Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary / Litany of Loreto: Prayers, History and More

Our Lady of Loreto

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Litany of Loreto, is a Marian prayer that dates back nearly 500 years.

Like other Marian prayers, it seeks the intercession of Mary through her various titles. Like other litanies, it follows a call-and-response format that lends itself to communal prayer, e.g. “Mother of Christ, pray for us. Mother of the Church, pray for us.”

Catholics also pray the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary when images or statues of Mary are blessed, a process known as the Rite of Crowning an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or sometimes, “May Crowning,” since these ceremonies often take place during May, the month of Mary.

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Below is the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Litany of Loreto, via the Vatican. The bolded text is the “response” when prayed with a group.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy. Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,  have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us. 

Mother of Christ, pray for us.

Mother of the Church, pray for us. 

Mother of Mercy, pray for us.

Mother of divine grace, pray for us.

Mother of Hope, pray for us.

Mother most pure, pray for us.

Mother most chaste, pray for us.

Mother inviolate, pray for us.

Mother undefiled, pray for us.

Mother most amiable, pray for us.

Mother admirable, pray for us.

Mother of good counsel, pray for us.

Mother of our Creator, pray for us.

Mother of our Saviour, pray for us.

Virgin most prudent, pray for us.

Virgin most venerable, pray for us.

Virgin most renowned, pray for us.

Virgin most powerful, pray for us.

Virgin most merciful, pray for us.

Virgin most faithful, pray for us.

Mirror of justice, pray for us.

Seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Cause of our joy, pray for us.

Spiritual vessel, pray for us.

Vessel of honor, pray for us.

Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.

Mystical rose, pray for us.

Tower of David, pray for us.

Tower of ivory, pray for us.

House of gold, pray for us.

Ark of the covenant, pray for us.

Gate of heaven, pray for us.

Morning star, pray for us.

Health of the sick, pray for us.

Refuge of sinners, pray for us.

Solace of Migrants, pray for us.

Comfort of the afflicted, pray for us.

Help of Christians, pray for us.

Queen of Angels, pray for us.

Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.

Queen of Prophets, pray for us.

Queen of Apostles, pray for us.

Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.

Queen of Confessors, pray for us.

Queen of Virgins, pray for us.

Queen of all Saints, pray for us.

Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.

Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us.

Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us.

Queen of families, pray for us.

Queen of peace.pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, 

spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, 

graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, 

have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. 

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

Let us pray. 

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord God, that we, your servants, may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body; and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,  may be delivered from present sorrow, and obtain eternal joy.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Origins of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline and History of the Catholic Church (by Charles Herbermann), published in 1910, the earliest known copy of the Litany dates back to 1576. At that time, it was also referred to as the Order of the Litany of Our Lady.

Pope Sixtus V, author of Dum Ineffabilia, approved the Litany of Loreto in 1587, at a time when other Marian litanies were prohibited. 

The fact that the lone approved Litany of Our Lady came from Loreto explains why we know the “Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary” as “Litany of Loreto.” (Pope Francis referred to “litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called “The Litany of Loreto,” in a 2020 letter.)

Sixtus V was an advocate of Marian prayers, as mentioned in Diuturni Temporis, the 1898 encyclical on the rosary by Pope Leo XII.

“Pope Sixtus V., of happy memory, approved the ancient custom of reciting the Rosary;”

Over the years, popes have approved new titles of Mary to be added to the litany, including: 

  • “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary” (1883)
  • “Mother of Good Counsel” (1903)
  • “Queen of Peace” by Benedict XV (1917)
  • “Queen assumed into Heaven” (1950)
  • “Mother of the Church” (1980)
  • “Queen of Families” (1995)

Loreto and the Holy House

Loreto, Italy is home to the Basilica della Santa Casa, with “Santa Casa” meaning Holy House, a reference to the sacred dwelling place it houses.

The “Holy House” is the house that Mary is believed to have lived in, making it also the place where The Annunciation took place.

Legend states that the walls of the humble house were carried by angels atop the hill of the small central Italian town. Others believe they were transported by trade ships. What’s clear is that the walls were not cut in Italian style and also contain carvings and markings similar to early churches in the Holy Land.

Litany of Loreto Prayer: Pope Benedict Prayer during 2007 Visit to Shrine of Loreto

The following is a prayer offered by Pope Benedict in 2007 during a visit to the shrine at Loreto:

Mary, Mother of the “Yes”, you listened to Jesus, and know the tone of his voice and the beating of his heart.

Morning Star, speak to us of him, and tell us about your journey of following him on the path of faith.

Mary, who dwelt with Jesus in Nazareth, impress on our lives your sentiments, your docility, your attentive silence, and make the Word flourish in genuinely free choices.

Mary, speak to us of Jesus, so that the freshness of our faith shines in our eyes and warms the heart of those we meet, as you did when visiting Elizabeth, who in her old age rejoiced with you for the gift of life.

Mary, Virgin of the Magnificat help us to bring joy to the world and, as at Cana, lead every young person involved in service of others to do only what Jesus will tell them.

Mary, look upon the Agora of youth, so that the soil of the Italian Church will be fertile.

Pray that Jesus, dead and Risen, is reborn in us, and transforms us into a night full of light, full of him.

Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, Gate of Heaven, help us to lift our eyes on high.

We want to see Jesus, to speak with him, to proclaim his love to all.

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