174 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated
Liturgy of the Hours, in which the whole Church pours out her praise
to God, prolongs the Eucharistic celebration, and leads us back to it.
Besides offering praise to God, the Church in the Liturgy of the Hours
expresses the prayers and desires of the Christian faithful. This is evident
especially in the Intercessions at Morning and Evening Prayer, the pray-
ing of the Our Father, and the concluding prayer.
This public prayer of the Church is intended for the whole People of
God. In this prayer Christ continues his priestly work and consecrates
time. All God’s people can participate in it according to their calling
and circumstances. In this prayer, we harmonize our voices with praying
hearts, and we come to a more profound understanding of the Psalms
and other parts of Scripture that make up the largest part of the Liturgy
of the Hours.
Even though the Liturgy of the Hours is celebrated in various ways
in the Eastern and Latin Churches, the hymns, canticles, and readings
from Church Fathers, other saints, and other Church writers offer us
a rich meditation on God’s Word. This public prayer prepares us for
Where Do We Celebrate?
In one sense, worship is not confined to any one place, for the whole
earth is entrusted to God’s people. But practically, when religious free-
dom is not suppressed, it is customary to build churches for divine wor-
ship. A church is “a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is celebrated
and reserved, where the faithful assemble, and where is worshiped the
presence of the Son of God our Savior” (CCC, no. 1181, citing Second
Decree on Priestly Life and Ministry
; PO], no. 5). While the church building is important, the wor-
shiping community, “living stones built into a spiritual house” (1 Pt 2:4-
5), is of greater importance. Nevertheless, church buildings should be
dignified enough to reflect the importance of what takes place there. They
should be beautiful places that foster prayer and a sense of the sacred.