Litany of the Saints
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Although I have fought and lost the battle against the Becker "Litany,", like a child with my nose pressed against the window glass of a toy store, I love the Litany of Saints hopelessly, and from afar.
    Interesting piece in Adoremus on it:

    Can anyone tell me where these prescriptions for the order in which the names are to appear, or may be added exist, or is it just custom?

    Thank you for any information.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    From the Litany in the Gregorian Missal (under the Easter Vigil), it appears that the saints are grouped into roughly chronological categories:

    First, the exceptional saints: Our Lady, John the Baptist, Joseph;
    the Apostles;
    other disciples/witnesses to the Resurrection;
    St Stephen the proto-martyr;
    post-Apostolic Fathers;
    Roman Martyrs;
    early Doctors of the Church;
    Founders of orders;
    Major patrons (Francis Xavier, John Vianney);
    Catholic Reformation-era Doctors of the Church;
    [miscellaneous patrons depending on the place or occasion]
    and finally, all holy men and women.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I was discussing the Litany with my choir at my last job when we had baptisms at the Vigil. I made reference to the "very boring setting of it that only uses one note for the response" and a chorister who loves the Becker said something to the effect that we can't have anything boring. So I responded "of course, that's why we'll be doing the Gregorian chant! You can't get more fun than that!"
  • G asks:
    Can anyone tell me where these prescriptions for the order in which the names are to appear, or may be added exist, or is it just custom?

    All litanies of the saints are structured the same:

    Cry for Mercy to Christ the Lord or Supplications to the Trinity

    The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Angels
    Prophets and Ancestors of Our Faith
    Apostles, Evangelists, and First Followers of Christ
    Bishops and Doctors
    Priests and Religious

    Prayers against Various Evils
    Invocations of the Power of the Paschal Mystery in Its Phases

    General Petitions
    Specific Petitions


    Saints are added according to their rank in the order of their heavenly birthday (their date of death). Petitions are added according to their kind. You are permitted, even encouraged, to add to the names and petitions in the rites but you are not permitted to delete any names or petitions from any of the litanies of the rites.

  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    All litanies of the saints are structured the same:

    Right, but where is that structure prescribed?

    For instance, who says that John the Baptist and St. Joseph come at the end of the Prophet (if any)? Where is it written, or is it just custom, that parochial patronal additions should come in chronological order of their deaths but within their "categories", or is it just custom? Who says martyrs come after Apostles? (St. Stephen died first, no?)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World
  • I realize this is a very old thread, but I need help (quickly please) on the question of the Litany of Saints (in Latin) to be sung at an ordination. Our schola has been asked to sing for a priest's ordination next Tuesday (Sept. 8th, 2009). I don't have a very complete home library. The Litany of Saints in the PBC and Graduale Romanum do not have the special prayers for ordination that I see in the English version. Can anyone help?

    Does a Latin version for the OF even exist for ordinations in printed form somewhere?
  • Janet,

    I'll send you this but I have to go over to the seminary library to get it in Latin. I have it in English here at home and can send it now.

  • That particular version of the LoS is probably in the Pontifical, the book of all the Liturgies for Bishops.
  • Dr. Ford... thank you so much! I have the English version from my pastor...

    my email address is: j_gorbitz at yahoo dot com
  • I had a photocopy at home, so I scanned it for you and then laid it out for you. Here it is.

  • P.S. It is not traditional that an entire schola sing this kind of litany. Choose your two best cantors, put them in albs, and have them kneel behind the ordinandus as they sing the litany. Now, THAT's traditional!
  • i was unable to read it with my Word software... could you possible send it pdf? we were planning to have just two of us sing the cantor parts with the rest of the schola responding... I like the traditional idea, though... we need some strong male cantors in the schola...
  • Thank you, thank you, Dr. Ford!

    I put the correct Litany of Saints into a Word doc. with all the chant notation notes... attached is a .pdf file of it for any who need it in the future.
  • Janet,

    Now YOUR file didn't display correctly on MY machine! Yikes! None of the chant is visible to me.

    There is a mistake in the title you gave the file: This is the litany for presbyters only. The litany for deacons has some different saints and petitions. (The litany for bishops is also different: All the apostles are named, for example.)

  • Of course... I forgot that my laptop software for pdf's doesn't work for Meinrad font... did it again on the other computer and replaced the file... hope it works better now.

    thanks again,

  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Could one sing the Litany of the Saints in connection with the Mass on All Saints and if so, when?

