Arlington, VA (February 21, 2011)—The Institute of Catholic Culture is pleased to announce the presentation of solemn vespers on Sunday, April 3, Laetare Sunday, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Alexandria. Presiding at the service will be Fr. Franklyn McAfee and Fr. Paul Scalia from St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia. The time of evening prayer, often called Vespers, in which psalms and hymns are sung in thanksgiving to God, is a practice that stretches back to the earliest day of Christianity, rooted in the Hebrew tradition.
The Washington, DC-based acapella chorus, the Suspicious Cheese Lords—named after a loose translation of a title of a Thomas Tallis motet—will perform the requisite chants at the Vespers service. The group is well known for its medieval and Renaissance musical repertoire. It has performed before the Holy Father during His 2008 visit to Washington, DC. For nearly a decade until 2006, the group served at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington as its choir in residence.
Historically, Christians prepared for the great feast of the Resurrection, Easter Sunday, through fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Over time, devout Christians developed a forty-day long period of preparation, called Lent, in which the entire community readied themselves for Christ’s resurrection through rigorous acts of fasting and self-denial. In the midst of this time of spiritual struggle, indeed, at the mid-point of the fast, the Church, in anticipation of the joy of the Resurrection, spent a day of rejoicing, called Laetare Sunday. As this day of rejoicing closed at the setting of the sun, Christians traditionally gather together in prayer to thank God for the gift of Easter, a joyous day that is soon to come.
The service begins at 7:30 p.m. at Saint Mary Catholic Church, 310 South Royal Street, Alexandria, Virginia. All are welcome to join. For more information, please visit www.InstituteofCatholicCulture.org or call 540-635-7155.