iPhone application: iBreviary

I mostly use the post-Conciliar Liturgia horarum or Liturgy of the Hours for my office during the week.  

So here I am on the road and we have a change of volumes, from 1 to 3.  On the Novus Ordo side of the Roman Rite it’s now Monday of the 1st Week of Lesser Meatloaf Time … er um… Ordinary Time.

What to do?  Wait to say all of my office when I get home?  

I’ve done that before, I guess. 

Use Universalis

That’ll do in a pinch.

"But wait!", quoth I. "I have the app iBreviary on my iPhone!"

The application iBreviary is an ingenious little program that lives on your iPhone, giving you the option to look at the post-Conciliar Liturgy of the Hours in different langauges, including Latin. 

I don’t use English.  I just don’t.  Italian… yah… okay… sometimes.   But when your Latin is very strong, why use anything but Latin?

There are still some glitches in iBreviary, some typos and hang ups (at least for me) when you switch languages.  It doesn’t automatically update to the present day when you open it, and must manually refresh from your last use.  It needs a couple additional, smaller, fonts.  But someone could say the office with this program on his gadget.

There is the cool-factor of having this on a phone.  I prefer a book, frankly.  But in a pinch, like now… it suits me well.

There is a page for the readings for Mass, but not in Latin.  There is a page for "Prays", by which they really mean "Prayers"… I hope you like Italian.  

This is a good initiative and the creators, the incredibly persistent don Paolo Padrini, has made a good go of it.  Some work needs yet to be done, but if you have an iPhone you might find this quite useful.

I did this morning.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communication seems to think this app is alright.

The application costs Euro 0.79 or $0.99, and upgrades will be free.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    I also have this app and use it in times when I have to- like the one you describe. It’s a great app!

  2. Thomas says:

    Wouldn’t Ordinary Time be Greater Meatlof Time and Lent be LMT?

  3. Ed Casey says:

    I use this app and love it. I especially like the non-scriptural readings from The Fathers, etc that are included. Even if imperfect due to translation, as I don’t HAVE to read this as a duty and obligation due to orders, when I do, as a layman, it’s for pure edification, and it fulfills that requirement very well. Besides, it’s not bad joining in the universal prayer of the Church.

  4. PAH says:

    How does one go about praying the office? I have no idea.

  5. Grovetucky Ann says:

    PAH, there are some little books on the subject available at a Catholic book store. You can ask people at the book store too, there are lots of people who pray various versions of the daily office (morning and evening prayer only, Morning and Evening plus one of the little hours, or the whole 4-volume, pray until you are dead of eyestrain shebang). it is confusing at first, the directions that come with the books are sketchy and use technical language. One way is to start with Shorter Christian Prayer, then go to Christian Prayer (the one volume LOTH).

  6. David says:

    Unlike you all who are dedicated to the Office and use iBreviary in a pinch, I’m a step lower (or perhaps perpetually in a pinch)…I started praying the Office again (in Latin for the first time) because of this app. It does have a few glitches but hopefully if it gathers enough support the glitches can be ironed out…

  7. Justin says:

    Lesser Meatloaf Time? I’m afraid I don’t understand that one…

  8. Sylvia says:

    Fr., I got an iPod Touch for Christmas, and I think this will be awesome!! Thanks.

  9. Derik says:

    But when your Latin is very strong, why use anything but Latin?

    I learn a word each day by praying the latin version.

  10. Dwight Longenecker says:

    I got caught in the same fix today and iBreviary saved the day.

  11. Daniel Muller says:

    I would like to remind readers that the Liturgia Horarum is available free for the Palm.

  12. HD says:


    I’ve just begun praying the Divine Office in the last year, and it’s been extremely helpful to my wife and I. The books and ribbons are confusing to the inexperienced, so here’s how I started. I was introduced to the Divine Office by a little book called The School of Prayer – an Introduction to the Divine Office for all Christians by John Brook. This has been invaluable to me. It explains the history of the Office, provides commentary on the psalms used in the prayers, etc.

    Because I’m not using the official books but do have Internet access, I get my daily prayers from . Sunday, Friday and night prayers for the week are free, but the rest require a $29.00 annual subscription for which I gratefully pay. I think this site is superior to the Universalis site for a number of reasons, namely that it is complete in that Universalis is missing the hymns and antiphons and daytime prayers. You can also download the prayers from eBreviary in such a way that they can be easily printed and folded into pamphlets which makes for communal recitation of the prayers easier.

    I also subscribe to a free podcast on iTunes called Pray Station Portable. This is a recording all the morning (lauds) and evening (vespers) prayers. With this I can read and listen to the prayers simultaneously if I choose.

  13. peregrinator says:

    I find that I am constantly travelling at the volume switch between Volumes II & III (both Ordinary Time) and rarely do I have room for an extra book.

    But I’m afraid a PDA is something that will never be in my budget (not that I mind, rather the reverse.)

    When I first began praying the Office this troubled me not at all, as the only copy I had access to was the UK edition which publishes all of Ordinary Time in one volume. I’ve heard people complain that they find this arrangement too confusing and that there’s too much flipping back & forth, but I think the inconvenience is worth the reduction in luggage.

    I wish the U.S. edition were published in three volumes instead of four.

  14. HD: Sunday, Friday and night prayers for the week are free, but the rest require a $29.00 annual subscription for which I gratefully pay.

    To make it clear to anyone who wants to follow this up, you’re referring to the site


    which provides each LOH hour of each day in the form of a beautifully formatted 2-color PDF file that you can download and view or print. Without registering or paying, you can go there right now and download free for an onscreen look the file for any Hour of yesterday or this coming Sunday.

  15. Kradcliffe says:

    I hope this develops into many other platforms.

