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Since we make the Sign of the Cross before and after our prayers, many Catholics don’t realize that the Sign of the Cross is a prayer itself. It should be said with reverence; we shouldn’t rush through it on the way to the next prayer.

Using your right hand, you should touch your forehead at the mention of the Father; the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word “Holy” and the right shoulder on the word “Spirit.”

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Our Father is the oldest of Christian prayers, going back to Jesus Christ Himself, who, in Matthew 6:9-13, taught his disciples to pray in these words. For that reason, the Our Father is often known as the Lord’s Prayer. Because this prayer came from Christ, it is used in every Mass and in the Church’s daily prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office. All Christians should pray the Our Father daily.

The Our Father

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

 

The first half of the Hail Mary is straight out of the Bible. The part before the semicolon is the angel Gabriel’s greeting to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, when he told her that she had been chosen by God to bear His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:28).

And the words after the semicolon were uttered by Saint Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin, at the Visitation, when Saint Mary came to the aid of her pregnant cousin, and Saint Elizabeth felt Saint John the Baptist leap in her womb (Luke 1:42).

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Glory Be, also known as the Doxology, is one of the earliest-known prayers to refer to the Holy Trinity. In Eastern Rite Catholic churches (as well as Eastern Orthodox ones), the Sign of the Cross is made while the Glory Be is recited.

The Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

 

The Act of Contrition is usually associated with the Sacrament of Confession, but Catholics should also pray it every day as part of their normal prayer life. In it, we acknowledge our sins, ask God for forgiveness, and express our desire to repent.

The Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven, and the pains of Hell; but most of all because I love Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

 

Every good thing we have comes from God, and that is why we offer Grace Before Meals, to acknowledge our dependence on Him and to ask Him to bless us and our food.

We should also offer thanksgiving for the food that we have received by praying the Grace After Meals.

Grace Before Meals

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Each one of us has a guardian angel who protects us from harm, both physical and spiritual. In this prayer, traditionally one of the first that young children learn, we ask our guardian angel to watch over us.

The Guardian Angel Prayer

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love entrusts me here, ever this day [night] be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.