As part of our Lenten liturgies at the parish we are holding Solemn Vespers each Friday evening at 5:30 p.m.
The time would work well, we thought, since we have the Stations of the Cross and Benediction at 7:00 p.m. on Fridays during Lent. People could come to Vespers, have an hour to grab a bite to eat and return for Stations (thinking that those who came to Vespers would more than likely return for Stations).
I expected about twenty people to attend. Maybe. So I printed up twenty-five copies of the program.
I donned my cassock (which is not uncommon), surplice and violet stole and cope and our music director brought out a small hand harp and plucked the tones at the beginning of the Psalms while we chanted them unaided. We even used incense during the Magnificat.
We used simple chant tones for the Psalmody and for everything, really. We chanted the Our Father in Latin (well, all right. I chanted it in Latin while others tried to find their way).
At the beginning of each Psalm there was, naturally, a bit of difficult catching on, but by the fourth verse of each Psalm, everyone was on the same page, so to speak.
I am delighted to say that we had thirty-five to forty people in attendance! I was quite surprised and elated!
How did the people respond?
We have our parish a very dear and elderly nun who rarely has an expression on her face. It isn't that she doesn't care or isn't happy, she just isn't easily excited or upset (as best as I can tell). She's a sweet woman, really.
I'm told that as she left the church her face was rosey and she carried a big smile on her face and said simply, "That was beautiful!" I could not agree more. God be praised!
I can't wait to see how many we people we have next week. It just goes to show that what I said earlier today is true.