Office of the dead


Can we pray this office whenever we want to or everyday for a soul if we wish? morn and evening

Or do people just pray it on All souls day and Saturdays maybe?

I have the shorter morn and evening prayer book and the Off. of the dead is in it


Roughly 8 or 9 years ago, my spiritual director and confessor at that time (M.Afr) , when I asked a similar question, replied that a lay individual could pray this office privately whenever they wanted, but that if we are praying the liturgy of the hours publicly we are to follow the liturgical calendar.

Previously, it would appear this office had enjoyed a little more prominence - and even more particularly among several monastic orders Office of The Dead , Catholic Encyclopedia

The Office of the Dead was composed originally to satisfy private devotion to the dead, and at first had no official character. Even in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, it was recited chiefly by the religious orders (the Cluniacs, Cistercians, Carthusians), like the Office of Our Lady (see Guyet, loc. cit., 465). Later it was prescribed for all clerics and became obligatory whenever a ferial office was celebrated. It has even been said that it was to remove the obligation of reciting it that the feasts of double and semi-double rite were multiplied, for it could be omitted on such days (Bäumer-Biron, op. cit., II, 198). The reformed Breviary of St. Pius V assigned the recitation of the Office of the Dead to the first free day in the month, the Mondays of Advent and Lent, to some vigils, and ember days. Even then it was not obligatory, for the Bull “Quod a nobis” of the same pope merely recommends it earnestly, like the Office of Our Lady and the Penitential Psalms, without imposing it as a duty (Van der Stappen, “Sacra Liturgia”, I, Malines, 1898, p. 115). At the present time, it is obligatory on the clergy only on the feast of All Souls and in certain mortuary services. Some religious orders (Carthusians, Cistercians etc.) have preserved the custom of reciting it in choir on the days assigned by the Bull “Quod a nobis”.


It had also been my understanding that for individuals obliged to recite the LOTH but not in community, the Office for the Dead could be substituted for Morning or Evening Prayer in the event of the death of a family member or the anniversary of such a death. However, never seen anything totally "official" on that.


I would think it would follow similar principles as at Mass, that is, any day in Ordinary Time which is not an obligatory memorial, feast, Sunday or Solemnity as a votive office and whenever a Mass for the Dead can be celebrated (anniversary, etc.)


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