Litany of the Virgin? Q. Could you please tell me the origin of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary? I was asked this question when I was carrying out an apostolate in my quarter.

P.E., Cameroon, Africa

A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:

This litany is also known as the Litany of Loreto, because of its use at the shrine of the Holy House at Loreto. The litany was composed during the Middle Ages and approved for the Church’s use by Pope Sixtus V in 1587. In his approval he suppressed the public use of any other Marian litany.

This beautiful prayer invokes Our Lady’s intercession under numerous titles by which she has been called. Praying it with careful reflection on each of their meanings provides marvelous insights into her role as our mother.