Good Friday Hymn: O sacred head now wounded

The tune of this remarkable reflection of the death of Christ, O Sacred Head Now Wounded, comes from the Passion Chorale, by J. S. Bach. The poem in the original Latin is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but is now attributed to the Medieval poet Arnulf of Louvain (died 1250).   It was translated into German by Lutheran hymnist Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676).

There are several English translations:

The hymn was first translated into English in 1752 by John Gambold (1711–1771), an Anglican vicar in Oxfordshire. His translation begins, “O Head so full of bruises.” In 1830 a new translation of the hymn was made by an American Presbyterian minister, James Waddel Alexander (1804-1859). Alexander’s translation, beginning “O sacred head, now wounded,” became one of the most widely used in 19th and 20th century hymnals.

Another English translation, based on the German, was made in 1861 by Sir Henry Baker. Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern, it begins, “O sacred head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn.”

In 1899 the English poet Robert Bridges (1844-1930) made a fresh translation from the original Latin, beginning “O sacred Head, sore wounded, defiled and put to scorn.” This is the version used in the 1940 Hymnal (Episcopal), the 1982 Hymnal (Episcopal; stanzas 1-3 and 5), and the Church of England‘s New English Hymnal (1986) and several other late 20th-century hymn books.

The DePaul Community Chorus sang “O Sacred Head”  at its Fall 2008 Concert in Chicago. Stephen Blackwelder, conductor. Lisa Kristina, accompanist.

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Your Sunday Hymn: What Wondrous Love Is This?

Chelsea Moon with the Franz Brothers performed live this overwhelmingly beautiful rendition of the American folk hymn, “What Wondrous Love is This?” Often reserved for Palm Sunday and/or Good Friday during Holy week, the hymn’s lyrics express awe at the love of God and is inspired by John 3:16.

From the album HYMN PROJECT: VOL. 2.

How about a country version? Here’s Blue Highway in Bristol singing it a Capella, God, love them:

A choral version sung by the Thomas Aquinas College 2012 Summer Program Choir – this is how I’m used to hearing it and singing it.


Background and Lyrics

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Your Sunday Hymn: Jerusalem My Destiny

For the fifth Sunday of Lent, Rory Cooney’s Jerusalem My Destiny:

Rory Cooney wrote a post about the writing of Jerusalem My Destiny at his blog, Gentle Reign:


“Jerusalem, My Destiny” was inspired by the confluence of several things that roiled around in my imagination. First, there is the centrality of Jerusalem in the imagination of the author of Luke, how the narrative of his gospel builds toward Jerusalem, site of the passion narrative, the resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit, all of which take place in the city. From there, the narrative of Acts explodes out of the city of Jerusalem and goes out across the whole Mediterranean world. Second, there is the beautiful line that follows the transfiguration story in the gospel of St. Luke. As you might recall, perhaps from a previous blog entry, the transfiguration story is an “inclusio” narrative, sandwiched between two predictions by Jesus of his suffering and death. It happens in Luke 9. There is a first prediction of the passion in the story of Peter’s confession (18-22), then the transfiguration story (28-36), and another prediction of his betrayal at verse 44. Shortly afterwards, there is this verse at 51:

When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem…

The NRSV says Jesus “set his face” to go to Jerusalem; “The Message” version says he “steeled himself.” This is the part that caught me, that after the transfiguration, he knew that he could not wander in Galilee any more, but had to go to Jerusalem, the city of his destiny. This is not to say that I think that Jesus had any clear idea that his death was immanent; I simply feel that he knew that he had to confront the people and structures who were at the source of interpretation of the law and prophets and put his reading of the scriptures in competition with theirs. It didn’t take a prophet to know that the journey and confrontation might be dangerous.
This is how the refrain came out:

I have fixed my eyes on your hills,
Jerusalem, my destiny!
Though I cannot see the end for me,
I cannot turn away.
We have set our hearts for the way,
This journey is our destiny.
Let no one walk alone:
 the journey makes us one.

The verses correspond to the gospels of Lent, with verses 3, 4, and 5 jumping to the “A” cycle of gospels used in the Order of Initiation for the three scrutinies. There is also a bridge, a fifth verse leading to a final refrain in a new key and sung more broadly, that we only use on Passion Sunday. (Actually there is another text so that the bridge can be used more often, such as at celebrations of Confirmation or other times.)

O city of hosannas! O city of the cross!
The hour is upon us: I have come within your walls.
I have fixed my eyes on your hills…

I think of Jerusalem as the city, yes, and so many people have told me that they sang my song when they went on tours to the Holy Land as they approached Jerusalem! How cool is that? I’ve never been there myself, but the thought of that fills me with joy and gratitude. I also think of Jerusalem as the “new Jerusalem,” God’s city that is beyond our imagining but nevertheless our destiny. Just as importantly in my view, though, Jerusalem is us, Jerusalem the “city of peace,” is the Church, is Christ, the community of Pentecost. We cannot see our destiny, but we cannot turn away. For apprentice Christians and us “old timers” alike, the journey to Christ is the destiny, because Christ is here among us, revealing self to us in our daily lives, in strangers, in the poor, in sacraments, in nature everywhere we look. So we sing “let no one walk alone,” because becoming part of the Jerusalem community is becoming one’s truest self, is becoming conscious of the Spirit that lives in everyone because of creation, and made visible and conscious in our baptism.

Thanks to everyone who ever sang this song, in Jerusalem of the Holy Land or in the Jerusalem of your parish community.

Your Sunday Hymn: Like A Shepherd

For the 4th Sunday of Lent, a gentle psalm based hymn –  Like a Shepherd by Bob Dufford – Saint Louis Jesuits.

