Each day, a priest ideally both celebrates Holy Mass (not an obligation) and also the canonical hours of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office (an obligation). Thus, typically, the last liturgical thing he does each day is pray Compline (Night Prayer). And Compline concludes with a hymn of praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
These hymns are known as Marian Antiphons and there are several, each of which corresponds to a different time of the year. The traditional arrangement is as follows:
- Advent through the Presentation (Feb. 2): Alma Redemptoris Mater
- February 3 through Holy Saturday: Ave Regina Cælorum
- Easter Sunday through Pentecost: Regina Cæli
- Day after Pentecost until Advent: Salve Regina
(The links go to YouTubes for each.)
Here are translations of each of the traditional seasonal Marian Antiphons:
Alma Redemptoris Mater
O loving Mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven, star of the sea,
hasten to aid thy fallen people,
who strive to rise once more.
Thou who brought forth thy holy Creator,
all creation marveling,
yet remainest ever-Virgin,
taking from Gabriel’s lips that wondrous “Hail!”:
be merciful to us sinners.
Ave Regina Cælorum
Hail! O Queen of Heaven.
Hail! O Lady of the Angels.
Hail! thou the root, Hail! thou the gate
From whom unto the world, a light hath arisen:
Rejoice, O glorious Virgin,
Lovely beyond all others!
Fare thee well, most beautiful maiden,
And pray for us to Christ.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For he whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia,
Hath risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
* * *
How beautifully the Church acclaims our Blessed Mother each day of the year!