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The Ave Maria (Hail Mary) is one of the oldest and most popular Catholic prayers. Of unknown origin, it was not officially incorporated into the liturgy (as part of the Rosary) until the 15th Century. AVE Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

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1 Sherry F = "Sometimes people misunderstand the Catholic devotion to Mary, and thus don't fully see the beauty in the rosary.  Catholic's pray to Mary to ask for her intercession on their behalf to God our father, Christ her son and the Spirit which came upon her.  They ask her to pray for them, just as anyone who believes in God's grace would ask a friend or loved one to pray for them.  God chose Mary to be our model of holiness.  Mary's yes at the Annunciation undoes the disobedience of Adam and Eve and makes paradise possible. Mary becomes the new Eve, the perfect Eve.  Christ is not only the son of God the father, he is also the son of Mary.  Jesus gave himself completely to us through Mary.  When we seek to establish a devotion to Mary, it is to gain a deeper relationship with her son, Christ our Lord.The Hail Mary is often prayed as part of the rosary, which is a beautiful meditation of the mysteries of Christ.  By praying the Apostle' Creed, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, and other prayers,  while contemplating the mysteries of Christ in the rosary, we develope a deeper understanding and communion with God."
2 Deacon William Gallerizzo = "Actually, the first half of the Hail Mary is taken almost verbatim from Luke's Gospel. The Angel Gabriel addresses Mary as "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee." After Mary agrees to bear the Christ-child, she travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is expecting in her old age (her baby is to become John the Baptist). Luke states that when Elizabeth greets Mary, the unborn John jumps around in her womb, and Elizabeth then realizes what has transpired with Mary and greets her with, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb." The second half came later, but existed prior to the Mary appearing to St Dominic at which time he received the first rosary directly from her. Acceptance of Mary as Theotokos or Mother of God dates from the Council of Ephesus in 431 or even from the First Council of Jerusalem in 65 when Christ was accepted as God. It is probably safe to assume that the parts of the prayer date from the earliest Christian times in some form, although possibly not in the present conjunction."
3 Deacon William Gallerizzo = "Sherry does a great job explaining the devotion to Mary. Devotion to Mary is NOT adoration, but similar to the devotion we might have for her as mother. At the foot of the cross, Jesus charged John the Apostle to care for Mary as if she were his own mother. We all have been in the situation where going to the guy in charge leaves us with reserve enough to ask someone closer to put in a good word for us. In that respect, we believe that Mary intercedes for us. Who can refuse a heartfelt request from one's own mother? It is in that respect that we believe that Mary intercedes to Christ on our behalf. Still the Will of God takes precedence."
4 Shawn Bose = "Here is an example of how it sounds in Latin."
5 Shawn Bose = "Mary falls in a grand tradition of the veneration of the mother of the son of God. Ranging from ancient Egyptian (Isis, mother of Horus), to Greek (Semele, mother of Dionysus), to stories of the birth of Buddha to Mayadevi, and Krishna to Devaki - the Mother of the venerated Lord takes supreme position amongst women and is often prayed to and worshipped as such."
6 Deacon William Gallerizzo = "The first half of the Hail Mary is taken directly from Luke 1:28, 42. The second part invokes Mary as the Mother of Jesus Christ, Second Person of the Trinity incarnate. At the time of the crucifixion, Jesus asks John to accept Mary as his mother. John, as the only representative of the apostles we know to be present at the crucifixion, as well as through his later writings recognizes the importance of Mary in her ability to intercede to her Son on our behalf. Additionally, at the Wedding Feast at Cana, Jesus models the respect He has for Mary in that He honors her request to prevent the shame of the bride and groom for their shortsightedness over providing for their guests. It is true that many ancient traditions look toward the mother of a deity. there are some differences in Mary's case from tradition. Tradition may not be scripture, but it precedes it as all scripture comes from documentation of tradition. Tradition also does not mean myth or exaggerated legend, as it most often has a valid truth as its baseline making it a benchmark of reference to real events in time. Mary's mystical identity and status is not recognized too often in scripture but more so attested though several apocryphal accounts. Apocryphal accounts are existent traditional accounts that are not recognized as divinely inspired, but still present a traditional appendix to augment and add details to Christian scripture. Mary's real presence is documented through apocryphal  (non-scriptural) accounts, which also attests to other prime beliefs about her in Christianity, her perpetual virginity, which is testified to by the midwife present at the birth of Jesus, Mary Cleopas, who remained her lifelong friend and is mentioned as also present with her during the crucifixion.  Ancient apocryphal accounts also tell of the circumstances of what put John the Baptist in the desert (he and his mother, Elizabeth - Mary's cousin, escaped during Herod's slaughter of the innocents: his father, Zachariah stayed behind to cover for them and was killed by Herod's men) that he would come out of it. The circumstances of how Mary and Joseph came to be betrothed is exosts there in several corroborated accounts (Joseph was widowed and the so-called brothers of Jesus were not the children of Mary but from Joseph's previous marriage); the perplexing dilemma that Joseph faced in whether to accept Mary into his home or to expose her to shame as pregnant. Joseph, being a just man, knew if Mary was returned to her family in shame, Mosaic practice of the time deemed that her death would restore the family honor. Pre-marital inspection, common in those days and still practiced in some parts of the world today, had shown that Mary had NOT been violated, but was pregnant.Hence, a huge dilemma without precedent. Mary did not deserve the fate prescribed by the law; otherwise there would not have been the dilemma as Joseph, being a just man would have had the utmost respect and compulsion to follow it as prescribed. As Scripture says, an angel told Joseph to accept Mary and that the child was of the Holy Spirit. that part of the dilemma was solved. The rest is salvation history, so to speak."
7 John Alan Shope = "The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer that I pray often, along with other prayers from various faith traditions.Like most ancient prayers, the Hail Mary gives us a specific instance of a universal and general truth. As we grow and evolve, we are able to see beyond particular examples to the more general truths. Here is a more general version of the Hail Mary that I say along with the original:Hello Universe. That which cannot be named is with you. Blessed are you among universes and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Earth. Sacred earth, mother of life, pray for your children now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
8 Justin Halloran = "This is a prayer for us all.  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23."