    Does this remove all the need for knowing where you are that day? I can just about barely get the bookmarks set with the aid of one of those little St. Josephs guides. It would fantastic if a computer just did it all for me. And, of course, if it were available on many different platforms.

    Everybody loves a book, but I do think this is one situation where electronic has advantages over the codex.

  16. cuaguy says:

    I just got the 4-volume for Christmas, and I live it. I have used some of the free stuff online before, but for me, I find nothing replaces the books

  17. John P. says:

    I am definitely going to put this on my iPod, I can think of quite a few times when this would be interesting to have. I’m ATTEMPTING to learn the Liturgy of the Hours. Please not the word ATTEMPTING.

    So far I’ve only learned it in English, but once I learn Latin, I’ll start saying it in Latin. Brick by brick!!

    John P.

  18. Two reactions.

    First, I love the idea of the LH on the iPhone, as well as all the other widgets and gizmos and GPS that comes with it, but in the UK the iPhone is only available on the O2 network, which in my experience is not the best, at a much higher tariff than I can justify given I put much less than that on my pay-as-you-go phone.

    Second, ‘when your Latin is very strong, why use anything but Latin?’ Apart from the fact that my Latin is not very strong, how can one encourage the faithful into the habit of joining the clergy for Morning and / or Evening Prayer, especially perhaps before Mass, and thereby building up in them the habit of prayer, if it is in a language that they would have to spend a couple of years learning first?

  19. Fr. BJ says:

    I am in the same bind today — took the Brev’ with me to read it while waiting on something someplace, and then found out that I had forgotten to switch volumes. I’ll have to catch up a little later on when I get back to where my books are.

    Does anyone know if there is a way that one can use the iBreviary on their PC — i.e. is there some sort of viewer program that can be downloaded for Windows? I don’t use a PDA, but if there were some way I could have it on the computer, then I could access it from just about anywhere where I have a connection via my remote access.

  20. tim mccarthy says:

    There is the breviary on line also. One is called Divinum Officium and the other is Confraternity of Ss. Peter and Paul. I haven’t typed the url’s as I’m not certain advertising is something Fr. Z would want.

  21. That link to Divinum Officium I know (just put it in google and it will come out on top), and it is very, very useuful. You can get the Pre-Vatican II Office in bilingual Latin-English for not only the format of 1960 (revised calendar as in 1962) but the earlier version, and even the Pre-Pius X version with the medieval psalter. And you can have audio with a voice reciting along with you. It is also free for download. There is also the Little Office of the BVM and the daily office of the dead.

    I see only two things that should be improved: 1. the Latin needs accent marks. 2. Why not also have have someone singing the hymns, antiphons, pslams, responsories, etc?

    If only some one would do this for the Liturgia Horarum!

    I did not know about the Confraternity of Ss. Peter and Paul. This is the Pre-1960 reform Office and it does have accent marks. But there is no choice of calendars and no voice. Pretty layout, however.

  22. Henry,

    Is that site based on Novus Ordo translations?

  23. Yes, Greg, it appears to me that ebreviary.com — which I don’t actually use but have looked at — is just what you’d see (Novus Ordo, Grail and ICEL) on the pages of the 4-volume LOH. I have the 4-volume Latin Liturgia Horarum, and occasionally think I might like to download an Office of Readings to look at the English translation of a patristic reading whose Latin is difficult, but I’ve never got myself to fork over $29.95 for the privilege of actually doing so.

  24. fr. paolo says:

    LH is free available on Facebook.
    The name of the application, is Praybook.

    This is in italian, english, Latin, french and spanish language.


  25. Fr. Adrien Longchamps says:

    Dear Father Z,

    There is a French website with the Latin-French Liturgy of the Hours.
    The web address is:
    I have found this site very useful. It even has the Roman Martyrology for each day.
    In Christ Jesus,
    Fr. Adrien

  26. Romuleus says:

    I have a Palm T/X PDA. I have downloaded the Latin LOH which I use infrequently.

    I am gradually developing (all Latin, accents and all) a 1960 Breviarium Romanum (the current EF version) and 1962 Missale Romanum for my PDA. I have been taking my PDA to Mass and using the PDA as one would use their Missal or Breviary (it fits in my pocket and saves bringing two books …). I’m sure many at Mass think I’m surfing the Internet.

  27. Matthew Hysell says:

    Glitches in iBreivary? How about glitches in the current English L.O.H.!

    I use the post-Conciliar breviary as well, and I like to follow along Vatican Radio’s singing of the Office (on the Web at http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/chapel.asp).

    Recently, taking the approach of lex orandi, lex credendi, I was introducing a friend to the Catholic faith by relaying my own translation of the propers for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord from the Office. It’s tragic that such theologically rich language in our Liturgy is often blurred by the ICEL translation. I would not accuse anyone of “deliberately” doing so, but praying the Office according to the Latin editio typica has its advantages, especially exposing the pray-er to the Church’s doctrinal patrimony. I learn more about Catholicity from the Sacred Liturgy than I do from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    And notice, dear Father, we “pray” the Office, not “say” it. ;)

    Happy (belated) Theophany!

  28. Trevor says:

    Ninety-nine cents for a Breviary? I think I’d buy an iPhone just for that deal…

  29. JL says:

    “Lesser Meatloaf Time” is brilliant! I refer to post-Epiphany and post-Pentecost as “Little Green” and “Big Green”, respectively.

  30. Fr. BJ says:

    Pawel: That web site looks great (once you figure out how to use it!). Thanks!

  31. Anne Gomes says:

    Works on the itouch, too. You just have to remember to download at home. I think the Italian is kinda fun. I speak Spanish, so Italian is easy and am working on Latin, but do prefer my native language for prayers. I especially appreciate the daily Mass readings. Anneg in NC
    PS Endorsed by Pope Benedict, too!

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