November 25, 2012

Sing Praise to Our Creator

Praise the Holy Trinity, Undivided Unity

Sing Praise to Our Creator (1961) was written by Omer Westendorf (1916-1997). He was one of the early writers of English language hymns for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1950 he founded what would eventually known as World Library Publications. In 1955, WLP published it's first hymnal which included many new works for the liturgy and introduced to the Church the first of a number of new composers whose works anticipated the reforms of Vatican II. Sing Praise to Our Creator is set to the tune: Gott Vater! Sei Gepriesen, first published in 1833 as part of the Mainz Gesangbuch. In the Liturgy of the Hours it is used on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and for Mid-Afternoon Prayer during Ordinary Time.

As with Gladness Men of Old

As with joyful steps they sped.

As with Gladness Men of Old was written by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898). It was composed on the 6th of January 1859, while confined to bed, convalescing from a serious illness. It would be later included in his self-published collection: Hymns of Love and Joy (1867). It is sung to the tune: Dix, an adaption by William Henry Monk (1823-1889) of the chorale, Treuer Heiland, Wir Sind Heir (1838) by German composer Conrad Kocher (1786-1872). In the Liturgy of the Hours, As with Gladness Men of Old is used on the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

AS WITH GLADNESS, MEN OF OLD by W.C. Dix, 1859 (Public Domain)

 1. As with gladness men of old
did the guiding star behold;
as with joy they hailed its light,
leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most gracious Lord, may we
evermore be led to thee.

2. As with joyful steps they sped,
Savior, to thy lowly bed,
there to bend the knee before thee,
whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy seat.

3. As they offered gifts most rare
at thy manger, rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heavenly king.

4. Holy Jesus, every day
keep us in the narrow way;
and when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.

November 24, 2012

O Mary, of All Women

You Are the Chosen One

O Mary, of All Women was written by Sulpician Priest, Fr. Michael Gannon. It was first published in 1966 as part of the Peoples Mass Book, one of the earliest english-language hymnals to correspond to the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Fr. Gannon studied at The Catholic University of America and at the Louvain from 1957 to 1958. O Mary, of All Women is set to the 17th century Flemish tune, Au Fort de ma Detresse. An alternative tune that can also be used is Aurelia, as featured in the following video. It is used in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God.

Tune: Aurelia

Joy to You

Mary, Mother of the Lord!

Joy to You was written by Fr. Lucien Deiss, C.S.Sp. It was first published in 1970 as part of the collection: Biblical Hymns and Psalms, Volume II. It was also featured on a recording by Fr. Deiss called Joy to You, Mother of the Lord: 12 Songs in Honor of Our Lady. Fr. Deiss was very involved in liturgical renewal during Vatican II. His efforts to compose new hymns of devotion to Our Lady corresponded to the issuing of several important theological Papal documents following Vatican II concerning the renewal and reaffirmation of the role of Mary in the Church. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Joy to You is used on the Feast Day of Mary, the Mother of God and on the Feast of the Assumption.

November 23, 2012

Joseph of Nazareth

Painting by Guido Reni - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Joseph of Nazareth, first published in 1972 was written by Canadian Stephen Somerville. Composer and musician, he is the author of a number of hymns and psalm canticle settings. In the 1970's he was a member of the Advisory Board of the International Commission on English Liturgy (I.C.E.L.),  the body responsible for the translation of the original Latin Mass into the Novus Ordo Missae. He would eventually resign his post and become an outspoken critic of the New Mass. In 2004 he was suspended from the priesthood by the Archbishop of Toronto. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Joseph of Nazareth is used on the Feast of the Holy Family and on March 19th, the Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of the BVM. An alternative tune that can be used is the melody from Genevan 22, as featured in the following video.

Alternative Tune: Genevan 22 (non-instrumental)

Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly

Fairest Child of Fairest Mother

Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly was written in 1938 by Roland Ford Palmer (1891-1985). It is adapted from a 1914 anonymous poem based upon the Annunciation. Fr. Palmer was an Anglican Priest. Born in England, he moved to Canada in 1905. He was a member of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Anglican Religious Order that follows a rule of life and, at profession, members make monastic vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly is set to the tune Pleading Savior, first published in the The Christian Lyre (1830). In the Liturgy of the Hours, it is used on the Feast of the Holy Family.


SING OF MARY, PURE AND LOWLY by Roland F. Palmer, 1938 (Public Domain)

1. Sing of Mary, pure and lowly,
Virgin mother undefiled,
 Sing of God's own Son most holy,
Who became her little child.
Fairest child of fairest mother,
God the Lord who came to earth,
Word made flesh, our very brother,
Takes our nature by his birth.

