You are on page 1of 5

Liturgy of the Hours Help Guide

This is a guide to help you ease into the tradition of the Liturgy of the Hours as prayed at Mount Angel Seminary. There are many ways of praying the Hours, and no single way is better than any other. When we gather to pray the Hours as a Seminarian community, we pray them in a specific manner so that our voices are raised in unison. Hang in there if you are a little confused about what is happening. The more you pray the Hours, the more things will become clearer to you. In no time, you will be a seasoned veteran, and will be ready to help a new crop of Seminarians learn this timehonoured tradition.

Section 1 Sections of the book.

While we recommend that you use the four volume set in order to get all the prayer options, some people will arrive with the one volume Christian Prayer book, or even the Short Christian Prayer book. While these books will work for Morning and Evening Prayer, you will not be able to do the Office of Readings and the Daytime Prayers. The Beginning of the book will have a contents page that will give you the exact page numbers of these sections. This will give you an overview of the sections. 1) Proper of Seasons These are readings, prayers, antiphons, and responses that are appointed for a particular day in the Liturgical Calendar. When you look in this section you will see that it is broken into specific Liturgical weeks and then specific days. The readings, prayers, antiphons, and responses are meant to be used on that very specific day. For example: a. Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time Wednesday b. Fifth Sunday of Lent c. Third Week of Easter Thursday 2) Solemnities Not all the volumes of the Liturgy of Hours have this section. In fact, only the Ordinary Time volumes have this section. The Advent & Christmas Season and the Lenten & Easter Season volumes do not have this section. Like the Proper of Seasons, these are the readings, prayers, antiphons, and responses that are used for Solemnities whose date is not fixed in the Liturgical Calendar, and can occur on different days. Think of these as things like moveable Holy Days of Obligation. You should be aware of them, because you will use them on the following Solemnities: a. Trinity Sunday First Sunday after Pentecost b. Corpus Christi Thursday after Trinity Sunday c. Sacred Heart Friday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost d. Christ the King Last Sunday in Ordinary Time

3) The Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours This section gives you all the details on how to pray the parts of the Hours. It has the full prayers to start each Hour, the full invitatory Psalm, the full Canticle of Zechariah (morning prayer), and the full Canticle of Mary (evening prayer). This is basically a long instruction manual for praying the Liturgy of the Hours, but stuck in the middle of the book. Go figure. 4) Psalter This is place to get all the general Psalms, readings, antiphons, responses, intercessions, etc., used to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. It works off of a four-week cycle for all prayer-hours, except Night prayer. Night Prayer runs on a one-week cycle. a. How do I know which week to use? Great question. There are several ways to know which week we are on. i. Come to Morning Prayer and see the signboard. This will tell you the page number we are using in both the one-volume and the fourvolume. Thereafter, move your ribbon after each prayer session is over to the next one. ii. Purchase a copy of the Saint Joseph Guide for the Liturgy of Hours. This is also available for the one-volume book as well. It will tell you what week to use. iii. Go online to This website uses the American translation of the Liturgy of the Hours and will tell you what week we are in. iv. In ordinary time do the math. Take the ordinary week number and subtract the closes multiple of four (that is smaller). The remainder tells you what week to use. If the remainder is 0, then use Week 4. 1. Example: If it is Ordinary Week 18, the closest multiple of 4 is 16. 18-16=2. Use Week 2. If it is Ordinary Week 20, the closest multiple of 4 is 20. 20-20=0, so we use Week 4. v. The Season of Advent/Christmas starts with Week 1, and just cycles through the process until the end of the Season. vi. The Season of Lent/Easter has instructions listed on the title page for this section. A quick summary: Ash Wednesday (and the following three days) use Week 4. First Sunday of Lent, use Week 1, and then rotate through the weeks as normal. Holy Week doesnt use the Psalter, all the Hours are prayed from the Proper of Seasons. After the Octave of Easter, Week II of the Psalter is resumed on Monday of the Second Week of Easter. 5) Proper of Saints This section is just like the Proper of Seasons, but instead of being used for specific days of a Liturgical Week, they are for specific calendar days based on the regular old Gregorian calendar. As the name suggests, these are specific days to celebrate a specific Saint or unique aspect of a Saint. Examples include: a. April 25 Mark, Evangelist.

