Saturday, September 24, 2016

In Search of...

Will the person who emailed  me asking whether anyone might have a Kenyan breviary to sell please write me again? I can't find your email.

Someone might be willing to sell you the one volume Pauline Kenya breviary. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

St. Pio of Pietrelcina;Your Prayer Intentions for Vespers

Today is the Memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina Chances are your breviary does not have his office since he was canonized only a few years ago. To do this memorial, use today's psalter for your psalms. You may simply continue with the rest of the psalter and simply substitute the concluding prayer (see below) OR you may turn to Common of Pastors from the reading onwards and use the concluding prayer:

Almighty ever-living God, who, by a singular grace,
gave the Priest Saint Pius a share in the Cross of your Son
and, by means of his ministry,
renewed the wonders of your mercy,
grant that through his intercession
we may be united constantly to the sufferings of Christ,
and so brought happily to the glory of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

And yes, I agree with you all that it's odd of the Church to use the Latin "Pius" when the entire world knows and love this saint as "Padre Pio". How many other saints on the Calendar have their names put into Latin? (Besides Popes named Pius?)  If there's a reason for this I'd love to hear it.

If you pray the Office of Readings, switch out to a digital breviary today for St. Pio's second reading.

Two weeks ago I suggested we share our prayer intentions so that we could all add a petition for one another's needs at Vespers.  There was quite a response, so we'll continue this post on a bi-weekly basis.

If you have a specific prayer intention, add it in a comment below. The rest of you, if you think of it. add "For the intentions of our brothers and sisters at Coffee&Canticles" or something similar when you pray the  intercessions at Evening Prayer.

Another note: several weeks back we were able to arrange  the transfer of three unneeded , out of prine PaulineUSA  single volume breviaries to others who wanted them. This prompted another reader to ask whether anyone is willing to sell him a Pauline Kenyan breviary that was no longer in use, since he was finding the process of obtaining one from Africa too unwieldy.   I realize that this is not likely, but on the off chance  someone has one that they are not using and would like to sell it, let me know.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian and a slight Correction

If you use the Office of Readings, you'll notice that for today's memorial--Sts, Cornelius and Cyprian--there are two different selections offered for the second reading.

Try to read them both if you have time.

One is a letter from Cyprian to Cornelius, rejoicing in the courageous public stands that have lead to his exile. "Words cannot express how great was the exultation and delight here when we heard of our good fortune and brave deeds..."

Those of us who are concerned about incipient religious persecution (by means of regulations,court decisions, and increasingly overt verbal hostility against Christians by politicians and federal paper pushers) need to go over this reading carefully and ask what adjustments we might want to make to our own attitudes about all this. We need to maintain a healthy tension between pushing back against this stuff (defending our rights as citizens) and at the same time, being aware that God may be offering us a great gift, the chance to faintly reflect the deeds of the martyrs.

The other reading is an account of Cyprian's martyrdom. I love his attitude in the first paragraph: Yep. that me. I did the things you said I did and I won't do the things you want me to do, so let's get on with it. Put me to death. Thanks be to God!

Yesterday, while writing yesterday's post about how to find the correct pages for saint's memorials, I got distracted while writing and left something out. (Thoughtless, giddy creature that I am.) That post has now been amended with information about a more minimalist way to do a memorial.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Navigating Memorials and the Blessed Page 37 of Christian Prayer

This is Part III in a series designed to make you independent on the yearly St. Joseph guide so that you can correctly choose the prayers for each day's Divine Office with nothing other than your the Catholic calendar your parish gives away each year.

Of if you don't have a calendar, just go to and hit today's date on the little calendar on the top right.

So, today is a memorial. These are the most confusing types of holy days because unlike feasts and solemnities, they have several varieties and several options.

 Our Lady of Sorrows. It is among a handful of memorials that is celebrated more or less like a feast.   (You will have to look at the mass to see the differences: feasts get three readings and the recitation of the Gloria, while memorials do not.) So actually, finding it's prayers is a very straighforward thing. It's all there under September 15th in the Proper of Saints, with complete instructions and page numbers for where you need to go in the psalter and the Common of the Blessed Virgin.

