Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Catholic Prayer: Roman Ritual: Litany of the Saints


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The Litany of the Saints is used in ordination, Forty Hours' processions, and other occasions. Both the Roman Ritual and the Roman Pontifical direct that the first three invocations be repeated. The invocations are sung (or recited) by the chanters of the priest; the responses by all.

Taken from the 1964 version of the Roman Ritual, translated by Philip Weller, STD.


P: Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
P: Christ, have mercy.
All: Christ, have mercy.
P: Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
P: Christ, hear us.
All: Christ, graciously hear us.
P: God, the Father in heaven.
All: Have mercy on us.
P: God, the Son, Redeemer of the world.
All: Have mercy on us.
P: God, the Holy Spirit.
All: Have mercy on us.
P: Holy Trinity, one God.
All: Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us, *(After each invocation: "Pray for us.")
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All holy angels and archangels,
All holy orders of blessed spirits,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All holy patriarchs and prophets,
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Thaddeus,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All holy apostles and evangelists,
All holy disciples of the Lord,
All holy Innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
SS. Fabian and Sebastian,
SS. John and Paul,
SS. Cosmas and Damian,
SS. Gervase and Protase,
All holy martyrs,
St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All holy bishops and confessors,
All holy doctors,
St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All holy priests and levites,
All holy monks and hermits,
St. Mary Magdalen,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Catherine,
St. Anastasia,
All holy virgins and widows,

P: All holy saints of God,
All: Intercede for us.
P: Be merciful,
All: Spare us, O Lord.
P: Be merciful,
All: Graciously hear us, O Lord.

From all evil, deliver us, O Lord. *(After each invocation: "Deliver us, O Lord.")
From all sin,
From your wrath,
From sudden and unprovided death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, hatred, and all ill will,
From all lewdness,
From lightning and tempest,[1]
From the scourge of earthquakes,
From plague, famine, and war,[2]

(The following invocation is used only at Forty Hours': From dangers that threaten us,)

From everlasting death,
By the mystery of your holy incarnation,
By your coming,
By your birth,
By your baptism and holy fasting,
By your cross and passion,
By your death and burial,
By your holy resurrection,
By your wondrous ascension,
By the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate,
On the day of judgment,

P: We sinners,
All: We beg you to hear us.

That you spare us, *(After each invocation: "We beg you to hear us.")
That you pardon us,
That you bring us to true penance,
That you govern and preserve your holy Church,
That you preserve our Holy Father and all ranks in the Church in holy religion,
That you humble the enemies of holy Church,
That you give peace and true concord to all Christian rulers,
That you give peace and unity to the whole Christian world,
That you restore to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth, and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
That you confirm and preserve us in your holy service,
That you lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
That you grant everlasting blessings to all our benefactors,
That you deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors from everlasting damnation,
That you give and preserve the fruits of the earth,[3]
That you grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,[4]
That you graciously hear us,
Son of God,

P: Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
All: Spare us, O Lord.
P: Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
All: Graciously hear us, O Lord.
P: Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
All: Have mercy on us.
P: Christ, hear us.
All: Christ, graciously hear us.
P: Lord, have mercy.
All:Christ, have mercy.
P: Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)
P: And lead us not into temptation.
All: But deliver us from evil.

Psalm 69
P: Deign, O God, to rescue me; * O Lord, make haste to help me.
All: Let them be put to shame and confounded * who seek my life.
P: Let them be turned back in disgrace * who desire my ruin.
All: Let them retire in their shame * who say to me, "Aha, aha!"
P: But may all who seek you * exult and be glad in you,
All: And may those who love your salvation * say ever, "God be glorified!"
P: But I am afflicted and poor; * O God, hasten to me!
All: You are my help and my deliverer; * O Lord, hold not back!
P: Glory be to the Father.
All: As it was in the beginning.

After the psalm the celebrant (still kneeling) sings the following prayers in the ferial tone:

P: Save your servants.
All: Who trust in you, my God.
P: Let us find in you, Lord, a fortified tower.
All: In the face of the enemy.
P: Let the enemy have no power over us.
All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm us.
P: Lord, deal not with us as our sins deserve.
All: Nor take retribution on us on account of our sins.
P: Let us pray for our sovereign Pontiff N..
All: The Lord preserve him and renew his life, make him happy on earth, and deliver him from the ill will of his enemies.
P: Let us pray for our benefactors.
All: Lord, for the glory of your name, reward with everlasting life all those who do good to us.
P: Let us pray for the faithful departed.
All: Lord, grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
P: May they rest in peace.
All: Amen.
P: For our absent brethren.
All: Save your servants who trust in you, my God.
P: Lord, send them aid from your holy place.
All: And watch over them from Sion.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

The Collects for Forty Hours' are given in their proper place (see Forty Hours' Adoration).

Let us pray.
God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that we and all your servants, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness.
We beg you, Lord, hear the plea of your suppliants, pardon the sins of your penitents, and kindly grant us your tender forgiveness along with your peace.
Show us, O Lord, your indescribable mercy, blot out our transgressions, and graciously deliver us from the condemnation they deserve.
God, who are offended by our sins but appeased by our penances, may it please you to hear the entreaties of your people and to turn away the stripes that our transgressions rightly deserve.
Almighty everlasting God, be gracious to your servant, N., our sovereign Pontiff, and in your kindness lead him on the path of everlasting salvation; may he by your grace seek only that which pleases you and carry it out with all his might. God, from whom come holy desires, right counsels, and good works, give to your servants that peace which the world cannot give; so that our hearts may be dedicated to the observance of your law, freed from fear of our enemies, and tranquil in the knowledge of your protection.
Lord, inflame our affections and our understanding with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may serve you with a chaste body and please you with a pure heart.
God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of your departed servants remission of all sins; and by our fervent prayers may they obtain the pardon they have always desired.
We beg you, Lord, let a breath of your grace prompt our undertakings and guide them along their course, so that our least prayer and work may ever begin in you and end in you.
Almighty everlasting God, Lord of both the living and the dead; deal mercifully with all whom you foresee shall be yours by faith and good works. Hear us, your lowly servants, and grant that those for whom we earnestly offer our prayers, whether this present world still detains them in the flesh or the world to come has already claimed their souls, may obtain pardon of all their sins, through your mercy and goodness and through the intercession of your saints. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
All: Amen.

P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.
P: May the almighty and merciful Lord graciously hear us.
All: Amen.
P: May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
All: Amen.

If the papacy is vacant, in place of the invocation "That you preserve our Holy Father and all ranks in the Church" etc., the invocation will be "That you preserve all ranks in the Church," etc. And the verse "Let us pray for our sovereign Pontiff, N.," together with its response and prayer is omitted.


1. In the procession for averting tempest this invocation is said twice.
2. In the procession in time of death and plague this invocation is said twice.
3. In the procession in time of famine and want this invocation is said twice (see Procession in Time of Famine).
4. In ordination the bishop rises at this point and inserts three special invocations (see Ordination of Priests).

In the blessing of a new church the priest rises here, and making the sign of the cross inserts a special invocation (see Blessing of a New Church or Public Oratory)

In the reconciliation of a profaned church--see Rite for Reconciling a Profaned Church.

In the reconciliation of a profaned cemetery--see Rite for Reconciling a Profaned Cemetery.

In the procession for petitioning rain--see Procession for Imploring Rain.

In the procession for petitioning calm weather--see Procession for Imploring Fair Weather.

In the procession in time of death and plague--see Procession in Time of Epidemic and Plague.

Prayer Source: Roman Ritual: Volume III, The Blessings by Philip T. Weller, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1952