Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Weekly Q&A -Octave of Epiphany Edition

This week is not officially called the Octave of the Epiphany, but the liturgy certainly makes it feel like one. Every this week the antiphons have us relive the revelation of Christ to the nations, and anticipate those two other great theophanies : the Lord's  baptism and in a lesser way,  the miracle at Cana.

I'm reading lots of interesting things about this on the internet. For example, that legends say that Jesus was baptized on the same day (thirty some year later) that the magi had come. Interesting, although we don't really need a calendar coincidence to tie these two events together in our minds.

This is just about the single most difficult time of year to find your place in the breviary. If you go to  (or just hop on the widget to the right and click on morning or evening prayer) you can receive a confusing explanation of the problem. It has to do with the way the editors of the American breviary did things back in the 70s, apparently departing from the official Roman breviary just enough to make an already confusing book even more so. It's really too bad, because all the eager beavers who received their first breviary as a Christmas gift will hit this train wreck and get badly discouraged. If anyone asks me, I just tell them to stick with a digital breviary until ordinary time starts up again next week. Then they'll get a few nice, uncomplicated weeks of plain old psalter, with only a once-a-week excursion to the proper for Sundays. This way, they will have established basic familiarity with the hours, and won't feel too stressed by turning to the proper every day once lent begins.

Welcome new blog followers Ed, Andrew, and Vicki.  This is the place to share your enthusiasm for the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as your questions.

I haven't labelled a post as a Q&A for quite a while. Sorry about that. Having my entire family over for Christmas this year kind of put the blog on the back burner. But I do resolve to get back to a weekly Q&A post with more consistency. So don't be shy---if something about the LOTH doesn't make sense, just add a comment and I"ll get back to you within 24 hours.


  1. Hi Daria,

    I love your blog. First-time commenter though I have been reading for some time now.

    I know you've got the blessing of using the Kenyan breviary which contains the ABC antiphons for Sunday vespers and lauds, but do you know of an online resource for these in English? I can only find the Latin ones.

    Merry Christmastide!

    Regards, Lyle Freundlich

    1. Lyle, I'm afraid I can't find any other source of these extra gospel antiphons in English.

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  3. The 1970's really does leave a bad taste in my spirit!

  4. Did the Kenyan Breviary undo the confusion from the American Breviary?

  5. I think the Kenyan breviary may have fixed the above-mentioned confusion. (I have , BTW, the 1volume "The Prayer of the Church" and the Christian Prayer copyright 1976.)

    The Christian Prayer book lists January 2-Epiphany as Monday to Saturday, which, of course, will not fall on the same days of the week each year. The Kenyan Breviary simply lists Jan 2-7, and gives alternate instructions for when Epiphany is celebrated on Jan 6, 7, or 8.

    Also, the Kenyan breviary has "January 7 or Monday after Epiphany Sunday" and continues in this manner till "Jan 12 or Saturday after..." whereas CP has "after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord" and again, Monday through Saturday.

    Another reason for the fans of the hard copy breviary to get the Kenyan version, perhaps? Does anyone know if the 4 volume sets are the same way?

    1. Yes, Jonny, the 4 volume Kenyan breviary works the same way.

  6. Daria, I know this is a bit late, but i was wondering: During the Octave of Christmas, we celebrate several feast days, like St Stephen and St John the Evangelist for example. But during the Octave of Easter, no feast days are celebrated or allowed as the Octave treats every day as if it were Easter Sunday. If the Octave of Christmas extends the solemnity through the week, why are feast days celebrated? Why is the Octave of Christmas different from the Easter Octave?

    1. Although I don't have an official answer drawn from Church documents on this, here's a few thoughts that might help. First, Easter is the greatest solemnity of the year, outranking Christmas. This might be why each day in its octave is completely dedicated to the liturgy of Easter day. Second, some or all of the saint's days that follow Christmas were put there because of their relation to Christmas, e.g. St. Stephen, the first martyr, Holy Innocents, proto-martyrs, St.John the apostle who wrote so eloquently both about God's love and the mystery of the Incarnation. Since Easter is a movable feast, there could be no saint's days that are similarly significant that would always follow during the week after Easter. I just read a post by Father Z about the ranking of the two octaves according to pre-1962 formulations. It seems that while each day of the octave of Easter the equivalent of a solemnity, the days in the Christmas octave only count as feasts. So I hope all this miscellaneous informations sheds some light on your question.

    2. Thanks. That's pretty much what I was thinking, esp. the relation of Christmas and the octave feast days.

  7. I have 4 vol Breviary published by the PaulinesAfrica [commonly, at least around here, called, the Kenyan] now and began using it on it's arrival, January 2. In terms of the navigation question I've found it really good and that's with no Guide.

    The aspect that Jonny notes above [the Kenyan breviary has "January 7 or Monday after Epiphany Sunday" and continues in this manner till "Jan 12 or Saturday after..." ] made things a breeze and it seems to make more sense liturgically, or as much as I know of same.

    1. Have the Daughters of St. Paul made it any easier to order the Kenyan books? It seems like a complex process. We have a Pauline bookshop here in Chicago. I may inquire there as to whether they can process an order.

    2. Scott,

      To the best of my knowledge it is not available for purchase in North America. Here I was told it is out-of-print. Per getting it from Kenya I don't know what to compare the process with but here is how it went for me:

      - contact saying what you want to purchase. I included the ISBNs and my complete address so they could factor shipping. ISBNs are available on their website. I believe Daria has linked to it before and the links will appear in my most recent post of today [Jan 10].

      - they will email back with your total cost with a link to the American site where you make a "donation" following the instructions they provide you to leave a note saying what you are buying from PaulinesAfrica

      - you get confirmation from the American site.

      - you should but may not get confirmation and next steps from Kenya

      - frankly I found communication from Kenya polite but very poor. I had to contact them to see if they had received payment. They had, days before, but were not in touch. Then I was asked to provide my mailing information which they already had, twice.

      - they prep the package. Be sure to ask for a tracking #. Nothing was provided though it existed and I had to email several times to get the #

      - be ready to wait a month or more. Now that, is totally understandable.

      - check your package carefully on arrival.

      My books were all badly damaged but it was clearly not from external damage in shipping but rather a poor print and assembly run. I provided photos and I would advise holding on to the mailing label as proof of where the package originated. It took considerable time and multiple contacts to gain a satisfactory resolution. Hopefully that was a one off but maybe not as the damage was obviously in manufacturing.

      If you are willing to endure that, you will be greatly rewarded as the content itself is stellar and also in format of text and paper quality it is far and away superior to any edition of the American version.

      Also, for this Canadian, reading the Psalter with Anglicized spelling is a boon. It may not be for my American pals.

  8. Daria,
    I could've sworn that I read in your book that the Church was coming out with a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours in 2014... but I can't find that anywhere as I go back looking for where I read that... so I'm left to wonder if I saw it somewhere else or just made it up in my own mind! Do you know if that's true? If so I'll hold off on purchasing a breviary.... Thanks for your insight!

    1. Tina,

      All older and more recent reliable articles on the Internet discussing this say we are several years out from the publication of the updated American edition.

      Some posts back Daria mentions the possible timeline and notes the same. I don't know what her book says but I'm guessing it doesn't predict 2014. She'll chime in. :-)

      I think, if you can afford, or choose to sacrifice {as my wife and I decided to} to get the 'Kenyan' do it. It will be four or five and at the very least three years of daily blessing. I am *so* grateful to have the set.

      For many people doing with out the daily coffee(s) or drive-through food item would fast arrive at the money needed to purchase. All the best.