From Holy Saturday to Pentecost we sing or recite one of the Church’s most joyful anthems, the Regina Coeli (O, Queen of Heaven), customarily said in place of the Angelus at twelve noon.
According to the Golden Legend, a thirteenth century work on the lives of the Saints, Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century was leading a procession asking for relief from a pestilence afflicting the population of Rome. Being carried in the procession was an icon of the Blessed Virgin reputedly painted by St. Luke. Suddenly, the air was filled with a heavenly perfume dispelling the pestilence. Looking up, St. Gregory beheld angels singing: “O, Queen of Heaven rejoice, Alleluia! For He whom you deserved to bear, Alleluia! Has risen as He said, Alleluia! " To which the holy Pope added: “O, pray to God for us, Alleluia!”
At the same time, the holy pontiff saw the angel of death sheathing his sword atop the Hill of Hadrian, today the Castle of Sant’Angelo.
Since then this story has been associated with the origins of the Regina Coeli.
The idea is to rejoice with Our Blessed Lady that her Son, after a grueling passion and frightful death, is alive again. While the prayer of the Angelus celebrates Jesus’ Incarnation, the Regina Coeli celebrates His Resurrection and “congratulates” the Mother on her Son’s victory over sin and death.
Regina Coeli (O QUEEN OF HEAVEN)
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Regina Coeli, laetare, alleluia
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Let us pray:
O God, who gave joy to the world through the
Resurrection of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we
Beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin
Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting
Life. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.