31 December 2019

Ave Maria by William Gomez


As this year ends and a new one begins, I ask the Blessed Mother to embrace us all and take us to her Son Jesus.

The following setting of Ave Maria by William Gomez is one of the most beautiful settings of the prayer.  I include below the video of Elina  Garanča, mezzo-soprano, singing this setting of Ave Maria in Vienna during Christmastide A.D. 2007.  The text of this setting is in Spanish.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis peccatoribus 
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Anglican Patrimony: A Litany of the Incarnation

Offices of the Gospel: Monday at the Sixth Hour

HOLY art thou, O God; holy, Creator : Father most holy:
Have mercy upon us.

Holy art thou, O God; holy, most mighty; holy Incarnate:
Have mercy upon us.

Holy art thou, O God; holy, immortal; holy, Lifegiver:
Have mercy upon us.

Glory be to God on high;
And in earth peace, goodwill towards men.

By the archangel's salutation,
Grant us thy peace.

By Mary's glad obedience,
Grant us thy peace.

By the endless joy of Christmas,
Grant us thy peace.

By the love of Mary Mother,
Grant us thy peace.

By thy lowly birth and lodging,
Grant us thy peace.

By thy cradle in a manger,
Grant us thy peace.

By the song of herald angels,
Grant us thy peace.

By the homage of poor shepherds,
Grant us thy peace.

By the offering of princes,
Grant us thy peace.

By thy holy name of Jesus,
Grant us thy peace.

Glory be to God on high:
And in earth peace, goodwill towards men.

WE thy children do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God, and to grant 
that the glad light of the Incarnation may shine throughout the world;
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That the Gospel of thy love may win the faith and homage of all hearts;
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That all estates of men may know and find their unity at Bethlehem;
Son of man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That the questionings of all minds and the wants of all souls
at Bethlehem may find their peace:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That thy birth as Man may hallow the whole life of man:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That we may ever wear in honour the robe of flesh which thou hast worn:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That thou for whom an inn could find no room may not again be crowded from our lives:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That thou for whom a stable-place sufficed wilt not disdain to dwell within our hearts:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

Glory be to God on high:
And in earth peace, goodwill towards men.

THEREFORE with angels and archangels, with patriarchs and prophets, with Mary and Joseph, with wise men and shepherds, with all men and all creatures, let us bless the Lord;
Hosannah in the highest.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the governments shall be upon his shoulder;
Hosannah in the highest.

And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace;
Hosannah in the highest.

For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;
Hosannah in the highest.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;
Hosannah in the highest.

And we have seen his glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;
Hosannah in the highest.

GOD the Father, maker of men; God the Son, born among men; God the Holy Ghost, sanctifying men, bless, preserve, and keep us, evermore and evermore. Amen.

Cambridge Offices and Orisons
E. Milner-White, B.T.D. Smith

24 December 2019



A hymn text that may be sung during the Twelve Days of Christmas and at New Year's.


Now light your lamps, ye Christians wise
and gather 'neath Christ's Star.
The Light of lights, the Prince of Peace
has come here from afar.
No warrior he, the Word made flesh,
the servant of us all, 
the Child whose breathing brings us peace,
whose heartbeat saves us all.

God's Mother's face reveals his light
as moon shines by the sun,
And Joseph's eyes filled full with joy
gleam bright with God's own Son. 
O Christ our God, true face of God
now cradled in their arms,
O please accept what gifts we bring:
our hearts, our minds, our love.

Child Jesus, hear our fervent prayer
for peace to reign on earth, 
for great and small, for rich and poor,
for each to know their worth.
Though fallen be the human race
and sin and hate abound
give peace to all for in each face
thy image still is found.

O sing, you blessed company 
of faithful people. Sing
for God the Child whose very light
demands the darkness flee.
O Trinity of endless light, 
with love our praise we bring
where Wisdom found a cave for house
to bring forth earth's true king. 

Copyright © 2007 Vincent Uher
Suggested tune: Forest Green

Jan Roh Hymn: "Once He Came in Blessing"


Johann Roh's hymn Gottes Sohn ist kommen has been known in several English translations as a traditional hymn of Advent and Christmastide. The following is the well known English translation by Catherine Winkworth that I believe first appeared in The Chorale Book for England, 1863, and it appears at No. 86 in the excellent Wartburg Hymnal: For Church, School, and Home published by the Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago in 1918 for  the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America:

Once He came in blessing,
all our ills redressing;
came in likeness lowly,
Son of God most holy;
bore the cross to save us,
hope and freedom gave us.

Still He comes within us,
still His voice would win us
from the sins that hurt us;
would to Truth convert us
from our foolish errors
ere He comes in terrors.

Thus, if thou hast known Him,
not ashamed to own Him,
but wilt trust Him boldly
nor dost love Him coldly,
He will then receive thee,
heal thee, and forgive thee.

