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Divine Office

Online Edition – Vol. V, No. 2: April 1999

Divine Office Sources for Prayerbooks

updated 10/25/2010

Several readers have inquired about books for private recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office). The two English-language prayer books most used by laity are Christian Prayer and Daily Prayer. Both are one-volume versions of the multi-volume Divine Office and both are of approximately the same size (about 2,000 pages) and format.

Either book may be used for private prayer by English-speaking Catholics; but approval for liturgical use in English-speaking countries varies.

There are also shorter versions of both books, which include an abbreviated form of Morning and Evening Prayer. Many people who find even the one-volume version daunting may prefer the shorter versions.

Following is a brief description and publication information for both books.

Daily Prayer from the Divine Office is a one-volume version of the Divine Office, published by Harper-Collins in the UK. A new edition was published in 2006, approved for liturgical use in Australia, England-Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and other English speaking countries. For scripture readings, Daily Prayer uses primarily the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition. Psalms are from the 1963 version of the Grail Psalter. (See details: http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Titles/33939/daily-prayer-new-edition-9780007212217)

Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours (1976) Catholic Book Publishing Co., NY, is a one-volume edition of the Divine Office, translated by ICEL and approved for liturgical use by the bishops of the US and other English-speaking countries.

Christian Prayer adds original Psalm-prayers composed by ICEL, and other original ICEL prayer texts. Scripture readings (except Psalms and Canticles) are from the 1970 version of the New American Bible. As in Daily Prayer, the Psalm texts are from the 1963 Grail Psalter.

This prayerbook uses only the ELLC/ICET versions from the 1970s of the Canticles (Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Benedictus) Te Deum and Doxology.  Shorter Christian Prayer, is a version that contains Morning and Evening Prayer only. (See details: http://www.catholicbookpublishing.com/BrowseByDepartments.aspx?DepID=89)

Both Christian Prayer and Shorter Christian Prayer are generally available in Catholic book stores in the US.

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