How to Use this Site
The Daily Office is the official prayer of the Church. It is also known as the Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office. A book containing the Office is known as an Office Book, Breviary, or Book of Hours. The order of prayers, praises, and readings proper to each season, day, and time of day in the Book of Hours serves to sanctify time. When you pray the Office you join the communion of saints who have recited these prayers and followed these forms daily for century upon century. In fact, the Daily Office is older than the Church, originating in ancient Jewish practice of daily recitation of psalms and prayers.
Who May Use This Version of the Daily Office?
Anglican Use Catholics. The Pastoral Provision is a generous arrangement made by the Holy See in 1980 for those who were formerly priests and lay-people in the Episcopal Church and who now wish to enter into full communion in the Roman Catholic Church while retaining some elements of their Anglican heritage and customs. This provision notably allows for the continuance of an "Anglican style" liturgy, approved by the Vatican, in The Book of Divine Worship /1/. It also provides a mechanism whereby former Episcopal priests who are married may be ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood. The Daily Office on this website is based on that found in The Book of Divine Worship.
Other Roman Rite Catholics. Laymen, who are generally not under obligation to say the Office, may use for their private devotions any prayers approved by the Church and are, as the author understands the rules, free to use the Daily Office on this website. For men and women, other than Anglican Use Catholics, who are under an obligation to say the Office this site probably does not satisfy their obligation. You may be able to use www.universalis.com, which is based on the 1985 edition of the Latin Breviary.
Catholics under the other rites. The author is quite incompetent to address whether this version of the Daily Office is for you.
Orthodox Christians. The author is quite incompetent to address whether this version of the Daily Office is for you.
Other Trinitarian Christians. Other than readings from the Apocrypha, so called, which may offend some of our Protestant friends, the author believes there is nothing in this version of the Daily Office that hinders its use by other Trinitarian Christians.
How to Pray the Daily Office.
The Daily Office consists of daily Morning Prayer, Noontime Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline (Bed-time prayer). The prayers vary by season in the Christian year, day of the week, and time of day. The Book of Divine Worship provides for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer in traditional English and "contemporary" English; this site renders only the traditional use. Noontime Prayer and Compline are presented solely in "contemporary" English.
How to Find Today's Daily Offices.
On this website, to find today's readings, click on the link to the week in the Church Year closest to, but not later than, today's date. A new window will open with links to the offices corresponding to today's position in the Christian Year. The window also displays a listing of days from the Church's calendar falling on or near today /2/. For more details on how to determine what office is proper to today, see the article How to Determine What Offices to Read on Any Day.
The Psalms and Readings in the Daily Office
The selection of Psalms and readings at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are governed by the Daily Office Lectionary, in accordance with the directions Concerning the Daily Office Lectionary found on pages 24 through 25 of The Book of Divine Worship.
The heart of the Office is the recitation of the Psalter. The Book of Divine Worship provides for two cycles for reading the Psalter. The 30-day cycle, if read every morning and evening, takes you through the entire Psalter in 30 days starting on the first day of each month, with the Psalms for the 30th day repeated in months with 31 days. In February the Psalms for the 30th day are omitted, as are the Psalms for the 29th day in years other than the bissextile years. The seven-week cycle, read daily at morning and evening prayer, takes you through the entire Psalter in seven weeks for most parts of the year. Note that some of the verses are set off in parentheses and some Psalms in brackets to indicate that they are optional. If you want to read the entire Psalter you will need to read those optional Psalms. For the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter the seven-week cycle is adjusted to reflect the season. Certain major holy days and other occassions have their own proper Psalms; on those days the 30-day and seven-week cycles are suspended. The Book of Divine Worship contains two Psalters: a "traditional" English Psalter based on the 1535 translation by Miles Coverdale, and a "contemporary" English version taken from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. This site uses the traditional Psalter only.
The Office is also a course of readings in Scripture. The Scripture readings are on a two-year cycle. The year is the Church Year running from the First Sunday in Advent through the Saturday following the Last Sunday after Pentecost. Year One is the year beginning in Advent of an even-numbered calendar year; Year Two begins with Advent of an odd-numbered calendar year. Thus, the Church Year of Advent 2010 through Pentecost 2011 is Year One. There are three readings prescribed for each day, one from the Old Testament, one from the Gospel, and one from the New Testament other than the Gospel. On this website the author has assigned to Morning Prayer first the Old Testament followed in Year Two by the Gospel; in Year One by the other New Testament reading. For Evening Prayer the author has assigned first the Old Testament reading for the alternative year followed by the New Testament reading that was not used in the morning (Gospel in Year One; other New Testament in Year Two).
/1/ The Book of Divine Worship ("BDW") was published in 2003 by Newman House Press, 21 Fairview Avenue, Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania 18344. The BDW is available for purchase from Atonement Roman Catholic Church, San Antonio, Texas, at the website www.bookofdivineworship.com and as an Abode Acrobat electronic file at http://church.atonementonline.com/wp-content/uploads/Book-Of-Divine-Worship.pdf. In 2012 some changes were made to the calendar and I am in the process of adding them to this website.