    To be clear: could one appropriately sing the Litany of the Saints within the Mass?
  • Off the top of my head, the Litany of Saints is an alternate for the entrance on the First Sunday of Lent (my original response was wrong, it was due to an old memory of this.)[thanks for Paul Ford for the memory jog]
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    I haven't found that in the 2002 Missal (though of course I can't rule out that some other document allows it). There are a few references to the Litany of the Saints in the Missal:

    1) In Lent, it is praiseworthy to preserve the form of a "stational" liturgy; the Litany of the Saints is sung during the procession to the church.
    2) In the Easter Vigil baptismal liturgy, the Litany is sung during the procession to the font, if there is a procession.

    Worshipping communities are encouraged to restore the ancient practice of singing the Litany of the Saints for Solemn Occasions for the entrance procession at the principal Mass for the First Sunday of Lent. [See the Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts, dated January 16, 1988, of the Congregation for Divine Worship, §22, and the Ceremonial of Bishops, §261. The Litany takes the place of the Entrance Song and all the Introductory Rites up to the Opening Prayer. In the solemn form of the procession, the people assemble in a suitable place other than the church. The presider is dressed in alb, stole, and cope. After a suitable gathering song, the presider greets the people and he (or another priest or a deacon) gives a brief introduction. The presider then says an opening prayer (several alternatives are suggested in the Ceremonial) and then puts incense in the censer. The deacon announces, Let us go forth in peace, and the procession moves to the church. When it reaches the church, all go to their places; the presider reverences and incenses the altar; then the presider goes to the chair and exchanges the cope for a chasuble. At the end of the Litany, the presider sings or says the Opening Prayer of the Mass.]

    St. Mark’s Day (April 25), the three days before the Ascension, St. Isidore and St. Mary’s Day (May 15) are also days when litanies to implore God’s protection against calamity and God’s blessing on the crops are traditionally sung. This litany can be especially effective on All Saints Day as the Entrance Song or the General Intercessions.

    The Litany of the Saints for Solemn Occasions may also be used during the principal celebration of the six special periods of prayer mentioned in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, §373, and the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, §§45 through 47 (the precise dates can be found in the particular calendar which applies to each community):

    Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
    Week/Day of Prayer for General Needs of Humankind
    Weekdays of Preparation for the Coming of the Holy Spirit
    Week/Day of Prayer for Human Rights and Equality
    Week/Day of Prayer for Harvest and Fruits of the Earth
    Week/Day of Prayer for World Justice and Peace.

    In those sections which contain several sets of invocations marked by A and B, one or the other may be chosen as desired as indicated by the “Or” on the left. It is also possible to sing the more familiar sections of the litany in Greek and Latin, indicated by the “or” in the center. The names of other saints may be added in the appropriate place in the litany (for example, patrons, titular saints of churches, founders, and the like). Petitions adapted to the place and the occasion may be added to the petitions for various needs. Such additional names and petitions need to be set in a different kind of type or enclosed in parentheses (as in the litany which follows).

    If the litany is to be printed in its entirety, the surnames and cognomens (e.g., Becket, Chrysostom) should be enclosed brackets and not sung; this is the tradition when the litany is sung in Latin. However, St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalene are always invoked with their cognomina; and St. John Mary Vianney is always invoked by his first and middle names. The Blessed Virgin Mary may be invoked in the litany under several titles, but restraint is advised. If the litany is not to be printed for the assembly, sing the surnames and cognomens in brackets.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I, too, would lose the battle against the Becker litany for Easter Vigil. There is a soprano who has sung it many years before I took the job. It isn't worth the hard feelings it would cause to get rid of it.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Paul F. Ford wrote:
    "This litany can be especially effective on All Saints Day as the Entrance Song or the General Intercessions."

    Thank you for the very detailed answer, which I'm going to bookmark for future reference.

    Regarding All Saints, if the Litany is sung as the Entrance Song, is that on the basis of "alius cantus aptus" or is it on the same basis (and subject to the same rubrics) as described above for the First Sunday of Lent?

    If the Litany is sun for the General Intercessions, what is the rubrical basis for that?

    I like both ideas, I just want to be able to explain the rubrical basis for both to our pastor, who asked me to look into this.
  • The Becker has an emotional appeal that comes from popular music and, as such, should be banned.

    The compositional style glorifies the singer.

    Once it is exposed for this, then those who not want to do it have some ammunition to use against it.
  • At one time the Raccolta contained the authorised form of the Litany of the Saints and other Litanies.

