One of our most underused treasures is the Litany of Saints. Most of us pray it only at the Easter Vigil, unless there are no baptisms and the font is not to be blessed. We get a shortened form of it at infant baptisms. If you’re lucky enough to participate in an ordination, consecration to religious life, blessing of an abbot or abbess, or dedication of a church or altar, you get an entirely different experience.
There are many times in the liturgical year when we can pray the Litany of Saints. For example, it is recommended as the entrance song for the First Sunday of Lent. It is certainly appropriate for the Solemnity of All Saints, and some music ministers also use it for All Souls.There are many times in the liturgical year when we can pray the Litany of Saints. It is certainly appropriate for the Solemnity of All Saints, and some music ministers also use it for All Souls. Click To Tweet
In addition to the option of singing it as the entrance song on All Saints, you might sing the litany at the Preparation of Gifts as we ready ourselves to join the saints and angels in the Eucharistic Prayer. As a Communion song, it reflects our participation in the heavenly banquet. With careful preparation, the Litany might even take the place of the intercessions.
For more details on how to prepare and adapt the Litany of Saints, see Paul Ford’s article “When the Saints Go Marching In,” in Pastoral Music, April-May 2006.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: David Siglin, Unsplash, CC0.