Vigil Office for the Departed

Vigil Office for Deceased Members of the New Benedictine Community

(To be used at the Death of a Member or as an annual remembrance of the deceased members)

The Gathering

Officiant: O Lord, open our lips

All and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,

shepherd and protector of your grieving people,

their beginning and their ending.

Lead us to a place of peace and refreshment;

guide us to springs of life-giving water;

wipe away the tears from our eyes

and bring us to heaven

where there is no more death,

no more grief or crying or pain

in your presence, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

All blessed be God for ever.:

Christ yesterday and today,

the beginning and the end,

Alpha and Omega;

all time belongs to him,

and all ages;

to him be glory and power,

through every age and for ever.

All Amen.

A paschal or other candle may be to be lit by each person present in their home (if online) or together in one space.

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,

banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

Psalms and Canticle

Refrain. All Proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,

and comfort all who grieve.

Psalm 130

1    Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord;

Lord, hear my voice;  ♦

let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2    If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss,  ♦

O Lord, who could stand?

3    But there is forgiveness with you,  ♦

so that you shall be feared.

4    I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him;  ♦

in his word is my hope.

5    My soul waits for the Lord,

more than the night watch for the morning,  ♦

more than the night watch for the morning.

6    O Israel, wait for the Lord,  ♦

for with the Lord there is mercy;

7    With him is plenteous redemption  ♦

and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

Psalm Prayer


you created and fashioned us,

you know us and search us out,

you abide with us through light and dark:

help us to know your presence in this life

and, in the life to come, still to be with you;

where you are alive and reign,

God, for ever and ever.

All   Amen

Refrain. All   Proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,

and comfort all who grieve.

Psalm 139

1    O Lord, you have searched me out and known me;  ♦

you know my sitting down and my rising up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

2    You mark out my journeys and my resting place  ♦

and are acquainted with all my ways.

3    For there is not a word on my tongue,  ♦

but you, O Lord, know it altogether.

4    You encompass me behind and before  ♦

and lay your hand upon me.

5    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,  ♦

so high that I cannot attain it.

6    Where can I go then from your spirit?  ♦

Or where can I flee from your presence?

7    If I climb up to heaven, you are there;  ♦

if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

8    If I take the wings of the morning  ♦

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

9    Even there your hand shall lead me,  ♦

your right hand hold me fast.

10  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me  ♦

and the light around me turn to night,’

11  Even darkness is no darkness with you;

the night is as clear as the day;  ♦

darkness and light to you are both alike.

12  For you yourself created my inmost parts;  ♦

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

13  I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  ♦

marvellous are your works, my soul knows well.

14  My frame was not hidden from you,  ♦

when I was made in secret

and woven in the depths of the earth.

15  Your eyes beheld my form, as yet unfinished;  ♦

already in your book were all my members written,

16  As day by day they were fashioned  ♦

when as yet there was none of them.

17  How deep are your counsels to me, O God!  ♦

How great is the sum of them!

18  If I count them, they are more in number than the sand,  ♦

and at the end, I am still in your presence.

19  O that you would slay the wicked, O God,  ♦

that the bloodthirsty might depart from me!

20  They speak against you with wicked intent;  ♦

your enemies take up your name for evil.

21  Do I not oppose those, O Lord, who oppose you?  ♦

Do I not abhor those who rise up against you?

22  I hate them with a perfect hatred;  ♦

they have become my own enemies also.

23  Search me out, O God, and know my heart;  ♦

try me and examine my thoughts.

24  See if there is any way of wickedness in me  ♦

and lead me in the way everlasting.


Lord of life,

we walk through eternity in your presence.

Lord of death,

we call to you in grief and sorrow:

you hear us and rescue us.

Watch over us as we mourn the death of your servant,

precious in your sight,

and keep us faithful to our vows to you.

All   Amen.

Refrain: All   Proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,

and comfort all who grieve.

A Song of the Redeemer

1    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,  ♦

because he has anointed me.

2    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,  ♦

to announce release from darkness for the prisoners,

3    To proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,  ♦

and to comfort all who grieve,

4    To give them oil of gladness instead of mourners’ tears,  ♦

a garment of splendour for the heavy heart.

5    They will be called trees of righteousness,  ♦

planted by the Lord for his praise.

6    For God shall make his righteousness and praise  ♦

blossom before all the nations.

7    Buildings long in ruins will be rebuilt  ♦

and the desolate cities restored.

