Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Closing Up Shop

Dear Readers,

Since 2011 I've been blogging about the Liturgy of the Hours.  The title, Coffee&Canticles,along with the image of breviary, beverage, and to-do list was meant to evoke the audience I was trying to reach. We're laymen who, encouraged by the statements of Vatican II and recent popes, are trying to make the public prayer of the Church an anchor of our day. Not being monks or nuns who respond to bells, file into the choir, and learn from their elders how to use the breviary and understand the psalms, we have questions to ask and adaptations to make. We also wanted to share our "wow!" moments as we started to uncover the glories of praying with the words, heart and mind of Christ while joined to His mystical body, the Church universal.

Although my love for the Liturgy of the Hours hasn't waned, my desire to blog about it has, somewhat. So has the time I have for this project, given some changes in  my daily and weekly responsibilities at home.  I'm not sure how many times in the last two years I've chided myself for not blogging here  often enough. How many times I  resolved to do better, and...didn't.

Mike Demers has been supplying for my failings pretty well since March, but he, too, has responsibilities at home that have made blogging difficult. (Thank you, Mike!)

So, all in all, it seems like the time is ripe for me to close up shop here and move on.

The good news, which was pointed out by in the comments by  Rachael on this recent post, the Liturgy of the Hours seems to be much more of a topic on the Catholic internet subculture than it was in 2011. Maybe this blog (and my book which more or less grew out of this blog) managed to light a small fire which is now spreading nicely.  This blog was once one of a very few places on the web to learn about the Divine Office, the breviary, etc.  That is no longer so.

Although I probably won't be writing here anymore, I'm not taking the blog down just yet. So long as it doesn't get hacked or overrun with spam comments, it will remain here as a resource. If you have a question about some aspect of the LOTH, just do a google search on my name plus a keyword such as "psalm prayers" or "memorials and optional memorials" or "hymns" (to name a few perenniel topics) and you should get a list of posts that deal with your question.

If you crave an ongoing community discussion of the Liturgy of the Hours--which frankly I haven't been much supplying lately) then it's time to join one of the many fine Facebook groups devoted to it. Two of these that I belong to are called "Liturgy of the Hours Discussion and Support Group (Catholic and Anglican)"  and "Breviary and Divine Office Discussion Group." (This latter tends more toward discussion of traditional, pre-1962 breviaries for those of that persuasion.) I'm also told that   fans of Reddit will find an LOTH subreddit if they look.

If you are holding your breath (N.B.,don't!) about progress towards the new translation/revision of the USA breviary, then check now and then at, especially following any meeting of the Bishop's conference. Just put "liturgy of the hours, second edition" in their search box and you should be able to find the latest developments.

Anyone else who knows of other good sources should feel free to list them in comments.

In conclusion, it's been  fun and inspiring getting to know so many fellow LOTH fans. Your questions have spurred me to learn more. Your obvious devotion and love for the psalter keep me from taking it for granted. Thank you.

If anyone has a question that isn't answered with a search of this blog (or through reading my book )
feel free to email me. thesockeys"at" gmail is where you can reach me.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil, and bring you to everlasting life.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

An update on

Way back in May 2016 had to reorganize itself as a Nonprofit(c)(3) status due to legal problems regarding permissions with GIA (psalms) and the USCCB for selections from the New American Bible. It has been a long and costly process for this website. It was soon forced to close itself to the public. 

The unique thing about was its audio library of hymns and the entire Liturgy of the Hours was spoken, recited, chanted, and sung every day for all the hours. It was truly an amazing thing and showed how much work and love these people had put into it. 

I asked Monica Geana yesterday for an update. I'll simply post her reply:

We are told the review of our content will take another 6 months, so God willing, we will be able to add the app back on the market and open the website next year. I'm sorry we don't have a precise date. God bless.
Thank you for praying with us,

Please help by your prayers and any financial contributions you can afford. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Update on LH from Bishops' Conference [updated]

With thanks and a tip of the hat to one of our regular readers, Tom B., we have the following information:

By the way, results from the Bishops' summer conference:


SUBJECT: Proposed translation of the Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time

ACTION ITEM #4: Do the Latin Church members approve the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time for use in the dioceses of the United States?

