Selecting Hymns in LOTH

I am thinking seriously of trying to start a group to say Morning Prayer at my parish. I have been doing some research to get all my ducks in a row before I suggest it to the pastor.

My wife and I currently pray LOTH, Office of Readings in the morning using the 4 vol set of books. I know there are other sources and I have compared them because while a lot of people pray the Hours, most probably do not use the (expensive) 4 volume set.

What I came up with as other sources for the Morning Prayer are, Christian Prayer, Shorter Christian Prayer, Divine, Universallis, iBrievery, and the Mendelian Psalter. As far as the Psalms, reading, and prayers they are identical as far as I was able to determine I did not check every day in all of them but what I did check was the same.

When it comes to the hymns though, there was almost no agreement. So now my question.

If any of you participate in a communal Morning Prayer such as I am contemplating, where the participants may be using multiple sources for the prayer, how are the hymns done so that everyone has the same hymn?


In communal prayer, you do not use multiple sources. You use copies of the same one, and thereby avoid the problem described. Either the parish buys in bulk the same publication (e.g. Christian Prayer), or one obtains permission to print out booklets. This is because there can be multiple approved editions, and unified sources are a must for celebrations in common.

And then there’s the matter of celebrations themselves. In Canada, for example, today September 26th is the Feast of Sts. John Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions. So a Canadian parish would celebrate this with full texts from the Common of Several Martyrs. What if someone waltzes in with iBreviary, likely keyed to the US or the universal calendar, or with Universalis, keyed to the UK? Or if you’re in a country like New Zealand, where both the US and UK books are approved, and a parish just happens to celebrate with Christian Prayer, but you walk in with A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer? Both are licit, but they won’t match outside of the Psalms.

If someone decides to join in with a cellphone, then, quite frankly, he lies down in his own bed: he’s on his own unless the hymn matches.

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Exactly! When we started doing this in my parish (evening prayer rather than morning prayer, but the result is the same). The parish bought multiple copies of Shorter Christian Prayer and they were available for everyone to use. It also had the practical benefit of being able to give page numbers that are the same for everyone.

Others have good suggestions, but is there a reason you couldn’t pick one out of the hymnals the parish has already?

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A parish I know about does use the hymnal for the hymn.

Our Gregorian schola does Vespers in Advent and Lent, and Lauds on Holy Saturday. We print booklets. Since we are a Gregorian schola, our hymns are necessarily from the Liber Hymnarius in Latin.

But the point is having everyone on the same page, hence the booklets. We’ve standardized on the same Sunday in Advent and the same Sunday in Lent, so we use the same booklets over again, as we’ve put in the Magnificat antiphons for years A, B and C.

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