The Second Vatican Council helped bring about a restoration of the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours,
as prayer of the people. Especially in the form of Lauds (morning
prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer), all members of the Church take
part in this liturgy.
At San Rocco, we regularly celebrate Vespers, in what scholars call a "cathedral" format, that is, in a form suited for parish celebration. Most of the liturgy is sung. There are separate roles for priest, deacon, cantor, and reader. There is ample use of movement, gesture, and ritual. For example, Vespers is preceded by a brief service of light, with attention given to the Easter candle. During the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary, incense is used as a sign of honor, around the altar. The people also may be incensed, after the ministers. On Sunday, as required by the Council of Nicea, the people stand during the liturgy and do not kneel. However, during Lent, when Vespers is celebrated, the people kneel down for the prayers, the intercessions at the end of the celebration. Vespers begins with the sign of the cross; the people also make the sign of the cross at the beginning of the Magnificat. At St. Rocco, Vespers is celebrated each Friday evening during Lent, after the Stations of the Cross.