Friday, February 11, 2011

Guest Review: Kenyan Liturgy of the Hours

Fr. Ramil E. Fajardo has sent in photos and a review of the (until now) mysterious Pauline Publications African Liturgy of the Hours. I am very grateful for his excellent contribution!

Hi Matt,

I thought you might want to see a set of the 2009 Liturgy of the Hours issued by the bishops of Kenya, using the 2008 translation of the Grail Psalter from Conception Abbey.

It’s a good start – given the changes that are still to come regarding ICEL translations of the texts which are due to be addressed at some point now that the missal is approaching completion. At best, this set is a tiny foreshadowing or glimpse of what a future US Liturgy of the Hours might look like.

As you can see, it was authorized with the permission of Cardinal Llovera Prefect, and Arbp. Ranjith Secretary.

Some interesting things:

1) new translation of the Confiteor
2) addition of the 3 cycle Sunday antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat
3) removal of the Psalm-prayers
4) no artwork at all (and this is good since the only art was ‘bad’ art in the US Liturgy of the Hours/Christian Prayer) and
5) "Glory be to the Father” at the end of each Psalm, instead of "Glory to the Father"

The cover is a firm plastic, with end sheets in a cream-colored firm card-stock. This is very similar to the first editions of the Liturgy of the Hours and Christian Prayer published by Catholic Book Publishing Company during the 1970s. It is also similar to many books you would find in Rome (in fact, the set was produced in Italy). The books have square-edged pages as opposed to rounded corners.

The actual pages are rather thin and translucent, closer (it seems) just a tad bit to ‘tissue’ as opposed to ‘bible or missal paper’. The paper seems rather delicate and I wonder how it will hold up to finger oils and page-turning.

A drawback of this set is that each book has only three very soft woven ribbons and which seem to be fraying rather easily already. You can purchase the set for only $100 in Kenya, though it may get pricey when you include shipping to the USA. I bought mine on eBay.

Thought you’d like to see it!


Fr. Ramil E. Fajardo


Matt's afterthought: If I were looking for a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, I would buy this one and use it until the new ICEL translation comes out...since that will probably be a while. The ribbon issue can be solved easily with a trip to your local Catholic book store to buy LOTH Ribbon inserts (and a pair of scissors). Also, for clerics, I am not sure what Canon Law says about using editions approved by other bishops' conferences. Could American priests use this instead of the US version?


sekman said...

Thanks for posting this. I may be able to write up a review of my collegeville breviary if you would like. I was curiuos as to whether you have photos of your rebound knox bible, assuming you did have it rebound.

Hao-ah said...

Hey Matt! I ordered a set through Pauline's Africa and finally got my set (took a good 2+ months to get it).

I wanted to comment that the paper is much sturdier, in my opinion, than the US Approved Liturgy of the Hours and Christian Prayer paper. I'd say it's akin to the Anglican Breviary paper actually.

Overall the paper is sturdy yet delicate. The cream colored pages and font size are pleasing to the eye and much improved when compared to US LOTH.

The Grail psalms do take some getting used to. I did not realize that my head was so used to ICEL 1975 that the Grail Psalms seemed refreshing. What warmed my heart was a MUCH improved rendering of the Canticle of Daniel (The Canticle of the Three Brothers). It actually includes the "praise and highly exalt him for ever" that was not rendered into English from the Nova Vulgata. Very refreshing indeed.

Matt said...


What was your final cost on the set?

Thanks for your input!

Matt said...


Contact me by email ossian1898 at

T. Ambrose Nazianzus said...

Did you ever hear back how much the set costs?

T. Ambrose Nazianzus said...

Curious...which ebay site did your friend get his off of? I can't seem to find it (perhaps it was a one-time thing)?

lumengentium said...

I'm wondering if the notes for the hymns are provided in this edition.

I currently have an ageing 1 volume 1976 edition with music and I know would miss the notes terribly.

Chez84 said...

I own the Prayer Of The Church African breviary. It's a one volume edition and I love using it. I have the Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer too and it fits perfectly into my pocket.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton