Vespers is the sunset evening prayer of the Church, has spiritually sustained the faithful for nearly two millennia. Evening Prayer gives thanks for the day just past and makes an evening sacrifice of praise to God.
Although painfully absent from parish life since the liturgical reforms of the last century, this newly typeset and edited volume provides everything a parish or individual needs to recite the evening office for Sundays and major feast days according to the rubrics of the 1962 Breviarium Romanum.
In addition to being printed with a dual-column Latin/English text, the book includes the Gregorian melodies necessary for singing Vespers in common; prayers to be said before and after the office; and an extensive introduction on the history of the breviary. Rubrics printed in red.
Sample Page from the Book of Vespers
The general structure of the Roman Rite Catholic service of vespers is as follows
- Vespers opens with the singing or chanting of the words Deus, in adiutorium meum intende. Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Alleluia. (O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia.) (“Alleluia” is omitted during Lent.)
- The appointed hymn (from the hymnarium) is then sung;
- The appointed psalmody is then sung: in the liturgy in general use since 1970 there are two psalms and a New Testament canticle, while in the older tradition, five psalms are sung instead. Each psalm (and canticle) concludes with a doxology (Gloria Patri) and is preceded and followed by an antiphon.
- After the psalms, there is a reading from the Bible.
- Following the reading, there is a short responsory consisting of a verse, a response, the first half only of the Gloria Patri, and then the verse again.
- Then the participants sing the Magnificat — the canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Gospel of Luke 1:46-55. The Magnificat is always preceded by an antiphon, and followed by the Gloria and an antiphon.
- The preces (intercessory prayers) are then said, followed by the Our Father, and then the closing prayer (oratio) and final blessing/invocation.
- The office is frequently followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.