United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops defines Catholic
devotions as "...expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the
intersection of one's own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus
Catholic devotions are not part of liturgical worship,
even if they are performed in a Catholic church, in a group, or in the
presence of (or even led by) a priest. The Congregation for Divine
Worship at the Vatican publishes a Directory on Popular Piety and the
Devotion to saints, with the Virgin Mary as the most prominent
example, is a key characteristic of Roman Catholicism. Catholic
devotions have various forms, ranging from formalized, multi-day
prayers such as novenas to activities which do not involve any
prayers, such as
Eucharistic adoration outside Mass, the wearing of
scapulars, the veneration of the saints, the Canonical coronations
of sacred Marian or Christological images and even horticultural
practices such as maintaining a Mary garden.
Common examples of
Catholic devotions include the Rosary, the Stations
of the Cross, the
Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Face of Jesus, the
various scapulars, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of
Guadalupe, Seven Sorrows of Mary, novenas to various saints,
pilgrimages and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, and the veneration
of saintly images.
1 Context and background
2 Devotions to the Holy Trinity
3 Devotions to Jesus
4 Marian devotions
4.1 Marian Processions
5 Devotions to saints
6 Other devotional practices
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Context and background
Part of a series on
Devotions to Jesus
in the Catholic Church
Jesus Christ in the
Catacombs of Rome
Catacombs of Rome (4th century)
Acts of Reparation
Stations of the Cross
Infant of Prague
Sacred Heart prayer
Sacred Heart Consecration
You are Christ
Catholic Church considers the liturgy as central to the life
and mission of the Church and encourages Catholics to participate in
it as often as possible, it also acknowledges the objective nature of
the liturgy and encourages the cultivation of pious acts and personal
devotions; the constitution
Sacrosanctum Concilium states, "The
spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the
liturgy. ... Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be
highly commended, provided they accord with the laws and norms of the
Church, above all when they are ordered by the Apostolic See." It goes
on to say: "These devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize
with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in
some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in
fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them."
Several factors shape the efficacy of devotional practices in
eliciting feelings of devotion: a strong emotional appeal, a
simplicity of form which puts them within the reach of all, the
association with many others engaged in the same practices, and their
derivation from the example of others considered to lead a holy
Since the Middle Ages, popes have encouraged devotions such as
Eucharistic Adoration, the
Rosary and the Stations of the Cross.
However, the position of the Church with respect to the primacy of
liturgy over specific devotions has always been maintained. On the
other hand, pious devotions have influenced some important parts of
the Catholic calendar such as the feast of Corpus Christi which arose
after petitions by those following the devotion; or various Marian
feasts that gradually appeared with the growth of devotions.
Catholic devotions can form the basis of major community events e.g.
the statue of our Our Lady of Zapopan attracts over one million
pilgrims on October 12 each year as the statue travels through the
streets moving from one Cathedral to another.
Roman Catholic tradition a wide range of practices have developed,
from devotions to the
Holy Trinity to specific saints ranging from
Saint Joseph to
Saint Francis Xavier. The three level hierarchy of
latria, hyperdulia and dulia determines the appropriate type of
worship and veneration for different situations. The term
latria (from the Greek λατρεία, latreia) is used for worship,
adoration and reverence directed only to the Holy Trinity. Dulia
(from the Greek δουλεία, douleia) is the kind of honor given to
the communion of saints, with the exception of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, who is honored with hyperdulia. Thus hyperdulia is below latria
and above dulia.
Various unapproved acts such as the promotion of chain letters that
contain prayers or the belief that the use of a statue of
can speed up the sale of a house have been discouraged as non-pious,
superstitious and against Catholic values. In general, acts and
beliefs that aim at the manipulation of divine power for specific
gainful purposes are always condemned as contrary to Catholic
Devotions to the Holy Trinity
The Feast of the
Holy Trinity is a devotional day celebrated on the
first Sunday after
Pentecost and honors the three Persons of God: the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The
Novena to the Holy
Trinity may include the
Glory Be prayer, as well as other prayers,
although the other prayers may vary.
According to the Fátima seer Lúcia Santos, in late September or
October 1916, the Angel of Peace appeared for the third time to
herself and the other visionaries, her cousins Francísco and Jacinta
Marto, and taught them a prayer of reparation to the Holy Trinity.
