At my troop's Federation of North American Explorers meetings, the leaders and the boys pray the Liturgy of the Hours together sometimes for our prayer at the end of meetings. We often do it with half the group on one side of the altar and half on the other trading verses.

Is this the expected format when doing "call and response" in the Liturgy of the Hours for Evening Prayer? Generally speaking, I would like to know what a little of what seminarians are taught in their formation.

  1. One side says "God come to my assistance", the other says "Lord Make haste to help me.

  2. One side says "Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit" The other says "As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be"

  3. We sing a hymn together

  4. One side says the Antiphon, the other side repeats the Antiphon

  5. The psalms and canticles we split every 2 lines or so,

  6. Another "Glory Be" as above, then

  7. Repeat the Antiphon as above.

  8. same for the next two psalms (unless otherwise noted)

  9. One lucky boy reads the reading. He doesn't say "A reading from the Letter of St. James" nor does he conclude with "The word of the Lord".

  10. The responsory is read verbatim

  11. The Magnificat is read with antiphons the same way as the Psalms.

  12. We all say the Our Father together.

  13. One lucky boy says the closing prayer.

  14. The conclusion is sung call-and-response style.

So, I'm guessing that's partly made up, and partly right. I'd like it to be 100% right, so please let me know where I'm wrong!

  • Woah, close votes? Too broad? This is too narrow. I'm asking if this is the right way to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Would it be better if I just asked "How do I pray the Liturgy of the Hours with a Scouts?" That's too broad.
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 18, 2017 at 5:02
  • What is the "Federation of North American Explorers," and which "Liturgy" does this refer to? And what, exactly, are you asking? A question, with scope, in the title might help. Jan 18, 2017 at 5:51
  • Federation of North American Explorers is the scouting organization I belong to, that's tangential to the question, unless you happen to be another scout leader with similar experience who actually does things right.. And the Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the Catholic church (there's a good tag wiki for it)
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 18, 2017 at 5:55
  • 1
    @dan the books aren't written "on this" the books are this. It's just the same format of prayers each night. I'm just asking how to do it in a group setting. Although a priest could answer it (and I hope a priest does answer it), I think a layperson could answer it too.
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 18, 2017 at 6:34
  • 1
    I am a traditional Catholic and I would not have any questions about what I see you are doing. It looks okay to me. If I were you I would ask a priest in whom you are comfortable about the situation.
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 18, 2017 at 12:15

2 Answers 2


The format you have specified looks correct, but we follow a slightly different format:

  • In the absence of a priest or deacon, it is recommended to have one person who presides the office. It is to be noted that he is only one among equals and he does not greet and bless the people. (GILoH 258)
  • The one who Presides says the opening versicle (God come to my assistance) and the whole group responds.
  • The one who Presides says (the first) glory be and the whole group responds.
  • The invitatory psalm alone is recited differently than other psalms. A single individual recites the antiphon, the whole group repeats the antiphon. Then the invitatory psalm (Ps 95, Ps 100, Ps 67, or Ps 24) is recited by that individual and at the end of each para the group responds with the antiphon. At the end of the whole psalm the individual says glory be fully. (That is the usual second part as it was in the beginning is also recited by the same individual) for which the whole group responds with the antiphon.
  • Regarding the the Antiphon, the presider say the first few words of the antiphon, the rest of the group joins in saying the Antiphon.
  • The responsory is supposed to be led by the one who presides.
  • Each intention consists of two parts; First part can be read by one side and the second by another.
  • Just like the hymn, gospel canticles (i.e the Magnificat) is said together.
  • The one who Presides should say the closing prayer.

  • Also don't forget the gestures:

    • Make the sign of the cross, from forehead to breast and from left shoulder to right, at the beginning of the hours, when God, come to my assistance is being said; the beginning of the Canticles of Zechariah, of Mary, and of Simeon. The sign of the cross is made on the mouth at the beginning of the invitatory, at Lord, open my lips.
    • All taking part stand during: the introduction to the office and the introductory verses of each hour; the hymn; the gospel canticle; the intercessions, the Lord's Prayer, and the concluding prayer.
    • All sit to listen to the readings, except the gospel.
    • The assembly either sits or stands, depending on custom, while the psalms and other canticles (with their antiphons) are being said.

[Don't forget to read the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours]

  • Thank you for that excellent explanation. Do preface readings with "a reading of the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians" and finish with "the word of the lord", "thanks be to God"?
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 18, 2017 at 18:48
  • In other words (in your discussion of the invitatory psalm) the final Gloria is treated as if it were another paragraph/versicle of the psalm? Jan 19, 2017 at 2:40
  • @PeterTurner : Since the whole liturgy of hours is in a sense Word of God we don't preface or finish the scripture reading as we do at mass. But a short period of silence is to be maintained after the scripture reading. Jan 19, 2017 at 17:09
  • @MattGutting Yes. You are correct. Jan 19, 2017 at 17:09
  • Welcome back. :)
    – user900
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:11

Your practice seems total OK to me. There is some room for variation in the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. In the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours sometimes no rule is given, sometimes a variation is explicitly stated.

Jayarathina's answer is good, but I want to tell how we do it at a German seminary:

  1. One priest (P) presides and one student (S) has some solo parts. If we have no priest, S does both. Both sit normal among the others. Assume S sits on the left side (L).
  2. P "God come to my assistance", all (A) "Lord Make haste to help me."
  3. S "Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit", A "As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be"
  4. Hymn: First two verses S, rest of first stanza L; next stanzas right side (R)/L alternating; last stanza A
  5. Psalms and Canticum
    1. S Antiphon
    2. S first half of first verse, L second half of first verse; next verses incl. Gloria Patri R/L alternating
    3. A Antiphon
  6. S reads the reading; he says "from ..." (without "A reading"), but no "The word of the Lord"
  7. responsory: S first verse; A repeat; S first (variating) half of second verse, A second half (same as second half of first verse); S "Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit", A again full first verse
  8. Benedictus/Magnificat like the Psalms
  9. Intercessions:
    1. P invitation
    2. A answer
    3. S intercession
    4. A answer
    5. ...
  10. P "Kyrie eleison", A "Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison"
  11. P "Our Father in heaven", A "blessed ... from evil."
  12. P closing prayer; A "Amen"
  13. If a priest is present: P/A bleesing like in mass; otherwise: S "The Lord bless us ...", A "Amen", S "Sing ...", A "Thanks ..."

[I hope I used the correct English version/terms.]

I hope this may help someone. If you are unsure, just do it the way you think it is the best! It is pleasing to the Lord even if Rome would say "Not perfect".

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