What is The Angelus?

A Short History of the Angelus

The Angelus dates back to at least the 1100’s and comes from the practice of reciting the “angelic greeting” (the Hail Mary) three times in the evening. It was recommended by St. Anthony of Padua, who died in 1231, and also by St. Bonaventure who recommended ringing bells before praying it each evening so that all would know it was time to pray. Over the next couple of centuries it became custom to pray the Angelus at morning, midday, and evening. The Angelus as we currently know it was probably first put into print in the 1560’s or 1570’s in the Little Office of the Virgin Mary.

 The Angelus Today

Today it is common to pray the Angelus at 6:00 am, noon, and 6:00 pm. Traditionally many church bells ring at these times to call the faithful to prayer. During the Easter season (between Easter Sunday and the Saturday before Pentecost) the Regina Caeli prayer is recited in place of the Angelus.

The Pope’s Sunday Angelus

Each Sunday that the Pope is in Rome he appears at his window at noon and prays the Angelus with the crowds in St. Peter’s Square. He usually accompanies this with a short message and greetings for the people in several languages.

The Pope’s Angelus message can be found on the Vatican Website or you can listen to the audio of them via podcast through Vatican Radio.

The Angelus Prayer

The Angelus prayer is simply three Hail Mary’s with short introductory verses before each and a concluding prayer:

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary;
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

V. And the Word was made flesh:
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

The Regina Caeli Prayer

During the Easter season the following prayer is recited in place of the Angelus:

Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray:
O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beg Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

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