The Regina Caeli is the Latin phrase for “Queen of Heaven” which is given to us by the Church as a hallmark of Easter.
The season of Easter is a very long season, lasting for a full 50 days and it is 10 days longer than Lent.
Regina Caeli is integrated into the Divine Office prayed by priests, religious and many laypeople, and it becomes the Easter season Marian antiphon at the end of Night Prayer.
The Church also replaces the daily Angelus prayer during Easter with Regina Caeli which is traditionally prayed thrice daily (at 6:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m).
According to a legend, he reported that this prayer dates back to the sixth century with Pope Gregory the Great.
According to the story, this prayer came up when the city of Rome was plagued with an epidemic, so St. Gregory led a procession out from St. Peter’s Basilica past the Mausoleum of Hadrian in prayerful petition to end the plague.
However, on top of the mausoleum, he saw an angel singing the words of the Regina Caeli. He responded in words also in the mood of prayer, “ Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia! ” or “Pray for us to God, alleluia!”.
The faithful being inspired by this event, henceforth referred to the mausoleum with a different name: Castel Sant’Angelo which is “Castle of the Holy Angel” and the nearby bridge was known as the Ponte Sant’Angelo called the “Bridge of Angels”.
The good news is that the Church in Rome received two gifts that day. The disease of the city was cured and a new prayer was then, established to help remind the faithful of joy even in times of great suffering.
Specifically, what do we meditate on in this prayer?
Firstly, the prayer gives us assurance that Jesus is truly risen. This also reflects the journey that all the disciples had to undertake, encountering the Risen Christ and thus leaving behind their doubt to become the witness of Christ.
On a second note, the prayer recalls to us what the season of Easter is all about. We offer joyful praise to God with the word “alleluia” six different times. Also, we proclaim different variations of the word “joy” five consecutive times (rejoice, rejoice, glad, joy, joys).