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This article is about the Christian prayer. For the telecommunications concept, see collect call. For the hobby, see collecting. For other uses, see Collection (disambiguation).

The collect /ˈkɒlɛkt/[1] is a short general prayer of a particular structure used in Christian liturgy.

Collects appear in the liturgies of Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, among others, but are unknown in those of eastern Christianity.[2][3]

Origin of the term[edit]

The word comes from Latin collecta, the term used in Rome in the 5th century[2] and the 10th,[4] although in the Tridentine version of the Roman Missal the more generic term oratio (prayer) was used instead.[4]

The word collecta meant the gathering of the people together and may have been applied to this prayer as said before the procession to the church in which Mass was celebrated. It may also have been used to mean a prayer that collected into one the prayers of the individual members of the congregation.[2][4]


A collect generally has five parts:[2][5]

  • Invocation or address: indicating the person of Trinity addressed, usually God the Father, rarely God the Son
  • Acknowledgement: description of a divine attribute that relates to the petition (often qui ... - who ...)
  • Petition: "for one thing only and that in the tersest language"[6]
  • Aspiration:
    • The desired result (begins with the word ut - in order that)
    • Indication of a further purpose of the petition
  • Pleading:
    • Conclusion indicating the mediation of Jesus Christ.
    • Response by the people: Amen

In some contemporary liturgical texts, this structure has been obscured by sentence constructions that depart from the Latin flowing style of a single sentence.


At first only one collect was said at Mass, but the Tridentine version of the Roman Missal allowed and often prescribed the use of more than one collect, all but the first being recited under a single conclusion. This custom, which began north of the Alps, had reached Rome by about the 12th century.[7]

The collects in the Book of Common Prayer are mainly translations by Thomas Cranmer (d. 1556) from the Latin prayers for each Sunday of the year.

Similarly, Lutheran liturgies typically retain traditional collects for each Sunday of the liturgical year. In the newly released Evangelical Lutheran Worship, however, the set of prayers has been expanded to incorporate different Sunday collects for each year of the lectionary cycle, so that the prayers more closely coordinate with the lectionary scripture readings for the day. To achieve this expansion from one year's worth of Sunday collects to three years', modern prayer texts have been added.

In the 1970s English translation of the Roman Missal, the word collecta was rendered as "Opening Prayer". This was a misnomer, since the collect ends, not opens, the introductory rites of the Mass.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ US dict: kol′·ekt
  2. ^ a b c d C. Frederick Barbee, Paul F.M. Zahl, The Collects of Thomas Cranmer (Eerdmans 1999 ISBN 9780802838452), pp. ix-xi
  3. ^ Adrian Fortescue, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy (Longmans, Green and Company 1912), pp. 251–252
  4. ^ a b c Edward McNamara ZENIT liturgy questions, 28 August 2012
  5. ^ Fortescue 1912, p. 250
  6. ^ Fortescue 1912, p. 249
  7. ^ Fortescue 1912, p. 248
  8. ^ Edward Foley, A Commentary on the Order of Mass of the Roman Missal (Liturgical Press 2011 ISBN 9780814662472), p. 141

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