    I recall that at the funeral of Pope John Paul II a revised Litany of the Saints was chanted that wasn't in any of our books at the time. It included St. Maximilan Kolbe and St. Faustina and others.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    I apologize for being needy, but I wanted to re-post my question below in hopes of having the benefit of Mr. Ford's or someone else's expertise; I've tried to find the answer on my own and have failed. Thank you for your patience!


    Paul F. Ford wrote:

    "This litany can be especially effective on All Saints Day as the Entrance Song or the General Intercessions."

    Thank you for the very detailed answer, which I'm going to bookmark for future reference.

    Regarding All Saints, if the Litany is sung as the Entrance Song, is that on the basis of "alius cantus aptus" or is it on the same basis (and subject to the same rubrics) as described above for the First Sunday of Lent?

    If the Litany is sun for the General Intercessions, what is the rubrical basis for that?

    I like both ideas, I just want to be able to explain the rubrical basis for both to our pastor, who asked me to look into this.
  • At our EF Mass last All Saints, the sacred ministers processed around the nave of the church - figure 8 - before entering the Sanctuary. This is the historic form of a "procession". I chanted the LoS from the loft, and stopped when they reached the Communion rail.

    With the OF Mass, the Entrance IS a procession, even if it is short, and in a straight line. If you are not chanting an Introit, then I guess you would qualify it as the "aca" option, though.

    I am not positive on the second question, but pretty sure. I was told once that the Prayers of the People are petitions to be directed to God the Father. While the opening and closing parts of the LoS might fit that definition, I'm not as sure about simply replacing the PotP with the LoS.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 675
    Are there any other settings of the Litany of the Saints that aren't chant, but are not Becker? I mean, would somebody really be mad if you said, "This year we're doing Palestrina; we'll all enjoy this piece", or whatever? Isn't your soprano tired of doing the same thing every year?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    "Isn't your soprano tired of doing the same thing every year?"

    Unfortunately, no! She actually looks forward to it. :-(
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    There's one in the Marier hymnal. (excerpt)
  • I need to get a Latin music setting for the Litany of Saints to be used at our Easter vigil. Can someone point me to a resource?
  • KathyMLynch,
    You will find the Litany in the Liber Usualis--available free here on Page 756.
    This is the chant book for the 1962 Missal, but the music is the same for the newer form of Mass.

    The Litany is also in the newer books, the 1974 Graduale Romanum and the Gregorian Missal. Just look up the Easter Vigil.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Considering the genre, here is a very well-done recording of the Becker litany, which includes Origen (?).

    Litany à la Lounge

    It goes without saying that music composed in this style has absolutely nothing to do with true Sacred music.

    When I'm giving little lectures about how we can tell what music is not appropriate for the public worship of the Catholic Church, I've been known to pull this one out. It speaks volumes.

    As an aside, I was once fired (from an OF parish) because I refused to sing that lounge song during Mass.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,701
    o my gosh... that definitely sounds like the lounge.
  • Jeffrey, to be clear, the recording is technically of a high calibre.
    But it is likewise obviously clear that the singer appears enamoured of his own voice due to many reasons: the breathy frame around the formant tone, the overdub of his own voice doing the responses, the affectations that seem meant to portray some emotional or spiritual pathos, yada yada yada. Ergo, this version is, IMO, designed to attract attention to the artist's abilities, not to represent any aesthetic, musical or spiritual value of the Becker setting.
    It would be disingenuous to presume that this recording represents the appropriate manner inwhich the setting could and should be rendered. I'm not claiming that the Becker is inherently worthy or appropriate, but that your using this version to buttress your argument confuses the issue between judging the music on its own merits versus by its performance attributes.
    I don't think you would purposefully choose a schola of warbling, overly-seasoned senior sopranos mangling "Ego sum panis vivus" to demonstrate the viability of chant; nor the recording of the last castrati singing the Schubert "AM" as proof that the art song is inherently beautiful. Wouldya?
  • Listening to the Becker piece, I felt like holding up a lighter and yelling "Rock on, dudes...."
  • I never knew who precisely to blame for that "litany" - now there's a name. The whole piece is embarrassing in so many horrid ways.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    You have got to be kidding me. It sounds like an extended version of a soap opera theme song.

    It is also clearly an attempt to infuse the litany with subjective emotion -- "emo" -- as if the litany itself were a private devotion, not a collective, public act of prayer.

