Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Litany of Saints

One particularly moving part of the Easter Vigil is the Litany of the Saints while the catechumens solemnly process to the baptismal font behind the Paschal candle. This year's class was large, so the procession lasted for a long time, the choir chant accompanying them all the way.

Holy Trinity, One God, pray for us.
All you Holy Angels and Archangels, pray for us.
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets, pray for us.
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists, pray for us.
All you holy Disciples of the Lord, pray for us.

Yes, all you holy men and women, pray for us, as Mother Church gives birth to these new children of the Light.

Our choir director likes to weave the names of catechumens' patron saints. The class had a long year to choose their saint. Choosing the right patron saint was a transformative experience for several of the class members who came from evangelical backgrounds deeply suspicious of the Catholic doctrine of the communion of saints. Truthfully, I had expected that some of them would eschew a patron saint.

But they all threw themselves wholeheartedly to the task with the guidance of their sponsors. My fears were dispelled when I caught snippets of conversations among themselves on the process of choosing. Thank you, saints in heaven, for your myriad prayers.

So, yes, St. Gabriel, pray for this mother and her children as they must live in a violent home. And, too, for this young unwed mother in a dangerous pregnancy.

St. Clement, we invoke you for this young man desiring to be a priest, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for this young woman who will soon be a teacher.

Lord, be merciful, save your people.
From the snares of the devil, save your people.
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will, save your people.
From everlasting death, save your people.

For here again, we hear news of deaths of loved ones for class members. And sorrow continues to haunt us.

By your Cross and Passion, save your people.
By your Death and Burial, save your people.
By your holy Resurrection, save your people.

And news of cancer burdens some of these your infants in the Faith .

Strengthen and preserve us in your holy service, hear our prayer.
Raise our minds to desire the things of heaven, hear our prayer.

And soon, some must leave us for other places, be with them, Lord.

Lord, have mercy on them.

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