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Monday, October 26, 2009

Guide to Latin Prayers: Lesson 01 - Signum Crucis

The Sign of the Cross

We begin our Guide to Latin Prayers with the Signum Crucis (SEE-nyoom KROO-chees). Catholics, since ancient times, have made the Signum Crucis at the beginning and ending of prayers. The Signum Crucis is so important that we even begin the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with It.

This Guide to Latin Prayers uses ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation. The syllables in capital letters represent where the stress in the word is. Let's begin.

Touching the fingers of our right hand to our head, we say:

In nomine Patris
(een  NOH-mee-nay  PAH-trees)

Before we move on, let's address a quick consonant pronunciation note. The Latin consonant S always sounds like the S in the English word house, and never like the S in hose.

Next we move our hand down to the middle of our breast and, touching it, we say:

et Filii
(eht  FEE-lee-ee)

Finally, we place our hand on our left shoulder and move it to our right shoulder, and say while doing so:

et Spiritus Sancti
(eht  SPEAR-ee-toos  SAHNC-tee)

Many people have the custom of finishing the Signum Crucis by saying Amen and folding their hands.

This concludes the first lesson. Practice often.

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