Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

The Litany of the Dominican Rite

Community Prayer: The Dominican Way

When we think of community prayer we should immediately thing of those prayers done in common by the faithful for a singular intention or devotion. Among the community prayers the Church has given us, the rosary stands above the rest as an individual and community prayer. A prayer that the Order of Preachers have been credited with advancing throughout the world.

Yesterday, April 29, we celebrated the feast of the Dominican Tertiary St. Catherine of Siena. Today, April 30, we celebrate the feast of the Dominican elevated to the throne of Peter, Pope St. Pius V. Both were dedicated to the reform of the Church: one encouraging her Pope to return to Rome and the other, implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent.  In addition to being a reformer, Pope St. Pius V is also known as “the rosary pope” for the victories won against the Turks through his encouragement that Europe and the soldiers pray the rosary for victory. Besides being great reforms and excelling in holiness they both share the same spiritual father St. Dominic.

An additional type of community prayer includes litanies.  In light of our two saintly Dominicans, we should add to our armament the efficacious Dominican litany.

The use of the Dominican Rite Litany of the Saints is explained by the following historical episode:

Innocent IV (born around 1200 and Pope from June 25, 1243) became a foe of the Order when the Dominican community in Genoa, the Pope’s home town, would not give him their Priory and its land for a castle he wanted to build there to protect his relatives from his enemies. Angered by what he considered to be Dominican ingratitude in the face of favors he had granted the Order, Innocent now acceded to the long standing demands of some of the secular clergy who were upset by the Friars’ popularity in the pastoral ministry, in preaching, and in university teaching.

Thus on May 10, 1254, the Pope placed some restrictions on the apostolate of the Dominicans in the French town of Saint-Quentin, and then began limiting the activities of the Other French Priories. On June 4 he in effect expelled the Dominican professors from the University of Paris. This new animosity on the part of the Supreme Pontiff frightened the Friars, who began to say the Litany of the Saints for a deliverance from what they saw as the impending suppression of the whole Order.

On Nov. 21, 1254, Innocent IV signed a decree rescinding all the privileges of the Order of Preachers, and instead forbidding all Dominicans to receive any lay person in their churches on Sundays and Holidays, to preach in their churches on other days before the Solemn Mass in the local diocesan parish church, to preach in an episcopal town if the bishop was to preach there that day, and to hear anyone’s confession without the permission of the penitent’s pastor. A Cardinal who supported the Pope in this affair had even further restriction to suggest to Innocent.

On the day the latter signed the aforementioned decree, the said Cardinal tumbled down some stairs and shortly thereafter died of the injuries. The Pope himself, on that very same day, Nov. 21, 1254, after signing the decree, suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed. Sixteen days later, On Dec. 7, 1254, Pope Innocent IV died. The new Pope, Alexander IV, restored all its privileges to the Order on Dec. 22, 1254, thirty-one days after their suppression and on the 38th anniversary of the Order’s approval by Honorius III on Dec. 22, 1216.

As a result of the foregoing, the saying arose, “Beware the Litanies of the Dominicans.”

This Litany is therefore recommended as a Novena in especially critical circumstances.

The Dominican Rite Litany

Lord have mercy.
R/ Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.
R/ Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.
R/ Lord have mercy.

Christ hear us.
R/ Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy.
R/ God the Father of heaven, have mercy.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy.
R/ God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy.
R/ God the Holy Spirit, have mercy.

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy.
R/ Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy.

