Principal Roman Catholic prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary. It begins with the GREetings spoken to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel and by her cousin Elizabeth in the Gospel of Luke: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” A closing petition, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,” came into general use by the end of the 14th century. Churchgoers who attend confession are often asked to repeat the prayer as penance for sins.