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Origin of the Divine Praises and how popes added to them

Pope Paul VI

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Philip Kosloski - published on 08/12/21

The Divine Praises said during benediction have been expanded by numerous popes since the origin of this prayer.

At the conclusion of a Catholic benediction service, there is typically the recitation of the Divine Praises.

This litany of blessing is a relatively recent addition to the Church’s liturgy, and has its origin in the 18th century.

In the past the Divine Praises were attributed to a variety of sources, but this was clarified in 1918 in a periodical entitled The Month.

This writer declares that though printed sources of information are lacking, he has ascertained from authorities worthy of credit that the prayer in question was compiled in or about the year 1797 by Father Louis Felici of the Society of Jesus. The attribution he assures us is confirmed by the archives of the Jesuits.

It is further believed that Fr. Felici wrote this litany in reparation for blasphemies against the Holy Name of God, as a way to repair the damage done by others who said the Lord’s name in vain.

Originally there were only a handful of verses, as recorded in one of its earliest forms in the Raccolta, a collection of prayers from the late 19th century.

Blessed he God.
Blessed be His Holy name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of time Altar.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, the most holy Mary.
Blessed he her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be God in His holy angels and in His saints.

For those who are familiar with the Divine Praises, you will see many verses that are not present.

The Church adopted Fr. Felici’s litany and many popes after his death added particular verses that they thought necessary to add.

Each verse added by a pope was done so in response to a devotion the pope wanted to highlight, or a doctrine that was recently clarified.

Here is the current text of the Divine Praises, along with notes about the popes who added verses and any relevant documents they wrote in connection to them.

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name. 

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart. (Leo XIII, 1897 – wrote
Annum Sacrum in 1899 and consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart)
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood. (St. John XXIII, 1960 – wrote
Inde a primisto promote devotion to the Precious Blood)
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. (St. Paul VI, 1964 – wrote
Ecclesiam Suam on the Church and the role of the Holy Spirit)
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception. (St. Pius IX, 1851 – wrote Ineffabilis Deus in 1854 declaring the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the Church)
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption. (Pius XII, 1952 – wrote Munificentissimus Deus in 1950 declaring the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Church)
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. (Benedict XV, 1920 – wrote Bonum Sane on anniversary of St. Joseph being declared patron of the Church)
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.

This ever-expanding prayer shows how certain prayers are not written in stone and can be adjusted to meet the needs of the time and better show the depth of the Christian faith.

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