Quaestiones grammaticales" (P.L., CXXXIX, 532, #19) concerning the erroneous substitution of "suscepisti" for "suscepturus" in the verse "Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem", etc., in what he styles "Dei palinodia quam composuit Hilarius Pictaviensis episcopus". It may be added that an eighth-or ninth-century manuscript Of the hymn, now at Munich, refers it to St. Hilary. (c) But neither to Hilary nor to Ambrose may the hymn be prudently ascribed, because although both composed hymns, the Te Deum is in rhythmical prose, and not in the classical metres of the hymns known to have been written by them. While, from the ninth century down to the present day, there is no century and no country of Western Europe that has not given its witness to the traditional ascription, the earliest manuscript, the "Bangor Antiphonary" (seventh cent.) gives as title merely "Ymnum in die dominica", while other early manuscripts make no reference to the authorship, either giving no titles or contenting themselves with such general ones as "Laudatio Dei" (manuscript of eighth cent.), "Laus angelica" (twelfth cent.), "Hymnus matutinalis" "Hymnus die dominico", "Hymnum dominicale", etc. Other manuscripts ascribe the hymn variously to St. Nicetus, Vicetus (obviously a slip of the pen for Nicetus), Nicetius, Nicetes, Neceta (all of these being thought identical with Niceta or Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana, q.v.), to St. Hilarius, St. Abundius, St. Sisebutus, St. Ambrose, or St. Augustine. (d) The importance of the occasion to which the legend assigns the composition of the hymn (the baptism of St. Augustine) and the comparatively late appearance of the ascription to the two saints are additional arguments against the tradition. Merati thinks the legend may have been based on the words of a spurious sermon, given as no. 92 in an edition of the works of St. Ambrose (Paris, 1549), "De Augustini Baptismo": "In quo una vobiscum cum divino instinctu Hymnum cantavimus de Christi fide". It may be added that the Maurists omitted the Te Deum from their edition of St. Ambrose; that Batiffol ("Hist. Du Brev. Romain", Paris, 1893, p. 98; authorized and corrected tr., London, 1898, p. 110) writes: "No one thinks now of attributing this cento either to St. Ambrose or to St. Augustine"; that Father Burton, in his "Life of St. Augustine,An Historical Study" (Dublin, 3rd ed., 1897) does not even mention the legend about the dual authorship and the baptism of St. Augustine; and finally that Portalie (see AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO) remarks: "The tradition maintaining that the Te Deum was sung on that occasion by the bishop and the neophyte alternately is groundless".

The other names mentioned above not being favoured by scholars, the question of authorship remained open. In 1894 Dom Morin put forward Nicetas of Remesiana for the honour of authorship. His suggestion has been adopted by Zahn, Kattenbusch, Kirsch (in Germany); Frere, Burn (in England), while the Anglican Bishop of Salisbury considers Morin's conjecture "very plausible"; and in France, by Batiffol. The reasons for this view are: (1) Ten manuscripts (the earliest of the tenth century), mostly of Irish origin, name Nicetas (with variant spellings and identifications, however); and Ireland remote from the continent of Europe, could easily keep until the tenth century a tradition of the fifth. (2) The probable date of composition of the hymn corresponds with that of the literary activity of Nicetas. (3) St. Paulinus of Nola praises (Carmina, xvii, xxvii) the poetic and hymnodal gifts of his friend Nicetas. (4) Gennadius speaks of the neat and simple style of his prose, and Cassiodorus commends his conciseness. These critical appreciations are thought applicable to the style of the Te Deum, which depends for its effect mostly on the nobility of the theme and the simplicity and directness of the expression. (5) The authorship of the treatises "De psalmodiae bono" and "De vigiliis servorum Dei" was formerly ascribed to Nicetas of Trier, but is now attributed with greatest probability to Nicetas of Remesiana. Their "internal evidence proves that Nicetas felt the need of such a hymn as the Te deum, and, so to speak, lived in the same sphere of religious thought" (Burn, cii), while parallel passages from his writings (given by Burn, ciii-civ), although offering no direct quotation, exhibit similarity of thought and diction.

