Roman Catholicism is the largest and, arguably, the oldest form of Christianity in the world. It is a highly-structured, ritual-based religion that has centuries of traditions and practices, with practitioners on every continent. Unlike some denominations, Roman Catholicism is deeply rooted in prayers and devotions, not only in Catholics' daily lives, but for many different occasions. These different prayers are used for daily communication with the Holy Spirit, for penance, for remembrance, for personal betterment and for events like funerals, weddings or illnesses.
The Lord's Prayer
A highly recognizable prayer to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the Lord's Prayer is a central devotion used in Roman Catholicism. Also referred to as "Our Father," the Lord's Prayer begins: "Our father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name." This prayer is used as a daily devotion as well as a prayer for penance and atonement of sins. The Lord's Prayer is a regular part of Mass in which the priest and flock recite it together, and it is also assigned in confession to perform penance for sins committed.
Unlike other major forms of Christianity, the Roman Catholic religion places much emphasis on Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ. While she is not worshiped per se, she is revered and prayed to in communion with God. The Hail Mary prayer is a long, chain-like prayer that has many parts and is part of the Catholic rosary that asks, "Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners." The basic, three-line devotion Hail Mary can be said in conjunction with other prayers to Mary, including the Angelus and Hail Holy Queen.
Another simple and short prayer that is frequently used by Roman Catholics is Glory Be. This succinct devotion is common before meals, discussion or as an evening offering before bed. Glory Be beckons to the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and speaks of the ever-present and timeless nature of God: "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be."
The Apostles' Creed dates back to the historical formation of the Roman Catholic church under Jesus Christ's apostle, Peter. This devotion details a Catholic, acting like an apostle, and his understanding of Jesus' place as son of God who died on earth and was reborn to go to heaven. The Apostles' Creed is a blunt statement of belief, repeating the phrase "I believe" about the nature of Jesus, the atonement of sins and the holiness of the Roman Catholic Church.
Sign of the Cross
Perhaps the simplest prayer used by Roman Catholics on a daily basis is the Sign of the Cross, which does not even have to be put into literal words. The Sign of the Cross is done by crossing oneself with a finger or two brought from the head down to the stomach, then up and to the left and then right in the shape of a cross. This represents the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Sign of the Cross is used when entering a cathedral, at the beginning of many services and as a closing of other prayers.
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