Advent Vespers
  • Hi

    I lead a small schola at my parish and I've asked the DoM if we could sing an Advent Vespers service before each of the Saturday Vigil Masses. She said yes, and now I need to put it together.

    Does anyone here have a ready made "program" that I could use? I am assuming that each week of advent would require different hymns, chants, etc. I've seen some programs on the forum here that are for regular Sundays, and I have a Benedictine version of Vespers as well, but it isn't specifically for Advent.

    Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance.
  • bump
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Darth: have you considered
  • Are you doing the modern version or the traditional Latin Vespers (with 5 psalms and antiphons)? Either will require a bit of work to do for every week of Advent. For the former, you have to wade through the Liturgy of the Hours and make decisions about melodies. For the latter, you have some tough chants to learn. Might you consider working up one really good Vespers for one of the Saturdays (First Vespers that is). Before the Saturday "vigil" Mass seems early to me. Why not after? In any case, my prayers are with you.
  • I got some kind of DNS error when trying . . . I don't thinks it's registered - is that the right URL?

    I was just going to do a modern version I guess, I'm not really sure. I'm trying to give our little chant group some exposure to the normal PIPs who might not have made it to one of our chant masses (we've only done 2 so far).

    I thought about using the Tye version of Rorate Caeli for the hymn, the 7 O antiphons for the processional/antiphons/recessional, and a polyphonic Magnifcat.

    I have no idea how to figure out which Psalms I'm to use, which NT canticle or which scripture reading to use . . . any help or direction is appreciated.

    I have some suggestions from Cantica Nova, and I have a Benedictine version of regular Vespers but it's for Ordinary Sundays only, so I don't know if that would work or not.

    As far as timing goes, I hadn't considered doing it after Mass because once most people hear "Go In Peace," they leave :-) I was thinking that as people were arriving for Mass, they would stumble upon our humble little vespers service and get curious. The regular Saturday music folks would then continue on with the normal mass music.

    any how I've got an email out to Ed Schaefer so hopefully he can give me some more concrete instructions.
  • Darth,

    Follow the rite of 1st Vespers for Sundays of Advent (since this will adjoin the anticipatory Mass for Sunday) as given in the Liturgy of the Hours. You can use the “Christian Prayer” books that give you just Lauds/Vespers/Compline if you don’t have access to the full 4-volume set.

    For the chant, look at the Ordo Cantus Officii on and try to find the referenced chants in the downloadable PDFs on; for example, for the 1st Sunday, the hymn (as for all Vespers through 16 December) is “Conditor alme siderum”. For 1st vespers of the 1st Sunday, the psalm antiphons are “Annuntiate populis”, “Ecce Dominus veniet”, and “Veniet Dominus in potestate”. The latter two may be found in the online Liber Usualis; the first is found in the online antiphonarium.

    Note that these chant texts don’t always match what is in the Liturgy of the Hours itself, but the disparity is addressed satisfactorily in the introduction to the Ordo Cantus Officii.

    The O antiphons are for the last 7 Vespers services before 24 December; this year, the 4th Sunday of Advent is on the 21st and will have “O Oriens”.
  • Actually, if you’re doing first Vespers of Sunday, you won’t get any of the O antiphons, since the one for the 21st is for 2nd Vespers, and the one for the 20th (“O Clavis”) is for the ferial Vespers, not the Sunday one.

    Actually, .... does anyone know, I guess that means we miss an O antiphon every year, since Vespers on the Saturday before the 4th Sunday is, by definition, 1st Vespers for Sunday....? Something seems a bit out of whack there...?
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    If are planning to use the OF of the Roman Rite in Latin, you may care to check this site:
    It's French, but even if you do not know French you can use it easily: choose the day in the calendary on the right, choose the Hour below the tabs. The text will appear in two columns, Latin and French. (They still do not have the Office of Readings working.) The preces are taken from some Solesmes book where they are set to chant; all the rest is strictly taken from the Liturgia Horarum.

