Lay Persons chanting the Liturgy of the Hours?
  • Hello everyone! I'm new here!

    I am a volunteer in a village chapel here in the Philippines and am planning to introduce the Liturgy of the Hours to the list of our chapel's activities. I have already purchased a Tagalog translation of the Christian Prayer. Since lay persons are encouraged to pray the LOTH even without the presence of a priest or a deacon, are we also allowed to chant the prayers and the Psalms even though we're not clergy or members of a religious order? I find just reciting the prayers too plain.

    Also, I want to propose a Tagalog-Latin service to the chapel officers: the ordinary parts in Latin (i.e. Opening, Pater Noster, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, the seasonal Marian Antiphons, Te Deum) and the proper parts (Psalms, prayers, responses) in the vernacular. I'm expecting some opposition from some of the members for this proposal. Please pray that it gets approved!!! :D
    Thanked by 1balaanghuni
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Religious orders of nuns and non-ordained brothers sing the Hours. They are lay people, too.
    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    It's definitely allowed, but I would go slowly. Think of a fully-chanted office as a longterm goal, and begin with a sung hymn at first.

    After a year, chant the Our Father.

    After another year, chant the Magnificat.

    That's what I would do anyway. If it's worth doing, it's worth building up slowly.
    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 270
    I want to propose a Tagalog-Latin service to the chapel officers: the ordinary parts in Latin (i.e. Opening, Pater Noster, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, the seasonal Marian Antiphons, Te Deum) and the proper parts (Psalms, prayers, responses) in the vernacular.


    Why the Latin? Because of music available? Because of "Latin being the language of the church"?
    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • thenovice
    Posts: 5

    @Liam Oh nice!

    @Kathy Yes, everything will come gradually. I'll probably insert the more 'radical' proposals once we have fully established the LOTH in our community. Everything will come in place in God's time.

    @igneus Because it is the language of the Church? Yes. But aside from that, I also want the people to get acquainted with the Latin translation of the common prayers like the Our Father. Just imagine them singing the Pater noster if they watch a live broadcast of a Mass from the Vatican! I was also planning to distribute small booklets so the attendees can follow along. I have other solutions in mind though.

    Thank you for your responses!
  • Godspeed in your chanting.
    Singing is for everyone.

    Kathy's advice is good, though I think her clock is a little slow.
    Go only as fast as your people can assimilate what you give them.
    It shouldn't take years.
    It all depends on how well and how quickly your particular people learn.

    I wish you great success and great joy in your chanting.
  • jefe
    Posts: 186
    As long as no elements are distributed, lay persons can lead the Liturgies of the Hours. We do this all the time at Evening Prayer, Evensong (Vespers), and Compline. jefe
    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 319
    As well as posting here for help, it might be good to find some mentors in your own country, who know what the bishops in the Philippines do and do not allow.

    The people who post here are experts on the documents of the universal church, and also of the church in the USA - including the immigrant churches in the USA. (they may not like everything the American bishops do or say - but they know what it is!).

    But they may not know so much about the pastoral situation in your country.
    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • joerg
    Posts: 80
    BTW: Not only lay persons can lead the Liturgies of the Hours, but even non catholics can.
    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • balaanghuni
    Posts: 27
    I am a volunteer in a village chapel here in the Philippines and am planning to introduce the Liturgy of the Hours to the list of our chapel's activities.

    I am very happy to hear this! And I thought I was the only one dying to mainstream the Divine Office in these islands. :D May God sustain your efforts and bring it to fruition. My companions and I will pray for you!
    Since lay persons are encouraged to pray the LOTH even without the presence of a priest or a deacon, are we also allowed to chant the prayers and the Psalms even though we're not clergy or members of a religious order? I find just reciting the prayers too plain. Also, I want to propose a Tagalog-Latin service to the chapel officers...

