Incense at Vespers
  • avscvltaavscvlta
    Posts: 61
    We have a small group that has been singing Sunday Vespers and Compline at our church every week for about 5 years. A couple of us have been wondering about making incense a part of our weekly prayer. Can anyone offer guidance as to whether this is appropriate or recommended? If not for every week, maybe certain seasons or celebrations?
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 366
    Is there a cleric presiding?
    Thanked by 1avscvlta
  • avscvltaavscvlta
    Posts: 61
    No we never have a cleric presiding.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 366
    I'm not positive what precisely the regulations are in a situation like this, but it would strike me as unusual to use incense in such circumstances. Normally during vespers, the clergy are the ones who employ the use of incense as far as I know.
    Thanked by 2avscvlta LauraKaz
  • At vespers the officiant, if a priest, incenses the altar at Magnificat. Otherwise it is not used.
  • avscvltaavscvlta
    Posts: 61
    Thanks for the information. I think next time I speak with him, I'll ask Pope Francis if he can allow priests who deputize laymen to sing Sunday Verspers to also deputize the use of incense at the Magnificat. Makes sense to me. I'll let you all know what he says...
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    Compline never has incense, nor do the minor hours. It is only used at Lauds and Vespers, and in the Roman tradition, more solemnly at Vespers, where multiple altars can be incensed; at Lauds, only the choir altar is incensed, exactly as at Mass.

    I don't know about the Liturgia Horarum, but MJO is correct about the traditional practice; a priest is needed, presumably to bless the incense, which is bizarre insofar as Vespers can be sung without ceremonies, but with the full Gregorian melodies, not simply recto tono, with a deacon presiding as hebdom. The trick for the LH is that the incense is silently blessed in the new rite including at Benediction, which a deacon can give, and nothing is said at all when imposing the incense, whereas you bless the incense silently, having imposed it with the formula Ab illo benedicarisin virtually all cases, but there's no blessing of incense at all before Benediction, when it comes to the traditional rite. In other words, two very different things are happening in the two forms of the office.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,129
    FWIW

    Author: Father Edward McNamara, LC
    A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH
    Deacon's Role at Incensing
    ...
    In celebrations that foresee the possibility of their being presided over by a priest or deacon, the deacon carries out the rites in the same way as the priest unless the rubrics themselves explicitly make a distinction. Since this is not done in the case of blessing incense when a deacon presides at Lauds, Vespers, Benediction, a funeral service outside of Mass and other similar occasions, then it can be legitimately deduced that he may also bless the incense as it forms part of the normal rite.
  • Since this is not done in the case of blessing incense when a deacon presides at Lauds,


    Can a deacon bless incense? (I don't mean "is it allowed"; rather, is the blessing a deacon can give actually the same (in this instance) as the blessing a priest can give?

  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 312
    As I recall, deacon's can give any blessing that is not explicitly reserved to a priest, and as far as I know there is no such restriction on blessing incense.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    Right, because it's done silently. It entirely sidesteps the question of what's going on.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • I suspect that having a censer burning in a corner somewhere to add a "scent of prayer" is not problematic. I often do this myself while saying the Rosary.