Praying the ‘Prayer of the Church’ at O’Connor


FOR clergy members, seminarians and those in religious orders, praying the Divine Office or ‘Liturgy of Hours’ becomes a way of life due to their incessant prayer time requirements.

The Church places great importance on the praying of the Psalms.

And even though ‘praying the Office’ is commonly known as ‘the prayer of the Church’, it is surprising how very few Catholics pray ‘The Breviary’.

Finding the time to pray the Office might be too challenging for some people, while for others terms such as Compline and Lauds remain foreign to them.

The recent advent of technology apps such as ‘Brev Meum’, ‘Universalis’ and ‘Laudate’ on phone and tablet devices has made the ‘prayer of the Church’ more readily available, but it’s something one can always seek instruction for.

Ronan Reilly, a liturgical music expert from the Australian Sacred Music Association (, delivered such instruction at a ‘chanting the Psalms’ workshop in Canberra last month.

He came at the invitation of Fr Paul Nulley, the parish priest of St Joseph’s O’Connor and was in the nation’s capital for Fr Joshua Scott’s ordination at St Christopher’s Cathedral.

In his workshop, the trained Chorister went through some basic theory for the foundations of Gregorian Chant and then taught the group Compline, Night Prayer (from the Latin word Completorium meaning complete).

“The word Psalm comes from the Greek word Psalmos which means to string a harp,” Mr Reilly said.

“The Church Fathers talk about King David, the harp and the music – which lulled the troubled King Saul – as being fulfilled in Christ, the Church (individual Christian) and the prayer of the liturgy.

“It is important that we partake of this beautiful prayer and learn how to incorporate some of it into our daily lives.”

Keen to put their newly-learnt chanting skills into practice, those who gathered at the workshop in conjunction with Fr Nulley, have decided to pray Compline twice a month at the O’Connor church to which everyone is invited.

The first evening will take place on Sunday November 5 and the second one on Sunday November 19, with both starting at 7.30pm.