Breviary Ribbon Placement

I just got my single volume Breviary from a Catholic bookstore last Friday. Just like the missal it has the usual ribbons with different colors. So my question is: Where should I place a specific color in the breviary? Thanks!

That will depend on where in breviary we are for that particular day and to an extent personal preference (whether red marks the current day or a often used item toward the back of the book). One color doesn’t have to mark a certain thing. I do the LOTH on my phone, but just used the ribbons in order when I prayed from the 4-volume LOTH.

Since you’re new at this, you might want to check out this thread -

As Nicole said,
There’s no specific order for the ribbons. You may use them in any way that you’d like.

Thanks guys!

I just checked my breviary and it has four ribbons… In what parts of the breviary do you suggest I place the four? I don’t need one for the invitatory since it is placed in a small thin booklet.

I use the four volume set, so it might be a little different for you.

But generally, I use a ribbon marking the spot in the psalter, the proper for the day, and the applicable commons.

Although it’s got a funky title, you might want to look into buying the “The Divine Office for Dodos” book.

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I agree with Mark.

You likely won’t need all four ribbons in the single volume set. I believe I’ve only used two (three if I didn’t have one part memorized) when praying evening prayer at church.

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I have the one volume book, but mine has 5 ribbons. I have one in the front in the Proper of Seasons, one in the 4-week Psalter marking Sunday, Week 1 (it is used for a lot of the big feast days), one marking wherever we are in the 4-week psalter, one marking where we are in the proper of saints, and one in the back in whatever common I last used.

I have the one volume and I went out and bought additional 5 ribbons. So that gives me 10.

I can have one in the Psalter, one in Proper of seasons (and on Easter and Christmas Octives one at Christmas day or one on Easter day.) One on the Proper of Saints. One on the Morning prayer song, one on the Evening prayer song. One in the Common. Of course there is also one at the Invitiatory and one at Sunday Week I Morning Prayer.

Or you can fill up your book with holy cards (I do that too).

I have seen many copies of the one volume breviary (the “Christian Prayer” one) and the order and coloring of the ribbons is not uniform. I don’t know that the colors have any special significance beyond helping the user distinguish as they see fit.

It depends on the time of year and how frequently one prays as to where one might place the ribbons. Today, for example, you would probably have one ribbon on the page for “Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter” (for the readings and interecessory prayers), and a second ribbon on the page for “Tuesday, Week III of the Psalter” (for the Psalms and Canticles). You could place a third ribbon in the section towards the back for the feast days on specific dates, except there is none (in my version) for May 10th. You might also place another ribbon in the back by the hymns.

The multiple ribbons really come in handy on days with lots of flipping – like on certain Marian feast days. The Psalms and Canticles might be in one place (often, Sunday, Week I), while the antiphons are on that specific feast day, and the readings and intercessions are under the Common for the Blessed Mother. They like to keep us on our toes. :slight_smile:

doesn’t really matter, I just use the ribbon closest to the section I want to mark.
you can get fancy and try to use, say black, for office of the dead, blue for night office, but it is not required entirely personal preference. The less they get tangled the longer they last. What has helped me the most keep my volume clean is to use the insert with the gospel canticles to mark each day in the psalter, and the one with Sunday Week I psalms in the propers, since they are used so often, then the ribbons can go elsewhere.

I am not familiar with the Liturgy of Hours books. For the earlier Breviaries 6 ribbons were needed:

  • ordinary (one day cycle)
  • psalter (one week cycle)
  • proper of season (one year cycle)
  • proper of saints (one year cycle)
  • common of saints (referenced by the proper of Saints)
  • backreferenced feast (like within the Octave of Easter or Pentecost)

Monastic Breviary would need more ribbons, because the psalter is not a continuous weekly cycle, but is constructed from different parts.

I had the same question when I was first starting out. If anything I could have used one or two more ribbons, but I guess we just make do with what we have. Here’s where I place them.

