1st Vespers at San Pietro

I clicked on my Centro Televisivo Vaticano player for 1st Vespers from St. Peter’s Basilica.  The Holy Father presides.

The chant by the schola is improving.  They are singing alternately with the congregation.  From what I can tell, quite a few of the congregation are singing.

People will get used to singing at these events until it is again normal.

It is fun to spot people I know in the crowd.


Te Deum!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. HighMass says:

    Dear Heavenly Father,

    Please Keep your servant Benedict Safe in your Care as He is SUCH a Holy Priest/Pope/Sucessor of Peter….


  2. MBeauregard says:

    Is it just my imagination, or are more bishops making use of the biretta when in choir dress these days? Especially in Rome.

  3. Bea says:

    Beautiful Pictures. Sigh, oh to be there.


  4. Johnny Domer says:

    Looks like it was a beautiful event. It’s really gratifying to see the Pope leading by example.

    Does anyone know the significance of that statue of Mary in photos 13, 30, and 31? They’ve displayed it at a number of Papal liturgies, and I’m not sure why it’s such a prominent thing. Is it of some historical merit or importance or something? Because it’s really doesn’t seem like that great a statue. I mean, it’s nice, but I fail to see why it merits being put front and center at nearly every large Papal liturgy.

  5. anna 6 says:

    The new presepi is exquisite…a great improvement from previous years, in my opinion.
    Happy New Year!

  6. discerningguy says:

    Johnny, at the end of just about every Papal liturgy there is sung one of the traditional Marian hymns in Latin. At this time, the Pope typically goes to venerate the statue of the Blessed Mother. I agree that the current statue is not the greatest, but meh.

  7. VexillaRegis says:

    @Johnny Domer: I have been wondering the same thing about the Madonna. Maybe things look more balanced IRL. Anyway: VIVA IL PAPA BENEDETTO!

  8. It occurs to me that these pictures show Pope Benedict looking like a pope ought to look, and Vespers like it ought to look. And perhaps remind of the Vatican II recommendation (Sacrosanctum Concilium 100) that “Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief Hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in Church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts.” Largely ignored, of course, like so many of Vatican II’s liturgical recommendations, but now being followed by Pope Benedict. If only more bishops would follow his example, at least in their cathedral’s liturgy.

  9. thefeds says:

    I find the statue of Madonna and Child intriguing. I think the style and the facial features of our Mother and the Christ Child reminiscent of Our Lady of Walsingham. Father Z, can you shed any light it’s provenance?

  10. trespinos says:

    Excellent pictures. I don’t recognize anyone in the crowd, but it is always great to see Msgr. Cihak at the Holy Father’s side. I see from his internet profile that he is confessor to the postulants of the Missionaries of Charity in Rome. I trust no one is kidding him about being stoned to death with popcorn. :)

  11. NoraLee9 says:

    Beautiful pictures. Thanks so much, pater!!!

  12. wanda says:

    Absolutley beautiful. Thank you for sharing the glorious event and pictures.

  13. anna 6 says:

    I think that the statue is from Brazil (which explains the stylization) and probably has something to do with entrusting World Youth Day, 2013 in Rio to the Blessed Mother. My guess, anyway.
    I kind of like its quirkiness and naivete.

  14. Sandy says:

    Such beauty! So sad that the modernists don’t understand that this kind of beauty – architectural and liturgical – lifts one’s soul to God. It is a foretaste of Heaven. Happy and Blessed New Year, Father!

  15. Stumbler but trying says:

    I loved the pictures and sighed since I hope one day to visit the Eternal City and place myself in St. Peter’s square. The beauty of the ceremony so apropos in the worship of our Lord.
    Gracias, querido Papa Benedito! I am so happy he brings such humble dignity and faithfulness to the altar. Of Lord, bless him a hundred-fold! Watch over him and protect him always.
    Happy New Year to all!

