Vigils Prayer (Book)


Hello. I am new to this site.

So I visited the New Camaldoli Hermitage at Big Sur, California again. They are wonderful.
I noticed that they pray daily: Vigils, Lauds, Eurcharist, & Vespers.

I have the Mundelien psalter and it has morning prayer, evening prayer, and compline.

My question is can I pray daily vigils (as in before sunrise) using the morning prayer from the Mudenlien pslater? Is there a book that has the “vigils” similar to the pslaters? So that I could follow it daily? The Vigils book at the Hermitage from what I saw was a list of songs/hymns.

I’m just confused regarding the Liturgy of the Hours. My understanding is that morning prayers had Vigil prayer rolled in together. I would like if possilbe to have a daily vigil pray format.




@OraLabora is our resident expert on LOTH.


The equivalent to Vigils in the LOTH is the Office of Readings. You can pray it at any hour, including the hour of Vigils which in monasteries is before Lauds (Morning Prayer).

You will need the 4-volume LOTH set, or an on-line version.

In the early days, Vigils and Lauds were together. Lauds was the last three psalms, the Laudate psalms (148-149-150). The term “Matins” is sometimes used as well. Over time the two offices separated into two distinct Offices: Vigils, to be prayed in the night, and Lauds, at or near sunrise. The abbey I’m affiliated with prays Vigils at 5 am, and Lauds at 7:30 am. I myself pray Vigils at 5:30 am, and Lauds at 6 am after a short lectio break, in the summer. In the winter, where I live, the sun rises late so I pray Lauds at 7:30. Interestingly Saint Benedict in his Rule also proposed a summer/winter schedule, as the nights were shorter in summer. He proposed that Lauds be prayed immediately after Vigils, after a short break to “take care of the needs of nature”. Very practical man was Saint Benedict, as Vigils with its long scripture and patristic readings can be a very long office, especially Sundays and Feasts! (at our abbey, it takes about 50 minutes on ordinary days, and over an hour on Sundays and feasts).

I strongly recommend that anybody praying the LOTH read the General Instructions. I don’t think they are in the Mundelein psalter, but you can find them here:

That, along with the Ordinary in the LOTH, will go a long way towards demystifying the LOTH.


Thank you. My follow up question is since I have a psalter (morning, evening and night) that I enjoy, is there a book for the Office of Readings I could buy? Something that has the order to follow every day. I saw some on Amazon but cannot tell if its approved and current for Catholic use.


Not quite what you’re looking for, but I believe this is the closest thing in existence that I’m aware of:

What I do is use Christian Prayer (similar to the Mundelein) for most hours and supplement with the iBreviary app.


Ok. So. Is it okay, permissible, appropriate if I pray the morning Prayers (lauds) before sunrise (vigil) for the day? I really enjoy the mundelien psalter and am finally getting the hand of it. I would like to pray if during vigil (before sunrise).

What do you think?




There is no issue of permissibility. You may do as you choose and as it fits your spirituality. The laity are encouraged to say some or all of the LOTH (and sadly, all too few even know of it); but there are no impermissible times to say it.

It might be difficult to follow the normal pattern if, for example, one were to have a night job as , depending on start and stop times of the work, one could be beginning the LOTH about the time one is preparing for “evening” meal or bed.

You are good to go.


Even among the religious and ordained who are obligated to pray the LOTH, there’s no specific time when a particular Hour must be said (except what their community has determined). Lauds can be anytime in the morning, with that usually defined as 4am-9am, but that’s only a rough guide. Vespers is typically 4pm-7pm (again, it may vary, as long as it’s “evening”). The main factors are how many Hours have to be accommodated in the routine schedule along side other obligations. As previously noted, the Office of Readings (vigils) can be done at any time of day, even the evening before.


The main requirement is that the verity of the Hour be respected. Therefore one does not pray Lauds in the Evening, Vespers in the morning and Compline after getting up! Other than that, there’s a fair amount of wiggle room. I’ve seen Lauds as early as 6 am in the monasteries I’ve visited, and as late as 7:30 am. I’ve seen the Office of Readings combined with Lauds into an office of “Matins”. I’ve seen Lauds at 6:20 am or 7 am combined with the Mass. I’ve seen Terce combined with the Mass. I’ve see Vespers as late as 7 or 8 pm. The basics is that Lauds be in the morning, Terce mid-morning, Sext mid-day, None mid-afternoon, Vespers in the early evening and Compline before bed. The Office of Readings is mobile, but in Benedictine monasteries is replaced by Vigils which is said in the night, usually some time between 4 am and 6 am.

Lauds is not Vigils though, the two are very different offices, in Vigils, there are long Bible and patristic readings, divided into two nocturnes (psalms + Bible reading/psalms + patristic readings), and other features such as the Te Deum on Sundays (except Lent) and feasts. In my congregation it is customary to sing this office recto-tono (that is, monotone, except the hymn and Te Deum). Monks consider it the most important Office of the day,

By all means use Lauds from the Mundelein psalter very early in the morning, but it is still Lauds, not Vigils.


Thank you. I wish to pray Lauds before the break of sunrise.


I started lauds. I woke up late and ended up praying the Monday prayers. Please pray I can continue this. Just a lot of distractions.




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