The Daily Office and ‘sensus fidei’

Years ago, back when I had rather recently joined the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada parish of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa, I had a conversation with our then bishop that exposed me to the notion “sensus fidei.”

Bishop (now Msgr.) Robert Mercer is known for his memorable stories and insights that we used to pass on to others  with an attempt at imitating his accent. This was never done to make fun of him, but rather to express our deep affection  and to lend authority to what he had said.  These were his words, not ours, we were sharing.

One story he told was of making a visit to the home of a charwoman in England many years ago.  She had her television on when he arrived and for a while, it stayed on while they chatted.  That is, until a Church of England bishop came on the screen who had recently introduced some modernist novelties into  theological discourse.

The woman got up and turned off the television.  “I’ll not have that man in my house,” she said.

[Bishop] Mercer told this story to illustrate how even an uneducated, simple woman who cleaned other people’s homes for a living had the sensus fidei to recognize this bishop had veered into heresy.

He attributed the strength of the sensus fidei among ordinary Anglicans to the habit of praying the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer that steeped lay people in Scripture and Tradition.

The encounter with the charwoman must have taken place decades ago, because I am not sure how much that habit has remained active among Anglicans.  But it’s one that I have tried to maintain since joining our parish and one I hope can be widely encouraged in the Personal Ordinariates.

There’s a group on Facebook called the Anglican Ordinariate Informal Conversation Forum where there is often lively discussion on various matters.  The other day, I asked:

So, how many of you pray the daily offices at home? If so, why? If not, why not? And if not, why not start? I try to do them everyday, though I don’t do the whole thing, usually just the Psalms and the readings and the canticles. Coming into the Traditional Anglican Communion more than 17 years ago from the evangelical world, what a joy it was to have the daily pattern of Scripture reading, rather than to rely on my own determination of what I should read. My own reading usually led me to the same passages that I knew and loved and avoided more difficult bits. Do you have access to an ordo?

I got a range of responses and since it is a closed, aka non public discussion group I won’t share them verbatim here.  Answers ranged from using the Roman Breviary; the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (US); the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer (1962), the IprayBCP app for Android users; and the more contemporary Roman Catholic daily readings.

I was most grateful that John Covert responded with this link to his website with the canticles and readings for both Morning and Evening Prayer available electronically.

Lo, and behold, you can even participate via conference call!  The time is 8:45 am Eastern Time!  I think I’ll join them today.

The conference dial-in number is 914-226-2403.† After the welcome you will be placed into the conference, initially muted. You may mute and unmute by pressing 1. The assigned reader will need to unmute when he “stands” to read.

If you call in and no one begins within a few seconds after the bells sound, please take on the role of officiant. Those arriving later will join in with you. Please don’t get discouraged if occasionally you are the only participant. We are building critical mass.

We are using the official Ordinariate Lectionary published by the Office of Worship of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

The Ordinariate Daily Office is awaiting approval from the Vatican. This webpage includes everything necessary to read the Office according to our best understanding of the proposal. Notes in red refer to differences from the Walsingham Publishing Morning and Evening Prayer Book with the Psalter and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

There is a direct link to the Psalms for each day in the Order of Service below.

The officiants and readers are John & Pam Covert, Brett Marlina, Elise Sweet, Nancy Gilpin, and Fr. Wootton. Additional officiants and readers are welcome.

What a great resource.   I hope to at some point get some help in putting a link to this site as a side bar for this blog.

We get a monthly ordo through the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

A friend whom I drive to Mass on Sundays told me she preferred having an online mode of accessing the daily offices because using an ordo required too much “looking up” passages in books.

3 thoughts on “The Daily Office and ‘sensus fidei’

  1. YES! As an Ordinariate member who did NOT have previous Anglican/Episcopalian heritage, and a Catholic who just loves the Divine Office, I very much appreciate this aspect of the “Patrimony,” something that is obviously part of our ancient and medieval heritage and has been lost in much of the mainstream Latin Church.

    Our family has finally started to pray the Anglican-use Daily Office starting this Lent. Conveniently,
    Ash Wednesday fell on the 1st of the month, ideal for starting the 30-day Psalter in course!
    (Before, we’d alternatively done the Liturgy of the Hours, the 1960 Roman Breviary, and the [pre-Vatican II] Little Office of the BVM.)

    I love Mr. Covert’s resource. It’s a great reference. I do prefer hard-copy books, though — so we use the 1928 American BCP (with some of the “Catholic” rubrics penciled in based on Covert), along w/ St. Dunstan’s Plainsong Psalter for chanting psalms and canticles, and the Anglican Breviary (or Fr. Samuel Weber OSB’s “Hymnal for the Hours”) for the proper hymn of the day/season.

    I cannot wait for Divine Worship: The Office to be finally approved and printed, though. I wonder what’s taking Rome so long, seeing as how — as I understand it —
    the text is ready and is awaiting final approval.

    By the way: the Philadelphia-area Ordinariate parish, St. John the Baptist, includes the readings for Mattins and Evensong for each week in the weekly bulletin, in a very convenient format, for anyone interested:


  2. The entire ordo for the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is available here:

    This follows the Church of England’s 1961 Table of Lessons, which is used in Fr. Hunwicke’s excellent UK ordo, and is also the version used in the Canadian Ordinariate. John Covert’s website follows this ordo.

    After struggling for some time with “mix and match” forms of the office, I now say Morning and Evening Prayer almost entirely using Mr. Covert’s marvellous website. The only change I make is that I usually change the US Episcopal version of the Phos Hilarion for John Keble’s more mellifluous translation “Hail Gladdening Light.”

    I sometimes add the office hymn, and find an excellent resource to do so is the St. Bede Breviary, a US Episcopal website maintained by Derek Olsen, which allows for many Catholic enhancements and options, including office hymns, Angelus, Marian anthems etc. It can be found here:

    The complete cycle of Sarum office hymns in their poetic translations by John Mason Neale et al can be found in Fr. George Palmer’s The Hymner (1905), which is available online in downloadable format here:

    If you want to say Noonday Prayer and Compline to round out the daily hours, I find the versions in the Anglican Service Book (a Catholicized and Tudor Englished version of the US 1979 BCP prepared by the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, PA) to be very nice. It is available online here:

    Along with , these are all fantastic resources which allow one to say the entire office anywhere with just a few bookmarks on your phone, tablet or computer.


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