  16. benedetta says:

    I tuned in to this Vespers as well. For the first time in a long while, I was able to enter into these prayers, even from afar and via tv, feeling less of a merely passively watching spectator.

  17. Jenelle says:

    In just over a month, we will be there.

    We were only there in April, it was so life changing, we just had to return.

    God Bless our Holy Father. These pictures make my heart swell with happiness.

  18. 1catholicsalmon says:

    Such beautiful photographs. Thanks for posting.

  19. Subimonk says:

    They are beautiful. At least our Holy Father is doing his best to make the Liturgy of the Hours the prayer of the WHOLE Church! I just wish that they’d ditch that electric wheelbarrow and bring back the sedia gestatoria. Just sayin’.

  20. JimGB says:

    Truly beautiful! Can any readers identify the Papal coat of arms that are on the Pope’s magnificent cope? They appear to be the coat of arms of Bl Pope John XXIII but I am not sure. Thanks for posting these Father Z.

  21. teaguytom says:

    Subimonk, I agree with you on the Sede. Brick by brick. First it was BJP2’s platform, now it’s a very decorated platform pushed by the Papal Gentlemen. Since the old sede has been restored(and B16 often uses it for liturgical events) it could be sat on the platform and pushed. He wouldn’t have to stand the whole ride down the aisle.
    JimGB, The cope he is wearing was made for BJXXIII. It was actually a Papal Mantum, a very long cope only the pontiff wore. I believe Paul VI later had it cut back to cope length. Here is a pic with the original length. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/e8/Pope_Paul_VI_wearing_the_mantum.jpg/220px-Pope_Paul_VI_wearing_the_mantum.jpg

  22. JimGB says:

    Thanks teaguytom. I think it is so great that the Pope and the current MC have restored the use of these treasured vestments of great historical significance instead of the “Amazing Technicolor Dream Cope” inflicted on Blessed John Paul II by the last MC.

  23. Pingback: The Church's Future is Bright | Big Pulpit

  24. God protect Pope Benedict XVI…I would love to see the throne away from the altar for Mass as well.

  25. Father K says:

    Could anyone tell me why the deacons incense the altar at the Magnificat at Papal Vespers?
    Just curious – thanks.

  26. vetusta ecclesia says:

    The Schola should be improving – they have had the choir of Westminster Abbey there to shew them how it is done!

  27. Laura says:

    Just beautiful pictures, Fr Z. Thanks for posting! How can I watch this live on TV like you?

    P.S. I sent a tweet to @Pontifex this morning as you suggested. Wonderful idea! And Happy New Year to you too, Father Z! Thanks for all you do.

  28. jesusthroughmary says:

    Now that there’s a mitre!

  29. momoften says:

    Thanks for the pictures! I was able to spot one of our seminarians (who attends NAC) in Rome
    in procession with the Holy Father. I sent a copy to his mother and sister. God Bless You Father!

  30. It is indeed fun to spot people you know – like the Msgr. to the right hand side of the Pope. A good and holy priest from our American Pacific Northwest.

  31. Jacob says:

    I’m surprised that not a single woman in the pictures has her head covered. There are more men (Swiss Guard) with their heads covered, than there are women.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    Jacob, I am in Malta and the only woman wearing a mantilla or hat even at the High Mass for January 1st. Women in some European countries have not worn head coverings for a long time. In Ireland, at the TLM at St. Kevin’s, most of the women do not wear head coverings. I was in the minority. Same for England, even at the TLM.

    The wearing of mantillas and hats is more common in American TLMs than in these three countries. I get compliments all the time, but the culture is against head coverings. Women in Malta also wear jeans to Mass, which I find horrid.

  33. Desertfalcon says:

    Wonderful pictures, Father. Thanks for posting.

  34. Therese says:

    “I just wish that they’d ditch that electric wheelbarrow and bring back the sedia gestatoria.”

    I frankly think he’d be more comfortable in the seat, too. But I suppose they worry about shooters. ;-(

    Beautiful photos.

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