An Evening of Thanksgiving and Praise

Corpus Christi or the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ was celebrated on the weekend of June 1-2 this year.

This festival holds a special place in our hearts as it is the celebration of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and in our tabernacles. While the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a defining aspect of our faith as Catholics, it is also a mystery of the faith. Faith involves trusting in truths beyond our full comprehension. Easier said than done?

Actually, easier said AND done before the Blessed Sacrament. For Jesus comes to us when we receive the Eucharist with reverence and mindfulness. We can also enjoy a personal encounter with Christ when we spend time before Jesus in the Tabernacle during Eucharistic adoration.

This year, after the weekend masses were over, the faithful gathered for Solemn Vespers at 5pm on Sunday. Vespers is a service of evening prayers of thanksgiving and praise. This prayer comes from the Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours. It was a fitting conclusion to a wonderful festival.

Just before Vespers started, the Blessed Sacrament was displayed in the monstrance on the altar, which was beautifully decorated. After the Vespers’ hymns, prayers and reading, a benediction was imparted to the faithful.

The following are comments from some of the faithful who attended Solemn Vespers.

It was an intimate and special hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It was a time to check out of the busy-ness of day-to-day life and to remain quiet in order to experience and listen to what God wanted to place in my heart.

The Vespers prayers, adoration and benediction – the chanting of psalms, intentions and the choir – helped me bring to the altar certain situations that needed prayer and to pray for people who have asked me to pray for them.

When you can, take the opportunity to do nothing and just remain with Jesus during Solemn Vespers or anytime of the week before the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes silence before God is all we need for clarity. — Jeannette DNetto

I felt peaceful and humbled during the adoration in the presence of our Lord. How a sinner like me is totally loved and accepted. The Solemn Vespers can foster spiritual growth as a community. Times of specific prayers with a purpose, like this, are needed.

The next time we have Solemn Vespers, I would encourage others to attend. I would tell them to expect to be united with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and united with everyone present in prayer and worship. — Philomena Peterson

It was a moment of peace, reflection and unity bringing together people of all ages to end the day with spiritual enrichment. I found the chanting of the psalms, Brother Albert’s leading and the choir’s harmonious voices very uplifting. The communal singing, especially during the hymns, was a beautiful reminder of the strength found in unity and shared beliefs.

My husband, Jeffrey, appreciated the reflective nature of the Vespers. Our children — Jennevia (15) and Jeremiah (12) – had their own unique experiences. We asked them how they felt and they said it was powerful and peaceful.

Overall, the Solemn Vespers offered a moment of respite and spiritual nourishment for our entire family, reinforcing our connection to our faith and to each other.Jesslynn Jeffrey

It was my first Solemn Vespers. The structured prayers and the chanting of the psalms were restful and beautiful, and it helped me to give to God praise and thanksgiving on a very special day. Overall, there was a sense of calm, peace and prayerfulness which was a blessing for my soul. — Rachael Philip

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ makes me feel blessed to be a Catholic. Receiving Christ on the tongue reminds me that not only is the Creator of the universe humble enough to become human but He displays so much more humility when He transubstantiated from bread and wine simply because He wants us to receive Him physically. Where else can I find such humility and power? The Solemn Vespers was an opportunity to thank God for this sacrament. — Rekha Menon