Tomorrow, however, is one of those more run-of-the-mill memorials, St. Cornelius.  This is an obligatory memorial, which you know because the word "Memorial" is there in red letters under the saint's name. The next day, St. Robert Bellarmine, has nothing beneath his name, (at least in the CBC edition of Christian Prayer--other editions might say "commememoration") so his day is an optional memorial.

Okay, back to St. Cornelius. Here is where your breviary is confusing. Under the little bio-sketch of Cornelius, it says in red, "From the Common of several martyrs, page 1402,or of pastors, page 1426.
This leads the typical earnest layman who wants to Do Everything Right to turn to p. 1402 and do the entire common from start to finish, remembering, of course, to turn back to Sept. 16 in the Proper of Saints for the gospel canticle antiphon and the concluding prayer.

No. No. No. No!!!!!!!

This is why I really hope future breviaries will put instructions in a place where it's easier to find, and/or make clearer notations on each day in the Proper of Saints. In the meantime, take a look at page 37 in your Christian Prayer breviary. Under "Memorials" it clearly states that:
"a. Psalms and their antiphons [are taken] FROM THE CURRENT WEEKDAY. (emphasis mine)

Then, and only then, may you proceed (if you want to) with whatever they give you in the "Common of X", and always using any elements given in the Proper of Saints for the "generic" items in the common. Often this is only the concluding prayer, but it can include the short reading, the gospel canticle antiphon and, as we see for Our Lady of Sorrow, quite a bit more on rare occasions.

The other option, also mentioned on page 37,(section 1.b. under Memrorials) is to use in its entirety the weekday psalter (no common of martyrs, holy men, etc.) with the sole exception of those elements that are in the Proper of Saints for that day.

That page 37 in Christian Prayer is a valuable page. You might want to make a photo copy of is and paste is inside the front cover of your breviary for easy reference. If you commit it's principles to memory, you will not need the yearly St. Joseph guide. (Which, by the way, has occasional typos or errors and thus can mislead you anyway.)

Oh. I forgot about optional memorials. For optional memorials, you follow the exact same procedures listed for memorials with this single exception: YOU DON'T HAVE TO.  If you have no particular interest in St.Bratislava of the Holy Angels (I just made that up) you can just do the regular weekday with whatever week you are in with your psalter.

Okay. I think that is everything. I didn't mention the Office of Readings, and did not mention the extra tweaks to this system that come during the holy seasons, especially during Lent. Remind me and we will take these up when the time comes.

Please feel free to ask questions below if there is something I did not cover or did not explain clearly enough.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Feasts--how do I figure out which page to use on my own?

Part II of a series on how to find your place in the breviary without having to buy that little St. Joseph guide each year. This is especially important if you breviary is not one of those published by Catholic Book Publishing Company, for example, that out of print Pauline single volume that everyone likes so much. (for good reasons but that's another story)

The last post talked about how to figure out which week in the psalter you should be using. This is really all you need to know if its a weekday in ordinary time, because on these days the psalter is all you use for Morning and Evening Prayer. (For our purposes here I'm talking about people who use the single volume Christian Prayer breviary, not you 4-volume folks who do the Office of Readings. People who use the four volume set usually know what they're doing.)

Also, for our purposes here, we will not talk about advent, lent, etc. because we are no in Ordinary time. We can discuss the holy seasons later. Remind me in November.

So, each morning, look at your indispensable (but free!) parish Catholic Calendar. If is says "St. so and so" or like today, "The Exaltation of the Holy Cross" that tips you off right away that you will be needing more than just the four week psalter. It means you must turn to the back section known as the Proper of Saints.   It's pages are in calendar order, so turn to that day and see what it tell you to do. That's right. Much of what you need to know is right there--no St. Joseph guide required.

Feasts are the easiest, especially feasts of Our Lord, such as today's. Everything you need is right there in the Proper of Saints for Sept. 14th. EXCEPT for the psalms for Morning Prayer. But there's an instruction that tells you, "Psalms and Canticles from Sunday Week I" *

*Handy hint: every single feast and solmnity uses Sunday Week I for its Morning Prayer psalter. Always.