VOTE: Majority of the members present and voting
Two-thirds of the Latin Church members with subsequent confirmatio by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

RESULTS: Passed (175-Yes, 6-No, 2-Abstain)

UPDATE: Here's an interesting look at the work done by ICEL from an article at Adoremus by Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth.

These texts, of widely differing character, have required much attention and now move towards their final stage of appraisal as Gray Books for the canonical vote of the bishops’ conferences before they are ratified by the Holy See for liturgical use. [NB: Gray Books are the final ICEL draft presented to the bishops; Green Books are the initial draft.] Each of these texts presents significant challenges which have to be resolved as the translation process unfolds. It may be of interest for me to comment on the early stages of the preparation of these texts.

Read the whole thing. It shows how much work is involved and why it's very time-consuming.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

NCR Podcast: Reflecting on ordinary time

Here's a podcast on something many of us take for granted: Ordinary Time or as Daria calls it, "the Green Valley".


The liturgical season of ordinary time may be long, but it's deceptively full of the extraordinary...

(Unsplash/Calwaen Liew)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours by Martha Garcia

Yes, you read that right. Someone wrote a 32-page article on Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours. I am linking it for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For more articles on Mary see Marian Studies, University of Dayton. I think you'll find a lot of it interesting. One of the many items  Martha Garcia covered in her article is shown below. Read the whole thing and celebrate Mary on her feast day. 


1st Reading from the Song of Songs (2:8-14; 8:6-7). The coming of the beloved. Response: Marian.

2nd Reading by St. Bede the Venerable (Lib. 1,4: CCL 122, 25-26, 30). The greatness of the Lord working in Mary.

From the hours for this feast: Oration(s): Keep us united in prayer with Mary; "with Mary may we praise you."

Marian Titles: Israel, white dawn, mother of mercy, queen of heaven.

Marian Themes: God's "loved one from the beginning"; "taken ... to live with him"; his chosen; one preserved beforehand from all sin; the Savior's "purest home and the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit"; the Lord's humble, lowly servant; mother of God's Son.

Brooklyn Museum - The Visitation (La visitation) - James Tissot

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

USCCB will gather for their annual Spring General Assembly, June 13-14

Slowly the Liturgy of the Hours will be revised and updated, perhaps even in our lifetime.
Among the topics scheduled for discussions will be the Liturgy of the Hours:
"Discussion and votes will also be proposed regarding new translations of various components of the Liturgy of the Hours including certain antiphons and intercessions. This will be one of several votes due to occur for this project over the next few years. Translations of the Liturgy of the Hours Grail Psalms have already been approved for U.S. dioceses.    
Added discussion and votes will occur regarding supplementary materials for the Roman Missal and the Liturgy of the Hours for the feast days of Saints John Paul II, John XXIII, and Mary Magdalene."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest

For Mitchell Palmer and all those who are celebrating the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest. Here is a link for a 35-page PDF containing the text (i.e., propers) for the feast from the Liturgy Office of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It has the Liturgy of the  Hours, Lectionary, the Roman Missal, the Roman Martyrology, and hymns in musical notation. It has rubrics in red and helpful notes. It's a beautiful thing to read and pray and sing no matter where you live. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

From the New Liturgical Movement

How to Choose Art for the Psalms and the Divine Office: A Summary of Past Principles

If you want to see some of the best Christian art ever created (in my humble opinion) then do a search on google images for “Gothic psalters” or “medieval illumination”. By digging around from those starting points, you can see wonderful examples of Western and Eastern Christian sacred illumination. Unlike, most larger paintings, the pages have not been displayed for centuries in the light, and their colors remain fresh, their design sharp and clean...

Which Marian Antiphon after Compline?

Traditionally, the Marian antiphon that concludes Night Prayer (compline) is supposed to vary according to the liturgical season.

Right now--ordinary time--we say the Salve Regina aka Hail, Holy Queen. The Alma Redemptoris Mater is for  the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Ave, Regina Caelorum is for Lent. Regina Caeli for the Easter season.

Some longer explanation and the musical history of these great marian hymns can be found today in The National Catholic Register

Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Memorial Alert!

For anyone who did not read the comments on the previous post.