Holy Mary,
R/ Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All you holy angels, and archangels,
All you holy orders of blessed spirits,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All you 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. Mark,
St. Luke,
All you holy disciples of our Lord,
All you Holy Innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Clement,
St. Cornelius,
St. Cyprian,
St. Laurence,
St. Vincent,
St. Denis with your companions,
St. Maurice with your companions,
St. Januarius with your companions,
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,
Sts. Cosmas and Damian,
St. Thomas [… Becket],
St. Peter [Martyr],
St. John [of Cologne] with your companions,
St. Dominic [Ibanez] with your companions,
St. Ignatius [Delgado] with your companions,
All you holy martyrs,
St. Silvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Pius [V],
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Hilary,
St. Martin [of Tours],
St. Nicholas,
St. Antoninus,
Holy Father Dominic,
Holy Father Dominic,
St. Albert [the Great],
St. Thomas [Aquinas],
St. Vincent [Ferrer],
St. Hyacinth,
St. Raymond [of Penafort],
St. Louis [King of France],
St. Anthony [of the Desert],
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard [of Clairvaux],
Holy Father Francis,
St. Martin [de Porres],
St. John [Macias],
All you holy confessors,
St. Ann,
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Martha,
St. Felicity,
St. Perpetua,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Ursula with your companions,
St. Catherine [dei Ricci],
St. Rose [of Lima],
St. Agnes [of Montepulciano],
St. Catherine [of Siena],
St. Margaret [of Hungary],
All you holy virgins and widows,
All you saints,

Be merciful.
R/ Spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful.
R/ Graciously hear us, O Lord.
From eternal damnation,
R/ O Lord, deliver us.
From a sudden and unprovided death,
From the scourges that threaten our sins,
From the snares of the devil,
From all uncleanness of mind and body,
From anger, hatred and all ill-will,
From unclean thoughts,
From blindness of heart,
From lightning and storm,
From plague, famine and war,
From the scourge of earthquake,
From all evil,
Through the mystery of your holy incarnation,
Through your passion and cross,
Through your glorious resurrection,
Through your wonderful ascension,
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
On the day of judgment,

We sinners,
R/ Beseech you, hear us.
That you would give us peace,
R/ We beseech you, hear us.
That your mercy and love would preserve us,
R/ We beseech you, hear us.
That you would direct and defend your Church,
That you would preserve our apostolic prelate [the Pope]
and all the orders of the Church in holy religion,
That you would preserve our bishops and prelates
and all the congregations committed to them in your holy service,
That you would humble the enemies of holy Church,
That you would give peace and true concord and victory to our civil rulers,
That you would preserve the whole Christian people redeemed by your blood,
That you would recall to the unity of the Church all who are in error,
and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
That you would give eternal happiness to all our benefactors,
That you would rescue our souls and those of our kinsfolk from eternal damnation,
That you would preserve the fruits of the earth,
That you would turn towards us the eyes of your mercy,
That you would make our worship a reasonable service,
That you would raise our minds to heavenly desires,
That you would regard and relieve the misery of the poor and captives,
That you would visit and comfort our homes and all who dwell therein,
That you would protect and keep this state and all its people,
That you would lead to a safe haven all the faithful travelling by land or sea,
That you would instruct us in a good life,
That you would give eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That you would hear us,
Son of God,

Son of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R/ Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R/ Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R/ Have mercy on us.

Let us pray.
Almighty and provident God,
through the intercession of Blessed Mary,
the Queen of Heaven and Earth,
and of all the angels and saints,
whom we have just invoked,
we earnestly beg you to bless,
guide and support our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
R/ Amen.


Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, You instituted Your Church to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, and founded it upon the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, priests and deacons, who trace their ordinations back to the Apostles. Be mindful of Your promise that the gates of hell, with its double curse of sin and ignorance, would not prevail against Your Church, built upon the head of the Apostolic College, Peter and his successors. Deign now to send Your Holy Spirit to guide our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in his appointment of bishops in our beloved United States of America, laboring under vice and error. Send the Paraclete especially to our bishop of the Diocese of Boise, the Most Rev. Michael Driscoll, in such wise that he may continually grow in his love of the true faith, in his ability to communicate it, and in his zeal to provide well for its growth in our midst. Supported by the prayers of all the Angels and Saints whom we have just invoked, we offer this plea most earnestly to You, Lord Jesus, Who live and reign forever and ever.
R/ Amen.

One Response to The Litany of the Dominican Rite

  1. KR says:

    I’ve been thinking lately of the line “That you would make our worship a reasonable service.” Would you please gloss that for me? thanks.

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