One of the ways a college seminarian forms devout habits is through daily participation in the Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours. Flowing from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours extends one’s sacrifice of praise throughout the day.
Through “psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles” (Ephesians 5:19), a seminarian comes to know and love the glorious works and official prayers of the Church. He is also keenly aware that he is praying them in union with bishops, priests, deacons, and religious throughout the world.
The “bookends” of the Divine Office are Morning and Evening Prayer. In Morning Prayer (Lauds), seminarians dedicate the day to the Lord and ask that their work, and the work of the Church, be blessed and become leaven for the world. In Evening Prayer (Vespers), seminarians thank God for the gift of light and petition for divine protection throughout the night.
Vespers is one of the more sacred and robust Hours of the Liturgy. Vespers begins with an opening antiphon, typically the beautiful petition, “Oh God, come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me,” followed by the Psalmody, a reading, the Magnificat, and additional prayers.
Solemn Vespers, normally done on High Feasts and Sundays, is a wonderful opportunity for the laity to become acquainted with the daily prayer of the church. It’s also a great chance to meet the seminarians of St. Joseph College Seminary. You are welcome to join us for Solemn Vespers at St. Ann Church in Charlotte on the following Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
- February 3, 10, and 24
- March 3, 10, and 31
- April 14 (Palm Sunday) and 28
- May 12 (final vespers of the school year)
You can learn more about Solemn Vespers on our website. You can also see and hear a sampling of Solemn Vespers in the video below.