    This site only gives you the texts, but it's very useful to check if you got everything all-right. Also notice that in 1970 the words of hymns changed back to the original versions (undoing some much regretted 17th century changes; you can also find these original versions of the hymns in the Appendix of the 1912 Antiphonale, that otherwise uses the tampered lyrics, just as the LU does).

    If you plan to use the EF, or to use English, just forget this.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    I've just noticed that Advent 2008 is not working all-right in, but Advent 2007 is, and the Office of Advent Sundays is the same in all years.
  • dvalerio wrote:
    the Office of Advent Sundays is the same in all years.

    This is at least incorrect as far as the Ordo Cantus Officii is concerned; the OCO prescribes some different Ben/Mag antiphons for each year of the 3-year Sunday Lectionary cycle.

    I suspect that the 2nd edition of the Liturgia Horarium (which has not made its way to an official English translation yet) does likewise.
  • Does anyone else think the 3-year Lectionary cycle is not really worth the trouble it causes?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Absolutely Michael. The lectionary was the biggest failure of the liturgical reforms.
  • Dobszay has an interesting take on the 3-year Lectionary cycle; he uses as an example the First Sunday of Lent and contends that it is pointless to use any narrative other than Matthew for the temptation story.

    For Ordinary Time, I think the 3-year cycle is a good thing.

    ISTM the biggest failure of the liturgical reforms would be something like the failure to retain Latin, the failure to encourage congregational singing (esp. the congregation’s distinct role), widespread versus populum (given that enough scholars decry the practice on historical grounds to give pause), etc.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    Mea culpa, mea culpa. I had forgotten that Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons DO change with the lectionary year, as Felipe Gasper pointed out. (For many years, our Portuguese translation of the Liturgia Horarum already has different antiphons for different lectionary years on Sundays.)

    Also notice that, as I said, the site I mentioned follows the Liturgia Horarum for everything (save for the Preces). But the Ordo Cantus Oficii (OCO) prescribes some antiphons that are not the same as those in Liturgia Horarum. When the Office is sung in Latin, the OCO is to be followed.

    Actually, there is a rubric in the General Instruction (§274) saying: «At a sung office, if a melody is not available for the given antiphon, another antiphon should be taken from those in the repertoire, provided it is suitable in terms of nos. 113 and 121-125.» So there is some flexibility in what antiphons are concerned, which may be useful in less resourceful choirs---though of course it is better just to follow the OCO.
  • I'm sticking with the usus antiquior Office, warts and all.
  • I've often wondered if there will ever be a reversal of the 3-year cycle. So much work has gone into it. But it turns out to be destabilizing and messy. Someone needs to write an entire book on the topic, a book that would start the debate. I suppose this is a long time away.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Oh, short of using the Mundelein Psalter, I don't know why any layman would use the new LOH. I just go to (even though it's schismatic) and use the English translations they have. I'm working on transcribing some of the antiphons as well for singing. And someone does need to stand up to the 3 year lectionary. Sadly, I suspect Pope Benedict is a supporter of it. And indeed, it is good IN THEORY. But it was so poorly done, and the supposed benefits so small, that it would be best to stick to the old lectionary. Maybe if enough people get noisy about it, they might offer the two lectionaries as "options" as is done in protestant churches? Who knows. But I'm not holding my breath to get out of this ABC nonsense.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Darth - If I may be so bold as to address your original question, I agree with Felipe. Get a copy of Christian Prayer and St. Joseph Guide to Christian Prayer. The guide is only a few dollars and very useful when you're getting started.

    For your specific upcoming work, looking at the First Week of Advent, Evening Prayer I we find:

    Opening Hymn (They recommend Creator of the Stars of Night or You Heavens, Open From Above. But it's not a rule. Just go with a good Advent hymn.)
    Antiphon 1
    Psalm 141:1-9
    Glory Be to the Father...
    Antiphon 2
    Psalm 142
    Glory Be...
    Antiphon 3
    Canticle - Philippians 2:6-11
    Glory Be...
    Reading - 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24
    Canticle of Mary/Magnificat
    Our Father...

