Where to go to pray the Divine Office?


I’ve been interested in praying the Divine Office, especially Vespers (or Compline?)…something in the evening. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Where is this type of prayer typically done? In a church? Or more in a monastery? (since consecrated religious pray the divine office to my knowledge)

Stanford University has a compline service during the school year. Anyone know of any others?

Also, Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park does “Morning Prayer” before Morning Mass. What is Morning Prayer…Matins?

Thanks a lot!


Here’s a website that is pretty comprehensive.

It doesn’t have to be done anywhere specific, while it is great to pray with others, but not mandatory.
God bless you!


You might also try parishes run by religious orders. For example, I know in NY, in one of the Dominjcan parishes, the friars chant morning prayer and the faithful are allowed to follow along quietly. Once a week they have sung Vespers and benediction which everyone is encouraged to participate in.

Also my parish has sung vespers in Latin every Sunday afternoon.


Morning Prayer is Lauds. Matins is earlier – 5 am at the abbey I’ll be visiting Tuesday.


Do try to attend a community service as the Divine Office is designed to be said or sung in a such a setting. From personal experience I can say that it truly comes alive when this is so.


Check out St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland.

This is their schedule for the academic year:


Vespers, or Evening Prayer, and Compline, or Night Prayer may be said or sung in community, or individually. If you are interested in doing so, you might look for the book Shorter Christian Prayer as it is the easiest to use, and would fit your needs. Christian Prayer is a larger, one volume set; and there is a complete 4 volume set. If you are interested only in Lauds (Morning Prayer) or Vespers or Compline, anything beyond Shorter Christian Prayer would be way too much. Decades ago when I was in college seminary, that was what we used.

People are encouraged to say the Office, or part of it and it is a very ancient practice in the Church. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying only part of it. What I miss is saying it in community, as my schedule does not allow for joining with others.

As to where, you just have to poke around a good bit to find it. Ask at various parishes,


One caveat, if you visit a monastic community to attend their Divine Office, their psalter and calendar are often significantly different than the LOTH so neither Christian Prayer nor the shorter version will be much help.


Thank you for the advice and encouragement! That page was very helpful. It helped me understand that the Liturgy of Hours was reformed in 1970, hence the terms “Morning Prayer” and “Evening Prayer” etc. I wasn’t sure how those corresponded to the earlier, ancient names, but now I do.


Good idea. I’ll keep my eyes open. Still learning about all the parishes in my area.


Thanks. Is it even called “matins” anymore, or “office of readings”?


I agree it would be ideal. Vespers is done periodically at a university near me. When the school year starts it will resume, and I look forward to checking it out. I am surprised that it isn’t recited more often at parishes. I’ve been looking around, and have yet to find a regular parish in the vicinity that does so. I understand this is likely due to busy work schedules. Vespers on a Sunday would be nice, though. Surprised there isn’t a bit more of this, because it seems like a great way to bring everyone together. One parish in a neighboring diocese says Morning Prayer before Morning Mass. I think that is a fabulous idea. Wish more parishes would do this!


Oh, I wish I lived in the East Bay and was closer. That is excellent to know, though, for when I’m in the area. That is exactly what I’m looking for. I have yet to find a parish or institute in the South Bay or Peninsula that does this. It takes quite a lot of time to check parish websites one-by-one, so thanks for saving me some time with this find!


Thanks for the tip. It’s good to know there is a briefer volume. I was thinking in investing in a book, perhaps Shorter Christian Prayer would be the best fit:thumbsup:


Oh, wow. LOTH being an abbreviation for Liturgy of the the Hours, I’m assuming. I thought the whole church was on the same calendar…no? What are the monastics praying?


Do a search for “chant of Le Barroux”. This is a site that records the Divine Office daily. There is a “text” link with the Latin on the left side and English on the right side. At present they only record 6 of the original 8 hours. Lauds, Prime, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.

The monks from the Abbey of Madelaine De Barroux sing in Latin. Wonderful site. I use this as there is nothing available in local churches.


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