I have wondered what it means for litanies to be “approved for liturgical use”. Of course, there are many litanies floating around, and then there are those “official” litanies – but what exactly would be the liturgical context for which they are approved? I only know of the Litanies of All Saints being a part of the liturgy of the Church.
Thanks for asking about litanies. We need more litanies and more processions. Less nattering! More devotions!
As you say, there are lots of litanies floating around, such as the famous Litany of Humility written by Merry del Val. It is a good litany with good petitions and no harm is done by reciting it… on your own. I wrote a facetious (sort of) litany: Fr. Z’s Litany for the Conversion of Internet Thugs (2.0)
However, when it comes to scheduling a collective and formal recitation of a litany, priest with people, we may used only the litanies officially approved by the Church for public worship.
There are eight Litanies officially approved by the Church for public use.
UPDATE: A priest wrote to remind me that the Congregation for Divine Worship approved other litanies. In Ephemerides Liturgicae 127 (2013) 248-256 we find approval and text of the Litania de Domini Nostro Iesu Christo Sacerdote et Victima and the Litania de Sanctissimo Sacramento.
There is the
- Litany of Saints, used at the Easter Vigil and during ordinations, Rogation days, exorcisms, etc.
- Litany of Loreto, the Marian Litany, often recited after the Rosary
- Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus
- Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Litany of the Most Precious Blood
- Litany of St. Joseph
- Litany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim
- Litany of the Most Holy Sacrament
I have a PODCAzT about how to sing official litanies.
For example, you are a member of the Holy Name Society and you have a meeting of the many men who belong to the group. You can have a formal singing or recitation of the Litany of the Holy Name, in church, led by the priest, etc. During, for example, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, you could have the priest lead the Litany of the Sacred Heart. During a lovely procession in honor of St. Joseph, you can have the singing of his litany and the same for the Blessed Virgin.
I would very much like chant notation for all of these litanies, especially the two most recently approved.