Does anyone do Solemn Vespers Every Sunday?
  • I am doing some research on how to implement a successful Vespers program in a parish according to Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 100. Can anyone out there tell me who is doing this and what version or versions are you using? What kind of attendance is there? What is the demographic?
  • How I wish... My schola is improving, but they can't learn that much new chant in one weekly meeting.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,136
    Prof. Mahrt and his schola are still singing Vespers every Sunday, aren't they?
  • There is also St. John Cantius of course.
  • St Stephen the First Martyr Church in Sacramento, CA. has sung Vespers every Sunday in the Traditional form. This is a parish staffed by three priests of the Fraternity of St Peter, and the only parish in California wholly dedicated to the celebration of the Classical form of the liturgy. On ordinary Sundays some of my cantors sing along with the clergy, on bigger feasts it is choir and choristers. On the vigils of funerals, Vespers of the dead is sung.
  • What I am hoping to find are parishes who have a tradition of Sunday Vespers from before Vat II, and according to the directives of the Council, have continued it. I have heard that 50 or 60 years ago, it was much more common to have Vespers in parishes than today. What happened? Sacrosanctum Concilium said that every pastor of souls was to celebrate at least Vespers as a public celebration with the people in parish Churches at least every Sunday and on major feasts. What happened? I don't know of even one parish that is doing so in the city I come from.

    There is a post about Advent Vespers in which the difficulty of the choral Office is evident, if for no other reason than that there is a paucity of choral versions in the vernacular that are readily available. Popular editions usually do not follow the canonical text of the LOTH. There is now the Mundelein Psalter which is user friendly, uses the actual unadulterated texts of the LOTH, with updated collects for new saints, and even has the normative Latin breviary hymns from the editio typica/altera. Is anyone using this?

    I hear that the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City has Solemn Vespers with a paid schola and a priest celebrant every week. What about other places? My hunch is that the only parishes who are successful are the ones attached to traditional religious communities like the Canons of St. John Cantius or the FSSP?
  • The only church I know of that has had a continuous tradition of Vespers since before the council straight through to today is the London Oratory, sometimes called the "Brompton" oratory. They sing it in the same way they always have, according to the pre-conciliar books, but according to the new calendar.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    We have Vespers combined with Benediction every Sunday at my parish. We've met every Sunday at 4 since last Easter. Attendance is 15-20, and the regulars bring over the thurible, cope, etc. from the church to the adoration chapel. We don't use the organ. Kids come sometimes.

    My pastor makes up booklets, which are very easy after the first 4, because except for Feast Days very few things change. He pastes the little Mundelein tones over the Psalm. He leads, taking one antiphonal part of everything, and preaches. I start off the Office hymn and other hymns having to do with Benediction.

    The hardest part has been getting the little congregation to observe the pause between the first and second lines. It is very difficult to "lead" a pause. But to actually have vespers is proving pretty easy.
  • Thank you Kathy, would you be willing to let me know the name and city of your parish so that I could cite it as an example in my presentation?

    I have seen the Mundelein Psalter in use at a monastery of Brigittine monks in Amity, Oregon. It seems to be easy to follow along with.

    Jeffrey Morse, thank you for the tip. Vespers of the Dead sounds like a great way of doing a Funeral vigil. Is that the entire vigil? Do they do so with the body present?

    Is there any such thing in this country as Cathedral canons who chant the Office regularly? This would apart from religious orders/societies like the Canons Regular.
  • Vespers of the Dead is sung at St Stephen's when the body is present in the church for the vigil, it is generally followed by the rosary. The singing of Sunday Vespers and especially Vespers of the Dead is not common even in FSSP churches. None of the three FSSP priests who staff the church had ever experienced sung Vespers of the Dead before coming to St Stephen's. If requested a "Dirige" (Matins and Lauds of the Dead) can be sung before the Requiem Mass on the day of burial.

    In regards Cathedral canons, it is my understanding that the Council of Baltimore wouldn't allow this practice in the US. Pity really....
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    Saint Louis Parish in Alexandria, Virginia.