A Declaration of the Pater Noster and Ave Maria


Card. Bellarmine’s Short Catechism

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Student:  Having spoken now of that which we must believe, let us see if you know that which we must hope for, and of Whom we must have hope. Do you know the Pater Noster [Our Father]?

Teacher:  I know it right well, for this is the first thing I learned, and I say it every morning and evening, together with the Ave Maria [Hail Mary] and with the Creed.


Student:  Say the Our Father.



bf-bcat-28 our father

Our Father, Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.


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Thy kingdom come.


bf-bcat-30 our father 3

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.


bf-bcat-31 our father 4

Give us this day our daily bread.


bf-bcat-32 our father 5

and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.


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and lead us not into temptation


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but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Student:  Who made this prayer?

Teacher:  Christ our Savior made it, and therefore it is the most excellent of all others.


Student:  What is briefly contained in this prayer?

Teacher:  All we can demand, and hope for of God. For there are seven petitions. In the first four, we demand that He give us all good. The three following that He deliver us from all evil. And concerning that which is good, we first demand the glory of God. Second, our greatest good. Third, grace to obtain it. Fourth, the means to get and keep said grace. Touching that which is evil, we demand that he tomorrow rest first from evil past; Secondly from evil to come; thirdly, from evil present, and so from all evil.


Student:  Declare the words that go before the first petition, that is, Our Father who art in Heaven.

Teacher:  This is a little preface, in which is yielded the reason wherefore we have courage to speak so great a Lord, and hope He will grant our request. We say that God is our Father by creation, and adoption, and therefore as children we have recourse to him; and we add that he is in Heaven as Lord of the universal world. And for this we know He can grant our petition, if it please Him, as we do hope He will, seeing that He is our Father.


Student:  Declare the first petition.

Teacher:  In the first petition, we demand that God be known of all the world, and that so His Holy Name be honored and glorified of all, as it is worthy.


Student:  Demand the Second.

Teacher:  We demand in the second that the kingdom, which He has promised us, come speedily, which is to say that the battles ended, which we have with the devil, with the world, and with the flesh, that we may arrive at eternal felicity, where we shall reign with God, without any impediment.


Student:  Declare the third.

Teacher:  We demand in the third the grace of God, with which we may perfectly obey His holy commandments, as the Angels do always obey Him in Heaven. Because the ladder on which we climb up to Heaven is the obedience of His commandments.


Student:  Declare the fourth.

Teacher:  We demand in the fourth our daily bread as well as spiritual, that is the word of God and the Sacraments; as corporal, that is sustenance and apparel. For the word of God, preached unto us by preachers, and read by us in spiritual books, and the holy Sacraments, chiefly Confession and Communion, at most efficacious means of their part (that is, if we our selves be not in fault) to obtain and conserve the grace of God, of which we have spoken in the former petition. Sustenance and apparel is necessary for us to maintain this life in the service of God.


Student:  Declare the fifth article of the Our Father.

Teacher:  We demand in the fifth that God deliver us from evils past, that is from the sins already committed, remitting us the debt of the fault, and of the pain, we for them we have incurred. And we add, “as we forgive those who trespass”, that is, as we pardon the offenses of our enemies: for that it is not a reasonable thing, that God forgive us our sins, which are most great offenses, if we will not pardon the injuries done unto us, which are offenses of small importance.


Student:  Declare the sixth.

Teacher:  We demand in the sixth that God deliver us from temptations which are evils to come, or not permitting us to be content, or giving us grace that we will not be overcome.


Student:  Declare the seventh.

Teacher:  We demand in the seventh that God deliver us from evil present, that is from all affliction and misery, and also from all prosperity and temporal advancement, if He sees that it will be hurtful to the salvation of our souls.


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Student:  Say the Ave Maria.


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Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus


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Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,

now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Student:  Of whom are these words?

Teacher:  They are partly of the Archangel Gabriel, partly of Saint Elizabeth, and partly of the Church.


Student:  To what effect do you say the Ave Maria after the Pater Noster?

Teacher:  To the end that by the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin, I may more easily obtain that which I demand or ask of God, because she is the Advocatrix [advocate] of sinners, full of mercy, and is in Heaven above all the choirs of Angles, and most acceptable to God.


Student:  Don’t you have recourse for help also to other saints?

Teacher:  I have recourse to all the saints, and in particular to the saint of my name, and to my Guardian Angel.




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This catechism was created in 1614 by doctor of the church, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine.  It is richly illustrated with images to assist learning and memory.