Proper of Seasons
You will want a ribbon here as you progress through the liturgical year.
This is the four week cycle of the psalms for Morning and Evening Prayer. I think this is the most obvious place for a ribbon as your progress through the cycle.
Night Prayer
This is a weekly cycle, but it is handy to have a ribbon in there some where if you pray Night Prayer.
Proper of Saints
In addition to the seasons of the year, there are certain feasts that are always on the same date. This kind of creates two distinct ways by which the Church moves through the liturgical calendar. It’s good to have a ribbon in here.
Particularly in the single volume it would be nice to even have two ribbons here. The commons are those antiphons and prayers which might be common to more than one saint (i.e. common of virgins, apostles or martyrs). You will want at least one ribbon here, but sometimes a common will call for the use of another common for part of it, so if you have an extra ribbon put it in there.

I also have a few prayer cards that double as book markers in my breviary in a few other places. I will list them below as well as a few others I don’t mark, but you might find useful:

As needed, see the note above.
Sunday Week I
Someone mentioned this, but it gets used a lot.
The Ordinary
This is the small section just after the Proper of Seasons, and before the Psalter. It is particularly helpful when you are just starting out because it is the rubrics (basically a how-to) on the proper flow of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Daytime Prayer
I don’t really pray it much, but if I did, I imagine I’d want a ribbon or something there.

I find I put the ribbons in pretty much the same place in the four volume as well. Hope this helps.

Uh oh! I have the 1-volume book with 5 ribbons, and I want more!

I have mine in the Proper of Seasons, the Canticle of Mary in the Ordinary, the Psalter, the Proper of Saints, and the music index. I suppose if I had to get rid of one, I’d pick the music index, until I memorize the Canticle anyways :wink:

I put my 5 in the Proper of Seasons, the Ordinary, the Psalter, the Proper of Saints, and the Commons. When I had the 1 volume book, I had an additional bookmark for the hymns.

The 4 volume set is actually a bit easier in a few ways. The hymns are printed in the Psalter, and the psalms and canticle for MP Sunday Week 1 come on a prayer card.

I could probably add something for Night Prayer, but I’ve always just flipped to it (it’s always between the Psalter and the Proper of Saints).

I have the 4 volume set which came with a 5 ribbon set, for each volume. I bought 4 more 5 ribbon sets (different sized ribbons); 5 ribbons are just not enough, boy does that help.

WooT!! I just got a 6th ribbon! It’s in the Commons now :slight_smile:
I think I can be satisfied with 6…

Thanks for all the replies guys!

I think I’d place one in the Proper of Seasons, another in the Psalter, then one for the Proper of Saints and another for the Common. The small thin booklet with the invitatory I’d place in the Hymns then a holy card in the Night Prayer. I guess I need another one for the Ordinary since I’m just starting.


I xeroxed the Canticle of Mary and the Canticle of Zecheria, and glued the Canticle of Mary in the front of Christian Prayer, and Zecheria in the back of the book using an archival glue so it doesn’t leach through the cover over time. I’d like to get a book cover with some sort of pocket in it to hold the St. Joseph annual guide, though. Maybe I’ll just pick up some clear plastic material and make one.

If you have a sewing machine, you can make your own set of ribbons: Get a piece of stiff fabric or plastic, and the appropriate colored ribbons (you can get them at Wal Mart,) and cut them to the desired length plus two inches. Sew the ribbons on a sewing machine to the doubled up fabric or the patch of plastic and insert them into the spine of the book. Or like someone said above, duct taping them to a piece of cardboard works all right, too.

I went ahead and spent the time… I memorized the canticle of Zach and Mary.

That way I could copy Sunday Week I and put that inside the front and back cover. That’s the one I don’t have memorized but need ALL THE TIME!!

It is an immutable fact of life that any breviary that comes with ribbons, no matter how many ribbons there are, you will find yourself wishing for more… :smiley:

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