A new memorial for  Mary, Mother of the Church, has been established by Pope Francis on the Monday after Pentecost. Until such as time as new official texts are finalized and translated into English, our bishops tell us to celebrate this memorial thusly:

Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer:
Psalmody of the current weekday. (Which this year will be Monday, week III, since it will be week 7 of Ordinary time. )
Other elements may be taken  from either  the Psalter of the day OR the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, except for the following:


O God, Father of mercies,
whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother,
to be our Mother also,
grant, we pray, that with her loving help
your Church may be more fruitful day by day
and, exulting in the holiness of her children,
may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
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.

Mike Demers and I wish you all a blessed Pentecost. May the fire fall and kindle in you the flame of God's love. Enjoy the "Green Valley" of ordinary time.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


You never know what you'll find on the internet. Here's a great piece from the University of Notre Dame's Oblation: Life and Liturgy section on the Liturgy of the Hours. Look at the opening paragraph by Timothy P. O'Malley, PhD.:

Each morning at 5:00 AM, I rise and plop down upon the couch in my living room to greet the new day. My deepest desire at the time is to consume a cup of coffee and to gaze mindlessly at the television as I recover from slumber. Yet, more often than not, I pass by this temptation to spend the morning “doing” the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer (with a cup of coffee in hand, of course). Before 5:30 AM comes around, I have acknowledged to God the sin that I am responsible for; I have asked God to let me hear the voice of the Lord thundering over the mountains; I have lamented the sorrows that inflict not only me but the entire People of God; and, I have praised God for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’s recreation of the world.

Read the whole thing. Highly recommended by me and Daria!

Wait! There's more...


The Oblation: Liturgy and Life website has changed its name to Church Life Journal. I have now found 38 results for the Liturgy of the Hours on this site. There is so much to read and learn here. Check it out!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Everyone's Writing About Psalms these Days

Doing my work for me. It's great.

In this article the incomparable Msgr Charles Pope wonders aloud why we use Psalm 19 ("The heavens proclaim the glory of God, the firmament shows forth the work of his hands...") for feasts of Apostles.

He wonders, and then he answers the question very nicely.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Psalm that Brought him Home

In case you missed it, check out this piece from the National Catholic Registerabout Psalm 88.

We read Psalm 88 every Friday night at Compline. You know, it's the one that ends, "Friend and neighbor you have taken away, my one companion is darkness."

It's the ultimate example of how the psalms are the perfect antidote to the twisted notion that a Real Saint absolutely enjoys suffering, offering fervent thanks to God whenever it occurs and begging Him for even more. And conversely, that if we complain to God and question His plans during our hours of darkness, we are bad, bad, bad!

Nope. It's not so simple. This author points out:

As I sat in that waiting room reading these words over and over again, new shades of meaning emerged, along with new questions, the most pressing of all being, “How did this get in the Bible?” It’s a rebuke to everything we learned in Sunday school about faith in a loving God. That’s because the Psalm is incomplete on its own. The circle of meaning remained open, a question like those asked by the Psalmist and so many other writers of the Old Testament. Only in the fullness of time would the meaning be clear. The Psalm was completed on calvary. The pit of darkness was not and could not be the end because Christ climbed back out of it.
The words of Psalm 88—like the words of all the Psalms—are spoken by Christ himself. And if the Son of God can hurl this howl of rage and despair at His Father, along with the other hymns of praise and doubt and thanksgiving and lamentation, then all the experience of humanity—its wonders and horrors, joys and sorrows—are inscribed in the flesh of Christ. In writing the entire world in flesh, God gave all of it new meaning, new life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Renewing Your Youth Like an Eagles

I'm in bird watching mode these days, since spring migration yields many interesting species in my yard, in the wood, and along the waterways here in Pennsylvania. It's also nesting time for many birds. On a recent walk I spotted a bald eagle's nest along the Allegheny River.

So when I read  Psalm 103 this morning (Office of Readings), my eyes lingered on verse 5 and I recalled an old post I'd written about that several years ago. Here's a rerun of that.

Reading Psalm 103 during Office of Readings today, I remembered this 2011 post wherein I satisfied my curiosity about the eagle verse. Have you ever wondered why it's an eagle's youth that is renewed, as opposed to that of, say, a chickadee?   I finally looked it up and here's the result:

Psalm 103 comprises the psalter for today's (Wednesday, week IV) Office of Readings.In verse 5, after listing some of God's blessings--forgives guilt, heals your ills, redeems you, crowns you with love and compassion, fills your life with good things--the psalmist adds, renewing your youth like an eagle's.

Every time I read this line, I first give the little happy sigh with which I respond to beautiful  biblical nature imagery, a mini Hallmark poster of the image flashing in my brain.

Then I stop and say, Wait!...  what?

 Because I can't figure out what's so special about an eagle's youth.
Not his strength, power, beauty, far sight, but his youth.

My first guess--could it be there was a phoenix-type myth going on about eagles that the psalmist had picked up on?

I did a search and found that many people share my question. An interesting "biblical birdwatching" site gave a lengthy description of how many times a bald eagle molts until he acheives the mature, white-head-and-tail plumage at 5 years of age. The evangelical writer considered this molting a kind of renewal. Not bad, but 1. this would teach a lesson about the desirability of Maturity, the wisdom of old age, not about youth. and 2. the bald eagle is a North American bird.

Luckily, I remembered that the Fathers of the Church have commented at length on just about every verse of scripture. Good old New Advent has St. Augustine's comments. Augustine claims that an eagle's beak tip never stops growing, and that after many years have gone by, it curves down and around the lower mandible such that the eagle would be unable to eat.  He grows weak from hunger, and then, in desperation, bashes the end of his beak off against a rock. Once again able to eat, his strength, vigor, and plumage are renewed, and he is once more like a young eagle. Augustine concludes:

 ...the eagle is not restored unto immortality, but we are unto eternal life; but the similitude is derived from hence, that the rock takes away from us what hinders us. Presume not therefore on your strength: the firmness of the rock rubs off your old age: for that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4 In Christ our youth shall be restored like that of the eagle....

My own knowledge of birds tell me that eagles don't really need to break off their beaks. I have seen crows and pet parrots rub their beaks against hard material.  And I've known pet parakeets to need a beak trim when they haven't had something hard to chew on. Probably eagles wear their beaks down by tearing at the bones of their prey.   But as St. Thomas points out, an analogy does not have to be true to be a good analogy.

So it looks like Christ, our rock, rubs off or breaks off our weary, aged sinfulness, and restores to us the youth of our baptismal purity. Enabling us to soar to heaven. On eagles wings  the wings of eagles.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

From the Catholic Hipster

I always love to share someone else's published enthusiasm for the Liturgy of the Hours. So when Alert Reader Rachael Murphy told me about this article by Tommy Tighe, I had to drop everything and let you know about it at once. Here's the beginning:

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, St. Paul makes a recommendation that at first glance seems flat out impossible: “pray without ceasing.”
When I hear that, my first reaction is something akin to, “He can’t be serious, right?”
I react that way, despite the fact that I pretty much check my social media feeds without ceasing, snack without ceasing, and complain without ceasing. For some reason, those come pretty easy to me. 

Praying without ceasing though? Not so much!

There’s just too much to do! I’m working full-time, spending most of my time away from work corralling three kids into our minivan and around town, and I’ve got WAY too many shows to stream on Netflix after the kids finally fall asleep. 

I feel pretty lucky to cram a single Hail Mary into the midst of all that, but “pray without ceasing?” I can’t even imagine!

A few years ago, however, I made a Lenten goal that changed my entire way of viewing St. Paul’s directive...
By the way, this author, who styles himself "The Catholic Hipster", has a book out with the same title. I read and reviewed it  on Catholic Digest when it came out a year or so ago. It's a fun book. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Old Latin hymns restored in the 1985 LH

An interesting article in the Corpus Christi Watershed blog about the old Latin hymns that were redone in Ciceronian style Latin in 1632 for the old Roman Breviary and still in effect today. Monastic orders were allowed to keep the ancient hymns and they are still sung by a few even today.
In 1985, these old Latin hymns were added to the LH. Check it out.

Urban VIII Consecrates St Peter's Basilica

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April newsletter from Universalis

Martin Kochanski from has graciously given us permission to reprint his latest newsletter:

Happy Easter!
There is really nothing that can be added to those two words, in their fullest meaning. Easter is why we are Christians at all. Easter is why there is any point to the world. Some of our yearly Easters seem to pass without much happening, but when God chooses to use one of them to the full, what an Easter that is! So again, happy Easter. He is truly risen, alleluia!