2. Sing of Jesus, son of Mary,
In the home at Nazareth.
Toil and labour cannot weary
 Love enduring unto death.
Constant was the love he gave her,
Though he went forth from her side,
Forth to preach, and heal, and suffer,
Till on Calvary he died.

3. Glory be to God the Father;
Glory be to God the Son;
Glory be to God the Spirit;
Glory to the Three in One.
From the heart of blessed Mary,
From all saints the song ascends,
And the Church the strain reechoes
Unto earth's remotest ends.

November 22, 2012

Unto Us a Child is Given

God Made Man and Prince of Peace

Unto Us a Child is Given was written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. It was first published in 1971 as part of the Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal. They have recently moved from their former Victorian era Abbey to a new home in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park in North Yorkshire, UK. Visitors are welcome join the Sisters in the chapel for Mass and Divine Office. Unto us a Child is Given is sung to the tune: Drakes Broughton by Edward Elgar. It is used in the Liturgy of the Hours during Christmas.

November 21, 2012

A Child is Born in Bethlehem

Rejoice and Sing, Jerusalem!

A Child is Born in Bethlehem is an anonymous 14th century translation of the latin hymn: Puer Natus in Bethlehem. The strophic melody is adapted from the original Gregorian Mode I with added alleluias and refrain. The following video features the La Jolla Renaissance Singers performing it in the original latin with an alternating drone as sung in the Byzantine style that influenced Old Roman Chant. In the Liturgy of the Hours, A Child is Born in Bethlehem is used during Christmas.

A CHILD IS BORN IN BETHLEHEM - Anonymous (Public Domain)

1. The Child is born in Bethlehem, Alleluia.
Rejoice and sing, Jerusalem! Alleluia.

2. Low in the manger lieth He, Alleluia.
Whose reign no bound or end can see. Alleluia.

3. The ox and as their Owner know, Alleluia.
And own their Lord thus stooping low. Alleluia.

4. Kings coming from the furthest East, Alleluia.
Bring old, frankincense, myrrh to Christ. Alleluia.

5. That lowly dwelling entering, Alleluia.
They humbly greet the new-born King. Alleluia.

6. Born of a virgin mother mild, Alleluia.
Seed of the woman, wondrous Child. Alleluia.

7. Born of our blood, without the sin, Alleluia.
No serpent's venom left therein. Alleluia.

8. Like us, in flesh of human frame, Alleluia.
Unlike in sin alone, He came: Alleluia.

9. That He might make us, sinful men, Alleluia.
Like God, and like Himself again. Alleluia.

10. In this, our Christmas happiness, Alleluia.
The Lord with festive hymns we bless. Alleluia.

11. The Holy Trinity be praised, Alleluia.
To God our ceaseless thanks be raised. Alleluia.

November 20, 2012

What Child is This

Joy, Joy for Christ is Born

What Child is This was written in 1865 by the Bristol surgeon and writer William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898). In his late 20's he was confined to bed with a life threatening illness. Though he became deeply depressed during this period, he tried to occupy himself with writing. Some of his best known works, including What Child is This were composed during this episode. It is set to the 16th Century English folk melody, Greensleeves. In the Liturgy of the Hours, What Child is This is sung during Christmas.

WHAT CHILD IS THIS? by William Dix, 1865 (Public Domain)

1. What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

 2. Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

3. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Virgin-Born, We Bow Before You

Blest Was She in Her Child

Virgin-Born, We Bow Before You was written by clergyman, Reginald Heber (1783-1826). It was published posthumously after his sudden death from a stroke while serving as the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta. The suggested tune in the Divine Office is Psalm 86 by Claude Goudimel (1514-1572). A popular alternative is the tune: Mon Dieu, Prete Moi L'Oreille, as featured in the following video. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Virgin-Born, We Bow Before You is sung during Christmas, on the Feast of the Holy Family, and in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Tune: Mon Dieu, Prete Moi L'Oreille

VIRGIN-BORN, WE BOW BEFORE THEE by Reginald Heber, 1827 (Public Domain)

Virgin-born, we bow before thee:
blessed was the womb that bore thee;
Mary, Mother meek and mild,
blessed was she in her Child.
Blessed was the breast that fed thee;
blessed was the hand that led thee;
blessed was the parent's eye
that watched thy slumbering infancy.

Blessed she by all creation,
who brought forth the world's salvation,
and blessed they, for ever blest,
who love thee most and serve thee best.
Virgin-born, we bow before thee;
blessed was the womb that bore thee;
Mary, Mother meek and mild,
blessed was she in her Child.

