Cleansing Fire

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Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form . . . In Rochester!

March 3rd, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

It’s a great privilege to be able to report something beautiful coming out of the Diocese of Rochester. Word has come to us that this past Sunday saw a sung Vespers service at the Carmelite Monastery. The entire Vespers service was sung in Latin, in the Extraordinary FormĀ  (i.e. Pre-Vatican II form), and was a historic occasion. This is the first time in over 40 years (to our knowledge) that Solemn Vespers have been sung in this manner. There have been many beautiful Vespers services offered since the Council, but none ever implemented the full ceremonial witnessed on Sunday at Carmel.

The particular version of Vespers which was used is from something called “the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin,” an alternative to the full Divine Office which was and is a daily obligation for clerics. The “Little Office” was sung or recited in many monastic communities, and was a very popular devotion in the Church dating all the way back to the 8th Century. Mainland European visitors to England in the 15th Century remarked that almost every layperson in sight either had a copy of the Little Office, knew it partially, or had easy access to its recitation at church. Vespers was actually considered one of the most beautiful ways the laypeople could participate in a church service.

However, after the Second Vatican Council, the Little Office (and several others like it) fell out of use and favor. However, with the 2005 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the Little Office was resurrected for regular use by priest and layperson alike. And look at the results! To think that within a few short years of the resurgence of the Latin Mass and its accompanying splendors we would see something such as this presented by Rochesterians is miraculous. (I was elated beyond words when I saw this video pop up in my inbox. Talk about partaking in pre-Lenten indulgences . . .)

The translation and order of service for the Office can be found at this link, graciously provided by some of our readers who were fortunate enough to attend the event.

Just a reminder: if you ever hear of an event along these lines, please let us know! We would love to promote things such as this!

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8 Responses to “Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form . . . In Rochester!”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    Heaven on earth!

  2. avatar Bernie says:

    Very beautiful.

  3. avatar D says:

    All I can say is, “Lord, deliver us from gloomy saints!” (Thank you St. Theresa, for that apt quotation.)

  4. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    D,
    easy rebuttal: reverent worship never has and never will be equivalent to gloomy saints.

  5. avatar Matt says:

    Well, I now understand those folks that think some traddies are just plain uptight. The pimpernel is quite the condescending arse.

  6. avatar Mike says:

    “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'” – Jesus, addressing some Pharisees, as quoted in Matthew 9:13.

    “The quotation [from Hosea 6:6] is used to emphasize God’s overwhelming preference for true inward devotion over the external observances even of the Law. – A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.

    The more I read this Pimpernel guy, the more he sounds like a liturgical Pharisee to me.


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