How to Pray in Latin:
Step-by-Step Guide with Translation + Audio
Jump to: + SIGNUM CRUCIS | PATER NOSTER | AVE MARIA | GLORIA | SANCTE MICHAEL |
 And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.
(St. John, 19:19-20)
Latin is the language of the Church. It is rich in beauty (being the root of the ‘romantic languages’), mathematical in logic and scientific in precision and is therefore vivid, exacting and immutable when used well, negating the opportunity for ambiguity, intended or otherwise. It is also ‘anointed’ (holy), having being nailed to the Cross with our Lord (St. John 19:19-20).
This can give prayers made in Latin a weaponised efficacy; as the saying goes, the devil hates Latin. In this Taylor Marshall podcast (from about the 2:00 mark), Jesse Romero recounts how an ineffectual exorcism turned lethal for the fallen angels when the Hail Mary was upgraded to Ave Maria. The exorcised later attested that at that instant the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared and vanquished the demons back to the abyss.
For the record, this poster does not speak Latin and has only a passing pedestrian knowledge of it. Here are some ‘back of the matchbox’ tips for understanding Latin:
• The alphabet is the Latin alphabet;
• There was no ‘J’ or ‘U’ in Classical Latin. These have been blended into modern Ecclesiastical Latin. Jesus was originally written ‘Iesvs’.
• Latin has 6 tenses (Greek has 12), which are typically expressed at the end of the word, joined to the root. Thus ‘spiritui’ and ‘spiritus’ both mean ‘spirit’, though in different tenses;
• This results in a limited use of pronouns (much less than English);
• There is no ‘the’ in Latin (tense determines the context);
• ‘In’ = ‘in’ (also ‘on’) and ‘et’ = ‘and’ (and is the origin of ‘etcetera’);
• Adjectives and adverbs follow the noun or verb, so ‘Holy Spirit’ is expressed ‘Spirit Holy’;
• Simple tense aside, the end of the word – its inflection – can significantly alter its meaning;
• Verbs are pivotal. Their tense or inflection can determine context.
• There are no silent letters in Latin. Every vowel and consonant is pronounced, so ‘tuum’ (yours) is pronounced ‘too-um’ (not ‘toom’)
• There is no fixed rule for pronunciation (so individual words have to be learnt) though as a rough guide:
– ‘Long’ vowels are different than in English, and simply mean that the sound is held for longer, thereby giving dominant accent, and are indicated by the macron symbol ( ´ );
– If a word has 2 syllables, the 1ST syllable is always LONG and determines accent. So ‘tuum’ is pronounced ‘TU-um’ (or ‘TOO-um’);
• Thereafter it becomes more complex and varies from word to word depending on whether vowels are designated as long or short. This has to be learnt, however, very loosely:
– If a word has 3 or more syllables AND the 2ND LAST syllable has a LONG vowel, that determines accent or stress. So ‘spiritui’ (spirit) is pronounced ‘spirit-U-i’.
– If a word has 3 or more syllables AND the 2ND LAST syllable has a SHORT vowel, the PRECEDING syllable determines accent or stress. So ‘nominee’ (name) is pronounced ‘NOH-mi-neh’.
– This is obviously complex and esoteric. Just be aware that for words with 3 or more syllables, either the 2ND OR 3RD LAST syllable will have a long vowel, and correct pronunciation will pivot from this.
To learn more, visit Preces-Latinae.org
All audio snippets taken from Boston-Catholic-Journal.com, where CD & MP3 recordings can be ordered or downloaded for free.
Note: The translations below list just the essential root word in English, giving the false impression that Latin is clunky and blunt; rather it is rich and precise.
+ Signum Crucis | + Sign of the Cross
+ Signum Crucis (x3)
+ In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. | In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
In • name • Father, • and • Son, • and • Spirit • Holy (Sanctified)
Pater Noster | Our Father
Pater Noster (Complete)
Pater Noster | Our Father
Father • Our
Qui es in caelis* | Who art in heaven
Who • is • in • heaven
* sounds like: ‘chael-is’
sanctificetur* nomen tuum. | Hallowed be Thy name.
hallowed • name • Yours
* ‘sancti-fish-at-ur’ or even ‘sancti-fish-e-aet-eur’
Adveniat regnum tuum*, | Thy Kingdom come,
to arrive • kingdom • Yours
fiat voluntus tua, | Thy will be done,
let • willing • Your
sicut in caelo et in terra. | on earth as it is in heaven.
just as (like) • in • heaven • and • on • earth.
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, | Give us this day our daily bread
bread • ours • daily (regular everyday; daily quota) • give* • us • today
* Singular: the emphasis is that ‘YOU give’
et dimitte nobis debita nostra, | and forgive us our trespasses
and • dismiss • us • debts (owed / unpaid) • our
(ie: ‘and dismiss what we owe’)
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. | as we forgive those who trespass against us.
just as • and • we • dismiss (forgive) • debtors • ours.
et ne nos inducas in tentationem, | And lead us not into temptation,
and • not • us • lead • in • temptation
sed libera nos a malo. Amen. | but deliver us from evil. Amen.
rather • free • us • from • evil (as a noun*). Truly / so be it (Affirmation; Hebrew origin).
* As a verb: ‘to choose or prefer’.
Ave Maria | Hail Mary
Ave Maria (Complete)
Ave Maria, | Hail Mary,
Hail • Mary
gratia* plena, | full of grace,
grace • full
* sounds like ‘gratz-ia’
Dominus tecum. | the Lord is with thee.
(The) Lord • with you
Snippet #1: Ave Maria … tecum (x3)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus*, | Blessed art thou amongst women,
Blessed • you • in • women
* sounds like: ‘m’li-AER-e-boos’
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. | and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
and • blessed • fruit • womb • yours • Jesus
Snippet #2: Benedicta … Iesus (x3)
Sancta Maria, | Holy Mary,
Holy • Mary
Mater Dei, | Mother of God,
Mother • God
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, | pray for us sinners,
pray • for • us • sinners
Snippet #3: Sancta Maria … peccatoribus (x3)
nunc, et in hora* mortis nostrae. Amen. | now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
now • and • in • hour • death • our. Amen.
* ‘h’ is pronounced the same as in ‘hour’
Snippet #3: Sancta Maria … peccatoribus (x3)
Gloria Patri | Glory be
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. | Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
Glory • Father, • and • Son, • and • Spirit • Holy (Sanctified)
Sicut erat in principio, | As it was in the beginning,
As • was • in • beginning
et nunc, et semper, | is now, and ever shall be,
and • now • and • always
et in saecula saeculorum. | world without end.
and • in • forever (worldly) • ages
Sancte Michael | St. Michael Prayer
Sancte Michael (Complete)
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, | St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
Saint (holy) • Michael • Archangel, defend • us • in • battle (engagement / fight)
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium | Be our defence against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
against • wickedness • and • traps • (of) the devil • be • protection †
* suggests ‘worthlessness’
† suggests military assistance
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: | May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.
Restrain • him (or them) • God • we beggingly • pray
tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis, | And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
And you, • Prince (high leader of) • military • of heavenly bodies,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, | by the power of God thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits,
satan • (associated) other • spirits • malicious
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude. | who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
who • to* • destruction • souls • prowl • in • (the) world, • (by) Divine • power • in (to) • hell • thrust.
* lead in the direction of