The authorship of St. Nicetas is questioned by some scholars (Cagin, P. Wagner, Agaesse, Koestlin, Blume). Among the passages cited to indicate a much earlier origin perhaps the most notable one is that from the "De mortalitate" (xxvi) of St. Cyprian of Carthage, written during the plague in 252: "Illic apostolorum gloriosus chorus; illic prophetarum exsultantium numerus; illic martyrum innumerabilis populus ob certaminis et passionis gloriam coronatus; triumphantes virgines, quae concupiscentiam carnis et corporis continentiae robore subegerunt; remunerati misericordes " There is an obvious similarity between this and the verses of the Te Deum: "Te gloriosus apostolorum chorus; te prophetarum laudabilis numerus; te martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus [verses 7-9] Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis gloria munerari [verse 21]". Perhaps the "remunerati" of St. Cyprian and the "munerari" of the oldest texts of the Te Deum are a mere coincidence; but the rest of the similar passages cannot be an accident. Which was the earlier — the Te Deum or the text of St. Cyprian? It is contended that, however well known and highly esteemed the works of the saint, there is little in this particular passage to strike the fancy of a hymn-writer, while it would be a very natural thing for a prose writer to borrow some expressions from such a widely-sung hymn as the Te Deum may have been. Moreover, if the hymn was borrowed from St. Cyprian, why did it not include the "virgines" instead of stopping with "martyrum"? Additional argument for a very early origin of at least the first ten verses of the hymn is found in comparisons between these and the texts and melody of the Prefaces, in the structure of the Gloria in excelsis, in the rhythmic and melodic character of the Te Deum, in the Greek translations.

This archaeological argument cannot be stated intelligibly in a few words, but some of its bases may be mentioned: (a) If the Te Deum were composed in the latter years of the fourth century, it would be a unique exception to the hymnology of that time, which was all fashioned in the regular strophic and metric manner introduced and popularized by St. Ambrose. (b) From the point of view of melody, the hymn has three divisions: verses 1-13, 14-20, 21 to the end. The first melody (1-13) is apparently older than the others. (c) From the point of view of rhythm, there are also three divisions: verses 14-21 exhibit perfect conformity with the laws of the "cursus", or rhythmic closes, which date from the fourth century, verses 1-10, however, have only five (4, 6 and 8-10) verses closed with the rhythmical cursus, and these five are supposed to be the result of accident; verses 22 to the end belong to a wholly different category, being taken mostly from the Psalms (xxvii, 9; cxliv, 2; cxxii, 3; xxxii, 22; xxx, 2). It is argued that, judged by melody and rhythm, the first ten verses form a complete hymn (verses 11-13 having been added subsequently as a doxology) to God the Father, while verses 14-21 form a hymn (added in the fourth century) to Christ. As noted above, the first ten verses offer (vv. 7-9) the parallelism with the words of St. Cyprian, and are, for the various reasons outlined, supposed to antedate the year 252. Speculation ascribes their authorship to Pope St. Anicetus (d. about A.D. 168).

Three textual points may be noted here. "Unigenitum" in v. 12 is considered the original reading ("unicum" having supplanted it perhaps through the influence of the Apostles' Creed, in which "unigenitum" was rare). In v. 21 nearly all manuscripts read "munerari" (gloria munerari) instead of the present "numerari" (in gloria numerari) which Blume has found in a twelfth-century manuscript, and which perhaps was suggested by the words in the Canon of the Mass: "in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari". Verse 16, "Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem", etc., offers much opportunity for critical discussion. Most of the old manuscripts favour "suscepisti" (with "liberandum", followed sometimes by "mundum" — Tu ad liberandum mundum suscepisti hominem): but "suscepturus", contended for by Abbo of Fleury, Hincmar, and others, and quoted in a letter of Cyprian of Toulon (about 530), was probably the original word. The verse does not lend itself readily to translation. A fifteenth-century translation runs: "When thou shouldest take upon Thee mankind for the deliverance of men, thou horydest not the Virgin's womb". With similar accuracy a Sarum "Primer" of 1504 has: "Thou (when thou shouldest take upon our nature to delyver man) dydest not abhorre a virgynes wombe". The last "Primer" of Henry VIII (1546) was probably the first to introduce the ambiguous rendering: "When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man". The (Baltimore) "Manual of Prayers" is not more accurate: "Thou having taken upon Thee to deliver man, didst not abhor the Virgin's womb". The "Roman Missal Adapted to the Use of the Laity" (New York, 1901) is laboriously accurate: "Thou, when about to take upon Thee man to deliver him, didst not fear the Virgin's womb". The "Missal for the Use of the Laity" (London, new ed. 1903, cxxxiv) gives a new version in rhyme:

"Thou, to redeem lost man from hell's dark doom,

Didst not abhor the lowly Virgin's womb".

This is not far removed from Dryden's version:

"Thou, who to save the world's impending doom,

Vouchsaf'dst to dwell within a Virgin's womb".

The general rubrics (titulus XXXI) of the Roman Breviary direct the recitation of the Te Deum at the end of Matins: (a) on all feasts throughout the year, whether of nine or of three lessons, and throughout their octaves. It is said on the octave day of the feast of the Holy Innocents, but not on the feast itself unless this should fall on Sunday; (b) on all Sundays from Easter (inclusively) to Advent (exclusively) and from Christmas (inclusively) to Septuagesima (exclusively); (c) on all ferial days during Eastertide (namely from Low Sunday to Ascension Day) except Rogation Monday. For the sake of greater explicitness, the rubrics add that it is not said on the Sundays of Advent, or from Septuagesima to Palm Sunday inclusively, or on ferial days outside of Eastertide. It is said immediately after the last lesson, and therefore replaces the third or ninth responsory, as the case may be; but on days when it is not said, its place is occupied by the responsory. The Te Deum is followed immediately by Lauds except on Christmas Day (when it is followed by the prayer, and this is Mass). In general, the Te Deum may be said to follow the same rubric as the Gloria in excelsis at Mass.

In addition to its use in the Divine Office, the Te Deum is occasionally sung in thanksgiving to God for some special blessing (e.g. the election of a pope, the consecration of a bishop, the canonization of a saint, the profession of a religious, the publication of a treaty of peace, a royal coronation, etc.), and then usually after Mass or Divine Office, or as a separate religious ceremony. When sung thus immediately before or after Mass, the celebrant, who intones the hymn, may wear the vestments appropriate in colour to the day, unless these should happen to be black. Otherwise, while the rubrics prescribe no special colour, Violet is forbidden in processions of thanksgiving (pro gratiarum actione), green is inappropriate for such solemn occasions, red (though permissible) would not suggest itself, unless some such feast as Pentecost, for example, should call for it. White, therefore, or gold, which is considered its equivalent, is thus left as the most suitable colour. The choir and congregation sing the hymn standing, even when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, but kneel during the verse "Te ergo quaesumus" At the end the versicles "Benedicamus Patrem" etc. are added, followed by the single prayer "Deus cujus misericordiae".

There is practically but one plain-chant melody for the hymn, varying greatly, however, in different manuscripts The official and typical melody is now given in the Vatican Gradual (1908) in the Appendix (pro gratiarum actione) in two forms, the tonus solemnis (in which every verse begins with preparatory or intoning notes) and juxta morem romanum (in which the verse begins ex abrupto). Pothier notes a strong affinity between the melodies of the Te Deum laudamus, te dominum confitemur and those of the Preface, Per Omnia Sursum corda. He also points out (Mélodies grégoriennes, 239) a psalmodic turn in the melody of the Te Deum, strengthened by the introduction of a distinct antiphon-form at the words "Aeterna fac", etc., the antiphonal melody being thrice repeated. While the chant melody has been frequently used as a canto fermo for polyphonic Masses, the polyphonic settings are few compared with many hymns of less prominence. Palestrina, Jacob Haendl, and Felice Anerio have thus treated the old melody. Italian composers of the seventeenth century made settings for several choirs with organ and orchestra. Cherubini's manuscript setting is lost. Berlioz considered the finale of his own setting (for two choirs, orchestra, and organ) "undoubtedly his finest work". Sometimes the alternate verses only are set to music, so that another choir or the congregation may sing the other verses in plain-chant (as in the Miserere, q.v.). The Latin text has been translated into English and has received many settings in that form. Handel's "Utrecht" and "Dettingen" Te Deums are famous. One interesting feature of the latter is that it borrows inspiration for ten of its numbers from a Te Deum composed by the Minorite Francesco Urio, and able Milanese composer of the seventeenth-eighteenth century. Perhaps the most satisfactory of the recent setting of the Te Deum for use in Church is that of Edgar Tinel, written to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Belgian independence (1830-1905). It is composed for six-voiced mixed choir, orchestra, and organ.

There are about twenty-five metrical translations into English, including the sonorous version of Dryden, "Thee, Sovereign God, our grateful accents praise", and that of the Rev. Clarence A. Walworth, commonly used in American Catholic hymnals, "Holy God, we praise Thy Name", but written before his conversion, as it appeared with date of 1853 in the "Evangelical Hymnal". There are also six versions into English based on Luther's free rendering into German. There are many German versions, of which the "Grosser Gott, wir loben dich" is commonly used in Catholic churches. Probably the most recent Catholic translation is that found in the new edition (London, 1903) of Provost Husenbeth's "Missal for the Use of the Laity", "We praise thee, God: we glorify thee, Lord."

(Hugh Henry, "The Te Deum," Catholic Encyclopedia)

TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.

Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.

Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates;

Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.

Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,

Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,

Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.

Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,

Patrem immensae maiestatis:

Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;

Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.

Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.

Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.

Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.

Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.

Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.

Iudex crederis esse venturus.

Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.

Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

V.  Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.

R.  Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

V.  Per singulos dies benedicimus te.

R.  Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.

V.  Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.

R.  Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.

V.  Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.

R.  In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

O GOD, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.

Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.

All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,

All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!

Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.

The glorious choir of the Apostles,

The wonderful company of Prophets,

The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.

Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:

The Father of infinite Majesty;

Thy adorable, true and only Son;

Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!

Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,

Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.

Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.

Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.

We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.

We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy

Precious Blood.

Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V.  Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!

R.  Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V.  Every day we thank Thee.

R.  And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V.  O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.

R.  Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V.  Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.

R.  O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.