Advice for Starting Sunday Vespers/Compline
  • avscvltaavscvlta
    Posts: 20
    I'm part of a small group trying to start Sunday vespers/compline at our parish.

    I've attached our implementation schedule pdf, in four phases. For phase one we will be using the Mundelein Psalter. (People complain it's too easy and expensive, but we WANT easy to start, and we don't care about price, because it's worth a lot more than $50 in our opinion!)

    I've also attached our (very detailed!) order of service pdf. (The green cells are where weekly updates are necessary.)

    If anyone is interested in this sort of thing, or has experience, we would welcome your comments and suggestions! We are particularly wondering if our order of service seems well constructed?
  • Avscvlta,

    I have now seen this thread, and will have several comments to make -- but I'm pressed for time this morning, and will have to come back to it.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,092
    Commenting from the pew, I would not like the length of pauses that you indicate in the performance notes. I know that this is a matter of much dispute, and I am with the numerous complaints to be found from monks in the middle ages about excessive length of the caesura. My preference is displayed in these two videos from Westminster Cathedral. This is from a Solemn Vespers, in Latin.
    And this Morning prayer, in English from the Lady Chapel, with congregational participation, and a few of the choir men. (First psalm at about 4:00) The sound recording quality is poor, but for the participants the echos are hardly noticeable, and it sounds ok from out in the nave for those waiting for Mass. The services in the Lady Chapel look like this, which also better represents the sound for participants.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • My parish began praying Vespers once a month, on the first Sunday of each month, about 5 years ago. It is an EF environment because it's a parish served by the Institute of Christ the King. The psalm tones are sometimes tricky, but not impossibly so. I wouldn't start with English at all, unless you're using Anglican chant and a beautiful English translation.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,325
    Our N.O. parish does E.F. Vespers (Latin), it originally used the Benedictine before changing to the Roman. I think the reason they chose the EF was that it was easy to buy a Liber Usualis and all the texts and music and English translations can be photocopied as there is no copyright to worry about.
  • This doesn't apply to the OP, but for those doing EF vespers, I highly encourage using Vespers with Gregorian Chant for Sundays and Holy Days ( as a resource. The structure is very easy to use; the notation is high quality; it contains the translations; there are additional musical options included.

    We experimented with one-off EF vespers for certain feasts, and after a year went to a full weekly schedule on Sundays. We've been doing the weekly vespers for 8-9 years (with a break in the summer months).

    To the OP, you may want to consider how to promote the availability. It is likely not enough to simply say that the LOTH will occur... there will need to be some program of "salesmanship" to PIP to get attendance.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 725
    Your far-right box at 1st & 2nd antiphon says,
    "Pause for 2 seconds at each (*),
    pause for 1/2 second at each (†).
    To be observed three times:
    When the concluding antiphon is"

    Further down the sheet, one can see where that sentence is completed, but it's a little odd, until you get there.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,325

    We have a set of booklets already made... mainly using scans from the L.U. For feasts that may not have come up I have a template and type in the chant using Ceciliae font, dropping in any texts from Divinum office. Although we have plenty of L.U. Antiphonal to sing from it is easier to produce a booklet rather than having 20 page turns (Low Sunday) while having to wander around the sanctuary following the rubrics!
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 107
    PIP POV, having chanted the Hours in various rites, contexts and languages where I didn't know my way around at first...there's nothing more encouraging and helpful than the person next to you taking the book from you, setting your ribbons, and pointing to the sections or page turns as you go along the first few times. You could pre-train some cheerful types to seed the congregation at first, or encourage the early adopters to be welcoming and helpful to new folks, for instance, to encourage participation.
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,407
    Angelus Press came out with a decent looking volume for Vespers - covers all Sundays and Holy Days. Same sort of style as what they did the abridged Divine Office and Compline books as well. (I'd be interested to compare the Angelus edition to the Bloomfield edition.)