Litanies are a form of prayer, led by a priest or deacon, containing a series of petitions to which people make fixed responses. They originated in the 4th century, and were later incorporated into the Mass. Today, they’re used in the liturgy of the Church, and other forms of public worship. One of the most beautiful features of a litany is the combination of invocations alternating with petitions in a rhythmic, repetitive pattern. Through this inspirational chorus of voices reaching towards heaven, we hope to strengthen our faith and obtain the favors for which we’re praying. There are five litanies approved for public worship: the Sacred Heart, the Precious Blood, the Saints, the Blessed Virgin, and St. Joseph. Others may be used in private devotion.