    Text for the Antiphons, Psalm-Prayers, Responsory, Intercessions and Prayer are in the Christian Prayer book. (If you don't have access, let me know and I'll get them to you.)
    For "correct" translations of Psalms, etc., I generally go to the USCCB New American Bible website. There is no charge and no copyright issue for one-time usage beyond putting the appropriate citation.

    If your plan is to lead directly into the Mass from the Vespers service you should consult a good book such as Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite to see if there are particular rubrics you should observe.

    Let me know if there is anything I can help with.
  • Dear priorstf,

    Since Darth asks about a sung LotH service, IMO it is better to use the Gregorian antiphons rather than those in the breviary.

    I could be wrong here, but I believe “Ceremonies” is not a liturgical book, and that it contains no rubrics that hold force of law that cannot be found in official liturgical documents.

    The rubrics for celebrating the daily offices combined with (or adjoining) the Mass are found in the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (google it), §93-99.
  • sadly, I think I am in over my head on this one. There is just way too many things to try to pull together from 6-10 different sources and I don't have any of the texts you guys mentioned. I downloaded the OCO but it's all in latin and I really can't make sense of when to do what.

    I'll probably try again next year when I have a bit more experience. I had no idea planning a sung vespers would be so difficult, let alone 4 of them for Advent . . .
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    I feel your pain, Darth. It often takes more time doing these than a full-time job. (Don't let my real employer hear me say that!) Let me know if I can ever help.
  • Dear Darth,

    An excellent way to learn the Liturgy of the Hours is to pray it daily. In fact, I can hardly imagine planning a public Vespers service without knowing the form of the office from a good period of daily recitation.

    For a while I prayed Lauds and Vespers daily privately; I eventually found myself unable--or, sigh, perhaps just unwilling--to keep that up, so I went with just Lauds daily. Again, for whatever reason, I am no longer doing this; however, I prayed these offices enough that I now know how they work.

    The Divine Office really is not complicated once you know what actual liturgical occasion you are celebrating. Many who pray the Divine Office daily use an ordo; ask your local parish which ordo they use (several publishers publish them), and grab a copy. They are inexpensive.

    And/or, you can buy a book to show you how to pray the LotH; for example:

    Ponder: how mindlessly complicated would the Mass seem compared to the Divine Office if we weren’t used to praying Mass every Sunday?
  • Also, this forum is a great resource if there is ever something in a Latin liturgical book that you need help with. For example, many here would probably gladly translate the OCO entries for a given occasion for you.
  • Yes, the LOH is very complicated... The Traditional Divine Office -- may I start a new abbreviation (TDO)? -- is simple. It is outlined in the Liber usualis, but you can go to for assembled offices with translations and then just grab the chants from the LU. Why don't you look at the Vespers for the 4th Sunday and start rehearsing it now?
  • Dear Michael,

    What is it about the LotH that you think is so complicated?

    To find which week of the psalter you’re in, just take the remainder from dividing the current week into 4, so the 3rd week of Advent gives 3, the 5th week of Lent gives 1, and the 28th week of OT gives 4.

    The Ordinary gives you pretty straightforward instructions about where to find everything else; if the day has a specific text assigned to it for something, of course, then you just use that.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,100
    The one-volume editions, in which a lot of page-flipping is required, make the LOH more complicated than it is by nature.
  • Chonak,

    I use the 1-volume edition; when I have used the 4-volume one, it has seemed to me that there is just as much page-flipping involved.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 992
    As someone working back and forth between the Roman Breviary and the LOH, I'm inclined to agree with Michael and Gavin. I like to think that I'm one smart cookie, as they say, but I find A,B,C/I or II/Week 1,2,3,4 way more than is necessary. All that was sold as bringing "simplicity" only complicated things. And I won't even get into the contrast between a single line Gregorian chant tone vs. the multiple line psalm settings.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,100
    And let's also include the complications of which parts of the Office are to be taken from a proper for a solemnity/feast/memorial/optional-memorial .
  • Chonak:

    That’s a simple problem to solve: whatever is in the proper takes precedence over the 4-week texts.

