Rorate Caeli

Ten Years of the Divinum Officium Project

Fr. Albert P. Marcello, III, J.C.D. (Cand.)


The number of textual resources for the liturgical books has grown considerably over the course of decades, with the impressive critical editions springing forth over the 20th century, as well as the liturgical studies done (at least in English) by such organizations as the Henry Bradshaw Society and others. Despite not being a textual critic, in the work of analyzing and systematizing such texts, credit must also be paid to the late Laszlo Kiss, a brilliant computer programmer who dedicated his retirement years to the project of ensuring that the texts of the Missal and Breviary would be available electronically, taking on the formidable task of translating the rubrics of these books into programming logic. With the generous support of Mr. Kiss’s family, especially his beloved wife, we at the Divinum Officium Project have attempted to humbly carry on this work.

As we approach the ten-year mark of managing the project established by Mr. Kiss, an immense debt of gratitude is the only justifiable response. We have been blessed with an incredibly competent and talented team of volunteer contributors who have been able to decipher the many lines of Perl code which make presenting the texts of the Missal and Breviary a possibility. So many contributors contact us on a regular basis with corrections and errata, and for this we are also appreciative. Notably, those who have provided contributions materially for the upkeep of our website are deeplydeserving of our thanks and grateful prayer. A monthly Mass is offered in the Traditional Rite for friends, users, and benefactors of the site. As a result of this generosity, in the spring of 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic, we were able to move to a state-of-the-art enterprise hosting solution which, Deo volente, will eliminate a significant proportion of the outages we experienced with our previous hosting provider. We will always need the help of individuals who have competences in Perl code, web hosting, and in their own knowledge of the rubrics.


We utilize a GitHub repository (replacing our original Google Code repository) to host our code, which, according to the wishes of Mr. Kiss, is freely accessible for anyone to use. Over the past several years we have been using GitHub, we have made an impressive 15,000+ commits to our code! While many of these are often minor accent fixes or typos, hopefully this will give the reader a sense of the constant work that is being done to improve the site and bring it continually into greater harmony with the printed editions produced by the major liturgical publishing houses prior to the Council (Desclée, Mame, Pustet, etc.). These editions themselves contained some legitimate stylistic differences, e.g. punctuation or abbreviations, so there will always be some slight divergences between what is on the site and what might be found in one’s printed breviary or missal.


In many ways, the project as established by Mr. Kiss was most ambitious in its aims, particularly to electronically set the Divine Office to music! Regrettably, due to a number of constraints, we have not been able to pursue this particular part of his efforts. Indeed, the code which supports Divinum Officium and Sancta Missa is considerably intricate and, consequently, occasionally fragile. Sadly, Laszlo departed this life not leaving behind much in the way of explanatory documentation for his code. From the beginning, our team has been learning to adapt the code to suit the exigencies of the liturgical texts. Hence, we thank our regular users for their patience in the face of the rubrical and technical errors that our site invariably encounters.


We are always happy to entertain proposals for the betterment of this Project. Of course, some aspects of the site have undergone minor cosmetic changes as time has gone on, and various back-end mechanisms are in place to account for rubrical variations. While we are aware that there exist significant lacunae in our pre-1910 versions of the Office, our priority has been first and foremost to bring accuracy to the 1962 editions, which are normative for the Extraordinary Form usage. We also have been able to implement to some extent the decree Cum Sanctissima of 22 February 2020. This allows the user the option, under 1960 rubrics, to pray the proper feasts of the United States of America, and a limited selection of new saints canonized in recent years. The site has also recently embarked on a major project to bring Laszlo’s re-creation of the Monastic Office into harmony with the actual Benedictine Monastic Breviary. Plans are underway to make available the Dominican Rite. (A brief postscript – if anyone reading this was connected with the long-defunct Officium Divinum site, formerly at, which was in existence until about 2010, please contact us.)


It has been humbling to see that Divinum Officium has played such an important role in the spiritual lives of so many people, making accessible the texts of the Missal and Breviary which are often limited to libraries or costly books. The website is also being used as an educational tool in classrooms to demonstrate the historical development of liturgical prayer. In addition to apps such as Breviarium Meum, we are especially happy to partner with the iPieta app, which also has an outstanding library of prayers and theological texts. It is overwhelming to recognize that at every moment of the day, throughout the world, people are using this computer code to prayerfully offer worship to Almighty God, through our site, or through adapting this code for their own needs.


Mr. Laszlo Kiss emphasized that this project could only be accomplished by teamwork. While we appreciate not only the teamwork of those (directly or indirectly) involved in the operations of this site, we also believe that, united as the Mystical Body of Christ, the greatest teamwork of all is to join in worship of God through the means established by our Holy Mother the Church - the canonical hours and the Sacrifice of the Mass.


May Our Blessed Lady, Seat of Wisdom, bless and protect the work of the Divinum Officium Project.


Please continue to pray for us and with us!