Special Advent Vespers

Nov 25, 2019

Join us for Vespers as we sing the "O Antiphons"

Beginning Sunday, December 17th, on the Third Sunday of Advent, The Church of the Resurrection will mark the final week of Advent with the ancient tradition of the singing of Vespers on each night of this week. Are you ready to start a new, very meaningful family tradition this year?

The Vespers for this week are special in that each of these liturgies contain special text that is associated with the singing of the “Magnificat” chant which holds pride of place in the Vesper liturgy. The Magnificat text is the Canticle of Mary, which Mary exclaims after being visited by her cousin Elizabeth in the Gospel of St. Luke. In the Catholic Church, we sing this text every time we sing the divine office of Vespers. It is especially meaningful during this final week of Advent in that each day the canticle is preceded by a different Antiphon. For instance, on December 17th we will all sing the antiphon, “O Sapientia” or “O Wisdom” before and after the canticle.

Each day is set off by a new text:

December 17: “O Sapientia” (O Wisdom)
December 18: “O Adonai” (O Lord)
December 19: “O Radix Jesse” (O root of Jesse)
December 20: “O Clavis David”(O key of David)
December 21: “O Oriens” (O rising sun)
December 22: “O Rex gentium” (O King of the nations)
December 23: “O Emmanuel” (O who God is with us)

In his writings on the singing of the “O Antiphons,” Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB gives further insight into the traditions of the singing of these texts:

The structure of these texts starts with an invocation to the Messiah with a title inspired by the Old Testament; then the title is expanded and developed; finally, the text concludes with an appeal for the Messiah to come and act on our behalf according to the title given to him at the beginning of the antiphon. (The first letter of these titles when read backwards (E-R-O-C-R-A-S), spells the Latin words “ero cras” = “tomorrow I shall be here.”)

At the Church of the Resurrection, we have continued the tradition of singing the Office of Vespers each Sunday evening at 7:00 pm, after the close of the 5:30 Mass. During this final week of Advent, we will gather at 6:00 pm each night (with the exception of Sunday which will still happen after Mass) in the church as a very special way to prepare ourselves for Christmas.

If you have never participated in the Vesper service at the Church of the Resurrection, you may be slightly intimidated on how to enter in. We will be offering a special tutorial for those that would like to enter in using the simple chant melodies from the Mundelein Psalter. This is a particularly approachable vehicle for the singing of the Divine Offices from the Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. Check back on this site for further updates on this tutorial. It should also be said, that a person may also choose to actively participate through prayerful silence and will also be able to take much away from the experience.

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