How Do You Say a Hail Mary Prayer?

The Hail Mary prayer is as follows: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." Catholics have used this prayer for over 1,000 years.

The prayer is based on two scriptural accounts from the Gospel of Luke: the angel Gabriel greeted Mary as "full of grace" in Luke 1:28, and in Luke 1:42 Mary's cousin Elizabeth greets her as blessed among women and "blessed is the fruit of thy womb." The Catholic Church has always encouraged the faithful to offer prayers to Mary. According to Catholic tradition, Mary, as the mother of Jesus Christ, is an especially powerful saint to invoke, as Christ was always obedient to his mother during his time on earth. The catechism of the Catholic Church describes Mary as the perfect embodiment of Christian faith, hope and charity. She is considered the mother of all Christians in the order of grace, but the church teaches that her roles as "Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix" do not obscure the merits of Jesus Christ, as her intercessory power depends entirely upon Christ.