Feasts of Saints, of Our Lady, and of Church dedications have one extra wrinkle. Besides what is in the Proper of  Saints, and besides using  Sunday Week I for Morning Prayer psalms/canticles, you will also be directed to one of the "Commons" which are in the last major section of your breviary. So next Wednesday, when you see Feast of St. Matthew on your calendar, you turn to the Proper of Saints, which in turn directs you to the Common of Apostles. Think of Commons as generic offices that cover various subgroups of saints: Apostles, Martyrs, Bishops, holy men, holy women, etc. So you turn to the page they give you for Common of Apostles, and use the prayers that are there. (bouncing back, of course, to which psalms for Morning Prayer, class? Raise your hand! Yes, you in the back. Right! The psalter of Sunday Week I is used for every saint's feast. Very good.) HOWEVER, don't forget to keep a finger or a ribbon marker on St. Matthew's page back in the Proper of Saints, because you will substitute his special gospel canticle antiphons for the generic antiphons in the common, and also will use Matthew's concluding prayer.

In summary--feasts are straightforward. Go to the Proper of Saints and follow instruction.

But, but, Daria, what about Memorials? And Optional Memorials?

I really have to get to work right now. If I get some comments below that tell me people have read and benefited from these last two posts, then I will continue the series with a separate post on Memorials, which I admit, can be confusing since there are various options for them.


I Found My Place in the Psalter Using this One Weird Trick

This post has been re-run several times, so old timers, there's nothing to see here. But lately several readers have mentioned their dependence on the St. Joseph's guide. Another one, who just obtained a used  Pauline one-volume breviary, asks me if there is a guide available for that. (Answer: there is a pamphlet which tells you what week you need for the four week psalter. It does not give page numbers,not does it tell you what page you need for the various feasts, holy days, and memorials, so is less comprehensive than the St. Joseph guide.)

Now, you could always hop on the computer or smart phone to see what or is doing each day, and then arrange your ribbons accordingly. (I assume you use the book because you find it a nicer aesthetic and/or spiritual experience to do so, otherwise you'd just  use a breviary app all the time.)

But the best way is to learn the system yourself. Since we are in ordinary time, the main thing to do is find your place in the psalter. Here is my old post about that:

Okay, so your three year old was playing with the ribbons in your breviary again, and now they're all pulled out and you don't remember what week in the Psalter you should be using.

Or you got out of the habit of praying the hours for a couple weeks, and want to start up again, but don't know what week it is.

So here's what you do.  Look at your parish calendar. The one that hangs on the fridge or on the cellar door. See what Sunday in ordinary time it was this week. Concentrate on that number.
Is it a multiple of 4?  (4,8,12,etc.) Then you will use week IV of the psalter.
Is it a multiple of 4, plus 1? (5,9,13,etc) Then you will use week I of the psalter.
Is it a multiple of 4, plus 2? (6,10,14,etc) Then you will use week II of the psalter.
4, plus 3? (Or alternately, 4 minus 1: 3,7,11,etc) Then you will use week III of the psalter.

The weeks of the holy seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter Always begin with week I, proceed through week IV, and then start over as needed.

Now, print this off and paste in your breviary, and you will always be able to find your place in the psalter.

Well, that's fine, you may say, but what about memorials and solemnities and feasts? What about today, the Exaltation of the Cross? How do I figure that out without my dear little St. Joseph guide?
I'll tell you that in the next post.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Let Us Pray!

previous post soliciting prayer intentions from our little community of Psalm-sayers has received responses that are a good cross-section of human need.

A dying mother-in-law.
A young mother who will soon give birth.
Success in a new business.
A needed raise at work.
Facing surgery.
Mental illness.
Struggles against temptation.
Children and grandchildren who have strayed from the faith.
For the spiritual needs of our Pope and his helpers in the curia.

So, what you do is this: when you read the intercessions at vespers, add this one:  "We commit to your love and providence all  the special needs of the Coffee&Canticles community."

 Or words to that effect!

And feel free to add yours here or in the earlier post "Sharing Our Burdens at Vespers

Thanks, everyone.

Looking for a Pauline Breviary?

Every now and then someone writes me about the out of print single-volume breviary done by the Daughters of St. Paul (USA).    I have praised this breviary because, unlike the single volume "Christian Prayer" breviary from Catholic Book Publishing, this one has the complete four-week cycle for Daytime Prayer, while the one from CBP has only two weeks' worth. (That makes NO sense.)  