    Most memorials’ entries in the Proper of Saints refer you to a common. It gives you a page number. The principle of proper stuff having greater priority than less-proper/seasonal stuff holds.

    I mean, I think of myself as being pretty sharp generally, and maybe I do just have an easy time with something that’s more challenging to others, but I really don’t see the big deal here. In my own edition (from Pauline Books), things are spelled out clearly.
  • Felipe,

    The text is probably easy enough to deal with once you have ascertained the rules, as you have. It's the music that's hard to find. Is there one book with all the music (antiphons, psalm tones, responses, prayer formulas, and canticles) like there is for the Roman Breviary? (the Liber usualis). When I had to do a week of these, I had no idea where to find antiphon melodies or the NT canticle. Sure we can do them all recto tono, but that hardly seems worth the effort of singing.
  • I echo Michael on this. The only books I own at the moment are the Liber Cantualis and the Gregorian Missal, plus the stuff that Ed Schaefer has published (How to sing the mass, the Diaconale, Mass Ordinary parts of the people). My wife is a Benedictine Oblate and I have her Office books, but they don't address Advent and they are all English.

    I don't have the experience or the hard copy resources to sift through all of this quite yet. I really appreciate all the help I've received here, and am very impressed and thankful that some of you have figured this stuff out, but personally I find it overwhelming in my short career as a schola leader (1 year). I teach middle school orchestra and general music for a day gig . . . no formal training with sacred music, just what I've learned from rubbing shoulders with Dr. Ed.
  • The music is, yes, hard to find.

    A while back when I thought I would be assembling Liturgy of the Hours services for our church dedication (Nov. 16th, for anyone in the Houston area!), I sought out the Gregorian chant antiphons indicated in the OCO. Someone on this forum very graciously scanned and mailed me copies of some antiphons that were not in any of the online resources.

    I think part of the problem is that many antiphons were incorporated into the OCO from non-Roman sources, whereas the LU represents a “purely Roman” collection of antiphons. (DISCLAIMER: That may be off the mark; I think that’s how things are, but it’s mostly a surmise.)

    There is, yes, an opportunity to do good if some project to realize the OCO could be put together. It would be a lot of data entry, but if it could be done, WOW how useful would that be...
  • Felipe, yes, but after all that work, you don't approach the beauty of the Roman Breviary (or of the religious orders for that matter), which has been polished over centuries. There is a supreme logic to it and it emphasizes the psalms over scripture, which IMO is the true reason for the Office. Also it is a "singing Office" whereas the LOH was meant as a "reading Office" for priests. Since the Roman Office is still permitted for us laymen, I see no reason (for me) to worry much about the LOH unless the vernacular is demanded.

    A couple of gripes about Evening Prayer:

    2 canticles? (why?)
    Only 2-3 psalms?
    Moving of the hymn to opening (Deus in adjutorium meam is plenty of intro for me!)
    Psalm prayers? (what are those?)
    A homily? (Please... noooo, that leads to announcements and fund raising....)
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Michael - The folks who attend our First Friday Exposition and Vespers/Benediction are not folks who regularly pray the Liturgy of the Hours. That we can introduce them to the concept of a regular sequence of prayer, and a liturgy aside from the Mass, in the splendor of the presence of Christ is a pretty good start.

    The schola sings an Ad Vesperas, Magnificat and Marian Hymn in Latin, but the remainder of the service, including an opening hymn, are all in the vernacular. Our pastor prefers the canticle and psalms be spoken by the congregation on a side-to-side basis, so Latin is out of the question.

