By Thomas Edwards ’20
Starting this semester at Providence College, St. Dominic’s Chapel has begun holding Compline Services every Monday night after the 9 p.m. mass. This came about from Daniel Arteaga ’19, the Campus Ministry Board’s student minister for worship.
With the task of finding events to engage students through liturgy and worship, Arteaga immediately thought of Compline as being the perfect service to do so.
“It was prayed among students beforehand, kind of in-between friend groups and things. It’s an official prayer of the church and something that the Friars pray all the time too, as well as the sisters,” said Arteaga. “So to kind of bring it out into the public, say come together and let’s pray Compline together, I just thought it’d be a lot of fun and kind of a cool Dominican way of celebrating a devotion and prayer together.”
Father Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P. , the chaplain at Providence College, runs the services. “When Arteaga asked if we could do this, I thought it was a great way to share part of the Dominican life and the Dominican way of praying with the students as well,” said Fr. Peter Martyr.
Compline Service is part of the Liturgy of Hours, which is a series of prayers said throughout the day by Friars and Sisters alike, which Fr. Peter Martyr said he “first experienced in my small community at University of Maryland.”
Compline service is not something that all Catholics have heard of, so when Arteaga asked Fr. Peter Martyr about doing it he said, “Let’s just give it a shot and see what happens,” which is why it is currently only held on Monday nights, but depending on how well things work out this first semester, the services could move to more than one night a week.
“It aims at really fostering the prayer life,” said Arteaga. “The main goal is to foster lives of prayer, lives that are closer to the Lord, and lives that are really entangled with community.”
Compline Service is not only for Catholics, however. Fr. Peter Martyr described the prayers as being “to God himself, but, they’re kind of situational and that’s kind of the beautiful thing about the Liturgy of the Hours is that the different prayers throughout the day are particularly for what is happening at that time of day and to help you come to a relationship with the Lord at that moment.”
It is a service that all are welcome to attend, with the goal of just entering the rest of your night with “a more peaceful, restful place in [your] heart,” said Fr. Peter Martyr.
As for the service itself, “it’s like the Catholic calisthenics,” said Arteaga on his first time attending the service himself. “I started getting into the hang of it, now those movements were second nature in a sense so I could start paying attention to the words and to the song.” It might be hard to follow at first, but eventually one gets the hang of it and soon “the texts and the songs start to really, really sink in.” Participation in the prayer will help students to relax and feel ready to take on the week.