November 18, 2012

Songs of Praise the Angels Sang

Heaven with Alleluias Rang

Songs of Praise the Angels Sang, first published in 1819 was written by James Montgomery (1771-1854). He wrote as much as 400 hymns, many of them based on the Psalms. He was also known for his dedication to the abolition of slavery and child labour practices. The version printed in the Divine Office is an adaptation by Anthony G. Petti (1932-1985). It is set to the tune: Lauds by John Wilson. It is the same melody used for the Brian Wren hymn sung in the video below: There's a Spirit in the Air. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Songs of Praise the Angels Sang is used during Christmas.

SONGS OF PRAISE THE ANGELS SANG by James Montgomery, 1819 (Public Domain)

1. Songs of praise the angels sang,
heaven with alleluias rang,
when creation was begun,
when God spoke and it was done.

2. Songs of praise awoke the morn
when the Prince of Peace was born;
songs of praise arose when he
captive led captivity.

3. Heaven and earth must pass away;
songs of praise shall crown that day;
God will make new heavens and earth;
songs of praise shall hail their birth.

4. And will man alone be dumb
till that glorious kingdom come?
No; the Church delights to raise
psalms and hymns and songs of praise.

5. Saints below, with heart and voice,
still in songs of praise rejoice,
learning here, by faith and love,
songs of praise to sing above.

6. Borne upon their latest breath,
songs of praise shall conquer death;
then, amidst eternal joy,
songs of praise their powers employ.

7. Hymns of glory, songs of praise,
Father, unto thee we raise,
Jesus, glory unto thee,
with the Spirit, ever be.

November 17, 2012

O Come, All Ye Faithful

O Come, Let Us Adore Him

O Come, All Ye Faithful is an adaptation of the original 18th century Latin carol: Adeste Fideles attributed to John Francis Wade (1711-1786). Wade had fled to France after the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 where he remained the rest of his life, living with other exiled English Catholics, continuing to write and teach music for the Church. In 1751 he published Adeste Fideles set to the same tune sung today, although the authorship of the music is not clear. The text was translated and expanded in 1841 by Fr. Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880), a convert to Catholicism from the Anglican Church who was a member of Cardinal Newman's community at Littlemore. In the Liturgy of the Hours, O Come, All Ye Faithful is used during Christmas.

O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL by John F. Wade, 1743 (Public Domain)

1. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

Refrain:  O come, let us adore Him,
               O come, let us adore Him,
               O come, let us adore Him,
               Christ the Lord.

2. True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;

3. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

4. See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;

5. Lo! star led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
We to the Christ Child bring our hearts’ oblations.

6. Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?

7. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

November 16, 2012

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Over the Hills and Everywhere

Go Tell it On the Mountain is a well known and often performed African-American Spiritual. It was compiled as early as 1865 from different folk song variants by John Wesley Work, Jr. During the folk revival of the 1960's it found new popularity when it was re-written as a Civil Rights Anthem by Peter, Paul, and Mary; which included replacing the theme of Nativity ("Our Jesus Christ is Born") with one of Exodus ("Let My People Go"). In the Liturgy of the Hours, Go Tell It on the Mountain is used during Christmas.


Refrain: Go, tell it on the mountain,
              Over the hills and everywhere
              Go, tell it on the mountain,
              That Jesus Christ is born.

1. While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.

2. The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed the Savior’s birth.

3. Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessèd Christmas morn.

From Heaven High

I Bring You Tidings Good and New

From Heaven High is an adaptation of the German carol, Vom Himmel Hoch da Komm' ich Her. Martin Luther (1483-1546) wrote this hymn for his five year old son Hans and later had it performed at their home on Christ­mas Eve by someone dressed as an angel who then after singing the opening verses was greeted by the children who responded: "Wel­come to earth, thou no­ble guest!" JS Bach would later compose a set of variations based upon the text. The 1939 translation in the Divine Office is by Episcopalian, Winfred Douglas (1867-1944) and is set to the same tune Luther used: Geistliche Lieder (1539). In the Liturgy of the Hours, From Heaven High is used during Christmas.

November 15, 2012

A Child is Born

Unto Us a Son is Given

A Child is Born was first published in 1965 as part of Biblical Hmns and Psalms (Volume 1) by Lucien Deiss C.S.Sp. (1921-2007). Born and educated in France, Fr. Deiss, was commissioned by Pope Paul VI to coordinate the Psalter of the Lectionary as part of the reforms of Vatican II. Throughout his life he composed new works for the liturgy. They continue to be sung around the world and have been translated into many languages. In the Liturgy of the Hours, A Child is Born is used during Christmas.

