Please load this Link to access a Screen Reader Optimised Version of This Website Skip Navigation
Nasa earth light
Pray Always and Everywhere
Go to Prayers Support us - Donate Now
Chevron Down

Revised Liturgy of the Hours Latest News

Please Note

This is the Liturgy of the Hours for December 31. Your local date is .

Dear Community,

In an interview from June 2021, The Pillar talked with Fr. Andrew Menke, executive director of the USCCB’s Office for Divine Worship, about the project to retranslate the Liturgy of the Hours. The text that follows belongs entirely to the The Pillar.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Father, I want to talk about the process of retranslating the Liturgy of the Hours. But can you explain how people began to pray the Divine Office in the life of the Church?

The Liturgy of the Hours apparently had a sort of a double origin in the early Church. There was monastic prayer, which emphasized prayer at various times in the day and longer vigils at night. But the other origin was in cathedrals — when the Church was smaller, people in some places would come and pray with their bishop to start and finish every day.

Eventually these two trends developed into single books of prayer, with lots of variations in different places. And then eventually it became mainly a clerical and monastic sort of prayer, and stayed that way for a long time. More recently, the bishops at the Second Vatican Council called for the book to be revised and simplified somewhat and put into the vernacular language. And they also encouraged it for the laity as well.

I think some laity have really come to love it and there’s some growth, I think, but overall it hasn’t really caught hold. But I see some hopeful signs. And I am optimistic that we might start to see a renaissance where the Liturgy of the Hours starts to become a more common part of Catholic life, for individuals and parishes.

The Liturgy of the Hours has been in the process of being retranslated for a while. Can you talk about the reason for a new translation, and tell us something about the history of the process?

After Vatican Council II, new editions of the liturgical books were issued — all the liturgical books — and they were issued in Latin. Fairly quickly, and by a pretty impressive effort, they were translated into English, in very short order.

Those first translations tended to be somewhat loose, however. That was probably in part because they were in a hurry, and partly because it was a new job for the Church, to translate liturgical texts into English. And so this first generation of liturgical texts were fairly loose English translations. Around the year 2000, the Vatican decided that liturgical translations needed to be more accurate and precise, and that kicked off a wave of retranslation projects.

The most notable of those was the Roman Missal, for which a new English translation came out in 2011. But since then we’ve continued to retranslate all of the liturgical books. We’ve been working our way through them: there are new translations of the[rites of baptism for children, matrimony, the dedication of a church, exorcism, and several others. So we’re kind of gradually working through this second generation of English translations of liturgical books. So I think it’s fair to say that the Liturgy of the Hours is just simply a part of that overall project.

On another level, I guess, it was the U.S. bishops who really decided to prioritize the Liturgy of the Hours. I think it was for a couple of reasons: first, because our English version of the Liturgy of the Hours is based on the first Latin edition that was issued after the Second Vatican Council, but in 1985 the Vatican came out with a second edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, and we still haven’t retranslated that second edition. So in a sense, our book is outdated, so it’s a necessary update.

The second reason is that when the new Roman Missal came out it became glaringly obvious that when there’s overlap the two translations are very different. So the opening prayer, or the “Collect,” at Mass is often the concluding prayer of Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. But now that the Missal translation – since 2011 – is very precise and the breviary translation is somewhat paraphrased, the difference jumps out at you. And I think that’s a big part of why the bishops thought that we needed to have an update to the Liturgy of the Hours.

How far along are the bishops into the project?

It’s a massive book, around 8,000 pages. So we’ve been working through it steadily for several years, doing different categories of material and different sections of the book in a systematic way. I’d say we’re probably three-fourths finished at this point.

The bishops’ conference has voted on different sections of the breviary at meetings in recent years, kind of going through in pieces, rather than waiting to vote on the whole thing. Why is that?

Certainly the bishops could have decided they were going to wait until the whole thing is finished and then voted on the complete book. But instead they’ve been voting it piece-by-piece as the translators finish different sections. That’s what the bishops did as the Roman Missal was retranslated as well. One advantage to this system is that the translators get immediate feedback on their work and make adjustments as they go. My sense is that at the end there will be an opportunity for the bishops to review everything, but we’ll see exactly how that will work out.

The translations are done by ICEL – The International Commission on English in the Liturgy. What exactly is ICEL? What is its role in the process?

Because there are quite a few countries where English is spoken, those countries all decided that we should work together to prepare liturgical translations, rather than each of us doing this work separately. That was decided in the 1960s, and so the International Commission on English in the Liturgy was formed.