The Daughters of St. Paul have plans to issue new breviaries once the revised translation is done. But that is some years away, as we all know.

Anyway, a nice reader from the UK wrote me yesterday to say that she has a one-volume Daughters of St. Paul breviary looking for a good home. It has no ribbons but is in good shape otherwise.
She is willing to send it to anyone who is willing to pay postage from the UK,

If anyone is interested in this, please email me:  thesockeys"at"gmail "dot" com and I will put you in touch with her.

Speaking of missing ribbons--I hope you all know that there is an easy fix for this. Go to your nearest fabric store and buy a few different colored lengths of skinny ribbon--these are on spools at the sto re and are sold by the yard, but if you ask for 1/3 of a yard (one foot) I believe they will sell it to you in that small amount. Perhaps some places will even sell it by the inch, but I don't know.

Bring you little lengths of ribbon home, find a bit of cardboard, and cut a piece that will fit snugly down the spine of your breviary--maybe 1.5 by 4 inches or thereabouts. Fasten the ribbons to that with packing tape and shove it down the spine. Voila!

You can also buy these ready made at lots of online retailers, but when you think of the price plus postage, my method is a cheapskate's delight. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sharing Our Burdens at Vespers

In the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, the section discussing the Intercessions says that it is appropriate to add personal  petitions, especially during evening prayer. It is suggested that we add these just before the final intercession which is usually about praying for the souls of the dead.  

Don't worry about composing a fancy, two part intercession that matches the language of the ones in the breviary. I'm sure that something simple such as "For Mary to recover from her surgery" or "for the conversion of John", or "for relief from depression for George" or "For all the people on Facebook who have requested prayers--I forgot the specifics but You know them all, Lord" are all perfectly good extra intercessions to add to the more formal ones.

Also, when you pray any part of any of the hours, sometimes a particular line of a psalm will remind you of someone you know and their needs. "My soul is filled with evils" or "Rescue me, Lord,from my foes"  might remind you of a friend who is having a rough time.  That mental association is in itself a prayer for that person, since you are joining him or her to a psalm that the church prays on behalf of its suffering members.

This gave me an idea. The column on the right indicates that 293 people have signed up to follow this blog through the google/blogger  platform. There are others who subscribe through email or feedly or some other method.  Most of us are not personally acquainted, but our love for the Liturgy of the Hours is a bit of a bond among us. So I was thinking of trying a post where any of you could post prayer intentions,and the rest of us could try to remember to include those either in our personal intercessions at evening prayer, or by making a general intention to remember these needs at one of the other hours that we pray.

So...if you have any prayer intentions that you wish to share with our little community, put them in the comments below. I'll run this a couple of times, and if it appears to catch on, I'll make it a regular thing.

Friday, September 2, 2016

It's Not About You! Or, is it?

credit: Liturgy Memes (like us on Facebook)

I couldn't resist sharing this punny meme today. Not just because the Carly Simon pop tune, "You're So Vain" brings back memories of my childhood, but because this meme actually does bring up an issue about the Liturgy of the Hours.  

Some people might not "get" the LOTH because on any given day, the psalter does not express their feelings, e.g. psalms of sorrow when all is well with their worlds, or joyful psalms when they are in the midst of suffering.    But it's precisely a virtue of liturgical prayer that it breaks us out of the narrow confines of our own feelings and makes us think and pray as members of the Body of Christ. No matter what we happen to feel on any given day, we are supposed to pray the psalms in the voice of the Church on behalf of its members. There are always suffering souls to pray for, and there are always happy souls with whom we can rejoice. So we have to get over ourselves and pray with the heart of the Church; with the heart of Christ.

But once we submit to this discipline, a funny thing happens. We start finding a verse here and an antiphon there that jumps out at us so forcefully that it seems to have appeared in the day's Office as a "sign" or a message addressed to us by the Lord.   And why not? Even as we pray on behalf of the Church for the world,  we are also among the little sheep for whom the Church is praying.

So although it might be vain to expect each day's psalms to reflect our moods and needs, it's not vain at all to find elements in them that are deeply applicable to our personal situation.

God's Word will do that to you.