Daily life at St. Augustine’s House – Vigils –
The office of “Vigils” is prayed at 5:10 almost every morning of the year. On Easter and Christmas it is delayed slightly. At New Years it is prayed before midnight with the Te Deum sung as the bell rings in the new year.
Vigils opens with the thrice-repeated versicle and response: “O Lord open my lips. And my mouth shall declare your praise.” The office continues with the opening Psalm of the day, called the “Invitatory” followed by three or four Psalms, then a bible reading and silence. Three or four more Psalms follow, after which a reading from various early Christian writers is heard, and more silence. On Sundays and holy days the Te Deum is sung, otherwise a prayer and Benedicamus end the office around 5:45 or 5:50 am.
In the Vatican II reforms, this office was renamed “Office of Readings” and can be prayed at other times of the day. Colloquially, Vigils is sometimes called “Matins” although that word is also applied to other liturgies.
NEXT TIME: Lauds