    Overall, I think that we are offering a great experience for the congregation. As a side effect, the pastor is learning that the people are picking up the Magnificat and Marian hymns quite quickly - which might help lead to the introduction of additional Latin in the future. So perhaps the battle can rage behind the scene over Breviary v. LoH, but in the world of our church there is plenty of beauty.
  • priorstf - I really like the sound of what you are presentnig. DO you have a congregational booklet that goes along with this service that you could send me or attach to the forum? i too was thinking mostly English, but I wanted to sing everything rather than speak them according to whatever the correct Psalm tone might work out to be . ..
  • priorstf, Of course. The vernacular LOH is, as you say, a good way to introduce the Church's liturgy outside of the Mass. What you are doing is commendable, although I hope your pastor will allow antiphon singing soon. At my church, the congregation picked up the tones in no time flat. My problem is with the liturgy itself, especially after reading Dobzay. It is my hope that we can regain the traditional breviary and simply translate it for parish use in the vernacular. Let the battles begin "behind the scenes".
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Hi Darth -

    I'm attaching the Libelli from our most recent two Vespers. They signify an interesting change for us. This had been a lay ministry since it began in February. A priest would expose the Eucharist after morning Mass and come in for 4pm Benediction. Vespers (6:30) and reposition (8:30) were by laymen. Beginning with the special Our Lady of Fatima services, they moved Benediction to correspond with Vespers and it is now officiated over by a priest. (The growth from 20 to 200 participants over that time has been duly noted.)

    For the hymn we use public domain music to avoid entanglements. What was amazing was the response from the congregation to O Sanctissima - the loudest singing we've heard from the PiPs to date. I think the pastor noted it as well.
  • priorstf - thank you. I'll see if I can piece together a 4th sunday in advent vespers from all the help I've received. wish me luck :)
  • Michael’s Vespers complaints in the LotH (and it is called Vespers, except in the current English translation):

    2 canticles? (why?)

    Got me. There are a number of books published about the LotH, though, including at least one specifically about the breviary reform. Before dismissing the practice outright, it might be good to research why such things were done.

    Only 2-3 psalms?

    Perhaps to allow laity to recite the office more easily. Maybe it was a compromise. Again, it might benefit to read some of the pertinent published literature (in addition to Dobszay et al.).

    Moving of the hymn to opening (Deus in adjutorium meam is plenty of intro for me!)

    Got me. Again, I’ll bet there’s an explanation to be found, though.

    (It’s “meum”, by the way.)

    Psalm prayers? (what are those?)

    Ah. These are only in the English translation, IIRC. ICEL added them. They are not in the office itself, and at least one edition of the LotH (in English) omits them. They more than likely will not be included in whatever updated LotH translation may someday emerge from Liturgicam Authenticam.

    A homily? (Please... noooo, that leads to announcements and fund raising....)

    Perhaps. It could also help to explain the imagery in the psalms, which can be difficult to grasp at times.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    > I'll see if I can piece together a 4th sunday in advent vespers from all the help I've received.

    Perhaps I can offer you some further help. Below I will follow the Ordo Cantus Officii (OCO) and refer often to the Liber Usualis (LU); both these books can be downloaded from the Musica Sacra site. If I make some mistake I hope someone will be kind enough to correct me. I will only refer to publications available online as HTML or PDF files.

    Deus in adiutorium - LU p. 250

    Hymn - «Verbum»; sing it with the same melody of hymn «Conditor alme siderum»; this hymn appears in LU p. 324 as «Creator alme siderum» (17th c. revised lyrics); you can find the words of hymn «Verbum» here:

    Antiphon 1 - «Intuemini» with psalm 109; the words of the psalm are in the Societas Laudis site; the antiphon of OCO is not available on-line, but you have a neo-gregorian replacement here:
    See page 28. This goes with psalm-tone IVa, LU p. 115. (See LU p. 130 for the old translation of that psalm in that tone.) If someone gets you the genuine antiphon «Intuemini», sing it instead!

