Liturgy of the Hours

A great way to enhance your prayer life. Whether you pray this regularly already or are just starting out, these apps offer the prayers for the hours during the day plus the Office of Readings. The benefit to having it on your mobile device over reading from the traditional printed breviary? It’s at your fingertips wherever you are. The backlight and ability to zoom text allows for easier reading. No page flipping ribbon setting or figuring out the correct segments for the day as it is all laid out for you.

When using these apps in a group setting, keep in mind that the single volume Christian Prayer book has a longer reading than the reading taken from the 4-volume breviary. Most breviary apps include the shorter reading.

iBreviary Terra Sancta app (Free) – for iOS , Blackberry and Android.  Web-based device access (for Kindle, Nook and your computer etc.) NEW from developer: “Finally it is also available for Kindle Fire (and the new Kindle Fire HD)   You get:

  • Liturgy of the Hours (Roman and Ambrosian Rite)
  • 5 Languages: English, Italian, French, Latin, Spanish
  • Breviary for the celebrations of the Saints. (also the commons)
  • Load up to one week of Hours so you don’t need to have internet access if you think to do this ahead of time.

Includes the new English translation! This is noticeable in the closing prayer and penitential rite in Compline. It includes an optional closing prayer in the “old” (2nd edition ) English translation which is useful if you are praying with others using print Breviaries. Pros: A beautiful digital version of the print version you are used to, complete with “church font” and rubrics. Cons: Doesn’t match the print version entirely –the readings are often much shorter than those in the print breviary (make note of this when you pray with others using the print version) Also, calendars aren’t biased to United States saints/feasts.  World-class app that includes a complete Roman Missal (including priest’s sacramentary), text for various Rites and blessings and a fine selection of Catholic prayers.

Divine Office ($14.99) is a full-feature audio and text App for iOSAndroidNokia is $4.99 as developer says it is a “less sophisticated” version and will not automatically download and cache the audio contents for you..  NEW now available on Kindle Fire. Approved texts for United States with a bias towards the U.S. calendar. This is a 2011 AND 2012 About Catholicism Readers’ Choice Awards Winner for BEST CATHOLIC iOS App, website and podcast.

You get all the principal hours of the day in print AND audio with introduction about the day. Download includes the entire day, so you cannot select the hours you wish to download.

The purchase of Divine Office app provides you with the same content available on the DivineOffice.org website [another 2012 About Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards winner for best web site], complete with music, chimes, etc. that add to the beauty and the time (approx 20 min). If you want a sense of praying with others in a virtual monastic environment, this is your app. You can only upload a few days at a time. The app will automatically download today’s audio and text Liturgy as well as the next few days without connecting to a computer. Use your wireless connection without iTunes synchronization so you never need to connect to a computer for updates. You can download all these same audio files for FREE as a Podcast at DivineOffice.org. This podcast loads into iTunes or you can get it direct off their web site. While Some criticize the pious recitation of the prayers as a little on the sappy side, I personally love this version (as an App or Podcast). Tasteful & elegant interface to go with excellent studio production quality. On iPhone/iPad only you get a tracking component  so that you can see a graphic of the globe with little sparkles that indicate who is praying the Hours with you in real time around the world! How cool is that? Watch the video demo in our right-hand column explaining all the many aspects of this well-developed program.

Catholics-companion Catholic’s Companion Windows Phone (Free or .99 cents) The free version has ads. A Catholic’s Companion. Among many features of this all-purpose app is a link to the Divine Office app. While there is no app version of Divine Office specifically for Windows Phone to download, you can access Divine Office through your Catholic’s Companion app where you will find that it is formatted to Windows Phone quite nicely. Divine Office offers both text and audio versions of the hours each day.

Laudate (Free) iOs and Android. This probably is the #1 free Catholic app because it is the most comprehensive. Available in English, Español, Português, Italiano, Bahasa and Polski. Among other features it offers Liturgy of the Hours.

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UniversalisUniversalis ($13.33) iOS , Android — Roman Calendar, Liturgy of the Hours, Roman Missal (English 3rd Edition), Saint of the Day, and more! For other platforms, you can go to their web site where they suggest setting up the daily email service, or  creating your own e-book of their extensive offerings to read on your device. Of course, you can view everything on line for free; it is set up for mobile viewing. Once you download the App, you get it all forever–equivalent of 5,000 pages! And this one-time subscription covers all your devices. YOU GET… liturgical calendar for every year from 1970 to 2300 and beyond. Feasts and celebrations according to the General Calendar and the local calendars of the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Ireland, and others. Also features “About Today” pages giving more information about the saint of the day. You get all 7 daily prayers for the Liturgy of the Hours; the Mass readings for yesterday, today and the future and the Roman Missal (updated 3rd edition in English).  The downside? Breviary and Mass readings and psalms are not necessarily the approved translation for your country. The app is strictly text, no audio, and it is expensive in relation to the app market; nevertheless, it’s complete (minus the hymns) and there’s nothing more to download as it comes loaded. Does not require internet connection to operate, so this app comes in handy when in a pinch. It is my last-ditch emergency app for the breviary.

E-Breviary pdf download ($29.95 annual subscription) This isn’t an app but …it’s another way to read Liturgy of the Hours on your computer or mobile device. E-Breviary is a service that offers downloads of .pdf files of the principle hours of prayer:  Morning, Day, Evening, Night and Office of Readings. You can also read them on line on your computer’s browser but NOT your mobile device unless you download the pdf files first. These approved texts (North America) are offered in a format just as they are printed in your breviary (“church” font with red rubrics). Very nice to read on your computer screen, mobile device or as print-out. Because these are pdf files, you can zoom in for easier reading. Great for dark situations where you can’t have light on. Nice to have available on my laptop or mobile device, especially when traveling. For mobile device you need to download a week’s worth of pdf files to your computer and then transfer them to your mobile device as most mobile browsers do not support e-Breviary’s pages. Visit e-breviary.com to subscribe. You will need to send them a check. They don’t process payments on line.

iMass  ($1.99) for iOS and Android. This app contains traditional (NOT the current) versions of the Breviary in Latin. These versions include Tridentine Monastic, Tridentine 1570, Tridentine 1910, Divino Afflatu, Reduced 1955, Rubrics 1960 and 1960 New Calendar.  Zoom pinch feature can be used for the missal and breviary text which is offered in split-page English/Latin. You can set preferences for type in text and rubrics. More info. is at the iMass web site. This app also includes the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Catholic Mass (1962 Missal in Latin)– a complete missal– the text of the Mass of the day according to the 1962 Missal–so you can use it for participation at Mass BUT you must have internet connection to use this app.

Praystation Portable Podcast (Free) Download from iTunes or off their web site. This is a RELIABLE, DEPENDABLE podcast of Liturgy of the Hours for every day of the week. It uses the approved English translations. It is my recommended Podcast for all principle hours and Office of Readings if all you want is a dependable dry read; no frills. This plays on any device that can play MP3 files. New podcasts can be uploaded WIRELESSLY if you have that connection ability. So, you don’t need to go through iTunes. You can also play the podcast direct off the internet without any downloading if you are so connected. Of course, you can download the Hours up to three or four days ahead. Ideal when I’m on the road (literally) or at night when I don’t want to have light on to read or when I just want to close my eyes to pray. The downside to this podcast is that some listeners find that the reader reads too fast. If you need reading to be at a slower pace. Divine Office podcast is your best option.

Liturgia Horarum – (Free) Current Divine Office in Latin; it is available on-line only on an interactive web site.

Breviarium Meum – iOS (Free)  iPad formatting ($0.99) is a separate download with spectacular formatting for ease of use and easier reading on iPad. This app offers the traditional (1960 rubrics) Latin breviary of the Roman Catholic Church. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have released this app which will allow you to follow along and pray the older Roman breviary on your iOS device. It is available in Latin with the ability to turn on a parallel translation in English [see screen shot]. For more on the app, read the WDTPRS review. From developers: “You can download the texts up to a week in advance, so you can pray even when you don’t have a network connection. Pray the breviary you know in a new way, or get to know for the first time the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered by Summorum Pontificum as a precious treasure to be preserved and made accessible to all the faithful.”

Options for Divine Office sung in Gregorian chant- online podcasts (FREE) Fr. Z and contributing commentators offer a few choices from around the world where you can access daily chants of the Divine Office on line. As Fr. Z notes: “This is part of who we are as Catholics.  We have to know this form or worship and rebuild it everywhere.  It is the Church’s preferred music for worship.  It is our patrimony.”

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