Sunday, 31 March 2013

Litany of the Saints:

The Litany of the Saints is one of my favourite prayers, after the Our Father. No I am not sexist nor do I believe that women are superior to men, although that is something of a challenge on many days. What impacts on my beliefs are the interactions of humans, especially those who cause us to pray.  On a more serious note, the Litany of the Saints has order (read structure), documents the changes in the belief of the church over time (through the recognition of those who contributed to the continuation  of and change within the church), and promotes inclusion of all persons wherever you may live or have lived.
According to wikipedia:
"It is a prayer to the Triune God, which also includes invocations for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and all the martyrs and saints upon whom Christianity was founded, and those recognised as saints through the subsequent history of the church. Following the invocation of the saints, the Litany concludes with a series of supplications to God to hear the prayers of the worshippers" 
The litany is published in five sections. The first contains a short series of invocations of God, beginning with a threefold Kyrie, followed by invocations of God the Father of Heaven, the Son who redeemed the world, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Trinity.
The second section lists the saints who are to be included, given in the following order. Within each category, men are listed in chronological order, followed by women, also in chronological order. Distinctive names are given in brackets so the cantor knows which saint is intended, but a directive notes that the bracketed names may be omitted when the Latin is sung. Additional saints, such as the patron of a place or the founder of a religious order, may be inserted in the appropriate place. The official list of recognised saints can be found in the Roman Martyrology. The Virgin Mary and the Angels: Mary is invoked three times, as Holy Mary, as Holy Mother of God and as Holy Virgin of Virgins; the following invocations are: Saints Michael,Gabriel and Raphael; all holy angels.
Patriarchs and Prophets: Abraham; Moses; Elijah; John the Baptist; Joseph; all holy patriarchs and prophets.
Apostles and disciples: Peter and Paul; Andrew; John and James; Thomas; Matthew; All Holy Apostles; Luke; Mark; Barnabas; Mary Magdalen; all holy disciples of the Lord.
Martyrs: Stephen; Ignatius (of Antioch); Polycarp; Justin; Laurence; Cyprian; Boniface; Stanislaus; Thomas (Becket); John (Fisher) and Thomas (More); Paul (Miki); John (de Brebeuf) and Isaac (Jogues); Peter (Chanel); Charles (Lwanga); Perpetua and Felicity; Agnes; Maria (Goretti); All holy martyrs.
Bishops and Doctors of the Church [popes are not listed distinctly from other non-martyr bishops]: Leo and Gregory; Ambrose; Jerome; Augustine; Athanasius; Basil andGregory (Nazianzen); John Chrysostom; Martin; Patrick; Cyril and Methodius; Charles (Borromeo); Francis (de Sales); Pius (X).
Priests and Religious [without further distinction between priests, deacons, and lay religious]: Anthony; Benedict; Bernard; Francis and Dominic; Thomas (Aquinas); Ignatius (Loyola); Francis (Xavier); Vincent (de Paul); John-Mary (Vianney); John (Bosco); Catherine (of Siena); Teresa (of Avila); Rose (of Lima)
Laity: Louis; Monica; Elisabeth (of Hungary); and all Saints of God.
Note that certain names are grouped together by the litany itself (e.g. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; Francis and Dominic); in the list above a semi-colon always indicates the next line of the litany. Note also that Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila, the first women to be named as Doctors of the Church (in 1970) are nevertheless grouped with the Religious, not with the "Bishops and Doctors".
The Litany of the Saints is used: 
  • At the Easter Vigil
  • At Infant Baptisms 
  • At the Election of a New Pope 
  • In Other Ceremonies

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