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We pray Morning Prayer (or Lauds) every weekday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the church.
We pray Night Prayer (or Compline) every evening (except Thursdays and Sundays) at 8:45 p.m. as we conclude Eucharistic Adoration
We sing Evening Prayer (or Vespers) on the first Sunday of every month as we conclude Eucharistic Adoration.
Q. What is the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours?
A. We are all familiar with the liturgy we celebrate together every Sunday, the Mass, or Eucharist. But did you know there is another liturgy of the Church, sometimes called “the official prayer of the Church?” It is the Divine Office, also called the Liturgy of the Hours, by which we sanctify every part of the day in union with people all over the world.
The Liturgy of the Hours is the universal, public prayer of the Church. Biblical readings lead the person who prays it even deeper into the mystery of the life of Jesus Christ. Throughout the world this gives the Triune God the opportunity at every hour os fthe day to transform gradually those who pray and also the world. The Liturgy of the Hours is prayed not only by priests and religious. Many Christians who take their faith seriously join their voices with the many thousands of praises and petitions that ascend to God from all over the world.
The Liturgy of the Hours has a very ancient history, stemming from the days of the first Christians. In fact, it is very similar to the way in which Jesus would have prayed. During the Middle Ages, it was very popular, and elaborately illuminated books were produced for people to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, called “Hours,” or “Books of Hours.” The rosary developed as a popular adaptation of the Liturgy of the Hours, with its 150 beads representing the 150 psalms used in the Liturgy of the Hours. Later, the Liturgy of the Hours was called the Divine Office, and it became the exclusive duty of priests and members of religious orders, who prayed it from books called breviaries.
The reforms of the Second Vatican Council restored the Liturgy of the Hours to all God’s people, and encouraged all Christians to avail themselves of this beautiful treasure of the Church. Many other Christian Churches, most notably the Anglicans (Episcopalians) kept the tradition of the Liturgy of the Hours through services called “vespers” or “evensong.”
Q. What is Morning Prayer (Lauds) or Night Prayer (Compline)?
A. The Liturgy of the Hours has the following parts:
Office of Readings. Also called Vigils or Matins, this was often prayed in monastic settings early in the dark hours of the morning. Today, Office of Readings is prayed at any time of the day.
Morning Prayer. Also called Lauds, this is the first set of prayers for the beginning of the day. Along with Evening Prayer, it is one of the two most important hours of the day.
Daytime Prayer. Also known as the separate hours of Terce, Sext and None, Daytime Prayer is now a single hour to be prayed whenever it fits into one’s schedule.
Evening Prayer. Also called Vespers, this is the most popular of the hours, when we begin to wind down our day.
Night Prayer. Also called Compline, this is the prayer we say before we retire to bed.
Q. How do I learn to pray the Divine Office?
A. Come to morning or evening prayer at St. Victor. There are also several good websites and smartphone apps you can use, such as:
Q. Do I need a book?
A. No. If you come to the church, you can borrow a copy of the Shorter Christian Prayer book, which contains Morning and Night prayer. Many prefer to use an Iphone or other smartphone app:
Q. Where can I buy my own copy?
A. Many people like to own their own book so that that they can learn how to use it and pray the other hours in private.
Christian Prayer. This is the one-volume edition of the Liturgy of the Hours. What makes it different from the four-volume edition?
It has only selections from Office of Readings and Daytime Prayer, but everything else is in here. This will be fine for our parish celebrations. It is beautifully bound and will be a treasured companion for years to come. Click on the image to order.
Need a large print version of this book? It’s available.
Shorter Christian Prayer: This is an even shorter one-volume edition of the Liturgy of the Hours with only Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer. This is also fine for our parish celebrations and very reasonably priced.
The Liturgy of the Hours: Four-Volume Edition. This has everything! If you like, you can also purchase the volumes separately.
Q. Does each hour really last an hour?
A. No. The “hour” refers to the time of day. The prayer usually lasts between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon how it
Q. What does an hour consist of?
A. The main part of each hour is a selection of three psalms (or parts of psalms or canticles from the New Testament). Office of Readings includes two readings (from scripture and the writings of saints or other documents).