Learn to say the Office

The notes linked to below are  geared around the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal.  They can, however, be used in conjunction with older editions of the Benedictine Diurnal or breviaries.

1.  Introduction

Why say the Office? The privilege of praying liturgically 

Key terms you need to know

Finding Your way around the Monastic Diurnal  

2.  Background on the Office

The 'hours' of the Office*The Benedictine Office consists of eight 'hours' that sanctify the day...

3. Essentials/1  - Understanding the Diurnal (and its quirks!)

Diurnal traps and shortcuts - a summary guide A guide to some of the shortcuts in the Diurnal, focusing on the opening of the hours.  The Diurnal rarely writes out the opening prayers for each hour in full, so this section provides a guide to the cue words it does include.

The opening and closing prayers of the Office  - The Diurnal doesn't write out the concluding prayers for each day very often, so this section goes through the standard conclusions in full, as well as how to make a commemoration (ie celebrate the memorial of a saint, or remembrance of a day of Advent or Lent etc that is displaced by a feast).

Hymns, chapters, versicles and responsories - Filling out the Diurnal  cues for the texts of the Office.

4.  Essentials/2 - A guide to each of the hours (in order of ease of saying)

Compline The last Office of the day before the start of the great silence in a monastery, this is the easiest of the hours to learn, as the psalms are the same every day.

Prime Traditionally said an hour after dawn, the hour is geared towards helping us start the workday.

Terce, Sext and None - Said mid-morning,noon and mid-afternoon, these short hours help sanctify the day.

Vespers Traditionally said as the sun is setting.

Introduction to Lauds St Benedict wanted Lauds to start at daybreak, so that as we celebrate the rising of the sun, we also celebrate the risen Son.

Lauds for Sundays and Feasts

 Lauds during the week

5.  Parts of the hours


6.  Matins

For notes on how to say the Night Hour of the Office (not in the Monastic Diurnal) see the Benedictine Matins blog.  Note that there are separate pages with links to posts on:

6.  Extras

 The Office of Our Lady on Saturday

Office of the Dead

Calendars and Ordos - Ordos help you know what feasts and/or seasons you need to take account of when you say the Office each day.

Liturgical seasons  - The Farnborough Diurnal is based on the 1963 calendar.  A quick guide to some differences to the modern calendar that you may not be familiar with.

The feasts of saints in the Office - The sanctorale cycle in the Office

Customising the Ordo - On adding in local feasts, and aligning with the Roman EF calendar.

Using the novus ordo calendar, other ordos - On saying the Benedictine Office with the new calendar, or pre-1962 calendars.

7.  The ritual of the Office

How the Office is performed - When to stand, bow etc; roles when the Office is sung in choir.

Tackling the Latin

Singing the Office pt 1

Singing the Office Pt 2

8.  Daily 'cheat sheets'








You can also find these in PDF form over at the BenOffice Help Group.

9.  Brush up your rubrics - brief guides

Terminology - key words you need to know

Collects - where to find them, which ones to use

Feasts - what changes, what doesn't

Lauds - the quick guide

When are the hours properly said?

10.  Other useful material

Glossary of terms

**Updated August 2016


Andrew Tillcock said...

Just a quick question refresher. We say the glory be after each psalm and canticle unless otherwise noted. Also what about after the chapter readings?

Kate Edwards said...

I have answered this elsewhere, but see this post for a summary: http://saintsshallarise.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/learning-office-part-5b-diverse-parts.html