On Saturday, October 18, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary opened its chapel doors once again to the youth of Colorado for two hours of Eucharistic adoration known as Vigil Praise.
“Vigil Praise allows those who attend to anticipate the worship of the Lord’s Day through prayer and rest, regardless of where they are in their lives or whatever stress or joy they may be experiencing at the time,” said Chris Gossen, one of the coordinators of the monthly event. “Vigil Praise combines two great forms of worship, the traditional and the contemporary, so it brings a wide variety of people to worship our Lord.” Gossen is in seminary at St. John Vianney studying to be a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix.
Last year, Vigil Praise was relocated to St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial due to renovations on the buildings of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. Saturday marked the return to the Christ the King Chapel at the Seminary, the longtime home of the seminarian-run prayer service since its inception more than ten years ago. More than 250 faithful attended Saturday’s Vigil Praise event.
“The biggest thing I got out of it was seeing all these people gathered to praise Christ,” said Carter Montag, a student at CSU in Fort Collins and first time Vigil Praise attendee.
Vigil praise is a part of SJV’s outreach to the wider Denver Catholic community and often draws people from as far as Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Seminarians coordinate the event and perform all the music that is used to aid those in attendance in worshiping God, who is present in the time of Eucharistic Adoration.
“I was always encouraged by the young men I saw studying for the priesthood,” remarked seminarian Tom Scherer, who used to attend Vigil Praise when he was in college. “In them, I saw that a life of holiness is normal, exciting, and attainable with God’s help.” Scherer, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Denver, helps Chris Gossen in coordinating Vigil Praise.
“It is so important for the young people to come face to face with the Eucharistic Jesus who longs for us all so much,” said Joseph Goodwin, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Denver who helps with sound at Vigil Praise. “I experience a ton of joy and fulfillment when I can help that to happen for others because it’s so beautiful and it has changed my life bigtime!”
Music is central to Vigil Praise. Seminarians play contemporary praise and worship songs that draw the faithful into prayer. Additionally, they lead those in attendance in the Office of Readings for Sunday, praying together the prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours.
Stephanie Pott, a former FOCUS missionary who is a regular at Vigil Praise remarked on her experiences in attending. “I come to Vigil Praise because Jesus is here,” said Pott, “I love the music at vigil praise because usually it’s song that voices what my heart is already feeling and brings me closer to Him in prayer.”
Confession is also available for the many men and women who attend. “I am awed at the desire for holiness of all those who seek Christ in the sacrament of mercy,” reflected Scherer. “I think about this when I invite priests to come hear confessions. I try to find as many as a possible because I know it is an important part of the night for many people.”
“I guess I can say that from my time in high school till now, Vigil Praise continually calls me on to sanctity,” noted Scherer in reminiscing on this important ministry for the seminarians of St. John Vianney.
The next Vigil Praise event is set for November 15, 2014. To find out more about Vigil Praise or to listen to previous homilies, visit http://vigilpraise.weebly.com.