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