The USCCB confirmed updates to the Liturgy of the Hours at their plenary assembly in Orlando, Florida last week. Since 2012, Bishop Steven J. Lopes has been working with the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) on an updated version of the breviary.
Rev. Lopes, Chairman for the Committee on Divine Worship, hopes that the new texts will be concluded and approved by June 2024 when the committee will seek Vatican approval. Rev. Lopes hopes to have updated breviaries available in print by 2026.
“I’m happy to let you know that this long process is drawing to a conclusion,” said Lopes. “It seems like the conclusion of a life well-lived,” he joked.
Lopes is Bishop of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, a non-territorial diocese made up of Episcopal and Anglican churches that have come into full communion with the Catholic Church.
ICEL proposes a change to the traditional Glory Be and the traditional names of the hours: such as Lauds, Vespers, and Compline.
“It reinforces the idea that this is not some generic morning prayer, but it is in fact, the church’s prayer,” explained Rev. Lopes.
ICEL also provided updated translations of the invitatory antiphons, conclusions, blessings, and Marian antiphons. The committee also proposed the use of the Latin text for the three major canticles for those who are interested and those who chant the canticle.
Finally, Rev. Lopes presented an update for a “proper second reading” for various saints. Rev. Lopes gave examples such as a letter of Saint Damian describing his experience with lepers and a letter from Blessed Miguel Pro talking about his aspiration to join the ranks of the martyrs.
The bishops also approved ICEL’s “Liturgical Texts for St. Faustina Kowalska.” Pope Francis added St. Faustina to the Roman Calendar in 2020, and Bishop Lopes proposed the text on her feast day be added to the Office of Readings.
Latin versions of Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc were approved in 2015 and confirmed by the Holy See in 2018, so they were not up for change.