The Liturgical Day


On Feasts which have First Vespers, the Liturgical Day begins with these First Vespers.  The liturgical color for vestments, altar frontal, etc. (and any other liturgical rubrics) will be those of the Feast being celebrated from First Vespers onwards, ie. including Compline.

On Feasts which do not have First Vespers, the Liturgical Day begins with Matins of the Feast.

The Divine Office of the day, from Matins through Compline, may be recited during the 24-hour period between midnight and midnight.  However, there are certain exceptions which may be made according to the liturgical rules, as follows:

a)  Matins and Lauds may be anticipated on the previous day, at any time after 2:00 pm.

b)  If the location in which the Divine Office is being recited is using Daylight Saving Time, then the time available for reciting the Office may be extended until 1:00 am.  However, the Office may not be extended beyond a 24-hour period (in other words, if you are extending the Office until 1:00 am, you must not have said any of the same Office before 1:00 am the previous day, other than the exception listed at (a) above.

c)  One is also permitted to take advantage of "solar time" to extend the midnight (or 1:00 am) deadline even further.  Thus, if you are praying near the western edge of your time zone, you may extend the deadline more than someone living nearer to the eastern edge of the same time zone.  This deadline will thus vary according to your actual current location, so care should be taken to calculate the deadline accurately.

Holy Mass, although not part of the Divine Office, is nonetheless the most imporant service of the Liturgy - it is the shining star around which all the Hours of the Breviary revolve, and to which they refer.  The Mass should typically be celebrated after the Hour of Terce.  However, on Kneeling Days and certain other days of penitential character, Holy Mass is celebrated after the Hour of None.  When reciting the Divine Office, layfolk are also encouraged to observe this rubric on days when they attend the Holy Sacrifice.

The Seven Canonical Hours of the Daily Office