I was very excited to hear of Pope Benedict's appearance today at First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent, as it is another sign of the Pontiff's thorough grounding in the liturgical piety of the Church. This is an intriguing moment in the ceremonial history of the modern papacy, as as far as I know, Benedict's public appearances thus far have been connected with papal masses rather than vespers and other additional services, and also St. Peter's tends not to celebrate First Vespers with much pomp, preferring Sunday evening Second Vespers. Seeing the Pope himself at First Vespers is a great way of restoring a hole in the Basilica's liturgical schedule, and also more importantly, continuing to promote the Liturgy of the Hours, still forgotten in some quarters of the Church despite being greatly loved by both JP II and Benedict XVI.
For more info, check out the photos at Yahoo.com
. The spectacular violet Advent cope Benedict has on more than makes up for the slightly funky green chasuble we saw at the Synod Mass. I'd go as far as to say it's one of the nicest modern-style vestments I've ever seen. It's a perfect symbol of B-XVI's pontificate--ancient and uniquely new all at the same time.