    I could go on, but perhaps it's all better left to averted, downcast eyes and a good cheerful look elsewhere.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    i have never understood peoples love of the becker setting. talk about boring! Also wasnt there a time when his list of saints included mahatma Ghandi and other (admittidly) incredable non christians. I also had a DRE who said "since we're all saints be sure to include all the names of our graduating 8th grade class" So, with the support of the pastor, we prayed to St. Tiffany and St. Amber.
    In my present parish I put my foot down about the becker. It has been handed over to the secular authorities to be burned and so far, not one complaint.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    "We're all saints!" Wonderful! My work in this life is done, and now I can rest in the assurance that I have achieved perfection.

    God will be so happy when I tell Him. One less thing for Him to worry about.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577

    Paul F Ford (Nov 1st 2008):
    All litanies of the saints are structured the same:

    G (Nov 1st 2008):
    Right, but where is that structure prescribed?

    Paul F Ford (Sep 6th 2009):
    This litany can be especially effective on All Saints Day as the Entrance Song or the General Intercessions.

    WJA (Sep 7th 2009):
    If the Litany is sun for the General Intercessions, what is the rubrical basis for that?

    WJA (Sep 11th 2009):
    repeated request

    I, too, would like these clarified.
    It is unclear from the posts as to whether
    the info is personally accumulated summaries
    or direct quotations from some resources (Church Docs or other).
    Which resources? Where do quotations begin and end?
    Yes, I saw some (bracketed) references, but these do not satisfy the above questions.

    My danger-meter moved when scanning "Worshipping communities" and "especially effective".

    Also, I am having trouble reconciling ...

    solemn procession described above
    VERSUS church aisle walks

    universal prayer described at Prayer.pdf
    VERSUS using the litany at that time
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    The Missal (i.e., the GIRM) does not prescribe any particular formula of words for the Universal Prayer, so it would seem you're free to use the form Prof. Ford proposed, or the litany, or any number of other forms.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    "We're all saints!" Wonderful! My work in this life is done, and now I can rest in the assurance that I have achieved perfection.

    God will be so happy when I tell Him. One less thing for Him to worry about
    Gee, I suppose you wouldn't like the little ditty we were asked to sing for a Eucharistic procession once, "Now We Are Saints," IIRC, from GIA.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Documents on the Liturgy, 1963-1979: Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts
    (Collegeville MN, The Liturgical Press, 1982)
    page 594
    "239. CONSILIUM, The Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful,
    1st ed., pro manuscripto, 13 January 1965;
    2nd ed. 17 April 1966: Vatican Polyglot Press, 1966."

    The DOL # 239 document gives the formulas.
    The document is partially reproduced in the PDF file ( Universal%20Prayer.pdf ) mentioned in my earlier post
    which I pointed to since I cannot locate any other online copy of the document.
    I have not discovered any newer over-riding document.

    CAVEATS ...
    The PDF page 1-5 contains the Document.
    Missing is the "Appendix I History of the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful".
    The DOL entry ends with a footnote:
    "A second part of the Appendix provides Gregorian chant models for the faithful's response."
    The PDF page 6 is not part of the document at all (in fact it is samples from the Book of Common Prayer).
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    And for the time-challenged who will not read the document whether in DOL or the PDF ...

    "The samples of sets of intentions provided here generally correspond to the sets of chants for Mass in the
    Graduale simplex (Vatican Polyglot Press, Vatican City, 17 April 1966)."
  • There is a long-standing tradition in many parishes to expand the list of names sung during the Litany to include the chosen Confirmation names of those about to be confirmed. It's rather nice to hear and gives a bit of a change-up to an otherwise monotonous tonal piece.

  • Monotonous tonal piece?

    Yes, that's how I have always felt. That chant stuff is miserable and is the reason that so many people have LEFT THE CHURCH!

    Now, if only someone would write a litany of saints that would be UPLIFTING! With Guitars and Fertility Drums! And, well, so many of them led miserable sad lives so let's get rid of their names and replace them with happy dead Catholics!

    Are you sure that you are on the right list? (smiling ;))
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    amanda.palister is on the right list. My church has that same tradition of adding the confirmation names to the litany at the Easter Vigil. It was established tradition when I went there 9 years ago, and changing it is a battle not worth fighting. I would rather expend my efforts on something with more long-term benefit, than on a once-a-year piece of music.

    Although I would love to be bored with the traditional litany instead of the Becker I have inherited, the litany of the saints is somewhat monotonous regardless of the version used.
  • Yes, the Litany of the Saints is not worth expending effort on. The Catholic Encylopedia concurs, though I can't seem to find the reference to its monotony:

    As the Encylodpedia says:

    The model of all other litanies, of great antiquity.


