Hymns for the Liturgy of the Hours

2002 Roman Missal

The Liturgy of the Hours

The Liturgy of the Hours, also called "the divine office" consists of:

Morning Prayer (Lauds)
Prayer During the Day - Before Noon (Terce)
Prayer During the Day - Midday (Sext)
Prayer During the Day - Afternoon (None)
Evening Prayer (Vespers)
Office of Readings (Matins)
Night Prayer (Compline)

The structure for each prayer is similar. For Morning Prayer the structure is:

Entrance Procession "to the accompaniment of organ music or singing" (Ceremonial of Bishops, n 193).

The beginning of the hour. (all standing)
or Introduction to Daily Office - Invitatory, Invitatory psalm. (all standing)

Hymn (all standing)

Psalms (all sitting or standing)
"The assembly either sits or stands, depending on custom, while the psalms and other canticles (with their antiphons) are being said."
General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours, n 265.

Antiphon 1, Psalm, Glory Be. Antiphon repeated. (Psalm Prayer optional). Antiphon 2, Canticle, Glory Be. Antiphon repeated. (Psalm Prayer optional).

Antiphon 3, Psalm, Glory Be. Antiphon repeated. (Psalm Prayer optional).

Scripture Reading ("all sit to listen", General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours, n 264)
"a short homily may follow the reading" (General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours, n 47)
"a period of silence may be observed" (General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours, n 48)
Short Responsory ("this may be omitted." General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours, n 49. However: "a short responsory or responsorial song is sung" Ceremonial of Bishops, n 202.)

Gospel Canticle Antiphon. (sitting).
"During the antiphon ... the bishop puts incense into the censer. When the choir begins the canticle, the bishop ... rises and all rise with him." (Ceremonial of Bishops, n 203).
"As the canticle is begun all rise and sign themselves with the sign of the cross." (Ceremonial of Bishops, n 219)

Gospel Canticle (all standing).
Antiphon repeated
Our Father
Concluding Prayer


Pastors of Souls should see to it that the principal hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sunday and on the more solemn feasts. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.

Sacrosanctum concilium n. 100, Catechism of the Catholic Church 1175


The liturgy of the hours, like other liturgical services, is not a private matter but belongs to the whole Body of the Church, whose life it both expresses and affects.

General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours n. 20


Wherever possible, other groups of the faithful should celebrate the liturgy of the hours communally in church.

General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours n. 21


priests as well as deacons aspiring to the priesthood are obliged to fulfill the liturgy of the hours daily in accordance with the proper and approved liturgical books.

CIC, Canon 276.3


A priest or deacon should normally preside at every celebration with a congregation and ministers should also be present. ...

It belongs to the presiding priest or deacon, at the chair, to open the celebration with the introductory verse, begin the Lord's Prayer, say the concluding prayer, greet the people, bless, and dismiss them.

Either the priest or a minister may lead the intercessions.

In the absence of a priest or deacon, the one who presides at the office is only one among equals and does not enter the sanctuary or greet and bless the people.

Those who act as readers, standing in a convenient place, read ...

A cantor or cantors should intone the antiphons, psalms, and other chants. ...

During the gospel canticle at morning prayer and evening prayer there may be an incensation of the altar, then of the priest and congregation. ....

All make the sign of the cross, from forehead to breast and from left shoulder to right, at:

a. the beginning of the hours ....

b. the beginning of the gospel ....

The sign of the cross is made on the mouth at the beginning of the invitatory ...

General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours 254 - 266


If the bishop takes part in a celebration of evening prayer at which a prebyter presides, the bishop gives the final blessing before the dismissal of the people.

Ceremonial of Bishops, n 211


The psalms are sung or said in one of three ways ....:
directly (in directum), that is, all sing the entire psalm, or
antiphonally, that is, two choirs or sections of the congregation sing alternative verses or strophes, or
responsorially ... n. 125 ... the antiphons may be repeated after each strophe.

General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours 122,125


Homilies in non-eucharistic liturgies may be preached by the non-ordained faithful only when expressly permitted by law and when its prescriptions for doing so are observed.

Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests (15 August 1997), Practical Provisions, Article 3.4


Celebrations in honor of the saints are either solemnities, feasts or memorials. Memorials are either obligatory memorials or ... optional memorials.
Solemnities have an evening prayer I on the proceeding day.

General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours 219-220, 225

By J.R. Lilburne, 30 January 2001. Updated 18 November 2002, 4 August 2005. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.