Which Breviary do you use to pray and why?


Hi everyone,

Just thought it’d be good to reflect and share on our experiences with the Divine Office (or Roman Breviary).

Which ‘version’ do you like to pray and why?

I pray the english edition of the current Divine Office. (The UK ‘Collins’ edition).

Don’t suppose I have much choice as a Seminarian! :shrug:

It certainly has its pluses and minuses, like any version, really.


I don’t pray the Breviary but it’s something I’d really like to begin. As I have a preference for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, I would like to pray the 1961 Roman Breviary produced by Baronius Press. Unfortunately, I don’t have the £235 needed to purchase it at the present time.


Either “Liturgie monastique des heures”, the 1-week, monastic breviary (post-Vatican II, schema B) that the abbey I’m associated with uses (in French and Latin), or the 4-week LOTH in French and Latin. The former because it’s what my abbey uses, the latter because I’m convenient when I’m extra-busy. At the moment I am using LMH.

When I travel it’s always the 4-week LOTH; many monks do the same as it’s so convenient.


I pray the current version of the four week cycle of morning and evening prayer from the one volume Christian Prayer. I try to pray the optional days whenever it is a martyr or a virgin.

The older offices, monastic schemas and the two week cycle from the local Cistercian monastery were all overbearing for a man with a family and job. I found myself focusing on the mechanics of praying instead of actually praying to God. The safest place in a boat is right in the middle and the Barque of Peter is no different so I don’t try to do some obscure liturgy that no one else prays.

I drop my kids off at School and then swing by the Church at about 7:50 AM and pray Lauds quietly in front of the tabernacle or in the adoration chapel. Vespers is more of a challenge but I do pray it often.



Christian Prayer, Catholic Book Publishing Company

Lay Carmelite-in-formation. I was told to use this one; Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer. Like you, SeminarianUK, I don’t think we have a choice. :gopray:


I use the Nova et Vetera edition of the Roman Breviary, and absolutely love it. Beautiful books, and I get so much out of the traditional office. The main downside (since I attend Mass in the ordinary form) is that the calendar doesn’t always match. I’m very much at ease with Latin, though.

With small children and a busy career, though, it’s very rare for me to get the whole office in on any given day (I usually manage it if I have the day off work, and get about 2/3 done most weekends days; weekdays are often Compline only, along with Matins whenever I can).

I recently got the Baronius Little Office of Our Lady, hoping to substitute it in at times when I couldn’t pray the breviary. I was disappointed, though, to find that it only really saves time at Matins–Lauds and Vespers are still five psalms, and the other offices are short in both offices. It’s main advantage is simplicity, but now that I’ve more or less mastered the breviary (and can ‘cheat’ online if an odd edge case comes up!), that doesn’t matter so much to me, personally.


Oh, I want to share this breviary story here too:

When I decided to return to Christ (after a period of separation in my young adulthood), I started praying the office using an old 1955 breviary I had once picked up in a used bookstore (at the time, just because it was in Latin, which I thought was cool, and out of a general curiosity for liturgical minutiae–which, along with a lot of help from divinumofficium.com, is what later enabled me to figure out how to use the book correctly in the first place.)

This breviary had belonged to a diocesan priest, which I could tell because his name was written on the inside cover, and his address, which was crossed out and re-written in as he moved from parish to parish in the course of his career.

So, when I emotionally started praying the office again–the day I decided to become a Catholic again–and it came time to turn to the proprium de tempore for the first time (to read the prayer of the day), I discovered that, this breviary not having enough ribbons, the page was marked by a prayer card–so worn and thin that I hadn’t known it was in the book before–on that very day. This priest had stopped praying his office on the exact day that I took it up again!

I cannot even describe the chills that went up my spine as I thought of how incalculably improbable that was. That that old breviary should find its way, more than fifty years later, into the hands of someone who would even be able to use it to pray, and that the very day that person should experience a new conversion and take up the (olim) prayer of the Church, should be the same day when the priest who had used it for years and years ceased to do so… mirabilia opera tua, Domine!