The Office of Readings
One Easter Sunday many years ago, I rolled into the Downside Abbey bookshop after Mass, drunk on the Resurrection, and saw a second-hand three-volume "Divine Office" on the shelf. In the end, that is what led to Universalis. But what happened shortly after I incautiously bought those books is the experience I would like to share with you today.
It is the Office of Readings.
Because it doesn't have a fixed place in the timed cycle of the Hours, it is easy to neglect the Office of Readings. The more affordable books don't include it because it is too long to fit in one volume, and many people's prayer routine doesn't include it because its name makes it sound long and rather heavy. That is a pity, because the Office of Readings contains something unique: the Second Reading, the patristic reading, for each day.
These Second Readings are something that no other liturgical texts are: they are not Scripture, but something far more varied. You can read letters from St Ignatius of Antioch on his way to martyrdom in Rome in about 107, begging everyone not to rescue him. You can read the official transcript of the trial of St Cornelius on 14 September 258, a trial conducted with correctness and stately courtesy on both sides. There are commentaries on Scripture and the Psalms by St Cyril of Alexandria and St Augustine, St John Chrysostom and many others. On many saints' days there are lives of the saints in question, or letters from them; sometimes, for modern saints, there is the Pope's sermon at their canonization. Whatever you get, you get directly from the original writer. You see the Church as it truly is: of every time and of every place.
The reason for mentioning the Second Readings at all at this time of year is that the Second Readings in the Easter season are particularly glorious. They contain some of the most ancient writings on the Paschal sacrifice and on the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. They contain the basic catecheses taught to the newly baptized in fourth-century Jerusalem. They contain Justin Martyr's explanation, for pagan readers, of exactly what the Eucharist is (and is not). They contain moving sermons, and reflections whose authors have long been forgotten.
I thoroughly recommend following the Second Readings in this season, even if you don't bother with the rest of the Office of Readings. In fact, I recommend going back ten days and starting with the Second Reading for Holy Saturday, that enchanting description of Christ visiting the patriarchs to release them from Hell, with its narration of what Christ says to Adam and what Adam replies.
With Universalis, it is easy to go back in time and do this. The Universalis apps and programs have no time limits of the kind the web site has, so you can go back and forward as far as you need. If you do not have an app or program yet, now is the time to get one. It doesn't cost much, it lasts for ever, and if you are really cautious, you can even have a month's free trial before you commit yourself. Read about the apps and programs here.
Once you are looking backwards, you don't have to stay permanently ten days behind. If, each day, you read today's reading plus one reading from the past, you will soon catch up. Once you have caught up, if you still can't manage the whole Office of Readings, there is now an alternative. In any Universalis app or program, you can choose an "enlarged version" of Lauds (Morning Prayer) which includes the Second Reading and also the Gospel of the day. It is the "one-a-day multivitamins" approach to spiritual reading. Just click or tap on the menu button to the right of the "Morning Prayer" heading, and you will be able to select the enlarged version.

Study Hymns
A learned priest has gone through all the Latin hymns in the Liturgy of the Hours and made a literal line-by-line translation of each one. He has kindly given them all to us, together with a brief commentary putting each hymn in context, and we have included them as an option in Universalis. If you are reciting your Hour privately rather than in a group, you will probably be muttering the hymn anyway rather than singing it out loud, and the "study hymns" are a way to connect with the rich, original Latin without having to wrestle with the language itself. In any of the apps and programs, click or tap on the menu button to the right of the hymn, and the study hymn is the one that has a dagger † next to its name.

Lectio Divina
We have never had as many messages of thanks for a new feature as we have had for the new Lectio Divina page. If we had known how much people wanted it, we would have added it a long time ago. For those of you who subscribe to the spoken audio of the Gospel at Mass, you can now listen to this in the Lectio Divina page as well as in the Readings at Mass page.

The new season's e-books
Those of you who buy your ready-made Universalis e-books from Amazon will find that your half-year Liturgy of the Hours e-book will end at Pentecost. It will soon be time to get the next one. The new e-books are now available. The complete catalogue is here.

