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Pope Francis' three new additions to Litany of Loreto and what they mean

Through the Litany of Loreto, the Catholic Church has highlighted the invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This litany, originated in the sanctuary of Loreto. Over the years, popes have added various invocations from different historical moments.

For example, in 1917, amid the suffering caused by WWI, Pope Benedict XV added the invocation, "Queen of peace." Pius XII added "Queen assumed into heaven," in keeping with the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. John Paul II added "Mother of the Church" and "Queen of families."

Under-Secretary Congregation for Divine Worship
“Litanies are prayers that emerge independently, with no connection to other prayers. Pope Leo XIII proposed them and signed a decree granting an indulgence to anyone who prays them at the end of the rosary. However, litanies are a type of prayer we can say alone or as a community.”

Recently, Pope Francis added three new invocations with particularly relevant messages.

“Mater Misericordiae:” Mother of mercy.

With this one, Pope Francis gives continuity to the message of the jubilee year he convoked, even though this invocation dates back to medieval times and appears in the “Salve Regina.”

“Mater Spei:” Mother of hope.

Fr. Corrado Maggioni explains that this invocation is relevant to the current pandemic.

Under-Secretary Congregation for Divine Worship
“In these difficult times, we might face thoughts of despair, because despair comes in moments when we can't do more. Invoking Mary as Mother of hope, we don't feel so desperate, because the Blessed Virgin Mary is our Mother, and she remains close to us in desperate times.”

“Solacium migrantium:” Comfort of migrants.

This third invocation derives from one of the main focuses of Pope Francis' pontificate: Defending the dignity of migrants and refugees. With it, he invites the faithful to be more aware of this drama.

Under-Secretary Congregation for Divine Worship
“The Holy Family was forced to migrate. They had to escape. They were persecuted, migrants. The Blessed Mother isn't far from those experiencing forced migration.”

With these three additions to the litany, Pope Francis is sending a message of hope, mercy and nearness in front of current challenges, which he entrusts to the Blessed Mother.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translation: CT