Sacred Beauty: Praying with the faithful across the globe

How do you go from praying with the faithful here in the diocese and the surrounding area, to praying with believers on every continent, all over the world?

For Sacred Beauty, an Approved Association of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport, it involved no international travel, no promotional campaign, and less than no budget – and it began when the prayer of the Church came face to face with a global pandemic.

“Sacred Beauty had always prayed the Liturgy of the Hours ourselves,” co-founder Dr. Paul Chu said, “and brought it with us – either Evening Prayer or Night Prayer, depending on the time of day – to all the public Eucharistic Holy Hours we led. When the pandemic struck, we suspended all public ministry, and focused on praying the full Divine Office together, aloud, every day.”

A bit of backdrop: as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Liturgy of the Hours “is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father…  [it] is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God,” to be prayed by “all the faithful as much as possible.”

Val Tarantino, co-founder of Sacred Beauty, noted, “As part of Vatican II, the Office was revised specifically to accommodate the needs of clergy and laity alike. This was integral to the universal call to holiness – which is the foundation for the empowerment of the laity, as the Council envisioned it.”

According to Dr. Roger Duncan, who taught at the former St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford, “Years ago, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stafford, told me that one of the most important things lay people can do is to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Yet so little has happened since.”

For Sacred Beauty, this was a challenge – and an opportunity.

“Outside of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, the Divine Office is the way the Church prays together,” Chu, who also taught at St. John Fisher, added. “We thought we should share some of our prayer online, to foster a community of prayer and contemplation for ourselves and others.”

Yet more was still needed.

“Recording in a sacred space is integral to our work,” Tarantino said. “Our authority to put our work online rests on two bases alone: that we are speaking the words of Scripture and the saints, and, even more, because we are there with our Eucharistic Lord, immediately in front of the tabernacle, praying to Him and asking Him to join our prayer to His.”

This involved finding an appropriate sacred space. Months passed. In August 2021, a door opened for Sacred Beauty – quite literally. Walking by the water in West Haven, the two founders had stopped to pray outside a church, when the apparently locked door came open under minimal pressure, onto an acoustically perfect, contemplative worship space. As it happened, the priest in charge of the parish was a former Episcopalian cleric whose daughter had been a regular adorer at Sacred Beauty Holy Hours. By October, the Sacred Beauty YouTube ( was posting Evening Prayer and the Office of Readings every day online.

“No promotion, no launch strategy – we just committed to the prayer and put the rest in the hands of God – which, by its nature, means beginning slowly.” Chu said. “Yet now, just in the last week, we’ve had people reach out to us from India, Austria, Norway, Mauritius, England, the Philippines, and more. Over time, we’ve added readings in the spirit and mind of the Church – from the saints and recent popes, poetry and literary writing, as well as original sacred music.  If we can increase our subscriptions, we hope that more people will be able to find this prayer – so much depends on the YouTube algorithm.

“Of course, it is easy to attract hits with politics, ideology, apocalyptic rhetoric, or claims of prodigies – all of which foment anger and fear among believers and invite ridicule from the world,” Tarantino said. “Consecrating a small channel of cyberspace as monastic is the experiment that hasn’t been tried.

“For instance, a small thing – we offer ‘monastic hospitality’ to everyone who prays together. We reply to every comment with as much warmth, welcome and gratitude as we can offer. We have received no trolling – on the contrary, our commenters are extremely insightful, engaged and affirming, in some cases reaching out to us in real spiritual friendship.”

In the midst of today’s online atmosphere, a charitable, peaceful comment box – surely the hand of God at work.