    It was used in the "Litania Septiformis" of St. Gregory the Great, and in the procession of St. Mamertus. In the Eastern Church, litanies with the invocation of saints were employed in the days of St. Basil (d. 379) and of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (d. about 270) (Basil, Ep. lxiii; Socrates, VI, viii, Sozomen, VIII, vii). It is not known when or by whom the litany was composed, but the order in which the Apostles are given, corresponding with that of the Canon of the Mass, proves its antiquity (Walafr. Strabo, "De Reb. Eccl.", xxiii).

    Structure and content

    First part

    The litany begins with the call for mercy upon God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, in the "Kyrie eleison", "Christe eleison", Kyrie eleison". Then, considering Christ as our Saviour and Mediator, we ask Him to hear us. In order to render more secure the hearing of our prayers, we again ask each of the Persons of the Holy Trinity for mercy, and, adding those titles which give us a claim to Their consideration, we call upon the First Person: God, the Father of Heaven, to whom we owe existence and life; the Second: Redeemer of the world, to Whom we owe our salvation; the Third: Holy Ghost, to whom we owe our sanctification; and then on the Holy Trinity, one God.

    To render God propitious, we, aware of our own unworthiness, ask the intercession of those who have become His special friends, through a holy life, the saints in lasting communion with Him. Foremost among these stands Mary, the chosen daughter of the Father, the undefiled mother of the Son, the stainless bride of the Holy Ghost — we call upon her with the triple invocation: Holy Mary, Mother of God, Virgin of virgins. We then invoke the blessed spirits who remained firm in their allegiance to the Almighty during the rebellion of Lucifer and his adherents: Michael, prince of the heavenly host; Gabriel, "fortitude of God", the trusted companion of Tobias; and the other angels, archangels, and orders of blessed "ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). Next in our confidence is he of whom Christ says "There hath nor risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11), the precursor of the Lord, the last of the Prophets of the Old Law and the first of the New.

    Next in order come St. Joseph, the foster-father of the Incarnate Word; and all the Patriarchs and Prophets who saved their souls in the hope of Him Who was the expected of the nations. Then follow the saints: Peter, prince of the Apostles, vice-regent of Christ; Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles; Andrew, who first heeded the call of the Master; James the Greater and John the Evangelist, the beloved disciple, who, with St. Peter, were most favoured by Christ; Thomas, called Didymus, who received from Christ signal proofs of His Resurrection; James the Less, first Bishop of Jerusalem; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew, once called Levi, the toll-gatherer, who wrote the First Gospel; Simon the Zealot; Jude Thaddeus; Matthias, who was chosen to fill the place of Judas Iscariot; Barnabas, called to the Apostolate by the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:2); Luke, the physician, writer of the Third Gospel and the Acts; Mark, the Evangelist, disciple of St. Peter; all the Apostles and Evangelists; the holy disciples of the Lord; the Holy Innocents, the infant martyr-flowers, "Who, slain at the command of Herod, confessed the name of the Lord not by speaking but by dying" (Rom. Brev.).

    The glorious martyrs are then invoked: Stephen the Deacon, protomartyr, stoned at Jerusalem whilst praying for his executioners (Acts 7:58); Laurence, the Roman archdeacon; Vincent, the deacon of Saragossa in Spain; Fabian, the pope, and Sebastian, the soldier; John and Paul, brothers at the Court of Constantia, daughter of Constantine; Cosmas and Damian, renowned physicians of Ægea in Cilicia; Gervasius and Protasius, brothers at Milan; after which follows a collective impetration of all the holy martyrs. The litany now asks the prays of St. Sylvester, the pope who saw the triumph of the Crucified over paganism; of the Doctors of the Church; Sts. Gregory the Great, pope; Ambrose of Milan; Augustine of Hippo, in Africa; and Jerome, representing Dalmatia and the Holy Land; of the renowned Bishops Martin of Tours; Nicholas of Myra; of all the holy bishops and confessors; of all the holy teachers; of the founders of religious orders: Anthony, father of the anchorites of the desert; Benedict, patriarch of the Western monks; Bernard; Dominic; Francis; of all holy priests and levites; of monks and hermits. We then invoke Mary Magdalen, the model of Christian penance and of a contemplative life, of whom Christ said: "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her" (Matthew 26:13); the virgins and martyrs: Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Catherine, and Anastasia the Younger; and in conclusion of the holy virgins and widows; all the holy men and women.

