About

Confraternity of St. Benedict

A Private Association of Catholic Faithful for Praying the Divine Office

Primary Patrons: St. Benedict and Dom Prosper Gueranger

Secondary Patrons: St. Pius X and Venerable Pius XII

Purpose:

First – To facilitate the communal recitation in Latin (and private recitation in Latin or in the vernacular) of the Divine Office among all Catholic faithful according to the 1962 Breviarium Romanum or any other traditional arrangement  (e.g. Benedictine Monastic Office) of the Divine Office prior to the Second Vatican Council

Second – To further the restoration of the liturgical-centered life in the spirit of the writings of Dom Prosper Gueranger and Popes St. Pius X and Pius XII

Membership:

Open to any Catholic man, woman, or child (above the age of reason), both clergy and laity. Two levels of membership are available as follows:

  • Plenary Membership – Recite the entire Divine Office daily.
  • General Membership – Recite two Offices of choice (Prime & Compline highly recommended for their relative simplicity) each day and unite other daily prayers in spirit to the work of the Confraternity.

Under no circumstances would any commitment to recite the Office, either in part or in full, be obligatory under pain of sin, save for any Clergy already bound as such to the Office. Commitment is a pledge to do what is in one’s best ability.

Different Versions of the Divine Office:

Clergy who are members of this Confraternity are bound to pray the version of the Office under their respective vows or rules. Lay-members, however, may pray the following versions of the Office to satisfy their individual membership requirements:

  • Roman Office per the 1962 Breviarium Romanum
  • Roman Office per any edition of the Breviarium Romanum prior to 1962
  • Any Monastic or Religious Order’s Office in effect in 1962 or prior
  • The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as arranged in 1962 or prior
  • The 1970 Roman Liturgy of the Hours (Liturgia Horarum) – private use only

Dues:

There are no dues or any other monetary obligations to the Confraternity. With the exception of chanted services, members are responsible for procuring their own Breviaries and other resource materials for praying the Office. Voluntary donations (not tax deductible) may be made to procure Breviaries and other materials to facilitate communal Offices.

Chapters:

Initially, only one chapter of the Confraternity will be established and it will be based at Mater Ecclesiæ Mission in Berlin, NJ. In the future, as increases in membership necessitate, other local and regional chapters may be established. Although individual members may choose to pray the 1970 Liturgy of the Hours in private, only groups committed to praying a traditional arrangement of the Divine Office may form a Chapter.

Each chapter shall have the following governance structure:

  • Chaplain/Officiant – A member of the Clergy who is bound to the daily recitation of the Office (i.e. typically a Deacon or Priest, but may include any male religious even without Holy Orders) who will lead the public services of the chapter.
  • Facilitator/Invitator – Any plenary member (clerical or lay) who provides the organizational leadership of the chapter and is the chief Invitator at all public services. The facilitator may also lead public services in the absence of clergy.
  • Cantor – Any member who has sufficient experience singing Gregorian chants and who can provide the necessary musical leadership for sung services.

In the initial years of starting a chapter, one person may hold two or even all three of the above leadership positions simultaneously until membership (with a diversity of necessary talents) grows to divide these responsibilities. Ideally, the chaplain will designate the person(s) to fill the other two roles, but a popular vote of the entire chapter may be necessary to fill these roles from time to time depending on particular circumstances (e.g. a chapter may be without a chaplain temporarily or indefinitely).

Recitation/Singing of the Office:

  • In public services held at Mater Ecclesiæ, all Offices shall be prayed, preferably chanted, in Latin according to the Calendar and rubrics contained in the 1962 Breviarium Romanum.
  • Public services held at other chapters shall be prayed according to the Calendar and rubrics adopted by the local chapter.
  • Public services should be held, at minimum, once a month. Typically, because of the relative convenience of gathering after a Sunday Mass or a weeknight Mass as compared to other times of the week, Vespers and Compline would likely be the most common Offices to be prayed publicly, but any Office suffices for the once a month minimum.
  • Though the minimum is once a month, the Chapter should strive to have as many public services as reasonably possible.
  • Scheduling of public services is to be determined by the Chaplain and/or Facilitator.
  • In private recitation, any version of the Divine Office is worthy and commendable.
  • Private recitation, by definition, includes also the communal recitation of Offices in any lay member’s own home with other lay members present and participating.