What is Sung Vespers (Evening Prayer)?
Every Wednesday evening, Catholic Campus Ministry offers Adoration with Sung Vespers in our chapel beginning at 8:00pm (after our weekly fellowship dinner). Vespers is the traditional name for Evening Prayer, which is one of the offices that make up the Liturgy of the Hours. Sung means we sing this prayer, rather than recite it.
Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of the Hours is the daily prayer of the Church, consisting of scripture (mostly psalms), writings from the Church Fathers, and intercessory petitions. People sometimes refer to the Liturgy of the Hours as the Divine Office, the Breviary, or the Psalter.
The Liturgy of the Hours is:
- Liturgy: this means it is an official, public prayer of the Church. When you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you are praying not just as an individual, but corporately as part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
- Of the Hours: it is a way of sanctifying time through prayer, thus reminding us of eternal realities in the midst of our temporal concerns. Each office or “hour” corresponds with a certain time of the day: Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer, and the Office of Readings (which can be prayed at any time during the day).
Who Prays the Liturgy of the Hours?
Clergy (deacons, priests and bishops), and professed religious (monks, nuns, friars, sisters, etc) are obliged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. Catholic lay people, though not obliged to pray the hours, are encouraged to participate in this daily prayer of the Church as much as possible. To facilitate lay participation, churches are encouraged to offer public celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours on a regular basis.
How Long Does It Take?
Praying Vespers (Evening Prayer) by itself only takes about 15 minutes. But on Wednesday evenings we pray it as a part of our Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration, which includes a homily, time for silent meditation, and Benediction, so the whole service lasts about an hour.
What If I’ve Never Prayer Vespers Before?
Don’t worry! We have prayer books (psalters) available in the chapel, and we offer brief instruction before we begin for any newcomers. Just follow along as best you can. It’s not complicated. Before you know it you’ll be familiar with the rhythm and routine. Speaking of rhythm…
What If I Can’t Sing?
Don’t worry! The psalms are chanted (in English) in a simple tone that is very easy to pick up. This is not a choral performance, so no one is expecting professionally trained voices. The most important thing is that you are adding your prayers to those of the Church. Chanting our prayers elevates our words to something beyond our ordinary speaking voices and serves to remind us of the sacred character of the scripture, which is the Word of God.
Praying with us on Wednesday evenings is a wonderful mid-week boost to your spiritual life. Whether or not you are able to join us for dinner before hand at 6:00pm, please consider coming to CCM at 8:00pm to spend some quality time before the Lord, praising Him with this ancient and beautiful prayer of the Church.