Diurnal traps and shortcuts to be aware of**


Layout of the Diurnal

Page numbering

Each section of the Diurnal is page numbered separately, so you need to pay attention to  [], *, etc to know which section you are in

Order of Psalter section

In order (broadly) of psalm numbers, not hours

Sunday Prime, S&M Terce-None 

Located after Saturday Lauds

Versions of prayers for use by laypeople/Office  vs with priests

At Compline, use second version of Confiteor (no repetition) unless you are saying it with a priest.

Use Domine exaudi orationem meam, not Dominus vobiscum
(for example in closing prayers of each hour)

Opening’ prayers

Said at all hours, even where book does not note this (but in middle of Compline).
Seasonal variation for Septuagint and Lent (Laus tibi…instead of Alleluia)
(Deus in adjutorium…/Gloria Patri.../Alleluia)
Written out in full at beginning of psalter section (MD 1), but abbreviated thereafter


Said in full before and after a psalm, group of psalms or canticle


Gloria Patri…is added to the end of all psalms unless otherwise indicated


Always end in amen (with alleluia added during Eastertide)


Always end in (response) ‘Deo Gratias’

Responsory (Lauds and Vespers)

Abbreviated form in Diurnal needs to be filled out; note no ‘sicut erat…’

Concluding prayers

Litany (Kyrie eleison) one repetition of each set of words only, not triple as at Mass

Note: do not use Dominus vobiscum, as above

Need to add correct conclusion to collect (see conclusions to the collects in front matter)


Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding the antiphons. Sometimes (always?) you'll see just the first word or two of the antiphon before the psalm, canticle, etc., and then the entire antiphon printed at the end. Should I pray the "entire" antiphon both before and after the canticle, or just the first words as indicated? I know the MD is quite fond of abbreviations, but I'm not sure if this is an abbreviation, or if the truncated form is to be used as printed (you know, "say the black" and all that). Thanks!

Terra said...

Anon - I'm assuming you are using an older version of the Diurnal (not the Farnborough edition)?

In the pre-1962 rubrics, at some hours (I'm not sure exactly what the rules were on this, but it occurred particularly at Vespers I believe), the first few words were intoned only, and the full antiphon was sung at the only at the end. I suspect the abbreviated antiphons you are looking at reflect that practice.

Under the 1962 rubrics however all antiphons are sung in full both before and after each psalm or canticle. It's a rare example where the 1962 Office is actually slightly longer rather than shorter than previously. I assume the reason is a return to much earlier practice (the Benedictine Rule for example certainly doesn't hint at any abbreviation of the antiphons in this way).

So choose which rubrics you are using (and I'd highly recommend 1962 as what the Church has approved!) and adapt the instructions in your Diurnal accordingly!

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

It does, thank you. Yes, I was blessed enough to receive gratis a diurnal from a priest who could spare it, and I think I got the one he set aside when he purchased the Farnborough edition! The one I have is from St. John's in Collegeville, MN (which I think was the most recent one pre-1962).

And, yes, I did notice the truncated antiphons when flipping through Vespers. I wasn't aware that it had changed, so it's good to know. Thank you for your sage advice and the service you provide through the blog!

Joseph said...


Just receievd my new MD a couple days ago. I'm a new Benedictine Oblate Novice who has for a few years been saying the LOTH using the OF. But I want to learn the EF and bought the Farns MD.

I'm reading through your "Learning..." blogs. I see a reference to the Rubics with occasion page numbers. Do you have a link to the Rubics document that I can access, download, save, etc.

I'm still struggling on figuring out on any particular day what pages and sequence to pray/say a particular office, even trying to start with the easy ones (minor) like Prime.


Kate Edwards said...

Sorry Adomnan - The rubrics are only available in latin in one of the (hard copy) volumes of the Breviarum Monasticum (and to be honest are pretty hard to follow even if you do read Latin!).

Have you looked at the daily cheatsheets I've posted though (there is a link in the sidebar)?

Another approach would be to look at the divinumofficium website - it does all the arranging of the hours for you, so you can test whether or not you've got it right against it (it is not always right though, so beware)!

But feel free to email me offline with specific queries.