Behold a Rose of Judah

She Bore for Men a Savior

Behold a Rose of Judah is an adaption of the 15th century Marian hymn: Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen (A Rose Has Spring Up). The original words of the German carol are of anonymous authorship and were first published along with the traditional folk tune commonly associated with Es ist ein Ros in 1599. There are differing English variations, but the 1894 translation by Theodore Baker: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming remains popular. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Behold, a Rose of Judah is used during Advent.

LO, HOW A ROSE E’ER BLOOMING by Theodore Baker, 1894 (Public Domain)

1. Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

2. Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

3. The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

4. This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

5. O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

November 13, 2012

Song of Salvation Drawing Near

The Night is Now Ending

Song of Salvation Drawing Near was first published in 1970 with music by Bernard Huijbers (1922–2000) and words by Huub Oosterhuis (b.1933). During the 1960 and 70's they collaborated on a number of liturgical works and hymns. Eventually Huijbers would leave the Jesuits to pursue a career in music, while Oosterhuis would be expelled by the Jesuits for controversial comments and writings, although he continues to work as a Diocesan Priest in his native Holland. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Song of Salvation Drawing Near is used during Advent.

Behold a Virgin Bearing Him

The Promise of the Holy Night

Behold a Virgin Bearing Him, first published in 1955 was written by Sulpician Priest, Fr. Michael Gannon. It is set to the tune O Heiland, Reiss die Himmel Auf, first published in 1666 as part of the Rheinfelsisches Deutsches Catholisches Gesangbuch. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Behold a Virgin Bearing Him is used during Advent.

November 12, 2012

The Coming of Our God / Instantis Adventum Dei

We Seek in Ardent Prayers

The Coming of Our God is a 1974 translation by Roger Nachtwey of Instantis Adventum Dei (see below), a Latin hymn composed by Charles Coffin (1676-1749) and first published in the Paris Breviary of 1736. The Coming of God is set to the tune: St. Thomas composed by Aaron Williams and first in published in 1763. The same melody was also used for a 1837 John Chandler translation of Instantis Adventum Dei titled: The Advent Of Our King. In the Liturgy of the Hours, The Coming of Our God is used during Advent.


1. Instantis adventum Dei
Poscamus ardenti prece,
Festisque munus inclitum
Præoccupemus canticis.

 2. Aeterna proles, feminæ
 Non horret includi sinu:
 Fit ipse servus ut jugo
 Nos servitutis eximat.

 3. Mansuetus et clemens venít;
 Occurre, festina, Sion:
 Ultro tibi quam porrigit,
 Ne dura pacem respuas.

4. Mox nube clarâ fulgurans
Mundi redibit arbiter,
Suique membra corporis
Cœlo triumphator vehet.

5. Fœtus tenebrarum, die
Cedant propinquo crmina:
Adam reformetur vetus,
Imago succedat novi.

6. Qui liberator advenis,
Fili, tibi laus maxima
Cum Patre et almo
Spiritu In sempiterna secula. Amen.

November 11, 2012

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel / Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Rejoice! Rejoice!, O Israel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a translation by the Anglican Minister, John Mason Neale (1818-1866) of the original latin Vespers hymn Veni Veni Emmanuel (see 2nd video), sung during Advent. It draws upon Matthew's Nativity narrative (1:23) where he quotes the Septuagint (Isaiah 7:14) - "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel." The music is an adaption by Thomas Helmore (1811-1890) of a 15th Century French Franciscan Processional some scholars attribute to an earlier 8th Century Gregorian Chant. In the Liturgy of the Hours, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is used during Advent. Related: O Come, Now Rod of Jesse's Stem.

O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL by John M. Neale, 1851 (Public Domain)

1. O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:  Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

3. O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

4. O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

 5. O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

 6. O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

 7. O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

 8. O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Latin Verses: 1, 6, 5, 3 (see below) - preformed by Haley Westernra

VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL (Public Domain)

1. Veni, Veni, Emmanuel
 captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.

Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

2. Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

3. Veni, veni, Adonai,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae.

4. Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.

5. Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.

6. Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras.

7. Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.

You Heavens, Open From Above / Roráte Caéli

That Clouds May Rain the Just One

You Heavens, Open From Above is a translation by Fr. Melvin Farrell, S.S. of the ancient latin hymn for Advent, Rorate Caeli. The opening line is based upon Isaiah 45:8 : " Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just". The musical setting used in the Liturgy of the Office was first published in Paris in 1634 and attributed to P. Bourget. The version preformed in the video below is a 20th century arrangement by French organist, Jeanne Demessieux. In the Liturgy of the Hours, You Heavens, Open From Above is used during Advent.

Tune by P. Bourget, 1634

RORATE CAELI (Public Domain)

Refrain: Roráte caéli désuper,et núbes plúant jústum.