How to update
The study hymns are a new feature in the Universalis apps and programs. Updates are (or should be) automatic on Android and iOS, while on the Mac and Windows Universalis checks for updates from time to time and lets you know when one is available. This page has full details.

Thank you all for using Universalis. If you have trouble or questions, or suggestions, do write to us at or use the Contact Us button in one of the apps. Don't reply directly to the email this newsletter came in unless you really want to stop getting the emails! Let us all keep one another in our prayers as always.

Martin Kochanski
Universalis Publishing Limited
Facebook: Universalis
Twitter: @CatholicFeasts

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


If I had to do high school all over again, I'd take 3 or 4 years of Latin. I had a great Latin teacher (Miss Houk) but I didn't think about taking more than the two years that I did managed to pass. Anyway, if you're interested, you can download ebooks of the latest edition (2010) of the Liturgia Horarum in four volumes, 11.50 euros each which comes to about $14.23 per. It's also available in Italian. No English yet. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

So..How's that Revised Breviary Coming Along?

My co-blogger Mike's previous post about a reprinting of the Latin Liturgy of the Hours led to some discussion in the comments about the long awaited revision/retranslation of the American English edition.

Obviously this is something we are all waiting for with great longing, or great curiosity, or perhaps great trepidation, depending on one's perceptions on the abilities of the U.S. Bishops' committee on Divine Worship and ICEL --that is, International Commission on English in the Liturgy. 

This blog was probably the first source to break the story about the proposed revision in this post and in  this one. But that was back in 2012. Progress since then has been slow but steady. If you want more details on this from the only reliable source, then go to this page from the USCCB website for a complete rundown. I'm so glad that Mike noted this pages in those comments the other day. It gives the reader a good sense of why this process is so slow. Some parts of the LOTH (in the United States) are taken from the New American Bible, while the psalms are the Revised Grail Psalms, the work of the monks of Conception Abbey in Missouri. Then there's the antiphons, Intercessions,hymns and concluding prayers, which are the work of ICEL, translating texts that come from the Vatican publishing house. So we are talking about four different entities, four different copyright holders.

You have to be a serious breviary nerd to read the entire piece, but it should answer all your questions.  Unless, of course, you are from the UK. If any Brits, Aussies, Canadians, or Kiwis out there know how, if at all, the Commonwealth bishops are coordinating with the USA on this,or just doing a new translation of their own, please share the news!

As I keep telling people, the Bishops and these other entities are share this trait in common with the Lord: to their eyes, "a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, or like a watch in the night."(Psalm 90:4)  So the rest of us just have to be patient.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Reprint of the Liturgia Horarum Coming Soon

From the New Liturgical Movement:


Some readers of NLM may have already seen the recent announcement by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana: the Latin editio typica altera of the Liturgia Horarum, out of print for some time, is being reprinted. The first volume is expected by June. Those who are interested in acquiring a copy can e-mail the Sales Department ( for pre-orders and more information...

The first volumes of Liturgia Horarum, which are currently being edited, will be available in print starting this June. Two different versions will be published: classic and with gilded edges. The cover price is not yet available, but the four volumes can already be pre-ordered by emailing our sales office at

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Poem for Holy Saturday

I run this every year either on St. Josephs day or Holy Saturday.  Even if you are not a huge fan of poetry, I guarantee you will be moved by this one. Note: the "Benedicite" Moses requests is the canticle from Daniel that we pray in the psalter on Easter and every Sunday week I. 
 If this your first time reading this piece, pass it on to anyone else you know who loves St. Joseph. 

Limbo by Sister Mary Ada, OSJ

The ancient grayness shifted
Suddenly and thinned
Like mist upon the moors
Before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted
A shining face and said:
“He will be coming soon.
The Son of God is dead;
He died this afternoon.”

A murmurous excitement stirred
All souls.
They wondered if they dreamed –
Save one old man who seemed
Not even to have heard.

And Moses, standing,
Hushed them all to ask
If any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared
Could not the three young children sing
The Benedicite, the canticle of praise
They made when God kept them from perishing
In the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them,
Stilling Moses’ words.
No one could speak, remembering
The first fresh flowers,
The little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed
Or apple trees
All blossom-boughed.
Or some, the way a dried bed fills
With water
Laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam
On bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred
Remembered home.