    Second part

    The second part of the litany begins with another cry of "Be merciful to us, spare us O Lord; Be merciful to us, graciously hear us O Lord". We then enumerate the ills from which we hope to be delivered: From all evils; from sin; the wrath of God; sudden and unprovided death; the snares of the devil; anger, hatred, and all ill will; the spirit of fornication; lightning and tempest; the scourge of earthquake; plague, famine, and war; from everlasting death. To make our prayers more effective, we present to Christ all that He did for us through the mystery of the Incarnation, through His coming, nativity, baptism and holy fasting, cross and passion, death and burial, holy resurrection, admirable ascension, the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and we conclude by the petition, "In the day of judgment, O Lord, deliver us."

    Third part

    In the third part we humbly acknowledge our unworthiness: "We, sinners, beseech Thee, hear us", and add the list of favours that we wish to obtain: that the Lord spare us; pardon us; and bring us to true penance; that He govern and preserve His holy Church; preserve our Apostolic prelate, and all orders of the Church, in holy religion; humble the enemies of the Church; give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes; peace and unity to Christian nations; strengthen and preserve us in His holy service; raise our minds to heavenly desires; reward with eternal good all our benefactors; deliver us, our brethren, kinsfolk, and benefactors, from eternal damnation; give and preserve the fruits of the earth; and grant eternal rest to the faithful departed. We ask all this in calling upon the Son of God, thrice invoking the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We repeat the "Kyrie", as in the beginning, and add the prayer taught by Christ Himself, the Our Father. Then follow Psalm 69, "O God, come to my assistance", etc., and a number of verses, responses, and prayers, renewing the former petitions. We conclude with an earnest request to be heard, and an appeal for the faithful departed.


    Three forms of the Litany of the Saints are at present in liturgical use.

    First form

    The form given above is prescribed by the Roman Ritual at the laying of the corner-stone of a new church, at the blessing or reconciliation of the same or of a cemetery, in the rite of blessing the people and fields in virtue of a special papal indult, for the major and minor Rogation Days, in the procession and prayers to obtain rain or fine weather, to avert storms and tempests, in time of famine or war, to escape mortality or in time of pestilence, in any tribulation, during the translation of relics, in solemn exorcisms of the possessed, and at the Forty Hours' Devotion. The Roman Pontifical, besides the occasions given in the Ritual, orders its recitation in the conferring of major orders, in the consecration of a bishop, benediction of an abbot or abbess, consecration of virgins, coronation of a king or queen, consecration of a church, expulsion and readmission of public penitents on Maundy Thursday, and in the "Ordo ad Synodum".

    Second form

    Another form is given in the Roman Missal for Holy Saturday and the Vigil of Pentecost. It is an abbreviation of the other. Each verse and response must be duplicated in this litany and in that chanted on Rogation Days (S.R.C., 3993, ad 4).

    Third form

    A third form is in the "Commendatio" of the Roman Ritual, in which the invocations and supplications are specially chosen to benefit the departing soul about to appear before its Maker (Holzhey, "Thekla-Akten", 1905, 93). This and the preceding form may not be used on other occasions (S.R.C., 2709, ad 1).

    Formerly it was customary to invoke only classes of saints, then individual names were added, and in many places local saints were added (Rock, "The Church of Our Fathers", London, 1903, 182; "Manuale Lincopense", Paderborn, 1904, 71). To obtain uniformity, changes and additions to the approved were forbidden (S.R.C., 2093, 3236, 3313).

    [my goodness! This unimportant bit of liturgical fluff seems to have generated an article that takes more time than the regrettable monotonous singing of it takes! And...S.R.C., 2093, 3236, and 3313 would seem to ban adding names....]
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Rave on. It is musically a bit monotonous. I am always glad when it's over. But by then, I have been at the church too long, too late, and will be back early the next morning. I am glad Easter only comes once a year!
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
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    @ Noel -- what's wrong with listing people's confirmation saints in the Litany? As long as they're actually saints, isn't that the point... the Litany of the Saints? Am I missing something?

    Considering the genre, here is a very well-done recording of the Becker litany, which includes Origen (?).

    WHAT. ORIGEN WAS A FLAMING HERETIC. I researched up on him once, there's TWELVE crazy anathemas against the guy. His teachings are basically like twelve heresies all rolled into one.
  • What makes you think they are just adding saints names? St. Destiny?

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  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Well, don roy said that at his place they put the kids' secular names in the litany--but amanda.palister and CharlesW said that they added their confirmation names, and don't confirmation names have to be the names of saints?

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