Devotions to Jesus
Main article: Roman
Catholic devotions to Jesus
Catholic devotions to Jesus Christ
Secondo Pia's negative of the image on the Shroud of Turin, used in
the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
Several widespread devotions in the Catholic tradition relate directly
Jesus Christ. Official Catholic teachings consider Eucharistic
adoration an important practice which "stimulates the faithful to an
awareness of the marvelous presence of Christ and is an invitation to
spiritual communion with Him." In many cases Eucharistic
adoration is performed by each person for an uninterrupted hour known
as the Holy Hour. The inspiration for the
Holy Hour is Matthew
26:40 when in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his
Jesus asks Peter: "So, could you men not keep watch with
me for one hour?".
Some devotions have the form of Acts of Reparation to
Jesus Christ for
the sufferings and insults that
Jesus endured during His Passion or
for the sin of blasphemy, e.g. the Golden Arrow Prayer. Devotions
Sacred Heart of
Jesus first appeared in the eleventh and
twelfth centuries, but most current devotions are attributed to Saint
Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690).
Roman Catholic tradition, the
Sacred Heart has been closely
associated with Acts of Reparation to
The devotion to the
Holy Face of Jesus
Holy Face of Jesus dates back to Sister Marie of
St. Peter in 1843 who reported visions of
Jesus and Mary in which she
was urged to spread the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, in
reparation for the many insults
Jesus suffered in His Passion. This
resulted in The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion (Prayer). The
Devotion to the
Holy Face of Jesus
Holy Face of Jesus was first approved by Pope Leo XIII
in 1885. Sister
Maria Pierina de Micheli further promoted the
devotion based on the image from Secondo Pia's photograph of the
Shroud of Turin. In 1958,
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII approved of the
devotion and the Holy Face medal and confirmed the Feast of the Holy
Jesus as Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) for
all Roman Catholics.
Other devotions include the
Divine Mercy based on the visions of Saint
Faustina Kowalska, known as the "Apostle of Mercy", and First
Friday devotions which are related to devotion to the
Sacred Heart of
Jesus. and the Chaplet of the Five Wounds.
Main articles: Marian devotions, Consecration and entrustment to Mary,
and Blessed Virgin Mary
Rosary devotions and spirituality
Part of a series on the
of the Catholic Church
The Immaculate Conception, by Murillo
Hymns to Mary
Hail Mary of Gold
Mary, Mother of Grace
Mary Our Queen
Sub tuum praesidium
Alma Redemptoris Mater
Ave Maris Stella
Ave Regina Caelorum
Hymns to Mary
Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
Acts of Reparation
Consecration to Mary
Seven Joys of the Virgin
Seven Sorrows of Mary
Three Hail Marys
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
A wide range of
Marian devotions are practiced by Roman Catholics and
the Catechism of the
Catholic Church item 971 states: "The Church's
devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."
In 1993 Pope
John Paul II
John Paul II encouraged priests to foster devotions to
the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Some beliefs about
Marian devotions have been asserted by the saints
and theologians, but have not been dogmatically approved by the
Church. An example is the belief that
Marian devotions are a sign of
predestination, supported by
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Saint
Alphonsus Ligouri as well as R.
In his Apostlic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope John Paul II
emphasized the importance of
Marian devotions by quoting
Since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to
it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and
conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and
that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be
Roman Catholic teachings and traditions includes specific devotions as
Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary
Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary for insults that she suffers.
Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and
published by the
Holy See in 1898) includes a number of such
Devotions to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary date back to St. Bernard and
in the 17th century
Saint Jean Eudes obtained the approbation and the
first book on the devotion to the Hearts of
Jesus and Mary.
However, the 1830 reported vision of
Catherine Labouré which
Miraculous Medal depicting the thorn-crowned Heart of
Jesus and the pierced Heart of Mary had a significant impact on the
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII consecrated the human race to the Immaculate
Heart on December 8, 1942.
Other doctrine-based devotions include the
Immaculate Conception which
was declared a dogma in 1854 In the 20th century Saint
Maximillian Kolbe encouraged consecration to the Immaculata, partly
relying on the 1858 messages of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Among the many
Roman Catholic prayers and devotions,
and spirituality are among the most prominent, and most often recited
prayers. The rosary is widely emphasized in
Roman Catholic teachings,
Saint Louis de Montfort's widely read book The Secret of the
Rosary discusses the religious and mystical views on the rosary from
Scapular may have initially started as a Christocentric
devotion, by the end of the
Middle Ages it had taken on a distinct
Marian tone, to the extent that the Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
called it "one of the main
Marian devotions of Christendom".