And there He was
Splendid as the morning sun and fair
As only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy,
Knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore
Five crimson stars
He never had before.

No canticle at all was sung
None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,
A silent man alone
Of all that throng
Found tongue –
Not any other.
Close to His heart
When the embrace was done,
Old Joseph said,
“How is Your Mother,
How is Your Mother, Son?”

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Page numbers for the Divine Office

Here's a helpful source from the St. Thomas More House of Prayer website giving the page numbers for the Morning  and Evening Prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours each day in the single volume Christian Prayer and the four volume Christian Prayer for the entire calendar year. They are also downloadable in PDF format. It's a big help if you use the print version of the Liturgy of the Hours especially if you're a beginner or if you simply don't have time to flip back and forth in a calm, unhurried, and serene manner.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Morning Prayer (Enlarged Form) from Universalis

I use the Universalis app on my smartphone (Android), my PC (Windows 10), and my Amazon Fire tablet. It's very convenient and very reliable. It's also available on iPhones, Mac, Kindle, Nook, and eBooks.  

I noticed two new things now available on the Universalis app: Lectio Divina and an enlarged form for the Morning Prayer. The Lectio Divina is based on the Gospel reading of the day. The enlarged form for the Morning Prayer adds the readings from the Office of Readings and the Gospel of the day's Mass. I really like both features but the enlarged form of the Morning Prayer is perfect for me.

The app costs $10.99, $12.50, or $24.50 depending on your options. Once you get the app downloaded you don't need to be online. If you get the registration code, you're set for life. 

Books are expensive. The Catholic Book Publishing Corporation publishes fine books for the Liturgy of the Hours but they've never been updated. It still contains the original English translation from 1976 with the old collects that are no longer used at Mass. It's sad but the reality is that publishers don't really see a big market for these books. It looks like we won't see any new books until 2025 when the second edition is, supposedly, due. I'm going to be really old then so I'll just go ahead and use the Universalis app now.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: Psalm Basics for Catholics

In my 2013 book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, I touch here and there on the Jewish roots of the psalter. I briefly described to readers how to think about both the literal, historical sense of the psalm (i.e., what the psalmist had in mind when he wrote them) as well as the christological sense (how the inspired words of the psalms are often messianic hints about Jesus.)

But one thing I don't do is explain how the psalms fit together as a coherent book of the Bible. Why are they in this specific order? Is there any pattern there? Are they organized by theme or topic? Is there an overall, "big picture" message to the book of Psalms?

There is one book, Singing in the Reign, listed in my chapter on Resources, that covers this topic very well. But now there's another one which I must recommend.

Psalm Basics for Catholics is an easy, and even entertaining read that explains how the Psalms encapsulate Salvation History, and why they are divided into five "books". It tells you the significance of the authorship of the psalms (some by King David, some by others, and even one--which somehow I'd missed all these years--by Moses! It's Psalm 90.).  And while focusing primarily on what these psalms meant to the Chosen People, the author continually links these meanings to their messianic significance.  He also recommends five psalms from each book that are Really Worth Memorizing. Those of us with a longstanding LOTH habit will have a good headstart on this. I found I"d already memorized many of his recommendations.  

Author John Bergsma's tour of the the Psalms is made easy and memorable by his stick figure mnemonic illustrations that portray the Davidic kings or kingdom in various stages of trial, triumph, suffering, and hope as the fortunes of the Kingdom of Israel/Judea go up to the height of David and Solomon's rule, go down with their dissolute heirs to eventual destruction, enter a plateau of reflection during the Babylonian captivity, and then rise again in hope as they return from exile and the temple is restored.

The author recommends that at least once, but preferably several times, we read through the psalms in order, since this will yield a richer understanding and appreciation of the psalms that we won't get if we only read it in the rather mixed up order of our breviary psalters.    If you don't have time to do this separately as well as your daily LOTH, you might want to switch to "devotional" mode for a month: with bible in hand, do each hour of prayer, but instead of the 4 week psalter, just read three psalms, in order for each hour until you've gone through all 150. This of course, is no longer  official "liturgical" prayer. But it's certainly a worthwhile experiment to do just once.   But first read Bergsma's book, then you can read and pray through the book of psalms able to notice all the themes of Davidic covenant history which he points out.