Evening Prayer is one of the special “hours” of the daily prayer of the Catholic Church. This daily prayer is officially known as the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours. The Divine Office ranks second after the Holy Mass, and before all other prayer devotions, in our liturgy which is the common public worship of the Church.
Prayer for this office occurs during the “canonical hours” at morning, mid-morning, midday, afternoon, evening and at night (before bedtime). Priests are required to pray these “hours” usually with the use of a book known as a “breviary”. Lay people are also encouraged to pray this daily prayer and many do so – usually praying only the morning and evening prayer hours.
Here at St. Francis Xavier, we offer Evening Prayer on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week for any person who would like to attend. This prayer begins at 6:30pm and ends just before 7:00pm.
Evening Prayer is centered on the Book of Psalms and is therefore an excellent way to add the prayer of praise to your daily regimen. Interest in Evening Prayer has grown at our parish and as we pray before the Holy Eucharist exposed on the altar, we hope that it will be a particularly efficacious blessing to our parish and the community.
Our Evening Prayer may conclude with Benediction. Benediction is a devotion to the Holy Eucharist wherein the faithful sing a beautiful and easily learned Latin hymn in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. The priest then raises the monstrance above his head offering the Holy Eucharist as a blessing to all present. The priest will then “repose” the Blessed Sacrament by removing it from the monstrance and placing this Real Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle.
On days when Eucharistic Adoration goes overnight, Benediction may not occur after Evening Prayer. Benediction does occur every Saturday afternoon at 2:45pm before the start of Confessions and prior to the 4:00pm vigil Mass.