Students join together in weekly prayer
Entering Malloy Hall’s chapel of Mary, Seat of Wisdom on a Wednesday evening, a Catholic student would be met with a sight simultaneously familiar and foreign: Anglican Evening Prayer.
Evening Prayer in the Anglican tradition parallels in many ways both the Catholic Liturgy of the Hours and the Liturgy of the Word in Mass. Approximately half an hour long, the prayer features hymns, antiphons, Psalms, collects, canticles, and two readings from Sacred Scripture (called Lessons).
With features Catholics would recognize, the Anglican Evening Prayer seems familiar; however, due to differing translations and slight variations in the order of the prayers, it is, at the same time, something unmistakably different.
Anglican evening prayer was brought to Notre Dame’s campus by Benjamin von Bredow, who is pursuing his Master’s of Theological Studies. Himself an Anglican, and feeling the absence of his undergraduate community, von Bredow joined with some of his classmates to begin praying evening prayer together once a week.
“I know a number of Anglicans/Episcopalians on campus who haven’t connected with a local Anglican church,” von Bredow said, “ … and these people, some of whom I have met through Evening Prayer, have been very grateful that there is an opportunity to pray in an Anglican way on campus.
Rachel Ramsey, a PhD candidate in history, and her husband Robert, a software developer, are both members of this new Anglican community at Notre Dame. They shared their thoughts with the Rover:
“It’s just a nice place to get together, just because there isn’t necessarily that space offered otherwise,” Ramsey said. Her husband added, “There are, at least we encounter, a good number of Anglican students at different points of time, both grad students and ungrad, and there didn’t seem to be anything like this.”
In addition to fostering community among Anglican students, von Bredow stated his belief that this opportunity for prayer would strengthen the ecumenical movement on campus.
“Greater reconciliation between the churches can only be achieved if Christians are willing to pray with one another,” von Bredow stated, “I think that this is exactly the kind of ministry that should be encouraged on Catholic campuses, in light of Vatican II. The Council made great steps forward—and the Catholic Church has made great steps since, as well—to encourage ecumenical dialogue and prayer.”
Von Bredow continued to state how Anglican evening prayer could help strengthen a Catholic faith: “For Catholics, Anglican Evening Prayer can be a useful broadening experience, introducing them to the ways that another Christian group prays … It is an opportunity to pray with fellow students, and to be formed by the Liturgy of Hours, which is a spiritual practice encouraged by the Catholic Church as much as by Anglicans.”
Von Bredow also noted that there is a tradition within the Catholic Church which uses the Anglican Book of Common Prayer: “Anglican Daily Prayer is actually a form of the Liturgy of Hours within the Catholic Church since Pope Benedict created “Personal Ordinariates” in North America, Britain, and Australia to accommodate Anglican converts to Catholicism.”
When asked what effect he hoped having Anglican evening prayer on campus might have, von Bredow stated, “The effect I hope for is really just the event itself: students praying together.”
Mr. Ramsey shared an additional hope, “We do also want it to be a nexus of, like, maybe begin a community of high-liturgical Anglicans here on campus and, then, you know, obviously for non-Anglican students to be able to encounter that.”
Anglican evening prayer is held at 5pm every Wednesday in the Malloy Hall chapel.
Evan Holguin is a senior in the Program of Liberal Studies. He looks forward to graduated life full of reading books and petting cats. You can contact recommend books and/or cat breeds at firstname.lastname@example.org.