Breviary vs. Missal


Hello. What is the difference between a breviary (which is the liturgy of the hours?) and a missal?

Not sure if this is the right forum, so I'm taking a shot!


[quote="Michaeljc4, post:1, topic:315714"]
Hello. What is the difference between a breviary (which is the liturgy of the hours?) and a missal?

Not sure if this is the right forum, so I'm taking a shot!


The Breviary is the book containing the texts for the Liturgy of the Hours, a.k.a. Divine Office.

The Missal is the book containing the texts for the Mass.


Thank you so much for your help. Could you tell me a little bit about what the Divine Office is? Those are prayers recited throughout the day by monks, etc?


Monks, nuns and sisters, priests and deacons and a lot of laypeople. They are composed primarily of Biblical psalms and canticles with readings and intercessions said at various times during the day. The Divine Office is the official prayer of the Catholic Church and is second in importance only to the Mass.

A good overview can be found on EWTN at this link:


There are 7 'hours' - Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, 3 Daytime Prayers (Mid-Morning, Mid-Day, Mid-Afternoon), Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.

I like to use the online version:

It's free and easy to use. Praying along with the audio gives you a good sense of how it all works.

I'm still learning. I try to do at least a part of it each day.


A great place to start is
or Universalis

the last of these included a podcast of the major hours each day, so you can hear the community praying.

The Divine Office is a series of prayerfull readings by an individual or community of the psalms. It follows a pattern throught the day, week and year.

Morning, evening and Night prayer especially are recommended to the laity. Members of many monasteries are required to pray all the hours. Secular Priests and Deacons are required to pray the major hours as appropriate to their other duties.

The basic format is
* O Lord Open My Lips
- And my toungue shall announce thy praise

*Glory Be....

Introductory psalm (before the first hour of the day which is prayed)

Canticle (old testament in morning, new testament in evening)
Short Reading.
Short Responsory
Gospel Canticle (Benidictus in Morning, Magnificat in evening, Nuct Dimitis at night (bed-time))
Intercessions (morning & evening only)
Our Father (morning and evening only)

Closing prayer.

There are prayerfull silences between in which to meditate on and pray with the read out sections.

every psalm canticle, reading and responsory is followed by the Glory Be. and the psalms and canticles are preceded and followed by an antiphon.
there are fewer psalms at night. normal just 1 or 2.

a 4 week pattern defines the choice of psalms and canticles.
the liturgical calendar determines the antiphons and closing prayers.

This is a lovely, disciplined method of putting a structured pattern of prayer in the hands of everyone.

If you're in the UK and are looking to purchase a copy, may I suggest you order a copy form a retailer in the republic of Ireland. The UK retailers sell copies printed by Collins - owned by Rupert Murdoch, His companies well publicised immoral activities, company wide distasteful editorial decisions, and direct attacks on the Church make me refuse to do any business with them and I advocated others to do likewise. Unfortunately the UK contract to print the Divine Office has a long time to run.
The copies on sale in Ireland are identical except they are printed by Veritas, the official church owned printers.

In the US St. Josephs press are one of a small number of publishers.


iBreviary, = yes.
Universalis = no.


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