In loving memory of Newsbusters’ Noel Sheppard, who sadly succumbed to cancer, Friday morning.

With lyrics:

Your Sunday Hymn: If Today You Hear His Voice

The hymn I chose for today, the third Sunday of Lent, is actually a psalm: If Today You Hear His Voice, Harden Not Your Hearts,  setting by David Haas.


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Your Sunday Hymn: Have mercy upon me, O God

Have Mercy Upon Me O God was written by William Byrd a 16th century composer of  Renaissance music. He wrote various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard, and consort music. He produced sacred music for use in Anglican services, although later, he became a Roman Catholic and wrote Catholic sacred music as well.

You will be transported by this lovely hymn performed sublimely by The Rose Consort of Viols, Tessa Bonner, Timothy Roberts & Red Byrd.

This is as good as it gets.

Your Sunday Hymn: Be Merciful Unto Me O God

For the first Sunday of Lent, Be Merciful Unto Me O God sung by That Choir.

Your Sunday Hymn: I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

One of my very favorite hymns, sung beautifully:

Here’s an instrumental arrangement performed  by the McLean Bible Church Celtic Band:

This is well done too – I just wish the sound quality was better.

Your Sunday Hymn: We Have Been Told

Found a lovely live recording of the youth choir of St. Vitus in Visbek singing the David Hass hymn, “We Have Been Told.”

St. Vitus (Visbek) is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Lower Saxon community Visbek , in Oldenburger Munsterland.

The Abbey Visbek was first issued on 1 September 819 in an award certificate of Emperor Louis the Pious as fiscbechi mentioned. Meanwhile, however, that instrument is as a total forgery dating from the late 10th . Viewed century [1] Prior to AD by were from 780 AD Charlemagne (* April 2 probably 747 or 748; † January 28 814 in Aachen) Sprengel nine mission to Christianize the conquered Saxons were built, of which the ” cellula fiscbechi “one formed. Finally, in Visbek the first church of the Mission district, the so-called primitive church, built. At the latest since 855 was under the place with all its possessions in the mission area by a donation of Louis the German to the monastery of Corvey .

At the same place today is demonstrably seventh Visbeker parish church, [2] the 1872 to 1876 by ​​Hilger Hertel as geostete three-aisled neo-Gothic hall church was built St. Vitus Church. It stands at the highest point of the town, in the village center, and is by far, even from the peasantry to see. The five bells (cis, dis, e, f sharp and G sharp) stocked tower has a height of 65 m, and the outer length of the building is also 65 m. The interior of the church today has an area of 30.50 x 22 m. The length of the choir is 13,30 m. The church has about 900 believers a place. [3]

About the connection to Corvey, where the relics of St. Vitus were, was this saint patron saint of the parish church of Visbek. 1937 Visbek received a Vitus relic of Corvey.

Inside the church there are six life-size sculptures, by sculptor Johann Heinrich König (1705-1784) were created. The figures of the four Fathers of the Church probably belonged originally to the high altar. Other statues are the Virgin and Child and St. John Baptist. In church services about 900 people fit into the church.


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Your Sunday Hymn: Ubi Caritas

Connie Dover sings Ubi Caritas on her Celtic Spirit CD.


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Your Sunday Hymn: Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake

This week’s hymn: Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake exquisitely  sung by Kampen Boys Choir, conducted by Rintje te Wies.
The recording was made in the Bovenkerk Kampen (NL) on October 18th 2012. Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake is composed by Richard Farrant (1530 – 1580).


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Your Sunday Hymn: Shepherd Of My Heart

Not to be confused with the Sandy Patty or Johnny Cash hymns of the same name, this Shepherd of my Heart is by Father Francis Patrick O’Brien and is often sung at funerals. It was sung here  during the Golden and Silver Jubilee Mass on July 27, 2013 at Mount Sacred Heart as the Responsorial Psalm.  Sr. Mariette Moan, Sr. Angela Gertsema, Sr. Colleen Patricia Mattingly, Sr. Cara Grace Kissel, and Christina Skelley led the congregation in singing and were accompanied by Sr. Virginia Herbers on piano.

Your Sunday Hymn: The Lord Bless You and Keep You

The Westminster Choir performs Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” Benediction in Princeton, NJ.

What a treat.

If you enjoy the Westminster Choir, keep listening as the video jumps to the next performance.

Your Sunday Hymn: Dies Irae

Felt like a Gregorian chant, this Sunday…

This is a rendition of the famous 13th century Latin Catholic hymn, “Dies Irae” (or, “Day of Wrath,” about the Second Coming of Christ and Judgment Day). This rendition is off the 1994 CD, “Ego sum Ressurectio,” and is difficult to find.

Your Sunday Hymn: Breathe On Me Oh Breath Of God

Today, Catholics celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, marking the end of the Christmas season.

I found  three different versions of the hymn, and liking all of them decided to post them all.

The Hastings College Choir sings Breath on Me Oh Breath of God as  arranged by the choir’s conductor, Dr. Fritz Mountford.

This is the St. Columbia version I’m used to singing.

And here are the King’s Singers, an a cappella group founded in 1968 singing their version of Oh Breathe on Me.

 They are named after King’s College in Cambridge, England, where the group was formed by six choral scholars. In the United Kingdom, their popularity peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s. Thereafter they began to reach a wider international audience, appearing frequently on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the U.S. In 1987, they were prominently featured as guests on the Emmy Award winning ABC-TV special Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas.
Today the ensemble travels worldwide for its performances, appearing in around 125 concerts each year, mostly in Europe, the U.S. and the Far East, having recently added the People’s Republic of China to their list of touring territories. In recent years the group has enjoyed several UK appearances in the Royal Albert Hall Proms, and concerts as part of the Three Choirs Festival and City of London Festival.

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