Vespers is the service of evening prayer in the Church’s Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours. Typically celebrated at dusk, the prayers of this liturgy give thanks for the day just past. Its general structure includes an appointed hymn, two psalms and a New Testament canticle, one reading of scripture, intercessions, and the Lord’s Prayer. The highpoint of the liturgy is the singing of the Magnificat, the canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Spoken by Mary during the Visitation with her cousin Elizabeth, the Magnificat is one of the most ancient Christian hymns and possibly the earliest Marian hymn:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:64-55).
This ancient text is accompanied by the incensation of the church’s altar, in which something precious is sacrificed as an offering to God, and the sweet-smelling clouds of smoke rise like our prayers, recalling Psalm 142:2:
“May my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting of my hands as the evening offering.”
Sung portions of the liturgy will be led by the Vesper Choir and the St. Gregory Schola Cantorum, under the direction of Kirk Rich. We are honored to welcome and be joined by the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Schola Cantorum, under the direction of Dr. Douglas O’Neill. All are welcome to offer this evening sacrifice of praise with us.
For more information, contact Kirk Rich, 281.752.2465.