ICEL is operated by the English-speaking episcopal conferences around the world — 11 countries that are full members and then 15 countries that are associate members. So, for example, Bangladesh is an associate member of ICEL because English is used fairly often in liturgy there, even if it isn’t the primary language in the country.

Each of the full members has a representative to the Commission — ours is Archbishop Leonard Blair from Hartford, who is also chairman of the USCCB liturgy committee. ICEL has a staff that works with translators to prepare a text, and then the bishops who are the representatives to ICEL review the translations. Once the texts meet their approval, ICEL sends them out to the bishops’ conferences.

Approving translations is a two-stage process: ICEL sends out a first draft and the bishops can look at it and offer suggestions or proposed modifications, and those are sent back to ICEL. And then when their draft is completely finished, ICEL sends the conferences that final draft. And then at that point, each conference is free to do what they choose in terms of modifications or changes. And sometimes the USCCB’s bishops will make tweaks or changes. We don’t take ICEL’s work and rubber-stamp it; instead the bishops look at it and make sure it meets their approval.

So in the English-speaking countries, while ICEL gives a template, the bishops’ conferences can make changes, so that things might still be a bit different in different countries?

That’s right. I should mention that ICEL doesn’t deal with Scripture. Each country can choose which Scripture translation they want to use. For example, we use the New American Bible, and other countries use different translations. In addition, each country has its own liturgical calendar honoring local saints, so that also accounts for differences in the liturgical books from country to country. But overall the English liturgical books worldwide are fairly consistent.

Now, with the Liturgy of the Hours there is another complication because while the U.S. uses the ICEL version of the breviary, England uses a different translation. And so the hours in England are a completely different translation from what we have. [ed. note: While the Church in the U.S., Canada, and a few other English speaking countries uses the ICEL translation of the breviary, Catholics in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand currently use the independently developed English translation.] It will be interesting to see whether the new ICEL translation might eventually be adopted in England.

The question I hear most often about the breviary translation process is this: When will it be done?

The best-case scenario is 2024. We’re more or less on track for that. Right now, the wild card might be the Scripture. ICEL is doing its job well and has been finishing its translations on schedule. But the Scripture is our responsibility, and our bishops decided some time ago to revise the New American Bible. So there is a team of scholars right now working on revising that translation. We’ve tried to coordinate ourselves so that they’ll finish their work at the same time that we’re finishing our work. But if the Scripture project takes longer than anticipated, that could delay the completion of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Vatican approval is another wild card. When the bishops approve something and send it over to Rome for confirmation, that process can sometimes take a little while. But the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Arthur Roche, has been very supportive of this project, and so that makes me hopeful that when we’re done, it will see a quick approval.

In 2017, Pope Francis promulgated a motu proprio on liturgical translations Magnum principium. How does that make a difference in this process?

It seems to me that the main thing Magnum principium does is to say that the Vatican is going to trust the conference’s judgment on questions of translation.

So that should make it easier…

It should make it easier for us. When we send something over, they’ll make sure that a translation isn’t tragically flawed, but my read is that at the end of the day, the Holy See is going to respect the decision of the bishops when it comes to liturgical translation.

Have the principles of translation changed?

The current guidelines for liturgical translation are found in a document called Liturgiam authenticum, which is pretty detailed with regard to instructions about the sorts of things translations should convey. Magnum principium did not address the details of those issues, but seemed to concentrate more on the question of who decides that a translation is appropriate for liturgical use – the bishops’ conference or the [Vatican] Congregation [for Divine Worship].

Magnum principium shifted the emphasis away from Rome, in favor of the local bishops. So I don’t think we’re working with a different hermeneutic for how to translate, and at the end of the day, it will be our bishops’ decisions as whether or not these translations have been faithfully and accurately done.

So when might people be able to actually buy new breviaries?

I’m estimating that 2024 is the best-case scenario for a published edition. The current plan has the bishops’ final vote on translations in June of 2023. So I am optimistic that if we get an approval in six months or less from Rome, that perhaps by Advent of 2024, that new breviaries might actually be available. But that, again, is our best-case scenario, and any number of factors could delay the completion.

Details about the progress on each section of the Liturgy of the Hours can be found on USCCB website.

Source: www.pillarcatholic.com

13 responses to “Revised Liturgy of the Hours Latest News”

  1. Debby Phillips says:

    Change, no matter what the reason for the change can be a very good thing, but we humans don’t always deal well with that change. Someone else commented that they hoped the changes made would be subtle and not changing everything in a large swath. I agree with that, and am sad and alarmed to read that the New American Bible will be re-translated. I am blind and the Braille Bible I received from Xavier Society for the Blind cost a lot of money. I can’t see them doing a whole new version of it, and what do I do with 45 volumes of the old translation and commentary? I recycle braille magazines, etc. but the thought of recycling all those volumes to get a new New American Bible just makes me feel sick. And I don’t want to have to settle for some funky audio version, I want to have the same opportunity as everyone else, to read the pages of the Bible. We just got our braille bibles a few years ago. And when the new translation comes out, and IF they do a new braille version what is the procedure for dealing with 45 volumes of the old translation? I just can’t picture myself tossing them into the recycle bin. Sigh.

  2. Stjoseph777 Dlugosz says:

    Revision can be good depending on who promotes it. Our Bishops today… Well let me not sin. Thy will be done, Father. You will use all for the good of Your Kingdom. Discernment will prevail when powered by the Holy Spirit. Come Lord Jesus.

  3. JosefJr says:

    I see there are no recent log ins. All are 2021’s.
    The reason is ——-?
    Pax – Josef

  4. Maureen Sullivan says:

    I am skeptical of anything that comes out after Vatican 11….
    I do not understand why the Traditional Latin/with English translation pre Vatican 11 cannot be continued..

  5. dyestonsky says:

    Could you please do the song office for All Saints Day and Pentecost? Pentecost is a great feast second to Easter.
    Thank you for considering this..
    D Yestonsky

  6. Patti Day says:

    I began praying the Liturgy of the Hours in 2008. At that time we were told that we would have the new breviary in 2014, so I didn’t have any qualms as far as whatever and how many changes might be made. Now after 13 years I’ve come to truly love the familiarity of the daily and weekly prayers and know many of the prayers by heart. I hope the changes are subtle enhancements rather than large swaths of change.

  7. JamesTheElder says:

    It puzzles me that folks speak about the enormity of the project, when the bulk of the content of the Hours is being done (has been done) elsewhere: the Psalms, the Canticles, the Scripture Readings. Even the antiphons come from the Psalms/Canticles/Readings. What is left to update (primarily intercessions, psalm-prayers, closing prayers) seem minor tasks by comparison.

    What am I missing? The second Reading for the Offices of Readings?

    Peace.

  8. Chip Hines says:

    I’ve seen the UK version of the Breviary and I must say it is a beautiful translation. Much nicer than our current version. I can’t imagine ICEL coming up with a good translation after how the Roman Missal came out. I’m waiting with some trepidation to be honest. Can a committee really come up with a great translation?

  9. Carlos Alvarado says:

    This is why multilingual translations get lost, there is never a directly translated text, article or conversation. There are good translations but not literal. I as a Spanish speaking American I can see words or phrases completely lost in translation. These prayers should have passages in Latin and English, or retain a bilingual translation or liturgy just like the Greek Orthodox, Coptic and others do.
    The Latin prayers were good for 1,500 years 🙂
    Maybe a future Latin-English version would be great.
    Keep praying and don’t stop, no matter the translation, don’t let this be a hang up, God knows our hearts and minds.
    Love you all and God bless you.

  10. ROSARIO ZABARTE says:

    When I was still living in Manila, I was using the Shorter Book on Christian Prayer and somehow, I did not bring it with me. And now, I am in Dubai. Last month, the complete book arrived from the mail. It is the 1976 edition. I pray that all works for the latest translation will go smoothly and under the continuous guidance of the Holy Spirit. I look forward to it this 2024. It’s not anymore that long a wait. God bless all those who are involved in the process.

  11. Mark Emery says:

    The psalms and canticles for the new Liturgy of the Hours have already been approved for use by the USCCB and the Holy See.
    They are published as “The Abbey Psalms and Canticles”, for those who might want to begin incorporating them into their daily prayer.

Leave a Reply

JOIN THE COMMUNITY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contribute to DivineOffice.org

Your contribution ensures this site will be around to serve thousands who use it daily to pray.

ONE-TIME MONTHLY

Contribute One-Time

If prefer not to commit to a monthly contribution right now, please consider a one-time contribution. You will be able to set any amount in the next page.

Contribute Monthly

A monthly recurring payment is not required, but your support ensures this site will be around to serve thousands who use it daily to pray. You can select the amount of your monthly contribution below, or you can select "custom amount" and set it in the next page.

Please support DivineOffice.orf -- Illustration by Elisa D. created for DivineOffice.org Please support DivineOffice.orf -- Illustration by Elisa D. created for DivineOffice.org

Divine Office Blog

News and Updates from our ministry

Divine Office New Website Design

Monica on December 30th, 2022at 11:07

Dear Community, At the start of the New Year, our gift to you is a new website design with a different architecture. We meant it to be fresh and beautiful, to promote our members’ interactions... Continue reading

Happy Birthday Divine Office!

Monica on August 6th, 2022at 7:31

  On the Feast day of the Transfiguration of the Lord, DivineOffice.org celebrates 14 years of existence!   The seed for this work was planted even earlier, in 2006, when our first Catholic website and... Continue reading

Divine Office is available with Alexa

Monica on August 5th, 2022at 5:31

Dear community, Those of you in the United States can now pray the Liturgy of the Hours with Alexa. It’s yet another simple and convenient way to pray the hours and we hope it will... Continue reading

VISIT OUR BLOG

Get the DivineOffice App!

No Image

Pray always and everywhere with our Award-Winning Liturgy of the Hours app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire. NOW FREE!

No Image
No Image No Image

Ratings and Reviews

Our DivineOffice app is rated 4.9 out of 5, based on over 2,400 ratings and won the About.com Best Catholic App Award for 3 years in a row.

No Image No Image No Image No Image No Image

Pray anywhere
I have prayed the Divine Office for many years. [...] When I discovered this app, all of my concerns of ribbon placement were gone. Having the Divine Office on my phone is absolutely the best thing ever! The sense of community is so wonderful as I see how many others are praying at the same time as myself. [...] Now I don’t need to turn a lamp on as I use to when I used the Office printed volumes. It is such a blessing to have the Divine Office in my pocket. Many times I’ve been sitting in a doctor’s waiting room at the time of Mid Morning prayer. It is so calming of any worries to pull out my phone, open the app, and be able to connect with Our Lord at those times I need Him most. I don’t use the audio version much but the few times I’ve traveled, it is so comforting to not have to skip the Office in order to keep my hands on the steering wheel and my eyes in the road. I recommend this app to friends all the time, especially to those who’d like to pray the Office but feel intimidated by the size of the printed version and getting the ribbons placed properly. Thank you for developing this app. It is my constant companion.

SheezyOCon October 13, 2021

No Image No Image No Image No Image No Image

Super helpful
I have only been introduced to the divine office prayers two times before I downloaded this app. It is laid out in a way that is very easy to understand, and there is an audio option that will say all of the prayers. There is an option to set reminders throughout the day. I got this because, I didn’t really know how to say the divine office, and I didn’t know what prayer books I needed to purchase to begin. During the shutting down of churches for covid :( this has been a wonderful resource. One cool feature is that you can tap on the “in prayer” link and see little specks of light around the globe lighting up in the area that someone else is praying. It’s so cool to see everyone praying with you and is a powerful reminder that we are all connected and unified in Christ’s mystical body.

tori6543588on May 5, 2020

No Image No Image No Image No Image No Image

Praying with the whole Church
I love this app! Since it is now free and no longer for sale, I made sure to donate the price of buying it, and then some. I have loved the Liturgy of the Hours for 25 years. But I always felt alone when I prayed it. With this app, I am connected to others! I use it in conjunction with my printed Christian Prayer volume. On other days, I cannot get to my book but with the app, I always have the prayers available. I have the printed calendar with my book, but I actually rely on this more for placing my ribbons. The audio is wonderful!! I often read out loud with it. I love that I can change the speed of the audio! I have found that 1.3 is good for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this app. Thank you for still supporting it. Thank you for updating the “one God,” to just “God” change in the prayers. My book still throws me off but your app is right! Highly recommend this. Many friends have it. THANK YOU!!

MommytoNFP2on June 12, 2022

 
No Image

Recommended Books

Support us by starting your amazon shopping by clicking on this link.

MORE PRODUCTS
Book
Christian Prayer
This handy one-volume edition simplifies praying the Liturgy of the Hours.
Book
Liturgy of the Hours
Complete 4 Volumes Set
Book
Liturgy of the Hours Volume II
Lent and Easter
MORE PRODUCTS
Share
1X Speed
100%  Size
Moon Icon Light Mode
Minimize Icon EXIT