Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Daily Office of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter

I recently managed to get hold of a copy of Divine Worship - Daily Office (North American Edition), the version of the Office used by the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. I recently visited their beautiful cathedral in Houston, Texas, and the wonderful new high school established by Bishop Lopes on the cathedral campus (more on that in later posts). While there, I was delighted to be handed a copy of this book. It can be ordered online from the website of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

The Psalter is from the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer, a beautiful poetic translation, set out in the familiar 30-day cycle of the Coverdale Psalter. Therefore by singing Morning and Evening Prayer (Matins and Evensong) it is possible to sing all 150 psalms, including the psalms omitted from the Paul VI Psalter. This is a very manageable form of the Office for lay people.

There are antiphons for the Gospel Canticles Benedictus and Magnificat, and minor offices for daytime prayer: Terce, Sext, and None (no Prime sadly). Priests are required to pray one of these. They are so brief that they can be memorized. There is a separate office of Compline with Anthems for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and there is an order for the Office of the Dead. The book contains a lectionary of readings with a two-year cycle for Sundays and an annual cycle for weekdays; a Proper of the season, a proper of saints’ days, and a Common; a large section of hymns; litanies and an extensive collection of prayers. This edition contains a number of beautiful plates created by Catholic artist Daniel Mitsui.

There are no musical settings, so when I sing the Office, I use it conjunction with either the SingtheOffice.com or The St Dunstan Psalter, which have musical settings. I insert the propers from Divine Worship - Daily Office so that I am to an even greater extent praying with the Church.

Morning and Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer offers Christians of different denominations the opportunity to worship together authentically without compromising their beliefs or practices, which makes it particularly good, it seems to me, for building up Christian communities in America. The BCP is a connection to English culture and prayer that pre-dates the Reformation, and as such, transmits the values of Judeo-Christian belief in a way that reinforces the Anglo-American cultural tradition from which the Republic emerged.

Our nation needs Christians to work and worship together to provide a united front against the threats to it from atheist-materialist ideologies, which are bent on the destruction of the family and all the familiar institutions of American society.

It is also a great tool for evangelization, and draws people to Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular. (It was the observation of this phenomenon and the recognition of the authentic nature of the forms of Anglican worship that, in part, cause the creation of the Ordinariate). The Divine Office is a preparation for the Mass, and as such it stimulates in us a natural desire for authentic Sunday worship, centered on Christ present in the Eucharist. The traditional Anglican forms work powerfully in the context of the Anglosphere, and in the UK and America particularly.

Through the Domestic Church, home-based communities of prayer can grow. If that prayer is combined with chant and sacred art, they can engage the person deeply in this dynamic that draws us to the common good.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: