Choral Vespers & Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament
Sunday, September 3 | 7:00 PM
Vespers, whose name literally means shadows, is the traditional evening prayer of the Catholic Church, celebrated when evening comes and lamps are lit. The origins of this liturgy are linked to the evening sacrifice of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem at sunset. Like the prayer in common at sunrise, some sort of Evening Prayer was likely part of the liturgical life of the earliest monastic communities of the Church.
Vespers is one of the key hours of prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. As the official public prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours is intended to structure day-to-day life and also reflect the passage of the seasons of the church’s liturgical year. While anyone can celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours, all Catholic priests promise to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours daily upon their ordination. Many religious orders of men and women also adhere to communal celebrations of the Divine Office, particularly in monasteries and convents.
Celebrated around sunset, Vespers is one of the seven canonical hours in the Liturgy of the Hours, along with the Office of Readings, Lauds, also called Morning Prayer, Mid-Morning, Mid-Day, and Mid-Afternoon Prayer and finally Compline, also called Night Prayer.
Known as a hinge hour in the daily cycle of the Church’s prayer, Vespers is made up of psalmody, Gregorian chant, reading from Scripture, and culminates in the singing of the Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise from the Gospel of Luke. Depending on the formality of the occasion, Vespers can include a great deal of song as well as other Catholic traditions such as incense and processions through the church. At St. Louis we will celebrate Choral Vespers with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament each first Sunday of the month. This sung celebration of Vespers will guide us down the centuries, from monasteries to cathedrals to seminaries and now to our sacred corner of Christ’s Kingdom.
We will celebrate Compline through the Sundays of August before moving to Choral Vespers each first Sunday at 7PM, starting with the Sunday September 3rd. Choral Vespers will be led by our Vespers Choir and our Director of Sacred Music Rick Gabrillo and accompanied by our organist Scott McNulty. Together we will pray the timeless prayers of the Universal Church through this ethereal and ancient rite in the presence of our Lord’s Blessed Sacrament.