The Liturgy of the Hours, or the “Divine Office,” is the daily prayer of the Church, marking and sanctifying the times of the day and claiming all time for the ceaseless praise of God and continuous intercession for the needs of the world.
The main “hours” are Lauds (Morning Prayer), Vespers (Evening Prayer), and Compline (Night Prayer). Clergy and religious are bound by law to these prayers, but they belong to all the baptized who are united with Christ who is truly present and acting in them.
While the Liturgy of the Hours is often prayed quietly by individuals, it is by its nature communal, and moreover, “choral,” that is, to be vocally recited, and ideally chanted or sung. Indeed, the identity and mission of the “choir” has its origin not in its service during the Mass and Sacraments, but in the choral praise of the Divine Office, where singing itself is the rite.
Likewise, the architectural space in the church known as “The Choir” might be understood first as the liturgical space wherein the praise of God is sung and the intercessory prayer of the Church is voiced.
We have a special opportunity at St. Michael the Archangel Parish to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours frequently in common. We are also blessed to have as a resource for this prayer copies of The Mundelein Psalter, which offers us the complete text for Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, along with musical notation for the very simple chanting of the psalms and canticles.