    Antiphon 2 - «Erunt prava» with psalm 111; the words of the psalm are in the Societas Laudis site; see LU p. 357, and for the Ig psalm-tone see LU p. 113. (See LU p. 140 for the old translation of that psalm in that tone.)

    NT canticle - the OCO says (p. [54]410) that you need no antiphon, and should sing the canticle as a responsory. You can find that in this site:
    You must register (it's free) to download. Choose «Cantique de l'Apocalypse - alleluia ton solennel» [Apocalypse canticle - alleluia, solemn tone] and you'll get the file. (It's an ancient tone, by the way, formerly used at Ascension for psalm 46, and now adapted for this canticle.) If you don't like the idea, you can use the neo-gregorian antiphon from the Nocturnale site, but the responsorial singing is what the OCO mandates.

    Lectio brevis - «Gaudéte in Dómino semper» You can find the text in the Societas Laudis site. Use the tone at LU p. 123.

    Responsory - «Ostende nobis» LU p. 243

    Magnificat - This year the 4th sunday of Advent falls on December 21, hence use antiphon «O oriens», LU p. 342; for the Magnificat in tone IID see LU p. 214.

    Preces - The Societas Laudis site does NOT follow the Liturgy of the Hours (LotH) for the Preces. If memory does not fail me, they say they follow some recent alternative Solesmes publication. But you can do as they do as sing the Preces they have there. If you prefer to follow the LotH also here, please find someone who has the LotH in Latin, and ask him/her to give you a copy of that page! I am not sure about the tone for the Preces, but I guess that the simple tone for versicles (LU p. 118) will do fine.

    Pater noster - Sing some usual tone for the Lord's prayer; see for instance the Jubilate Deo booklet, p. 21:

    Collect - «Grátiam tuam», with tone of LU p. 98 (I find this the easier one) or of LU p. 100. Notice that there is no Oremus before.

    Conclusion - If there is a priest or a deacon, he'll bless the people as in Mass; if not, sing «Dóminus nos benedícat» (check the Societas Laudis site again for the words), using for instance the simple tone for versicles again.

    And that's it.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Hmm ... I note that the 2 attachments to my previous posting have vanished. Is the server eating my homework?
  • Felipe,

    Well, I have at least talked to many people about the LotH. The reasons given for the changes focus primarily on the need to fit the Office into a priest's busy schedule. Matins, for example may recited at almost any time during the day. I've never really gotten satisfactory explanations for the added canticle to EP or the change of place for the hymn from its traditional location. I'm afraid that one cannot argue two important points about the LotH. First, it was conceived virtually in secret by Bugnini and his cohort, which creates the second issue. It is a serious rupture in liturgical practice. Dobzay makes a good point about the fact that few of the bishops got a chance to review the LotH before it was made official.

    I take your points about some parts being only in the English language version, but why would that be the case? What was essentially wrong with the Traditional Roman Breviary that it had to be virtually tossed in the dustbin? If anyone has read on this extensively and can support the changes, I'd really love hear them. Why couldn't parish priests be allowed an abbreviated breviary, something like the Little Hours, if it was so onerous?

    Love the discussion. It's kind of pet issue of mine since I love the Office so much.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,100
    For priorstf:

    Some attachments disappeared last night when Aris fixed a problem with attachments. If you want, you can edit your post and attach the files again.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Michael -

    This being a pet project of yours, two questions:

    1) Do you know what document is was that superseded Sacrosanctum Consilium §101-103 that calls for clerics to say the Divine Office? I get the impression clerics should normally use Latin except when with a group of the faithful when the vernacular would be appropriate. It seems that a cleric saying it alone in the vernacular is a violation of the Spirit of Vatican II®!!

    2) For Morning Prayer on Advent weekdays (sorry - said in the vernacular ala Christian Prayer) should we use the antiphons from Sunday or those from the appropriate week? I love the Sunday ones, which truly reinforce the fact that it is Advent, but if we shouldn't, we shouldn't. This is for a series of 9 public MPs we'll say at the cathedral.

  • priorstf

    Well, my "project" lies more in the reclaiming of the Traditional Vespers and learning as much as I can about the impetus behind the V2 changes, rather than the details of the LotH, per se. That said, I probably should get up to speed, but after putting together 3 consecutive nights of EP for 40 Hours one year, my head hurt so much, I don't know if I want to delve further into that..

    I think I may have been unclear. There is no doc that relieves clerics from the Office, rather the Office itself was designed to be a "recitational" office to fit into a busy pastor's schedule. I also know of no law that requires it be in Latin.
  • dvalerio - thank you so much for going into such great detail for this first Sunday of Vespers. If anyone doubted what a chore this is to arrange, read dvalerio's post carefully and look at what it took to put one service together. It boggles the mind . . .

    I will continue to do my homework on this and see if I can figure it out . . .

    thanks again
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    With respect, I am amazed at laity who quibble over "Am I allowed to use the old breviary? What if I don't like the psalm prayers in CP? The old breviary is so confusing, and there's no official easier version!" etc. We are not bound to obedience of the rubrics of the office, and indeed how can the Church boss us around in our private (or even corporate) prayer lives? Pray it in English, Latin, Greek, from whatever year you want. Do the old Office, do LotH, do Taize, play some Jazz Vespers on the hurdy-gurdy, or make up your own darn prayers. God doesn't care if we break the GILH - only if priests do (and honestly, I quite doubt that).

    EDIT: I am NOT saying that anyone's above comments are trivial or unimportant. I'm just saying that private prayers of laity or groups of laity don't NEED to be held to the same "Do the red, say the black" standard as a priest's celebration of the Mass.
  • Gavin, Your point about the flexibility of the Office, especially for the laity is well taken. However, the Office is part of the Church's Liturgy, i.e., her public prayer, and so is treated in the Vatican II document on liturgy. Yes, it has been treated for centuries now as the private reading, or breviary, of clerics. But they pray it in their capacity as ordained representatives of the Church, not merely privately. Vatican II tried to revive the corporate, public aspect of the Office, but the long standing practice of private recitation seems to be winning.

    Yes, the rubrics, such as they are, and the options are bewildering. About 12 years ago, I organized sung Advent Vespers at my parish 2 or 3 years running. Not knowing anything else then, I went strictly by Christian Prayer, all English, including 'psalm-prayers' at the pastor's insistence. All antiphons on psalm tones, responsories adapted from the Gregorian ones. I've learned a lot since then, which actually makes things more difficult. Dobszay and others were an eye-opener on the confusion.

    Anyway, my advice such as it is, would be to keep things clear and simple. Those Advent Vespers, for the small group who participated, were a wonderful way to keep the season, and to withdraw a little from the secular hullabaloo of anticipated Christmas for all of December. Gathering in the dimly lit parish church to sing the psalms and Magnificat expectantly was very spiritually beneficial for me. I often thought of that line in the post-Our Father prayer...."as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ."
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    > thank you so much for going into such great detail for this first Sunday of Vespers

    Actually it's second Vespers of Advent Sunday IV.

    There is a recent Latin/French book with the gregorian chants of the Liturgy of the Hours (day hours only, which excludes Office of Readings = Matins). I've never seen the book, but guess that it will make things much easier. This book was already discussed in this forum:
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Gavin - I agree that in our private lives we are free to pray as we will. A sign of the cross and a verse of Popeye the Sailor Man said each morning can, with the right mental purpose, be a perfectly legitimate personal Morning Prayer. We can just as easily say that there will be a Prayer Service at the church on Wednesday night and introduce anything we'd like.

    But when we as members of a church announce that we will celebrate Vespers/Evening Prayer or Morning Prayer, I believe that we are binding ourselves to the rubrics of the liturgy. This is particularly true when we invite members of the clergy to participate, but should hold even when they do not. People have a right to expect our being just as true to the rubrics of the Liturgy of the Hours as to the rubrics of the Liturgy of the Mass.