    First, some nuggets from Blessed Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Laudis Canticum:
    • "As required by the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, account was taken of the circumstances in which priests engaged in apostolic works find themselves today. The office has been drawn up and arranged in such a way that not only clergy but also religious and indeed laity may participate in it [emphasis mine], since it is the prayer of the whole people of God. People of different callings and circumstances, with their individual needs, were kept in mind and a variety of ways of celebrating the office has been provided, by means of which the prayer can be adapted to suit the way of life and vocation of different groups dedicated to the liturgy of the hours."
    • "We have, therefore, every confidence that an appreciation of the prayer "without ceasing"[3] that our Lord Jesus Christ commanded will take on new life. The book for the Liturgy of the Hours, distributed as it is according to seasons, continually strengthens and supports that prayer. The very celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, especially when a community is gathered for this purpose, [my emphasis] expresses the genuine nature of the praying Church, and stands as a wonderful sign of that Church."
    • "The whole life of the faithful, hour by hour during day and night, is a kind of leitourgia or public service, in which the faithful give themselves over to the ministry of love toward God and neighbor, identifying themselves with the action of Christ, who by His life and self-offering sanctified the life of all mankind. The Liturgy of the Hours clearly expresses and effectively strengthens this sublime truth, embodied in the Christian life. For this reason the Liturgy of the Hours is recommended to all the faithful, including those who are not bound by law to their recitation. [my emphasis]"

    From the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (GILH):
    • In the celebration of the liturgy of the hours, as in all other liturgical services, "each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy." (#253)
    • Either the priest or a minister may lead the intercessions. (#257)
    • 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. (#258)

    Nn. 267-284 of the GILH provide the instructions related to singing the Office. This section is worth reading. (In fact, the whole GILH is worth reading.) No. 276 in particular gives the permission for mixed languages at any one celebration.

    Thanked by 1thenovice
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 755
    I did this for a couple of years in a small local parish. I just went ahead and sang the whole thing, with occasional latin pater noster and always latin marian antiphon. We gave out booklets. Sometimes i was the only one singing, eventually everyone who came sang along, including children. i used saint meinrad tones, and pretty much stuck to the same ones. I had the proper antiphons but never got as far as using them.
    my advice - sing everything you can from the start, even sing on one note (recto tono) but explain, and teach every week as you go along. But never ever let anyone think this is a prayer to be said - to which music is merely an added frill. oh, and we never hqd a priest or deacon, there is a formula for the conclusion when recited without a final blessing.
  • thenovice
    Posts: 5
    And I thought I was the only one dying to mainstream the Divine Office in these islands. :D May God sustain your efforts and bring it to fruition. My companions and I will pray for you!


    @balaanghuni Kumusta po? Thank you for your prayers! We will pray for you as well! You are not alone. Just like what Fr. Z always says: "Brick by brick".

    Ironically, even in a supposedly Catholic stronghold like our country, our chapel is suffering from low Mass attendance, and I blame it on "parish politics" among our chapel and parish officers. They have failed to respond to the threat of the arrival of Evangelicals in our barangay (I live in a province near Manila btw). I pray and hope that through the introduction of the LOTH, more activities will be added in the future.

    I have another question though, do you know of any hymnal or songbook where the melodies or the organ accompaniment for the hymns written in the Tagalog psalter can be found?

    I did this for a couple of years in a small local parish. I just went ahead and sang the whole thing, with occasional latin pater noster and always latin marian antiphon. We gave out booklets. Sometimes i was the only one singing, eventually everyone who came sang along, including children. i used saint meinrad tones, and pretty much stuck to the same ones. I had the proper antiphons but never got as far as using them.


    @bonniebede This is precisely what I wanted to do, and I desire these very same results as well! :D I wanted to show everyone that Latin is not just for the 'informed' and the 'educated', it's for everyone! It's a gift of the Church to all!

    Thank you for all of your insights! Will certainly put them all into consideration.
    Thanked by 1balaanghuni
  • thenovice
    Posts: 5
    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. (#258)


    But can we still enter the sanctuary if we're only going to proclaim the readings at the lectern?
  • I find the thought of a lay person presiding the Office from the pews really adequate. As laymen and women we praise our Lord singing, reading and praying to the same direction.
    Thanked by 1thenovice