He who thus endureth
bright reward secureth.
come, then, O Lord Jesus,
from our sins release us;
let us here confess Thee
till in heaven we bless Thee.
 Text: Jan Roh, 1544
Translation: Catherine Winkworth, 1863

This hymn and tune appear as No. 74 in The Lutheran Hymnal 1941 (an outstanding hymnal as sacred to some Lutherans as The Hymnal 1940 is sacrosanct for some Episcopalians).  Some newer hymnbooks have butchered the text or abandoned it, but the Editors of The Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church (USA) very gently retouched the text in a masterful way that kept the integrity of Winkworth's original poetic translation and which encouraged congregations to embrace it as a seasonal favourite:

1  Once He came in blessing,
All our ills redressing;
Came in likeness lowly,
Son of God most holy;
Bore the cross to save us,
Hope and freedom gave us.

2  Still he comes within us,
still his voice would win us
from the sins that hurt us;
would to Truth convert us:
not in torment hold us,
but in love enfold us.

3  Thus if thou canst name him,
not ashamed to claim him,
but wilt trust him boldly,
nor dost love him coldly,
he will then receive thee,
heal thee, and forgive thee.

4   One who thus endureth
bright reward secureth.
Come then, O Lord Jesus,
from our sins release us;
let us here confess thee,
Till in heaven we bless thee.

I would be remiss not to include the tune sometimes used in the Moravian Church in the USA.  The tune is found in an older Moravian hymn book, and for a number of generations the following tune was "the right tune" and still is "the right tune" according to a retired pastor friend of mine: 




My hymn below is sung to the tune OLD 113TH which once was well known in Wesleyan and Methodist circles as the tune for "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath".  My text is appropriate for Christmastide and all feasts of the Incarnation and the Holy Family.  


All glory be to God on high!
Peace, laud, and joy be our reply
To angels singing in the sky.
Praise Jesus Christ, true light from light.
Tender his love and great his might,
Christ Jesus, Saviour, our delight.
O Word and Wisdom, thee we name,
Jesus the Infant, God the same.
Praise and all worship to thy Name.
Son of blest Mary, spotless Lamb,
High Priest most holy, Great I AM,
Receive our lives into thy hand.

Praise God for Joseph, sainted man,
Brave Guardian of God’s saving plan,
Protector of the God-made-man.
Praise God for Mary Mother true,
Faithful to Jesus her life through,
Mother of God, our Mother too.
Lord Jesus Christ, most holy Lord,
With thy blest Spirit be adored
In God’s own glory here outpoured.
Joy now to hear thine infant cries!
Hope of the simple and the wise!
Love from all souls to thee arise!

© 2008 by Vincent William Uher III

WORDS: Vincent Wm Uher III
TUNE:  OLD 113th 
I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath
[O Mensch, bewein] Strassburger Kirchenamt, 1525

23 December 2019

Uher Hymn: Sing of Mary, Blest is She

+ Enid Chadwick +

1.  Sing of Mary, blest is she!
Mother of the Saviour!
"Yes!" said she to Gabriel's plea,
"Yes!" to God forever.
"Yes!" for every woman born.
"Yes!" for every nation.
"Yes!" for all of the unborn.
"Yes!" for all creation.

2.  Sing of Joseph, vexed was he,

Troubled and perplex-ed
Till an angel in a dream
Peace to him directed.
"Take the Virgin as your wife.
Love her baby wholly.
Love the infant as your life.
He's God's Son most holy."

3.  Sing of Jesus, blest is he
In the Lord's Name coming,
Born in great humility
Every person loving,
Prince of Peace and Counsellor--
Wonderful the telling!--
Came to earth to save us all
And to share his blessing.

4.  Mary, Joseph join us now
And all saints in glory
As we tell his love for all
In the sacred story.
Angels, shepherds, and the kings
To Christ's side are running.
Let all people ready now
For his second coming.

5.  Glory be to God on high!
Glory in the highest!
Peace on earth, goodwill to all
From the Lord Most Highest.
Blessings come for everyone,
Graces to God's credit
From the Father with the Son
Through the Holy Spirit. 

Words: Copyright © 1996-2006 by Vincent Uher. 
Music: Tempus adest floridum (Piae Cantiones)
Meter: 76 76 D

Click above for larger version of hymn

Uher Hymn: Lo, How She Bring Life With Her

John William Waterhouse

The following are three verses from a much longer hymn of mine upon the theme of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St Elisabeth especially appropriate at this time of year:

Lo, how she brings Life with her
Concealed beneath her heart,
Eve's daughter, brave and chosen,
God's partner to his art.
Her will knit with divine will
Desires his Word be done.
For God she weaves within her
The body of their Son.

All ages call her blessèd

Just as she once foretold.
Blest is she amongst women,
Her Child blest from of old.
Blest is she who believes God
Who carries God's true Word.
Her Son both God and human
Fulfils great Gabriel's word.

Our Saviour, God of mercy,

Remembers Abraham's fold.
Praise God who casts down tyrants.
Rejoice! Our God is bold.
So sing we with blest Mary
To magnify the Lord
Who raised up his handmaiden.
Oh, holy is the Lord!

