Liturgy of the Hours Group - Our First Meeting!

posted 12 Aug 2017, 07:16 by Richard Eldridge   [ updated 12 Aug 2017, 07:17 ]
Our first meeting!  We began fifteen minutes earlier than we’d planned to meet regularly, as we knew we’d have some things to talk about.  It was very productive: we were hoping that the more-experienced members of our group would be able to inform the less-experienced, and that’s what happened.  There were also more of us than I thought there would be!  Five of us, eager to begin.

We came to some decisions about how we would pray Vespers:
  • We wouldn’t sing the hymns!  There are only a few of us for now, and not all of us are comfortable singing in a small group (myself included!);
  • We wouldn’t pray the psalms antiphonally (that is, alternating between two groups)  Again, there aren’t that many of us for now; we didn’t want to overwhelm ourselves as we were starting out; and, when we have new members join our group, we didn’t want to be praying in a way that might seem too technical or confusing;
  • We identified three distinct roles for individuals - Leader; Reader; and Presider - and decided who was to do what, and to guide us through certain parts of Vespers.
We started out with different versions of the Hours: some of us had bought apps; some had print-outs from the (free) Universalis website; others had full or abridged breviaries.  We soon discovered that some of these didn’t use the (under copyright) Grail translations of the psalms.  As it was the our first Vespers and the Universalis print-outs and apps were free, those of us with breviaries put them aside for the time-being and shared those.  We felt it was important to all use the same translations, so that our prayers were able to flow better.

We prayed a little falteringly at first.  As we progressed we began to pray together, coming to understand how we should pause and start and focus.  Praying Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament, it felt very much as Christians have come together to pray for thousands of years: groups bound in fellowship, meeting to give praise and worship and thanksgiving.  We might have been believers of the early Church, or those of more recent times looking for a general spiritual renewal.

At 7pm on a Friday night, Fr Chris usually leads a Bible Study session.  It wasn't on this week, though, as he was coming back from his annual retreat.  So, we decided to stay in the church and discuss the scripture reading for Vespers that evening!  A bit impromptu, but it felt appropriate somehow.  The opportunity to pray the Hours and to discuss scripture together is a great gift, and I hope it'll continue to develop and grow as time goes on.

Alex W.
(Friday, 11 August 2017; written on Saturday, 12 August 2017)