8    And you shall be called the Redeemed of the Lord,  ♦

a city no longer forsaken. Isaiah 61.1-3,11b,4; 62.12.

Refrain: All   Proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,

and comfort all who grieve.

Lesson 1 Reflexion

In chapter 4 of Saint Benedict’s Rule for monasteries, our patron followed the spirit of other ancient monastics and did not try to suppress thoughts of death and last things. Benedict says simply, “Remember to keep death before your eyes daily.”

Early monks regarded such meditation on death as a way to live daily life more fully and in a detached way. Many stories tell of an open and uncomplicated attitude when it came to death.

Here is a story from the desert fathers before the time of Benedict: “News spread that an elder father lay dying in the desert of Skete. The brothers came, stood around his deathbed, clothed him and began to cry. But he opened his eyes and laughed. And he laughed again, and then again. The surprised brothers asked him, ‘Tell us, Abba, why do you laugh while we cry?’ He spoke, ‘I laughed at first because you fear death. Then I laughed because you are not ready. A third time I laughed because I am going from hard work to enter my rest – and you are crying about that!’ He then closed his eyes and died.”

(This is a time for a brief reflexion or homily or an informal sharing of memories or prayers).


John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


A Song of Faith


All God raised Christ from the dead,

the Lamb without spot or stain.

1    Blessed be the God and Father  ♦

of our Lord Jesus Christ!

2    By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope  ♦

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

3    Into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading,  ♦

kept in heaven for you,

4    Who are being protected by the power of God

through faith for a salvation  ♦

ready to be revealed in the last time.

5    You were ransomed from the futile ways of your ancestors  ♦

not with perishable things like silver or gold

6    But with the precious blood of Christ  ♦

like that of a lamb without spot or stain.

7    Through him we have confidence in God,

who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,  ♦

so that your faith and hope are set on God. 1 Peter 1.3-5,18,19,21

Prayers of Intercession

God of mercy, Lord of life,

you have made us in your image

to reflect your truth and light:

we give you thanks for N,

for the grace and mercy he/she received from you,

for all that was good in his/her life,

for the memories we treasure today.

[Especially we thank you]


[Lord, in your mercy

All hear our prayer.]

You promised eternal life to those who believe.

Remember for good this your servant N did in her/his lifetime,

as we also remember him/her today in community.

Bring all who rest in Christ

into the fullness of your kingdom

where sins have been forgiven

and death is no more.


[Lord, in your mercy

All   hear our prayer.]

Your mighty power brings joy out of grief

and life out of death.

Look in mercy on [… and] all who mourn.

Give them patient faith in times of darkness.

Strengthen them with the knowledge of your love.


[Lord, in your mercy

All   hear our prayer.]

You are tender towards your children

and your mercy is over all your works.

Heal the memories of hurt and failure.

Give us the wisdom and grace to use aright

the time that is left to us here on earth,

to turn to Christ and follow in his steps

in the way that leads to everlasting life.


[Lord, in your mercy

All   hear our prayer.]

All   God of mercy,

entrusting into your hands all that you have made

and rejoicing in our communion with our Holy Father Saint Benedict, his sister Saint Scolastica, and all monastics who have followed you in love, and fellowship, and all your faithful people,

we make our prayers through Jesus Christ our Saviour.


The Lord’s Prayer may be said.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

All   Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


Final Prayers

Almighty God and Father,

it is our certain faith that your Son

who died on the cross,

was raised from the dead,

the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.

Grant that through this mystery your servant (Name)

who have shared their life and ministry with our community and

who have gone to that rest in Christ,

may share in the joy of his resurrection.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of Continued Strength

Support us, O Lord,

all the day long of this troublous life,

until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,

the busy world is hushed,

the fever of life is over

and our work is done.

Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging,

a holy rest, and peace at the last;

through Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.


Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me, nor do i really know myself.  And the fact that I think that I am following you will, does not mean that I am actually doing so. But i believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you. And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if i do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore I will trust you always, though i seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my struggles alone. Amen


Community Prayer

Lord, you chose Benedict to follow you and made him the founder of a great religious family in your Church. May we in the New Benedictine Community be guided and inspired by his rule to live, where you have placed us, as brothers and sisters leading a life of prayer and service. Also, that we may increase both in spirit and in number as we labour for the salvation of all people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Blessing and Dismissal

May God give us

his comfort and his peace,

his light and his joy,

in this world and the next;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

All   Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

May (her/his/their) soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

All: And rise in glory. Amen.


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