From a reader:
Is it permissible for the laity to organize and do Vespers in public without a priest or deacon present? I may try to organize something for a weekly vespers from the Monastic Diurnal, and once a month offer it in Latin. But in my parish, well, I’ve offered this before and I won’t get any priestly support. In fact, I may not even be able to get a venue. And I don’t want to leave this to our deacons, to be perfectly honest.
I’m trying to think of long term ideas for parish renewal. I’m a Benedictine Oblate, and offering a Benedictine prayer session might actually have some interest in the parish now.
I’m really casting about to find out how much leeway the laity has in a situation like this.
People don’t need permission to pray. Lay people don’t need permission to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or hours from the Monastic Diurnal, alone or together.
That said, lay people should not take roles or parts of the liturgy that pertain to the ordained only (such as give blessings, etc.).
But your question is about public recitation of the hours.
Where would one do this? In church? If in church, then you had better talk to the parish priest and get permission. You shouldn’t just go into a church and start doing things as a group without the permission or – even better – support of the priest.
The very best approach here would be to work something out with the priest of some parish where you would be welcomed to, at the least, do you own thing (provided you follow the books properly).