Liturgy of the Hours "Homilies"


#1

Recently I attended a retreat where a group of sisters got up in front of a group during the Liturgy of the Hours (Night prayer and Daytime prayer) and gave reflections immediately following the reading. In one of the offices (Daytime prayer) one of the sisters led with Priests/Deacons present. After the 3 psalms and the reading, one of the sisters got up and offered her reflection and immediately after she presented a powerpoint presentation at the conclusion of which came the responsory verse followed by the prayer led by a Priest who imparted his blessing.

My questions are these:

1.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people give reflections of this sort during the liturgy of the hours in a public setting, especially when there are Priests/Deacons present?
2.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people lead the liturgy of the hours when Priests/Deacons are present?
3.) Is it allowable for Priests/Deacons to give blessings at the conclusion of Night Prayer and Daytime Prayer?
4.) Is it allowable that a Priest/Deacon would omit the blessing say at the end of Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer in favor of the May the Lord bless us, protects us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life" in a public setting?

Thanks so much!
Mordocai


#2

Not sure of the answers, but remember that religious often have different rules.


#3

I am not an expert but I suspect that the answer to all your questions is yes. The Liturgy of the Hours may be prayed by lay people as well as clergy. It is not the Mass.


#4

To begin with, OP, you are not giving us enough information.
This retreat you were on, was the retreat house run by the sisters?
Where the priests & deacons also retreatants?

If my memory serves, I don’t think there are any rubrics concering who can lead/reflect during the LOTH. In most cases, I would say if a priest/deacon is available, and wishes to, I would defer to him to be the leader, but only if he wanted to. As far as giving a reflection, it is not a “homily” so again, it really does not matter who gives it, so long as it is in line with Church teaching.

Houses of holy woman have prayed some form of the LOTH for centuries, often without a priest in the house. Lay people are praying them more, and sometimes even meet together in the morning before Mass to do so. If there is not a priest/deacon present among us, should we not pray the morning office?

Yes, the LOTH is the other form of the public prayer of the Church, but I do not believe that the rubrics are nearly as strict as the Mass. They are actuallly a lot more flexible, especially in cases of the Orders (Franciscan, Dominican, etc), who often have their own brievery.


#5

[quote="PaulfromIowa, post:3, topic:300004"]
I am not an expert but I suspect that the answer to all your questions is yes. The Liturgy of the Hours may be prayed by lay people as well as clergy. It is not the Mass.

[/quote]

It is not the Mass but it is liturgy. Therefore there are general instructions and rubrics to be followed.

1.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people give reflections of this sort during the liturgy of the hours in a public setting, especially when there are Priests/Deacons present?

  1. In a celebration with a congregation a short homily may follow the reading to explain its meaning, as circumstances suggest.

(GILH)

Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year.

(code of canon law)

2.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people lead the liturgy of the hours when Priests/Deacons are present?

Yes, however:

  1. When a bishop presides, especially in the cathedral, he should be attended by his college of priests and by ministers and the people should take a full and active part. A priest or deacon should normally preside at every celebration with a congregation and ministers should also be present.

(GILH)

3.) Is it allowable for Priests/Deacons to give blessings at the conclusion of Night Prayer and Daytime Prayer?

What do you mean by "giving blessings"? Do you mean the concluding formula? The normal conclusion for daytime prayer is the Benedicamus Domino. The formula for Night Prayer is fixed regardless of whether presided by a priest or deacon. In monastic tradition, after the final blessing of Compline, the abbot blesses the community with holy water.

4.) Is it allowable that a Priest/Deacon would omit the blessing say at the end of Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer in favor of the May the Lord bless us, protects us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life" in a public setting?

The rubrics call for a blessing in public recitation when presided by a priest or deacon, and the conclusion above in private recitation or when not presided by a priest or deacon.

Was the retreat done at a religious community? Which community was it? They may have their own rules and constitutions about who may preside at the LOTH. The LOTH can be led by a layperson (in fact women religious have done so for as long as they've existed), and there may be particular rules about which clergy can preside (i.e. the community's chaplain). I know for instance a house of Benedictine nuns; the chaplain presides at Mass only. At other times he says the LOTH privately, and the nuns do the hours themselves in choir.