 1. Ne irascáris Dómine,
ne ultra memíneris iniquitátis:
ecce cívitas Sáncti fácta est desérta:
Síon desérta fácta est:
Jerúsalem desoláta est:
dómus sanctificatiónis túæ et glóriæ túæ,
ubi laudavérunt te pátres nóstri.

 2. Peccávimus, et fácti súmus tamquam immúndus nos,
et cecídimus quasi fólium univérsi:
et iniquitátes nóstræ quasi véntus
abstulérunt nos: abscondísti faciem túam a nóbis,
et allisísti nos in mánu iniquitátis nóstræ.

 3. Víde Dómine afflictiónem pópuli túi,
et mítte quem missúrus es:
emítte Agnum dominatórem térræ,
de Pétra desérti ad móntem fíliæ Síon:
ut áuferat ípse júgum captivitátis nóstræ.

 4. Consolámini, consolámini, pópule méus:
cito véniet sálus túa:
quare mæróre consúmeris,
quia innovávit te dólor?
Salvábo te, nóli timére,
égo enim sum Dóminus Déus túus,
Sánctus Israël, Redémptor túus.

Creator of the Stars at Night / Conditor Alme Siderum

All Things in Heaven and Earth Adore

Creator of the Stars at Night is a translation of the anonymous 7th century Latin hymn, Conditor alme siderum, used in the Roman Breviary at Vespers during Advent. It was translated into English by the Anglican priest, scholar and hymn-writer: John Mason Neale (1818-1866). Though he remained committed to the Church of England throughout his life, Neale's adaption of latin works into the Anglican canon attracted opposition and personal attacts from fellow churchmen, especially after Cardinal Newman's conversion to Catholicism. It is sung to Sarum Plainnsong, Mode IV. The Sarum Rite originated during the Middle Ages at the Cathedral of Salisbury, in southern England. It eventually became the standard for many English non-monastic institutions such as cathedrals, colleges, and chapels up until the time of the Reformation. Post-reformation era English liturgical works and polyphony are rooted in the Sarum Rite. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Creator of the Stars at Night is used during Advent.

Tune: Creator Alme Siderum

CREATOR OF THE STARS OF NIGHT by John M. Neale, 1852 (Public Domain)

1. Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear Thy servants when they call.

2. Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death a universe,
Hast found the medicine, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruined race.

3. Thou cam’st, the Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide;
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

4. At Whose dread Name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
And things celestial Thee shall own,
And things terrestrial, Lord alone.

5. O Thou Whose coming is with dread
To judge and doom the quick and dead,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From every insult of the foe.

6. To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honor, might, and glory be
From age to age eternally.

Tune: Creator Alme Siderum


1. Conditor alme siderum,
aeterna lux credentium,
Christe, redemptor omnium,
exaudi preces supplicum.

2. Qui condolens interitu
mortis perire saeculum,
salvasti mundum languidum,
donans reis remedium.

3. Vergente mundi vespere,
uti sponsus de thalamo,
egressus honestissima
Virginis matris clausula.

4. Cuius forti potentiae
genu curvantur omnia;
caelestia, terrestria
nutu fatentur subdita.

5. Te, Sancte, fide quaesumus,
venture iudex saeculi,
conserva nos in tempore
hostis a telo perfidi.

6. Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria cum
Spiritu Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.

Gregorian Chant

November 10, 2012

Wake, Awake, the Night is Dying

The Brightness of Eternity

Wake, Awake, the Night is Dying is a 1966 translation by Fr. Melvin Farrell S.S. (1930-1986) of the original 1599 Lutheran hymn by Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) with later harmonizations added by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Nicolai wrote both words and music to Wach­et auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying) when serving as a pastor in Westphalia, 1300 of his parishioners died during an epidemic. It is based on the Parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25:1–13. There are a number of English translations of the text using Wachet Auf including Wake, Awake and Sleep No Longer which is sung in the following video. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Wake, Awake, the Night is Dying is used during Advent.

The King of Glory

Open the Gates Before Him, Lift Up Your Voices

The King of Glory, first published in 1966 was written by Fr. Willard Jabusch (b. 1930). Father Jabusch is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is also the composer of Whatsoever You Do, which along with King of Glory has been translated into many languages. The King of Glory Comes is set to the Israeli Folk tune, Promised One. Probably of Hasidic origin, it was brought by Zionist settlers to Israel and was later included in the Fireside Book of Folk Songs (1947). In the Liturgy of the Hours, King of Glory is used during Advent and on Palm Sunday.

Hear the Herald Voice Resounding / Vox Clara Ecce Intonat

Welcome Christ, the Light of Day!

