Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday Sung Vespers in Tallahassee

I am happy to report on a local experiment to have a sung Vespers in Tallahassee. Probably a good chunk of the people who would be drawn to this blog will be familiar with the following text from the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:
Pastors of souls shall see to it that the chief Hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually (SC 100).

Just before this statement, the Constitution reads: "It is, moreover, fitting that the office, both in choir and in common, be sung when possible (SC 99).

As such, a small group of laity in Tallahassee, FL are seeking to institute a Sung Sunday Vespers at 5:00 on Sundays. At the beginning, we will use the Mundelein Psalter, because it is easy to use and easy to learn. Also, it is fully in keeping with the approved ICEL text of the Roman Rite Ordinary Form Liturgy of the Hours, while providing the actual Latin hymns (along with English translations) from the Latin edition.

It is interesting to see on a number of blogs that many believe that we are "rolling back" the reforms of Vatican II. Many of us seeing the implementation of the Council finally coming. If we were to implement a Sung Vespers, think of the opportunities:
  • A setting of worship much more suitable for ecumenical gatherings than the Mass (as we can see from the example of John Paul II and Benedict XVI every Jan. 25 for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul)
  • A way to more fully encourage the sanctification of the day, wherein the community has the opportunity to gather for worship in the Morning Mass, but the evening Sacrifice of Praise.
  • A greater familiarity with the Psalter, our truly divinely inspired prayer book (and, for that matter hymnal). As we rarely hear the propers sung or recited during the liturgy through an accident of history, an embrace of Sunday Vespers can be all the more crucial in implementing a greater call for familiarity with Scripture.
These are just a few of the ideas that could come to mind. Our first meeting, to learn to sing the hours, is scheduled for this Sunday, September 19th. I ask for your prayers in this endeavor, and hope that our actions here may encourage others to act in a similar fashion.

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