Years ago, in the time of my youth, after every Sunday Low Mass the priest would say the "Leonine Prayers," so-named after Pope Leo XIII who originally had ordered them to be said. The stated intention for these in my time was "for the conversion of Russia," that is, for Soviet Russia, the then much-afeared enemy of God and the USA.
These prayers were conducted in this way. The preist and servers would kneel on the alter step after Mass and, after announcing the intention (above) would say three Hail Marys in dialogue with the people (as in the rosary), the Hail Holy Queen, then a prayer for the conversion of sinners and freedom of the Church. This was followed by the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and was concluded with a threefold invocation for mercy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I have many times written and spoken about our rosary after Mass offered for the good of our country, to which we added, before the election, the Memorare said thrice. Now that the presidential election is behind us, what should we do?
I sense that our rosaries have been very powerful as prayers of petition for the USA. I don't think we should stop them now. Even if Mr. Trump proves to be a reformer of some of the outlandish and frightening directions in which we have been headed morally, our people are still much divided over moral truth with obedience to God's law versus the caprice to act without restriction. To change hearts is much harder than to change laws and policies. We need prayer to ensure the freedom of the Church and the common good of our American people. Moreover, the president-elect will need prayers for his protection and his success. The rosary after Mass ought to remain. But it would be good to modify the remainder of what we have been doing somewhat in line with the former Leonine Prayers to better direct our intentions for our people and for the Church in our country. Accordingly, I would not make these changes in our post-Mass prayers: after the rosary, immediately the Memorare (said once), the verse and response ("Pray for us, O holy Mother of God ..."), the Oration (from the Leonine Prayers, said by the priest alone) "O God our refuge and our strength ...", the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel (to curb the power of the devils from wreaking havoc in the world). This would not take any more time than the prayers as offered formerly but would be more expressive of our purpose. You should also know that those extra prayers for the intentions of the Pope to gain the plenary indulgence for a group recitation of the rosary may be said privately, and need not be said in common.
The American people need a real conversion from sin and a healing of all the damage that has been done in recent decades through loose morals. What has easy divorce and ready availability of contraceptives, rampant porn watching, and the killing of babies in their mothers' wombs done to the minds and hearts of Americans? Who can calculate the spiritual fallout?
If anything, the stress and fear generated by the days preceding the presidential election have had the good effect of making some people more fervent and steadfast in their prayers. I myself have felt this not only in my private devotions and sacrifices but also in our public rosary and the Memorares we were committed to say.
Beginning this weekend we will adopt these prayers. I hope you will continue to remain and pray as a parish. We are stronger when united as a body of suppliant parishioners.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, November 20, 2016):