Hear the Herald Voice Resounding is based upon the 6th century Latin hymn, Vox Clara Ecce Intonat (see 2nd video), sung in the Roman Breviary at the Hour of Lauds during Advent. This version was translated by Edward Caswall (1814-1878) and included in his 1849 collection, Lyra Catholica. Caswall was a friend Cardinal John Newman (1801-1890). He followed Blessed Newman into the Catholic Church in 1850. Newman himself wrote a poem based upon the original latin text, Hark, A Joyful Voice is Thrilling. Caswall's hymn is set to the 1850 tune, Merton by William Henry Monk (1823-1889). In the Liturgy of the Hours, Hear the Herald Voice Resounding is used during Advent.

Tune: Merton

HARK! A HERALD VOICE IS CALLING by Edward Caswall, 1849 (Public Domain)

1. Hark! a herald voice is calling:
'Christ is nigh,' it seems to say;
'Cast away the dreams of darkness,
O ye children of the day!'

 2. Startled at the solemn warning,
 Let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
 Shines upon the morning skies.

 3. Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from heaven;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven;

 4. So when next he comes with glory,
Wrapping all the earth in fear,
May he then as our defender
Of the clouds of heaven appear.

 5. Honour, glory, virtue, merit,
To the Father and the Son,
With the co-eternal Spirit,
While unending ages run.

Gregorian Chant (Begins at 00:25)


1. Vox clara ecce intonat,
obscura quaeque increpat:
procul fugentur somnia;
ab aethere Christus promicat.

2. Mens iam resurgat torpida
quae sorde exstat saucia;
sidus refulget iam novum,
ut tollat omne noxium.

3. E sursum Agnus mittitur
laxare gratis debitum;
omnes pro indulgentia
vocem demus cum lacrimis.

4. Secundo ut cum fulserit
mundumque horror cinxerit,
non pro reatu puniat,
sed nos pius tunc protegat.

 5. Summo Parenti gloria
Natoque sit victoria,
et Flamini laus debita
per saeculorum saecula. Amen.

Be Consoled, My People

Take Courage, O Fair Jerusalem.

Be Consoled, My People written by Tom Parker, was first published in 1968 as part of Let All the Earth Sing His Praise. He began writing music for the church in 1966 as a student at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore under Rev. Eugene Walsh, S.S.. Tom Parker has remained active in the Church as a composer and musician since that time. Some of his other songs include We Come to Join in Your Banquet of Love and Praise the Lord, My Soul. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Be Consoled, My People is used during Advent.

November 9, 2012

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Let Us Find Our Rest in Thee

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, first published in 1744 as part of Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord, it was written by the "Bard of Methodism", Charles Wesley (1707-1788). It is set to the tune, Stuttgart by German composer, Christian Friedrich Witt (1660-1716), first published in 1715 as part of Psalmodia Sacra. Another popular tune used in hymnals is Hyfrydol. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus is used during Advent.

COME, THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS by Charles Wesley, 1744 (Public Domain)

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal
Spirit Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

November 7, 2012


Come, O Christ the Lord!

Maranatha, written by Fr. Lucien Deiss (1921-2007) was first published in 1965 as part of Biblical Hymns and Psalms (Vol. 1). Born in France, Fr. Deiss was an expert scholar on scripture and liturgical music. His hymns are sung throughout the Universal Church. The following video features a Spanish version of Maranatha. In the Liturgy of the Hours it is used during Advent.

November 5, 2012

On Jordan's Bank

Announces that the Lord is Nigh

On Jordan's Bank is a 1837 translation from the original latin by Anglican John Chandler (1806-1876) of Jordanis Oras Prævia by Charles Coffin (1676-1749), first published in the 1736 Par­is Bre­vi­ary. Rec­tor of the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Par­is, Coffin wrote over 100 latin hymns. It is set to the tune: Winchester New, by Bartholomäus Crasselius (1667-1724), first published in 1690 as part of the Mu­si­kal­isch­es Hand­buch (Hamburg). In the Liturgy of the Hours On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry is used during Advent.

Tune: Winchester New

ON JORDAN’S BANK THE BAPTIST’S CRY by Charles Coffin/John Chandler, (Public Domain)

1. On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Come, then, and hearken, for he brings
Glad tidings from the King of kings!

2. Then cleansed be every breast from sin;
Make straight the way for God within;
Prepare we in our hearts a home,
Where such a mighty Guest may come.

3. For Thou art our Salvation, Lord,
Our Refuge, and our great Reward.
Without Thy grace our souls must fade
And wither like a flower decayed.

4. Stretch forth Thine hand, to heal our sore,
And make us rise and fall no more;
Once more upon Thy people shine,
And fill the world with love divine.

5. To Him Who left the throne of Heaven
To save mankind, all praise be given;
Like praise be to the Father done,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One.

November 4, 2012

The Master Came

Through Jesus, hear us.

The Master Came, first published in 1965 was written by Gabriel Huck. It is set to the tune: Ich Glaub' an Gott, first published in 1870 as part of the Mainz Gesangbuch, it is also the melody used for To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King (as shown in the following video). In the Liturgy of the Hours, The Master Came to Bring Good News is used during Ordinary Time for Night Prayer and during the Season of Lent.

Tune: Ich Glaub' an Gott

All Praises to You, O God, This Night

For All The Blessings Of The Light

All Praise to You, O God, This Night, first published in 1709 was written by Anglical Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711). He is one of the early writers of congregational hymns for the Church of England. A number of them were intended for Morning and Evening prayer service. It is set to the tune, Illsley by John Bishop (1665-1737). A more commonly used melody is Tallis' Canon , as shown in the following video. In the Liturgy of the Hours, All Praise to You, O God, This Night is used during Ordinary Time for Night Prayer.

Tune: Tallis' Canon

ALL PRAISE TO THEE, MY GOD, THIS NIGHT by Thomas Ken, 1709 (Public Domain)

1. All praise to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light!
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thine own almighty wings.

2. Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done,
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

3. Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the judgment day.

4. O may my soul on Thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that may me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake.

5. When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No powers of darkness me molest.

6. O when shall I, in endless day,
For ever chase dark sleep away,
And hymns divine with angels sing,
All praise to thee, eternal King?

7. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

November 3, 2012

Now at Daylight's Ending

When life's brief daylight ends.

Now At The Daylight's Ending, first published in 1969 was written Fr. James Quinn (1919-2010). In his Obituary, it said that in his final years he accepted the changes brought on by age and illness, and though he was no longer able to continue writing hymns, he started writing jokes and sharing them with everyone who came to visit. Now at Daylight's Ending is set to the Lutheran funeral hymn, Christus Der Ist Mein Leben (1609) by German singer and composer Melchior Vulpius. In the Liturgy of the Hours it is used during Ordinary Time for Night Prayer.

Tune: Christus Der Ist Mein Leben (with introduction)

This World, My God

Held Within Hand

This World, My God, first published in 1968 was written by theologian and historian, Fr. Hamish Swanston (b.1933) and British composer Herbert Howells (1892-1983). Howells was noted for his organ and choral works written for the Anglican Liturgy. He titled this tune: In Manus Tuas (Into Your Hands), which is the Latin name for the Canticle of Simeon (Lk.2:29-32) prayed at Compline. An alternative tune is the Old 124th, as shown in the following video. In the Litany of the Hours, This World, My God, is Held Within Your Hand is used during Ordinary Time for Night Prayer.

Tune: Old 124th

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name / Te Deum

Hark the glad celestial hymn

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, first published 1774 was written by Ig­naz Franz (1719-1790). It is based upon the text of the early Latin hymn, Te Deum which is today prayed at the conclusion of the Office of the Readings on Solemnities and on Sundays outside of Lent. The 1858 English translation from the original German was by Fr. Clarence Walworth (1820-1900), an American Catholic who practiced law before entering into the Priesthood. It is set to the tune Grosser Gott (Te Deum), first published in 1774 it has been attributed to Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). In the Liturgy of the Hours, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name is used during Ordinary Time for Night Prayer.

HOLY GOD, WE PRAISE THY NAME by Clarence Walworth, 1858 (Public Domain)

1. Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign. (2X)

2. Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord: Holy, holy, holy, Lord. (2X)

3. Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun, Through the Church the song goes on. (2X)

4. Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee, While we own the mystery. (2X)

5. Thou art King of glory,
Christ: Son of God, yet born of Mary;
For us sinners sacrificed,
And to death a tributary:
First to break the bars of death, Thou has opened Heaven to faith. (2X)

6. From Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
We believe that Thou shalt come
In the dreaded doomsday morning;
When Thy voice shall shake the earth, And the startled dead come forth. (2X)

7. Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee; Never, Lord, abandon me. (2X)

Gregorian Chant

TE DEUM, Anonymous (Public Domain)

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
R. Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
R. Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri.
V. Fiat misericordia tua,
R. Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
V. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum. Amen

We Praise You, Father, for Your Gifts

Within Your Hands We Rest Secure

We Praise You, Father, for Your Gifts was written by the Anglican Benedictine Nuns of West Malling Abbey. The original Abbey was founded in 1090 as a Benedictine Convent by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester but fell into secular ownership after Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. It was restored as a home for an Anglican Benedictine Order of Nuns in the late 19th century. We Praise You, Father, for Your Gifts is shown in the Liturgy of the Hours as being set to Gregorian Chant Mode VIII for Te Lucis ante Terminum, a Compline hymn attributed to St. Ambrose Although there are many beautiful settings of this ancient latin hymn, I have not been able to find any that match the musical notation provided in the Divine Office. Fortunately, #620 in the Adoremus Hymnal does match the melody as shown in the Breviary. In the Liturgy of the Hours, We Praise You, Father, for Your Gifts is used during Ordinary Time for Night Prayer.

We Plough the Fields and Scatter

All good gifts around us.

We Plough the Fields And Scatter is an translation by Jane M. Campbell from the original German poem Wir Pflügen und Wir Streuen,  first published in 1782 and written by Matthias Claudius (1740-1815). The English adaptation, first published in 1861, often appears in hymnals and is a favorite during harvest. It is set to the tune: Wir Pflügen, first published in 1800 it was written by Johann Schülz (1747-1800). In the Liturgy of the Hours, We Plow the Fields and Scatter is used during Ordinary Time for Evening Prayer.

WE PLOW THE FIELDS AND SCATTER by Jane Campbell, 1861 (Public Domain)

We plow the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land;
But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord For all His love.

He only is the maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.

We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;
And all that we can offer your boundless love imparts,
The gifts to you most pleasing are humble, thankful hearts.

November 2, 2012

Father, We Thank Thee

Watch Over Thy Church, O Lord, in Mercy.

Father We Thank Thee, first published in 1940 was written by the Reverend Francis Bland Tucker (1895–1984), an Episcopal priest and hymn writer from the United States. The text draws upon prayers found in Chapters 9 and 10 of the Didache (see below), a pastoral manual of the early Church dated to the late 1st or early 2nd century. It is set to the tune, Rendez à Dieu attributed to French composer Louis Bourgeois (c.1510–1560). In the Liturgy of the Hours, Father, We Thank Thee, Who Hast Planted is used during Ordinary Time for Evening Prayer and on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

from the THE DIDACHE, translated 1885 (Public Domain)

Chapter 9

 1. Now as regards the Eucharist (the Thank-offering), give thanks after this manner:
 2. First for the cup: "We give thanks to Thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which thou hast made known to us through Jesus, Thy servant: to Thee be the glory for ever."
 3. And for the broken bread: "We give thanks to Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus, Thy servant: to Thee be the glory for ever.
 4. "As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and gathered together became one, so let Thy church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom, for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever."
 5. But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, except those baptized into the name of the Lord; for as regards this also the Lord has said: "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

Chapter 10

 1. Now after being filled, give thanks after this manner:
 2. "We thank Thee, Holy Father, for Thy Holy Name, which Thou hast caused to dwell (tabernacle) in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus Thy Servant, to Thee be the glory for ever.
 3. "Thou, O, Almighty Sovereign, didst make all things for Thy Name's sake; Thou gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us Thou didst freely give spiritual food and drink and eternal life through Thy Servant.
 4. "Before all things we give thanks to Thee that Thou art mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever.
 5. "Remember, O Lord, Thy Church to deliver her from all evil and to perfect her in Thy love; and gather her together from the four winds, sanctified for Thy kingdom which Thou didst prepare for her; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever.
 6. "Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If any one is holy let him come, if any one is not holy let him repent. Maranatha. Amen."
 7. But permit the Prophets to give thanks as much as [in what words] they wish.

November 1, 2012

Let All Things Now Living

A Song of Thanksgiving

Let All Things Now Living, first published in 1939 was written by composer and pianist: Katherine Davis (1892-1980). Her best known composition is the Christmas favourite, The Little Drummer Boy (1941). Let All Things Now Living is the best known of her hymns. It is set to the traditional Welsh melody, Llwyn Onn which is best known as the setting for John Oxenford's The Ash Grove. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Let All Things Now Living is used during Ordinary Time for Evening Prayer.

LET ALL THINGS NOW LIVING by Katherine Kennicott Davis, 1939 (Public Domain)

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving to God our Creator triumphantly raise;
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us, by guiding us onto the end of our days,
His banners are o'er us, his light goes before us, a pillar of fire shining forth in the night:
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished, as forward we travel from light into light.

His law he enforces, the stars in their courses, the sun in its orbit obediently shine,
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains, the depths of the ocean proclaim God divine.
We too, should be voicing our love and rejoicing with glad adoration, a song let us raise:
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving, to God in the highest, hosanna and praise.