Rosary and scapular devotions have been supported, encouraged and
linked by a number of Catholic figures such as popes, saints and
cardinals and specific promises and indulgences have been associated
with them. The
Rosary and the devotional scapular continue
to be encouraged together as key
Marian devotions in the 21st
A number of devotions involve Marian Apparitions, e.g. major and
approved apparitions such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fatima or
Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita as well as a
multitude of regional devotions across the continents from Our Lady of
Good Health in India to
Our Lady of Licheń
Our Lady of Licheń in Poland.
Marian devotions include The Five First Saturdays, Seven Joys of
Mary and Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Annual Grand Marian Procession through Downtown Los Angeles
Processions have historically played a significant role in the
liturgical and spiritual life of Christians throughout the world. In
every culture, public anniversaries, triumphant heroes, religious
festivals, and innumerable other events have been marked by parades of
local leadership and activists — and participated in by the viewers.
In this way, the entire community is able to reaffirm its values and
traditions, while inspiring onlookers with a sense of purpose.
In Los Angeles, California, a Marian procession took place annually
for roughly the first 100 years following the founding of the city. In
an attempt to revive the custom of religious processions, in September
2011 the Queen of Angels Foundation, founded by Mark Anchor Albert,
inaugurated an annual "Grand Marian Procession" in the heart of
Downtown Los Angeles' historic core. This yearly procession,
intended to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the City
of Los Angeles, begins outside of the parish of La Iglesia de Nuestra
Señora Reina de los Angeles which is part of the Los Angeles Plaza
Historic District, better known as "La Placita". By way of city
streets, the procession eventually terminates at the Cathedral of Our
Lady of the Angels where a public
Rosary and Mass in honour of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary are offered. Subsequent years have seen the
involvement and participation of numerous chivalric, fraternal, and
religious orders, parishes, lay groups, political figures, as well as
other religious and civic organizations.
Devotions to saints
In Catholic teachings, saints in
Heaven have lasting links with
humanity which can provide an abundance of good for the faithful.
The Catechism of the
Catholic Church (item 957) states:
It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of
those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the
exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the
Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our
fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the
saints joins us to Christ.
Devotions to saints may involve specific prayers, or acts such as the
naming of schools or children after them. Some devotions seek the
intercession of saints, submitting specific petitions to them.
Saint Michael Chaplet.
Saint Joseph include the
Saint Joseph and the
Saint Joseph, as well as the Cord of St. Joseph. Saint
Joseph's Medal is a sacramental introduced in 1971 to celebrate the
100th anniversary of
Saint Joseph being declared the patron of the
Saint Joseph's scapular was approved by Pope Leo
XIII in 1893. A number of local devotions and customs to Saint
Joseph exist around the world, e.g. Alpine regions, Josephstragen
(German for carrying
Saint Joseph) takes place on the 9 days before
Christmas. A statue of
Saint Joseph is carried between 9 homes, and on
the first day one boy prays to him, on the second day two boys pray,
until 9 boys pray the 9th day. The statue is then placed near a manger
in the town church on Christmas Eve.
Saint Michael involve specific prayers and novenas to
him, hymns such as
Te Splendor as well as the
Scapular of St. Michael
the Archangel and the Chaplet of
Saint Michael. The Prayer to Saint
Michael is also a popular prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII.
Saint George are also widely practiced by Catholics,
given that he is one of the most popular saints in Christianity.
These devotions and churches built in his honor date to the 6th
A wide range of other devotions to saints exist, e.g.
Novena of Grace
is addressed to
Saint Francis Xavier, while the Cord of St. Francis is
associated with Francis of Assisi.
Other devotional practices
A wide range of other devotional practices can be found among
Catholics. An example is the use of a Home Altar. This practice dates
back to the early Christians who used to pray in their homes even
before churches were built for public worship. In a Home Altar, a
cross usually hangs on the wall, and images of Jesus, the Blessed
Virgin and saints may be displayed, along with a copy of the Bible or
other devotional literature.
Catholic devotional practices are so wide-ranging at the local level
that Catholics in one part of the world may be totally unaware of the
local devotional practices in another corner of the world. For
instance, devotions to, and the retablos depicting Santa Eduviges
(Hedwig of Poland) in Mexico are virtually unknown to other Catholics,
and she remains relatively unknown outside Poland. In fact, despite
having Spanish influences at their origin, many of the devotions
practiced in Mexico are now quite distinct from those practiced in
Christian devotional literature
Saint George in devotions, traditions and prayers
Saint Michael (Roman Catholic)
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