On Tuesday, August 29th, members of the New Jersey Area gathered at the Shrine Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in Raritan, NJ, to commemorate the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, Primary Patron of our Order, with Solemn Vespers (Evening Prayer) according to the 1960 Divine Office.
G Bjorn “Gib” Delacruz, KM, organized the event by reserving the Chapel and coordinating the Chaplains, altar servers, and professional choir. The choir sang the Psalms of the Divine Office along with Renaissance Composer Tomás Luis de Victoria’s settings of the Magnificat and the hymn Deus Tuorum Militum (God Of Your Soldiers) which is the traditional hymn for Martyrs. James Griffin, KM, of the Philadelphia Area, and Executive Director of the Durandus Institute for Sacred Liturgy and Music, assisted as Master of Ceremonies to ensure the service was executed properly and beautifully. Area Chaplain, Fr. David Skoblow, ChM, presided over the Liturgy, and was assisted by Area Chaplain Fr. Bismarck Chau, ChM, and Fr. Edmund Luciano, KCHS, a priest of the Diocese of Metuchen.
After Vespers, Fr. Skoblow preached about the greatness of St. John the Baptist, and how he was martyred for defending the truth, specifically, about the sanctity of marriage. May we have the strength to emulate our Patron and speak the truth with courage, without regard to personal cost. The evening concluded with a brief period of Eucharistic Adoration followed by Benediction. A beautiful and prayerful time was had by all. We extend our thanks to the Raritan Oratory of St. Philip Neri for allowing us to use the Shrine for this wonderful occasion.