How to deal with superstitious prayers?

I know four people who are encouraging others to engage in prayers that seem off-base. They are otherwise good and devout Catholics, yet I am concerned. One prayer is saying a special rosary (which you buy from a “Marian shrine” in Ohio, condemned by the local bishop) that is guaranteed to spare the life of an unborn child with every Hail Mary said. Another friend is encouraging people to recite a prayer, purportedly from St. Brigette, that guarantees a thousand souls will be freed from purgatory every time it is recited.

These kind of prayers seem superstitious, if I read the Catechism (paragraph 2111) correctly. Am I right? How do I get these people to understand the Church’s teaching on this? Is the matter elaborated on somewhere in official teachings more fully than in the catechism, perhaps with some examples? These devotions seem to mean a lot to them, so how do I avoid turning this into hurt feelings and an argument? (Three have made pilgrimages to Ohio.) Is it worth the effort to correct them?

Thanks for your help.

The following link should help answer your question about superstitious prayers. If you have any further questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:

Does a Hail Mary save an unborn baby?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit