Cleansing Fire

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Compline at St. Mary’s in Auburn, NY

December 5th, 2015, Promulgated by benanderson

Joel Morehouse wrote an interesting article over at the newliturgicalmovement.org titled “A Catholic Praise Tradition?”. Do go read it. It concludes with this:

Here at St. Mary’s Church in Auburn, NY, we started singing Compline (Night Prayers) a few years ago during Advent and Lent. About fifteen to twenty of us sing the psalms and various prayers by dim candlelight, without any accompaniment. Another thirty to forty folks sit in the pews, taking it in quietly. It’s a new experience for all of us, and you’re welcome to take a look at the music we’re using here. The prayers and psalms are assembled after the old Latin Benedictine office, with Cardinal George’s favorite, the newly revised Grail psalms. I composed two new antiphons to satisfy the requirements of the new office. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

What would it look like if parishioners arrived Sunday about thirty minutes early, and sang Matins and Lauds (Morning prayers) before the Mass started? What parish communities are keeping the office? How do you see the ancient Catholic praise tradition becoming a meaningful part of your spirituality? Let’s start the discussion!

You can find the specific details about St. Mary’s Compline services at the catholiccourier:

St. Mary Parish, 15 Clark St., Auburn, will offer Compline (the night of prayer of the church), which will be sung in candlelight at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 and 13. It will be preceded at 7:30 p.m. by an organ recital performed by students from Eastman School of Music. Symphoria from Syracuse will present its annual Holiday Concert in at the church on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

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3 Responses to “Compline at St. Mary’s in Auburn, NY”

  1. Thanks for this post. One of the sad things about the modern day Catholic church outside of monastic communities is the near complete loss of the liturgy of the hours. The mass is very important, but it is not the only thing. Kudos to Joel for perservering with compline. Let’s see more of this.

  2. avatar Jim R says:

    How nice to see this. In ’78 I was staying with my college roommate’s family (OCA – St. Nicholas) over Easter in Auburn. I went to what I thought was the Easter Vigil service. The priest struck a match to light the Paschal candle at the start of Mass, and the normal Mass was said with the usual schlock music of the day. It was disappointing. Being before cell phones, I had told them it would be about a 2 hour service. I had a long wait on the steps of St. M’s. I really am glad to see that St. Mary’s is reclaiming the beauty of the LOTH. Those days were a a nadir in liturgical practice.

  3. avatar christian says:

    The only place that I knew of to be able to attend Compline in the past, was the Abbey of the Genesee with the Cistern monks at 6:40 P.M. Although I attended Compline there on occasion, I was a more frequent attendant of their Vigils at 2:25 A.M. after getting off work late from the evening shift.

    Around 2007, a substitute cantor at St. Michael’s Church, Clinton Avenue, Rochester, New York, informed me and some others about Compline at Christ Church on East Avenue at 9 P.M. following the 7 P.M. Mass at St. Michael’s Church, and invited us to attend. This substitute cantor was from the Eastman School of Music and she informed us that there were a few others in St. Michael’s Chamber Choir, who also sang in Christ Church Schola Cantorum for 9 P.M. Compline. I attended my first Compline in an Anglican/Episcopal Church that night in the Fall. I was moved by the reverence, excellent harmonious voices, and the aesthetic setting of candlelight. It was a Roman Catholic Office that they were observing in such an excellent manner! I wondered why Compline was not performed in this manner on a regular basis in the Roman Catholic Church.

    Needless to say, I continued to go back and attend Compline at Christ Church, East Avenue, on a fairly regular basis, often taking other family members with me, throughout their season of October to April. In 2009, Choir promulgated a post, September 29th, 2009, on Cleansing Fire, encouraging readers to attend Compline at Christ Church, East Avenue, at 9 P.M. every Sunday evening from October to April.

    Every time I have attended Compline at Christ Church, they had a large number of people filling the pews. The people who attend are from backgrounds besides Anglican/Episcopalian. Comments from those who regularly attend: “peaceful,””prayerful, “blessing,” and they state the Sunday Compline “helps prepare me for the week ahead.”

    What has probably made Compline popular at Christ Church for so many years is, in addition to an excellent Schola Cantorum every year, they host Compline every Sunday during October to April, at 9 P.M., with certainty. Christ Church is also in a central location, downtown, known to many. Christ Church places a free will offering box at the back of church as the people are exiting, to defray costs. The Compline at Christ Church has their own website page if you Google “Compline, Rochester, N.Y.”

    I applaud St. Mary’s Church in Auburn, New York for having Compline during Advent and Lent for the last few years. But I wonder why the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester in general, cannot facilitate an Office such as Compline on a regular basis, and other Offices of the day. Usually if a church in the Rochester Diocese observes Lauds or Compline, it is usually during a limited time.
    A parish church that I belonged to for many years hosted Lauds during the Tridium at Eastertime.

    I think various Roman Catholic churches within the Diocese could facilitate a different Office -such as one church facilitating Lauds and other church facilitating Compline.

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