A prayer of praise and petition: the Hail Mary


06 May 2024

Presented By

Melbourne Catholic

As we continue to journey through this Year of Prayer in preparation for the Jubilee Year, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli invites us to reflect on the great prayer of our Blessed Mother, the Hail Mary. It’s especially timely in this month of May—traditionally known as the month of Mary—that, as the Archbishop says, we reflect on the words that form ‘the foundation of our devotion’ to our Blessed Mother.


Dear friends, during this month of May ... traditionally a month that we take up this particular devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary, who comes under so many different titles: Our Mother, Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Help of Christians, and so on. But most particularly in this month, we have the opportunity to just reflect a little on the great prayer that involves our Blessed Mother, and that is the Hail Mary.

The Hail Mary, as you might know, is basically a prayer of praise and petition. The first part, ‘Hail Mary full of grace’, is the praise part, and the second part, the ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God’, is the petition part to that prayer. So it's an old, old, prayer in our tradition. Its current form as we know it, traces back to the 16th century, when particularly that petition part, ‘pray for us sinners’, was incorporated into the prayer.

It’s the basis also of other prayers that are really treasures of our Christian and Catholic faith. Think of the Angelus, which is a reflection with the prayer of petition that is also a reflection on the incarnation of our Lord. And there is of course the Rosary, so much a favourite of families and of individuals. That devotional prayer where the story of our faith, our salvation, is incorporated into the prayer with the repeating of the petitions.

But in this month of Mary, this prayer of the Hail Mary is, in a sense, the foundation of our devotion, and I encourage you to take it up within your families at home, or for those of you who might be in one of our schools, you can do it in your classroom. Anywhere ... we can take up this prayer of praise and petition to our Blessed Mother.

And so let’s do so together now:

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.