The Armchair Liturgist: Litany of Saints

How often does your parish sing the Litany of the Saints? Easter Vigil, check, because everybody does it and you did it for the last sixty years.

Baptisms outside of Mass, but anybody ever do it when an infant is initiated during the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist?

You remember that it may be sung on the First Sunday of Lent. Show of hands for this past Sunday? If you wore the parish liturgist’s hat, would you sing it?

All Saints and/or All Souls?

Does a more frequent appearance in the repertoire mute its power? Or do you think this litany carries little weight in today’s Church?

Sit in the chair and decide how you would utilize the Litany of Saints in your parish, if you only had the power.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Litany of Saints

  1. Liaam says:

    In my current parish, where baptism is normally administered during Sunday Mass (from which I usually absent myself given the chronic improvisations we are subjected to …), the litany is sung during the procession to the font. I think that is apt. It’s the simple vernacular chant, a capella. It works fine. (Better than a more labored version by which someone tries to add value…)

    If there’s a problem with the litany, is that it’s the only long-form litany most Catholics encounter regularly. There are actually five additional litanies approved for use in public liturgy (the Litany of Loreto, the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Litany of the Most Sacred Heart, the Litany of the Most Precious Blood, and the Litany of St Joseph) – and I wonder if we should consider their use in a more comprehensive manner.

  2. Andrew Casad says:

    We sing the Litany of Saints at my home parish when baptisms are celebrated, as they always are, during Sunday Eucharist. We also sing the Litany of Saints in the Archdiocese of Seattle not only on the First Sunday of Lent but also at all the instances of the Rite of Election as that rite is envisioned to take place on the First Sunday of Lent and I find the parallel between the intoning of names and the calling of the names of the soon-to-be-elect a powerful ritual juxtaposition. We also sing the Litany of Saints at ordinations. The optional inclusion of the Litany of Saints in the revised Rite of Marriage was declined but I suspect a liturgically minded couple might still fruitfully include the Litany of [married] Saints within the nuptial Mass where appropriate in place of a hymn. Its always good to revisit Paul Ford’s article on the Litany of Saints as we gear up for singing it–at least at the Easter Vigil: http://www.npm.org/assets/Saints.pdf

  3. Todd says:

    Thanks for the input, Andrew. When I did such litanies with school kids, we also included parish patrons from within the deanery. i still do for parish use. Those connections are valuable, I believe.

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