b. August 22 Queenship of Mary. c. November 1 All Saints Day. 6) Commons This section contains readings, prayers, antiphons, responses, intercessions, Psalms, and Canticles to be used in conjunction with the Proper of Saints. Sometimes, we celebrate a Saint who isnt popular enough to have all the information written to do a complete Liturgy of the Hours from that section. When this is the case, you come to the Commons section to get any missing information. We call it the commons section because it has information for common categories. The specific Day in the Proper of Saints will tell you which common category to go to in order to find the missing information. a. Common categories include things like: i. Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary ii. Common of apostles iii. Common of martyrs iv. Common for several martyrs b. What if there are multiple common categories listed in the Proper of Saints? This is a wonderful question. When this happens we usually default to the first category that is listed. If we have recently celebrated another Proper of Saints day that used this same category, we would have the option of using one of the other categories listed. In general, we like to choose the category that is most relevant to the life of the Saint, but without getting monotonous.

Section 2 Progressive Solemnity

Just like our masses have differing styles, from low masses on weekdays, to Sunday masses with the Gloria, to high masses on Christmas Day and Easter with all the bells and whistles; so to do we have varying degrees of formality in the Liturgy of Hours. This section will explain the degrees of formality that you will experience while praying the Hours. 1) Ferial Days these are plain old, nothing out of the ordinary days. Think of these as the weekday masses. There are no special prayers for these days. 2) Optional Memorial These are Feast Days found in the Proper of Saints but whose celebration is optional. They are included because many parts of the world celebrate this Feast Day, but not all do. In general, Mt. Angel treats these optional memorials as Ferial Days with a small amount of pizazz. 3) Memorials These are obligatory Feast Days that are generally celebrated throughout the Church, or are local Saints that your region celebrates with more pomp and circumstance than a normal Ferial Day. Here at Mt. Angel we use a mix of the ordinary Psalter, and the Proper of Saints to make this a special prayer day.

4) Feasts These are special days that the whole Church celebrates and treats with special Liturgy of the Hours. Feasts are generally dedicated to apostles, and special days in the life of Jesus and Mary (Baptism of the Lord, Presentation of the Lord. birth of Mary, and the Visitation of Mary). 5) Solemnities These are the top-dog, most important days in the Catholic church. These are days with special significance, and so the Hours are prayed in super special ways. These days are so important that we actually start praying their Hours the night before with special Evening Prayer Vigils. Examples include: Christmas, Mary mother of God, Epiphany, Joseph husband of Mary, Immaculate Conception, etc.) 6) Sundays For all intents and purposes, Sundays are treated like Solemnities, though the prayers, antiphons, readings, etc. may be a little more scattered around the book than Solemnities are.

Section 3 How do I know what type of day to pray for my Hours?

There are a couple of quick ways to know what type of day, from Section 2, you should be using to determine how to pray. 1) Look at the Mount Angel Seminary Liturgy Schedule that Mrs. Keough puts in your mailbox. The first thing listed in each column, after the day & date, is the Liturgical Day & Rank. This will tell you if it is a Sunday, Ferial, Opt. Memorial, Memorial, Feast, or Solemnity. It will even tell you who or what is making it a special day, and if you are a priest on the hill (or someone who wants to colour cordinate with Father), what colour vestments to wear at mass. a. If you misplaced your copy, there is always one posted on the 24-hour board. 2) The Saint Joseph Guide for the Liturgy of Hours will tell you. Your can purchase this guide for the specific calendar year for about $2 at the bookstore in the Guest House. 3) Look at the General Roman Calendar at the front of you Liturgy book. It will list this information by month and day. If nothing is listed, it is a Ferial day. If a name is listed, but it is in italics and there is no title in red to the right, it is an Optional Memorial. If the name says Memorial in red to the right of the name, it is a Memorial. If the name is in small uppercase letters and it says Feast to the right, it is a Feast. If the name is in large uppercase letters and it says Solemnity to the right, it is a Solemnity a. NOTE In the US, the US Council of Bishops has elevated and added several days to the Memorials and at least one day to Feast status that do not appear in many of the Liturgy of the Hours books. You should have a Liturgy of the Hours Supplement pamphlet to show you these USA feasts and memorials. This supplement also has the specific prayers, antiphons, responses, etc. that you will need for these days. 4) Look in the Proper of Saints section for the specific calendar day you are on. Like the General Roman Calendar at the front of the book it will tell you, right

underneath the name of the Saint, if the date is a memorial, feast, or solemnity. This will appear in red. If there is no red text under the name, and it just goes into a factoid paragraph about who we are celebrating, the day is an Optional Memorial. 5) Go online to and look at the day you want. It will tell you what type of day it is.