One of the underutilized, hidden gems of the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical books that followed is the clear desire for more communal celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours, with participation of all of the baptized (not just clergy and religious, as was often expressed prior to the Second Vatican Council). [See, for example, General Instruction of Liturgy of the Hours (1971), para. 21, 33; Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), no. 27; or Laudis Canticum (Apostolic Constitution on the Liturgy of the Hours)].
In his preface to the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, Archbishop Anthony Bugnini emphasized that although “the awareness of the Liturgy of the Hours as something belonging essentially to the whole Church has, regrettably, hardly been in evidence for many centuries,” they are not “private functions or reserved to groups of the elite…They pertain to the whole body of the Church.” Yet this desire of the Council has not become a reality in pastoral practice in the United States. In the 1970s, Fr. A. M. Roguet observed that for too many Catholic Christians, “the Mass seems important for our salvation, while the Liturgy of the Hours appears as a profusion of words without any particular effect, a leisure activity for the devout.”  Similarly, William Storey remarked that, “by and large the office is not regarded as liturgy in any normal sense of the word…little is expected of the Liturgy of the Hours because it is still unknown as a public, cultic, ecclesial event…as a cathedral or parish celebration [it] is a nonentity.” 
Nearly four decades later, I don’t think much has changed. With the exception of select cathedrals and academic/seminary settings, the Liturgy of the Hours is largely unknown to the vast majority of Catholics in the United States. Of those who are aware of this liturgical celebration of the Church, I suspect that even fewer are familiar with the option for preaching in this liturgical context. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to celebrate either of the major hinges of the Liturgy of the Hours–Morning and Evening Prayer–in our parishes.
I was blessed to discover the Catholic tradition of praying the Liturgy of the Hours communally in my local parish (St. Patrick’s) in Fayetteville, NC. I was familiar with the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, but little did I know this was something a Catholic parish could celebrate in common. St. Patrick’s celebrated Sunday Evening Prayer during the Advent, Christmas, and Easter seasons (my memory might be slightly off on this…) — helping me truly experience the depth of these seasons through the lived experience of prayer. For a young adult with no exposure to the Liturgy of the Hours, this was liturgical catechesis in action.
I think it comes down to familiarity. When celebrated well with sound pastoral planning, communal Morning and Evening Prayer can be incredibly powerful prayer services. When celebrated without pastoral sensitivity or planning (i.e. just tossing Christian Prayer books in parishioners laps and reciting texts as quickly as possible), the entire concept and spirituality of the communal celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours is quickly lost. When people don’t have a good experience of a form of prayer, it does not get repeated. When people have never heard of the Liturgy of the Hours (or think it only as “that thing priests have to recite, right?”), it won’t be requested or integrated into parish life. But, I think in many parishes, the Liturgy of the Hours can play an important role in the New Evangelization. Just think, returning Catholics who many not be comfortable at Mass or unable to receive the Eucharist can be welcomed in a more flexible setting, with potential for forms of preaching beyond the specifics of a Eucharistic homily. Or, Liturgy of the Hours could be a venue for ongoing adult faith formation. Or, designed for children or teens as a form of liturgical catechesis. The possibilities abound.
What have your experiences been with parish celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours? What great uses have you seen? When has it not been well received?
 A.-M. Roguet, Peter Coughlan, and Peter Purdue. The Liturgy of the Hours; The General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Abbey Press, 1971), 84.
 William G. Storey, “Parish Worship: The Liturgy of the Hours,” Worship 49, no. 1 (1 Jan 1975), 3.