4 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Being a Devout Catholic

Catholics say many of the same prayers other religions do, with some variations. The key Catholic prayers are either part of the Mass, during which many prayers are sung, or part of praying the rosary.

Traditionally, Catholic prayers fall into four types:

  • Adoration: Praising God
  • Contrition: Asking for God’s forgiveness
  • Petition: Asking God for a favor
  • Thanksgiving: Showing God gratitude

Catholics begin and end every prayer and sacrament with the sign of the cross. It’s one of the trademarks of Catholicism.

Prayers in the Mass

The Church believes that the Mass is the highest and supreme form of prayer, so it has all four types of prayer:

  • The Gloria is a prayer of adoration. It’s sung when the Mass is held on Sunday or a holy day of obligation and recalls the singing angels who sang at Christ’s birth:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

  • The Confiteor and Penitential Rite are prayers of contrition. The Confiteor, which is Latin for I confess, goes like this:

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

  • The Prayer of the Faithful, also known as the General Intercessions, is a prayer of petition. Here, the congregation asks for care for the Church’s people, leaders, and the larger community, is a prayer of petition.
  • A prayer of thanksgiving comes after Holy Communion. Gratitude is shown for all the graces given at Mass.

The Mass may also include a profession of faith, or creed. The text of these creeds succinctly summarize all that Catholicism regards as divinely revealed truth:

  • *The Apostles’ Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
  • The Nicene Creed: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Prayers of the rosary

Praying the rosary means repeating three prayers several times, although you start by saying the Apostles’ Creed just once. You repeat the following prayers in each decade of the rosary:

  • The Our Father: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
  • The Our Father is also prayed during Mass.
  • The Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  • The Glory Be: Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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