- Download the free ibreviary app of the Liturgy of the Hours to your tablet or phone.
- Buy a set of the prayer books. The books are available at the abbey’s gift shop or from online booksellers.
- Use a guest book provided by the abbey to abbey visitors.
Beginning in September 2013 Saint Leo Abbey began using different prayer books. Saint Leo Abbey is a Catholic Benedictine abbey in Pasco County, Florida. The abbey welcomes visitors to join the monks in their daily prayers, prayers ongoing here since 1886.
In September 2013 Saint Leo Abbey began using the popular four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) for the monks' daily prayers. The Liturgy of the Hours four-volume set costs between $150 and $200 depending on the style. Here is an article explaining the liturgy of the hours' history and purpose.
There were several reasons for the change in prayer books at the abbey, including the abbey’s desire to give everyone free electronic access to the same prayer books used by the monks. If you are at the abbey with your tablet opened to the ibreviary app you may even get a thumbs-up from the Benedictine monk who assists guests. The abbey hopes to make it easier for everyone to join them in the prayer of the Church.
If you download the free ibreviary app, it can be used anywhere: at home, work, while traveling, and when visiting Saint Leo Abbey.
Of course anyone may also purchase the four-volume set of Liturgy of the Hours books. The books are used widely throughout the Catholic Church.
The ibreviary app for the Liturgy of the Hours was created in 2008 by Father Don Paolo Padrini, Pastor of the Parish of St. Giorgio, Stazzano, Italy.
The ibreviary app can be a little easier to follow than the new books because of how the office, the particular prayer for that time of day, is set out in the ibreviary app especially for vespers, the abbey’s 5:00 pm prayers.
If you don’t have the free ibreviary app or do not have your own set of the Liturgy of the Hours books, the abbey provides abbey visitors with a breviary book to use during the abbey's prayer times. A kind Benedictine monk will hand you the correct book opened to the correct location.
The Benedictine monk will also help you follow along properly during the prayers. Tip: read the Liturgy of the Hours slowly. There is a full-stop pause at the end of each line of text. It’s a resting place, not a race.
First-time visitors to the abbey sometimes are not aware that there are two choirs of monks and that they alternate reading or singing the stanzas of the Psalms. Make sure you know which choir you sing with, but again, if you sit near the Benedictine monk who assists guests, just sing or read when he does and you will be fine.
Sitting quietly in the Saint Leo Abbey church before and after prayers is an excellent way to draw closer to God. And for those times of stillness, you need neither a book nor a tablet.
The most recent change in prayer books is not the first in abbey history. The books that were just replaced were put into service in about 2001 and the books used prior to that had been used since the early 1990s. In fact the 1990s set of books was developed by a Saint Leo Abbey monk.
Benedictine monks have been known for hospitality to pilgrims for over 1,400 years. To modern-day spiritual pilgrims, Saint Leo Abbey says, “Come pray with us, all who seek God.”
For more information about Saint Leo Abbey and its oblate program for lay men and women who want to live a more balanced spiritual life under the Rule of Saint Benedict, email the oblate office. Map and directions to Saint Leo Abbey. You do not need to be an oblate to pray with the monks.
See also the Examiner.com article about the November 1-3, 2013 oblate spiritual retreat weekend. It is open to anyone interested in Benedictine spirituality.
Be sure to check out the slideshow of pictures of Saint Leo Abbey prepared for this article. It is linked near the bottom of this article.