Well, when Ordained (God Willing!) I would be allowed to use the 1962 Breviary in accordance with the norms of Summorum Pontificum :wink:


I use the LOTH 4 volume set by the Catholic Publishing Co. I like the LARGE PRINT edition because I am getting old! :slight_smile:


The Anglican Breviary which is the Pre-1962 Roman Breviary. It uses the Roman Calendar from 1955 with a few changes to include Anglican Saints.


It’s important to find balance. I’m lucky in that my kids are grown so I have a bit more time, and today I lost my job in health care IT so I have a LOT more time and can go “monastic” (1-week schema) :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah it was a really lousy job for a lousy company so I’m not too sad, I’m not in any immediate financial danger though at 55 I’m not quite ready financially to retire. Need to take a step back and discern what to do next and the breviary will help with that.


So sorry about the job loss! I hope you find a great job soon.


Also a Lay Carmelite in formation (I’ve been received but have not yet made any promises).

I use Catholic Book Publishing’s materials:

Christian Prayer lives in my car and I use that for meetings, retreats, when I visit friends, and for Morning Prayer with my parish group after daily morning Mass.

Liturgy of the Hours (4-Volume set) lives in my home and I use that for everything else, including the Office of Readings, which are complete in the LOTH and only very much abbreviated in Christian Prayer.


I use the Divine Office (Harpercollins) because it contains the propers for British Saints like S. Alban and S. Edward the Confessor which I need since I live in England! I also prefer its translation of the hymns and prayers more than the American one.


Not too soon :wink:

I work in a fairly unstable field and last time I acted too precipitously; I took a job offer 18 days after being laid off (the job I was laid off from today) and to put not too fine a point on it, it was a dead end job for a lousy company (or at least a lousy division of the company), that didn’t deliver on promises made upon hiring. I regret having acted so fast out of fear I guess. Having learned my lesson, my finances are in much better shape this time and I can easily weather this for a year in the hopes of finding something better; I plan to take at least a few months to ponder things, I haven’t had a decent break in a 34 year career other than a few weeks vacation here and there.

Vespers was wonderful tonight, had time to do my abbey’s monastic schema slowly, and reverentially, taking time to chant the psalm in Latin then read it slowly and silently in my mother tongue (French). This is going to be the upside of unemployment :smiley:


I’ve been wanting to start this habit, rather recently I might add. What sort of things do you recommend to a beginner into the Divine Office?

I have used the “Christian Prayer” recently on a retreat (though am still mystified as to how pages are selected) and enjoyed it.


What do I recommend? GO FOR IT!:smiley:

If you can grab an ‘Ordo’ for your Diocese, that’ll give you the correct pages for each day’s office. You’d be best off starting with Christian Prayer, I believe that’s like what we have here in the UK called ‘Morning & Evening Prayer’.

Start in Ordinary time, it’s much simpler to follow the 4 week psalter pattern that way.

Feel free to ask any more questions!


Probably the easiest way to start doing it is using divineoffice.org.


I have used the Collins “Morning and Evening Prayer” since 1999, even though I am an American. I purchased my first copy at the Vatican bookstore, and ordered my second copy (the first one wore out) from Amazon.uk. SeminarianUK, as you know this edition has the complete morning and evening prayer just like the full Divine Office, it just doesn’t have the other hours except for night prayer. I like it better than the American editions because it doesn’t have any extra prayers that aren’t in the original Latin. I also like the translations of the scriptures that are used, and the wonderful hymns. The hymns are great, and many of them are unknown in America. I have even tried to make copies of the tunes, and put the words of the hymns on the music so I could sing them at the piano. Even though the Collins edition of the Divine Office is used in most of the English speaking world, it is unknown in the United States. It is not approved for public worship in America, but since I am not under any obligation to pray the office, I can use any edition I want, and I prefer the Collins. It is, by the way, the one that is still sold in the Vatican bookstore.


Though I’m a native Anglophone I use the four-volume LOTH in French (Éditions du Cerf), having been taught to pray the LOTH by a French priest. I simply bought the same breviary he has. It is the only prayer I pray exclusively in French, even when traveling in Anglophone countries. However, I sometimes also read the Psalms in my English-language Bible when I don’t understand them in French.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.