Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pontifical Vespers at the Faldstool

Some readers may want to know how we have accomplished to bring back public celebrations of the Office in a small parish. This is a question we will explore in further detail as time goes on. For now, here are some snapshots of Pontifical Vespers at the Faldstool celebrated last Sunday by His Excellency Bishop Herbert Bevard of the Diocese of St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) while he was visiting Mater Ecclesiae Mission, the CTO author's home parish, in Berlin, NJ. Enjoy!

II Vespers of the 26th. Sunday after Pentecost (resumed 6th. Sunday after Epiphany) with no commemorations. It's 1962 after all, but it's a start. N.B. Both CTO and Divino Afflatu rubrics would have us chanting I Vespers of Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter & Paul w/ comm. of the Sunday.
Deus in adjutorium meum intende
The lack of space and singular benches prevented the two coped assistants (here seated at the sedilia) from being seated in the middle of the choir facing the bishop as the rubrics would stipulate:
During the psalms

First coped assistant intones the second antiphon

Gloria Patri at the end of Ps. 113

Another peculiarity (not pictured) of Pontifical Vespers is that the Chapter is not chanted by the Celebrant, but by the cantor while the bishop stands, still wearing the Mitre and facing the communion rail, with the two assistants on either side. If there were more assistants, they would have stood in a line facing the bishop.

At the Hymn Lucis Creator
Proceeding to the altar after the intonation of the Magnificat
Mater Ecclesiae being a smaller chapel, there is only one altar to incense.

Vested again with Mitre at the end of the incensation of the altar
The bishop is incensed by the first assistant

The Collect
There was no picture taken of the Pontifical Blessing, given from the altar sung from the Pontifical Canon placed in front of the tabernacle. We did sing the Salve Regina with its oration at the end, a small gesture of restoring older rubrics.


  1. Wonderful! Do you have Vespers every Sunday or was this a special occasion? Any chance of Mattins on December 24th around 10:30PM?

    1. We have either sung or solemn Vespers once a month, usually on the third Sunday of each month. It turns out that since Bp. Bevard was going to visit on a Sunday we would have Vespers anyway, that your unworthy servant suggested a Pontifical Vespers, being that His Excellency isn't quite up to speed yet to celebrate a Pontifical Mass.

      During Lent, we had simple, sung Vespers for the five consecutive Sundays before Palm Sunday. Our hope is to make all of these services be solemn as we get a regular and well trained serving crew to volunteer.

    2. As for Christmas Mattins, from your lips to God's ears! At 10:30pm, we'll be immersed with the usual pre-Mass carols. We lack available personnel to pull this off currently as our choir/schola director is tied up with practicing for Mass, and the priest is in the confessional.

      This is another reason to give more opportunity for the Sunday within the Octave Office to be observed unimpeded so as to accord another time slot to chant Christmas Mattins (not that this is planned), albeit with different lessons.