This situation is a bit of a gray area, because the Liturgy was not per se being celebrated in public (assuming it was only for those on retreat), and it was not being celebrated in choir either from what I can gather. So there may be no particular requirement for the priests or deacon to preside, although it would be normal to expect that if a priest or deacon is present he would preside.


#6

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply!
I did not mean to say that only Priests/Deacons can pray the LOTH. I only meant that if a Priest/Deacon is present, ought he to be presiding/leading the given hour?
However, the last poster was helpful in clarifying that, thank you!

For further clarification, these offices were celebrated in common for an entire community of people, most of whom were partaking in a retreat. There were choirs (i.e. we went back and forth in the recitation of the verses) and the sisters leading the retreat/hours were visitors to this community (this communiy they were visiting was not a religious community like the Franciscans or Benedictines.)

Also, what I meant by ‘giving a blessing’ at the endof Night Prayer or Daytime Prayer was that, instead of the Priest/Deacon praying “May the all powerful Lord… etc” or “Let us praise the Lord, and give Him thanks” they instead would say “the Lord be with you [and with your spirit] may Almighty God bless you + the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” and impart a blessing.

Thanks!
Mordocai


#7

Please note that #47 addresses the situation in which the office is prayed by a congregation. Looking at #121, we see that there’s a distinction between a congregation and a group:

Different psalms may be sung in different ways for a fuller grasp of their spiritual meaning and beauty. The choice of ways is dictated by the literary genre or length of each psalm, by the language used, whether Latin or the vernacular, and especially by the kind of celebration, whether individual, with a group, or with a congregation.

In the context of a discussion of the way to sing the psalms, #121 identifies for us that there are certain distinctions between the kinds of celebration: ‘individual’, ‘group’, and ‘congregation’.

I would assert that the OP’s question concerns a group, not a congregation. Therefore, #47 doesn’t apply. Further, it would seem that the question of whether a reflection is appropriate in the prayer of a group (let alone the question of who might provide such a reflection) is one not addressed by the GILH.

2.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people lead the liturgy of the hours when Priests/Deacons are present?

Yes, however:

[quote]A priest or deacon should normally preside at every celebration with a congregation and ministers should also be present.

[/quote]

Again, I would assert that this isn’t a “celebration with a congregation”.


#8

Ok thanks for answering those questions! Very helpful!

Mordocai


#9

[quote="Mordocai, post:1, topic:300004"]
Recently I attended a retreat where a group of sisters got up in front of a group during the Liturgy of the Hours (Night prayer and Daytime prayer) and gave reflections immediately following the reading. In one of the offices (Daytime prayer) one of the sisters led with Priests/Deacons present. After the 3 psalms and the reading, one of the sisters got up and offered her reflection and immediately after she presented a powerpoint presentation at the conclusion of which came the responsory verse followed by the prayer led by a Priest who imparted his blessing.

My questions are these:

1.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people give reflections of this sort during the liturgy of the hours in a public setting, especially when there are Priests/Deacons present?
2.) Is it allowable to have non-ordained people lead the liturgy of the hours when Priests/Deacons are present? ...

[/quote]

Regarding (2), the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours discusses this in n. 253 - 258.

"Chapter Five
THE RITES TO BE OBSERVED IN COMMUNAL CELEBRATION
I The Various Tasks to be Performed

253 In the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours as in other liturgical actions 'whether as a minister or as one of the faithful, each person should perform his role by doing solely and totally what the nature of things and liturgical norms require of him'. [footnote 1 Second Vatican Council, Const. on Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, n 28.]"

"258 When there is no priest or deacon, the person who presides is only one among equals; he does not enter the sanctuary, nor does he greet or bless the people."

(From Divine Office, published by E.J. Dwyer, Sydney, 1974, ISBN 085574233X, page lxxxvi.)


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.