Exploring prayer and devotion opportunities on campus


As a Catholic university, Notre Dame offers its students a wide range of opportunities for practicing the faith. Dorm Masses, prayers at the grotto, and Masses at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart are perhaps the most well-known aspects of this faith life on campus, but there are several more obscure opportunities available to students as well. These opportunities allow students to pray in new modes and explore different ways in which the Church has prayed throughout history.

Latin Mass: Latin Mass, also known as Tridentine Mass or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, is offered every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in Alumni Hall. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, which took place in the 1960s, Mass was said exclusively in Latin. Vatican II decreed that Masses could be said in the vernacular language of a region, in order to make it more accessible to the faithful.

However, in 2008, the student group Children of Mary began the practice of attending weekly Latin Mass on Sunday mornings.

Jacob Lindle, current president of the Children of Mary, told the Rover that the initiative was taken “in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter … entitled Summorum Pontificum, in which he encourages priests and laity to preserve this beautiful liturgy that has been so formative throughout the Church’s history.”

Latin Mass offers a unique opportunity for students to experience and participate in a piece of the Church’s history.

“I was actually deeply moved by its sense of mystery and reverence,” Lindle said of his experience attending Latin Mass. “I often find myself running through the motions of the Ordinary Forms of the Mass, but every time I go to the Extraordinary Form, I am constantly called out of myself to enter into the true heart of the Sacrifice of the Mass.”

Vespers: Vespers, also known as Evening Prayer, is a long-standing tradition of the Church. It is part of the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the practice of praying certain psalms, hymns, and other prayers at specific times throughout the day. The exact origin of the Liturgy of the Hours is unknown, but the earliest Christians prayed in the mornings and the evenings in a similar manner. By the Middle Ages, many Christians were regularly practicing the formal Liturgy of the Hours. Students and parishioners gather in the Basilica every Sunday evening at 7:15 p.m. to pray Vespers.

Shaun Evans, a sophomore pursuing the joint philosophy and theology major, attends Vespers at the Basilica most Sundays. “I go to vespers to enter into prayer with the Psalms led by a beautiful choir,” Evans told the Rover.

“The part of the introductory rite when [the priest] enters in the dark carrying the Paschal candle and chanting about Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is also one of my favorite parts of vespers,” he continued. “I often tell people that Sunday vespers is one of the hidden gems of prayer opportunities are Notre Dame. It’s a beautiful liturgy and something everyone should experience at least once.”

Byzantine Mass: The Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy is a new opportunity for worship on campus, offered on the first Sunday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the Malloy Hall Chapel. The first Mass was celebrated on October 4. Most religious opportunities at Notre Dame focus on Roman Catholic traditions and rites, but according to the Campus Ministry website, the practice of having Byzantine Catholic Mass offered on campus “manifests the university’s commitment to expressing and celebrating the fullness of the Catholic tradition in all its diversity.”

Students can become involved with the Byzantine Catholic Mass in a variety of ways, according to Father Khaled Anatolios, who worked with Campus Ministry to begin this initiative.

“All students are welcome to join us in the celebration of the liturgy,” Fr. Anatolios told the Rover. “Among other opportunities for getting involved, students can join the choir, do the scripture readings, and be altar servers. Interested students can email ndbyzcath@gmail.com.”

Lucenarium: Lucernarium is another unique opportunity for students to participate in the Catholic faith life of campus. This prayer service is a candlelit form of Compline, or Night Prayer, and is a part of the Liturgy of the Hours. Like Vespers, it consists of readings, psalms, and hymns, although the specific prayers are different from those said during Vespers.

At Notre Dame, Lucernarium is held every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. at the Moreau Seminary. Besides providing students with a different way of praying in community, Lucernarium also allows Moreau seminarians a chance to practice preaching.

Gabriel Griggs, a seminarian at Moreau, spoke with the Rover about this opportunity. “Liturgy of the Hours is the universal prayer of the Church and I find it to be a rich way to pray, especially when it is chanted,” Griggs said. “We invite you to come and pray with us and to stay for the soiree afterwards. It is a beautiful liturgy and also a great way to get a sense of what life is like in Moreau.”

At Our Lady’s University, the rosary is said daily at 11 p.m. at the Grotto. A group of students gathers at this time to pray together. The rosary prayer is said to have been given to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Mother in the 1200s. Many Catholics have found great comfort in praying the rosary, and it continues to be widespread as both a private devotional and a public prayer service.

Adoration: Eucharistic adoration is offered Monday through Friday at the Coleman-Morse Center chapel from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During this time, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the monstrance and students are welcome to spend time in prayer and quiet reflection before the Blessed Sacrament. Students may also commit to a particular half-hour time slot every week by signing up on the Campus Ministry Eucharistic Adoration website.

Alex White, a Campus Ministry Anchor senior intern, spoke with the Rover about this unique opportunity on campus. “Adoration is an effective environment to focus on prayer,” White said. “In the face of Jesus, I’ve found that it’s easier to remain focused and centered in my prayer. … I’ve found that the adoration during the week creates a wonderful continuity between my life of prayer and my life as a student.”

EXALT: Besides daily Eucharistic adoration, a group of students organizes an EXALT Adoration Night once a month, typically on a Friday. During these evenings, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, and students come together to worship and adore as a group. They sing songs, read Scripture, and spend time in reflection. EXALT is a new initiative that began this semester.

Adrianna Duggan, a sophomore psychology major, told the Rover, “I love attending EXALT. It gives me an opportunity to spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with others, but also is a very individual type of prayer. It gives me time to be loved by the Lord and love Him in return.”

Overall, the possibilities for new and different types of prayer are endless. Notre Dame presents an array of different ways for students to practice their faith.

Brie Bahe is a junior neuroscience and behavior major with a minor in philosophy. She drinks copious amounts of coffee and enjoys wearing wool socks. Contact her at bbahe@nd.edu.