Copyright © 2006 by Vincent William Uher III

This may be sung to the Bohemian Brethren tune Far Off Lands which can be found in The Hymnal 1940
It may also be sung to the lovely tune Wie lieblich ist der Maien
Ave Maria!

02 December 2019

A Marian Prayer of St Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Church (AD 1010)


Grigor Narekats‘i (Gregory of Narek). 
Գիրք աղօթից (Book of Prayers). 
Constantinople: Tparan Astuatsatrean, 1763. 
Near East Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress 

A Prayer to Mary
by Saint Gregory of Narek

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable,
O Tabernacle of the Most High.
Hold out your hand to me as I fall,
O heavenly Temple.
Glorify your Son in me:
may he be pleased to operate Divinely in me
the miracle of forgiveness and mercy.
Handmaid and Mother of God,
may your honour be exalted by me,
and may my salvation be manifested through you.

Saint Gregory of Narek
Doctor of the Church
Anno Domini 1010

01 December 2019

A Prayer of the Venerable Archbishop Sheen


Here is an excellent eucharistic prayer by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen commended by Fr. Sebastian White, OP to the readers of Magnificat magazine:

Here is my body. Take it. Here is my blood. Take it. 
Here is my soul, my will, my energy, my strength, my property, my wealth—all that I have. It is yours. Take it! Consecrate it! Offer it with yourself to the heavenly Father.... Consecrate these trials of my life which would go unrewarded unless united with you; transubstantiate me so that like bread which is now your Body, and wine which is now your Blood, I too may be wholly yours.... My station in life, my routine duties, my work, my family—all these are but the species of my life which may remain unchanged; but the substance of my life, my soul, my mind, my will, my heart—transubstantiate them, transform them wholly into your service, so that through me all may know how sweet is the love of Christ. 

02 November 2019

Dies irae • All Souls Day


Dies irae, dies illa

Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending!
Heaven and earth in ashes ending!

O what fear man’s bosom rendeth
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth!

Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
Through earth’s sepulchers it ringeth,
All before the throne it bringeth.

Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its judge an answer making.

Lo! the book exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded;
Thence shall judgment be awarded.

When the Judge His seat attaineth,
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.

What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding,
When the just are mercy needing?

King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us!

Think, kind Jesu, my salvation
Caused Thy wondrous Incarnation;
Leave me not to reprobation.

Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
On the Cross of suffering bought me;
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Righteous Judge! for sin’s pollution
Grant Thy gift of absolution,
Ere that day of retribution.

Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
All my shame with anguish owning;
Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning!

Through the sinful woman shriven,
Through the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.

Worthless are my prayers and sighing,
Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Rescue me from fires undying.

With Thy favored sheep O place me,
Nor among the goats abase me,
But to Thy right hand upraise me.

While the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
Call me with Thy Saints surrounded.

Low I kneel, with heart submission,
Crushed to ashes in contrition;
Help me in my last condition!

Ah! that day of tears and morning!
From the dust of earth returning,
Man for judgment must prepare him;

Spare, O God, in mercy spare him!
Lord all-pitying, Jesu Blest,
Grant them Thine eternal rest. Amen.

Words:   Thomas of Celano, 13th c.,
tr. William Josiah Irons, 1848.

John Eliot Gardiner conducts 
The English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir. 
This performance was filmed at the 
Palau de la Musica Catalana
Barcelona in December of 1991.

26 October 2019

About Blessed Miguel Pro, Priest and Martyr


The Feast of Blessed Miguel Pro is on the 23rd of November.  ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Too often this feast gets overlooked in the USA because of the secular national observance of Thanksgiving Day.   It is a blessing that this year the feast day of Blessed Miguel Pro falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day.  

Christ the King, 
through the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, 
I beg you to answer my prayers. 
Give me the grace and the strength necessary 
to follow his heroic example, 
and to live my Catholic faith.  Amen.

On the Church's liturgical calendar the 21st of November is the Commemoration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The 22nd of November is the Feast of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr. And then on Saturday we have the feast day  of Blessed Miguel Pro, Priest and Martyr.

“We ought to speak,
to shout out against injustices
With confidence and without fear.
We proclaim the principles of the Church, 
the reign of love,
without forgetting that it is also 
a reign of justice.”

Blessed Miguel Pro

A Prayer of Blessed Miguel Pro

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

A Prayer of Blessed Miguel Pro

I believe, O Lord, 
but strengthen my faith…

Heart of Jesus, 
I love Thee;
but increase my love.

Heart of Jesus, 
I trust in Thee;
but give greater vigour to my confidence.

Heart of Jesus, 
I give my heart to Thee;
but so enclose it in Thee
that it may never be separated from Thee.

Heart of Jesus, 
I am all Thine;
but take care of my promise
so that I may be able to put it in practice
even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

Blessed Miguel Pro, pray for us.