Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militant

The Enemy of the soul, the Devil, is a real, personal, fallen angelic being.  He and all the powers of hell, fallen angels of every grade in the hierarchy, hate you.  They work tirelessly to move you away from God so that His glory and our joy will not be increased by your entrance into heaven.

You are hated by hell just because you, an image of God, are alive.
You are hated even more because you are baptized.
You are hated even more because you are confirmed.
You are hated even more because you are married, and parents.
You are hated even more because you are in the state of grace.
You are hated even more because you are a professed religious.
Even more than religious, hell hates priests.
Even more than priests, the Enemy hates bishops.

Leading up to His Passion, the Lord quoted Zechariah 13: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.”

Bring down the father of a family the family will suffer.  Bring down fatherhood in a society and look what is happening.  Sr. Lucy of Fatima warned that the Devils great battle in the end will be against the family.  Bring down an officer, and the unit suffers.  Bring down a priest, and the congregation suffers.

Bring down a bishop….  horrors untold result.

There are six Litanies officially approved by the Church for public use.

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

There are other litanies, which have been written by great figures for strictly private use. For example the well-known Litany of Humility which is attributed to Card. Merry del Val, from the time of Pope St. Pius X. I wrote a facetious (sort of) litany: Fr. Z’s Litany for the Conversion of Internet Thugs (2.0)  I have a PODCAzT about how to sing official litanies.

Today I was contacted by Fr. Thomas Hosington, who posted at his site the

Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militant

Here it is.   He has offered to everyone.

This Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militantis for PRIVATE USE only.  It has not been authorized by the Church for use in the Sacred Liturgy.  If you believe there is a value to praying this Litany, please share it with others.  You can download a Word file with the Litany HERE.

Litany to the Bishop Martyrs
for the Bishops of the Church Militant

Lord, have mercy.     Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.     Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.     Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.     Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,     have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,     have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,     have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,     have mercy on us.

Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs,     pray for them.
Our Lady, Queen of Popes,     pray for them.
Our Lady, Queen of Bishops,     pray for them.

Pope Saint Fabian,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Martin I,     pray for them.
Pope Saint John I,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Sixtus II,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Pontian,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Cornelius,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Callistus I,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Clement I,     pray for them.

Saint Blaise,     pray for them.
Saint Polycarp,     pray for them.
Saint Stanislaus,     pray for them.
Saint Adalbert,     pray for them.
Saint Boniface,     pray for them.
Saint John Fisher,     pray for them.
Saint Irenaeus,     pray for them.
Saint Apollinaris,     pray for them.
Saint Cyprian,     pray for them.
Saint Januarius,     pray for them.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch,     pray for them.
Saint Josaphat,     pray for them.
Saint Thomas Becket,     pray for them.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Pray for us, all you Shepherds who have laid down your lives for the sheep, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God our Providential Father, look upon the Bishops of your Church on earth in union with the Supreme Pontiff, and increase in them the virtue of fortitude.  Through the intercession of those Holy Shepherds who have already spilt their blood in witness of the Gospel, grant, if your shepherds be struck or struck down, that the sheep may not scatter, but that they may be one, in faith and in the Truth, Who is Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. APX says:

    Am I understanding this correctly? Any Catholic can compose their own Litany for private use? For example, if a virgin wanted to use not only the Litany of Loretto for assistance in living a faithful life to her vocation, she could also compose her own
    Litany of Virgins and use it privately for the intercessions of the rest of the virgins who have gone before her?

  2. tamranthor says:

    I would like to add to this by saying, you can pray this litany to support good and holy bishops, but especially to support the not so good and not so holy bishops. This Sunday, it was announced at our cathedral that the chalice would not be distributed and we should not shake hands at the sign of the cross, because of the flu epidemic that seems to be raging. We were most pleased with both of these orders from our Bishop, but sad that these are only temporary measures. We aren’t terribly happy with him declaring that we would no longer have chant or other “outdated” music at our NO Masses, but what are you going to do?

    Pray the litany, of course.

  3. terentiaj63 says:

    Thank you for sharing this Father Z. Please prayer for the health of Bishop Joseph Cistone. Although the details of his situation were shared publicly at Mass yesterday, I do not feel I have the authority to say more than that this is serious.

  4. stephen c says:

    I will try to share this.

    I would like to read a good answer to the question APX asked.

    Sixtus, Cornelius, Clement, and Cyprian are all named (unless I am mistaken – I am not sure which Sixtus II is mentioned) in the Canon of the Mass, and I try to be at least briefly aware of their intercession every Sunday and Holy Day, along with, of course, the other saints of the Canon (my historical knowledge is not good, and I had assumed that some of the Apostles – all of whom, except poor Judas, are mentioned in the Canon – were bishops too – as well as Linus and the other popes mentioned in the Canon – but I can see why a litany which we pray for bishops would primarily name those most known to posterity for being bishops). By the way, I am fortunate to worship at a church that has several of the saints mentioned in the Roman Canon ( a pope, a deacon, and two of the female martyrs) pictured in beautiful stained glass windows.

    As I get older and have more and more deceased religious to pray for, I sometimes wonder if I should pray for the deceased Monsignors as if they were still Fathers, and the deceased Bishops as if they were still Fathers. I honestly don’t know.

  5. frthomashoisington says:

    APX, as long as one composes a litany for private use only, and not for use during the Sacred Liturgy, there is no prohibition against composing litanies, as there is no prohibition against composing prayers. Of course, all litanies and prayers must conform to Catholic practice and custom: e.g., Catholic litanies have a customary form, with certain parts almost always included. This litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militant only includes the bishop martyrs from the Ordinary Form’s General Roman Calendar (the popes and then the bishops are listed in chronological order of their feast days). Obviously other bishop martyrs could be included. Also, I would venture to say that a litany should not invoke the prayers of someone who is not beatified or canonized. It’s one thing to pray to someone asking his or her intercession, with the hope that a miracle might lead to that someone’s being raised to the altars. But a litany, in my opinion, should invoke the prayers only of those whom the Church has beatified or canonized.

  6. Elizabeth D says:

    I prayed the litany.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: private litanies — Yup, popular devotions, aka private devotions, usually come from normal laypeople and private citizens. You don’t have to have a vision or a degree.

    Obviously, if you’re a religious or clergy, there are a few more potential restrictions. But in general, the Church trusts the faithful to do their own thing faithfully. The restrictions come when you want to make devotions more public and official, or to spread them in more official ways.

    There are a lot of saints out there who were martyred for supporting the Church’s idea of marriage, and lots of them were bishops. I like this idea of calling upon the martyred bishops!

    I would suggest that links to their stories would be a nice online addition… but obviously that doesn’t work so well with a .docx file.

  8. Aquinas Gal says:

    This is a great idea.
    There are other bishops who could be added, for example, St Laurent Imbert, a French bishop martyred in Korea, Blessed Bishop Gregor Lakota, one of the Ukrainian martyrs, beatified by Pope John Paul. Modern bishops like him, who fought communism, are especially relevant today.

  9. JesusFreak84 says:

    The fact that St. Josaphat is in the Litany makes me so happy ^^

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