On the eve of a bishop’s episcopal ordination, it is a long-held tradition within the Catholic Church to hold an evening prayer service, also called solemn vespers, to put into context what will take place the next day.
The solemn vespers for Bishop-elect Jorge Rodriguez will take place the evening of Thursday, Nov. 3, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn. The event is open to the public, and all are encouraged to come and pray for Denver’s new auxiliary bishop.
The solemn vespers service will consist of the traditional evening prayers of the Church. Following the homily, Archbishop Aquila will bless the episcopal insignia of Bishop-elect Jorge Rodriguez, which include the ring, the pastoral staff (or crosier), and the miter. The insignia will be presented to the new bishop Friday during the Mass of Episcopal Ordination.
The ring, worn on the ring finger of the bishop’s right hand, is the symbol of fidelity to the nuptial bond he has with the Church. The ring of Bishop-elect Rodriguez is a gift from Archbishop Aquila, and it carries on it an image of Christ as the Good Shepherd.
The miter is the liturgical headpiece worn by the bishop when exercising his office. Two bands called “lappers” hang from the back, and it echoes the miter worn by the high priest in the Jerusalem Temple and a promise of the “unfading crown of glory.”
The pastoral staff, or “crosier”, is held in the left hand. A bishop carries it at liturgies celebrated in his own diocese. The staff of the new bishop is a gift from the priests of the Archdiocese of Denver, and was handcrafted by Colorado wood maker Bill Gorski.
In addition to laypeople, several civic and ecumenical leaders will be present at the vespers service, including JoAnn Windholz, State Representative of House District 30, Thomas T. Priday of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Father Ambrose Omayas of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver, and Metropolitan Alexandros, head of the Eastern Orthodox Metropolis of America, part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate).
Vespers are a part of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. The Liturgy of the Hours fulfills Jesus’ command to “pray always” given in the Gospel of Luke, and is an important spiritual practice within the Church.
While the event is open to the public, seating is limited, and there may be standing room only.
Thursday, Nov. 3, 7-8 p.m.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church
11385 Grant Drive, Northglenn, CO 80233