Hymns every school child should know by the time they leave Catholic schools
  • Hi all—
    We use worship aids at our parish, which is both a blessing and a curse. "Curse" in the sense that they are a LOT of work to make, but a huuuuuge blessing in that we have complete control over what music people are encouraged to sing. There's no gingerly pretending that certain hymns don't exist, even when they are printed in the hymnal... because there is no hymnal!

    With that said, I also have to make worship aid booklets for our school children who come to mass twice a week: while Wednesdays are low/spoken masses, Fridays are accompanied by me on the organ with full hymnody & ordinary.

    As I am due to assemble my next booklet for them (this one spanning all of October & November, then I'll make a separate one for Advent) I got to thinking...

    What, in your opinion, are the hymns that every catholic child should learn before they matriculate out of the catholic school system?

    What hymns mark our identity as catholic singers? Again, I'm aiming this particular thread at children, but I'm open to having a discussion about hymns that every [adult] catholic should know too, perhaps in its own thread. I should mention, too, that I am not aiming for infantile music. I'm aiming for suggestions of real, normal hymnody, which the children may, or may not sing, but could at least have the chance to grow up hearing, even if their parents don't bring them to mass on the weekends. I obviously cannot help if that is the case, but at least I can offer them something worthwhile when they are at mass at school. This of course has the added benefit of nourishing our adult daily-mass goers.

    To start:
    • Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (Grosser Gott)
    • Immaculate Mary (Lourdes Hymn)
    • Hail, Holy Queen
    • O Salutaris Hostia (Duguet)
    • Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest (Lambillotte)
    • O Lord, I Am Not Worthy
    • Soul of My Savior [Sanctify My Breast]

    • [Seasonal Marian Antiphons, and the Missa Simplex/XVIII]
  • Nisi
    Posts: 133
    I would say every piece in the Parish Book of Chant which is not too difficult to learn. That’s a lot of music. To start, how about the settings of the Kyrie and Agnus Dei? The texts are learned in two minutes and the melodies easily memorized by children. In my long experience with children, the more Latin you give them, the better they like it. For them, Latin is normal — just what we want.
    Thanked by 2rich_enough LauraKaz
  • Yes, I mentioned the seasonal Marian antiphons and the Missa simplex (XVIII) at the very end of the post. Our kids know all the antiphons (really well, I think) and the simpler mass parts, including the mysterium fidei.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 255
    Both Masses VIII & IX are easy for children to pickup on, and Credo III is a go to for when that’s required.

    I’d also include Tantum Ergo into the list of Hymns they should know.
  • WGS
    Posts: 295
    I received my (red semi-hard cover) copy of Jubilate Deo about the time it was issued in 1974. It includes a section labelled Cantus Varii which provides an appropriate selection of Latin hymns with chant notation, e.g. O salutaris hostia, Adoro Te devote, Ubi caritatis, Tantum ergo, Veni Creator, etc.. - about twenty examples. (I recall a later printing which provided more or less of such hymns.)

    As intended, the contents of Jubilate Deo is without a doubt a good basic source for congregational singing in the Catholic Church.
  • WGS, I didn't think to look there, but I will. I have to be choosy with how much Latin I put in front of daily mass goers, though. And if I get too high-brow, the teachers just won't bring the booklets to mass. It's a rather curious thing.
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 160
    I would second all of the above and add the following:
    All Creatures of Our God and King
    Crown Him with Many Crowns
    Daily, Daily Sing to Mary
    Faith of Our Fathers
    Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All
    Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
    O God, Almighty Father
    O God of Loveliness
    O Jesus, We Adore Thee/O Sacrament Most Holy
    O Sanctissima
    To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King

    Ecumenical standards, space permitting:
    All People That on Earth Do Dwell
    Alleluia! Sing to Jesus
    Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty
    Lift High the Cross
    Now Thank We All Our God
    O God, Our Help in Ages Past
    Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
    The King of Love My Shepherd Is
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,620
    The four Marian Anthems, A selection of Hymns ie. O salutaris hostia, Adoro Te devote, Tantum ergo, Veni Creator, Vexillia Regis, Conditor Alme, Jesu Dulcis Memoria etc.

    Or I could cheat and suggest Plainsong for Schools which was designed for children.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • francis
    Posts: 10,513
    I have put together a hymnal/songbook for our school/parish... it has everything needed for an entire liturgical cycle, mostly for the NO (vernacular hymns), but does include an abbreviated Kyriale. It then has well known folk songs, canons, rounds and catches, and custom content (my own comps that I use with the choir at our school). This is entirely PD content and does not include anything from the nuSong community.

    Attached are the introductory pages and some sample pages... (this is a 6x9 hymnal... the first printing was hardbound cloth cover, however, I can also print it as a paperback making it very competitive with any of the throw away missaletes out there...I am taking orders with the ability to customize the pages... adding or subtracting content)

    I am producing a Choir Edition in the next few weeks with well crafted SATB arrangements.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw lmassery
  • davido
    Posts: 791
    I would cut o lord I am not worthy. It’s not a very good piece of music and the text is sappy.

    O god beyond all praising

    Our kids sing Gift of finest wheat pretty well

    Good advent hymns (o come divine messiah is popular)
    Good Christmas hymns
    Good Easter hymns
  • I would readily cut “Grosser Gott” and the Lambilotte tune, as well as the tune Non Dignus. There is a wealth of Latin hymns that is waiting to be discovered by the young of the greater Church. There are too many hymns from after the Reformation and the English speaking Church needs to come to grips with the fact that vernacular hymns are not integral to Latin Rite worship (notwithstanding the Ordinariate, which is its own case).
  • Fair enough; the problem is that they are "standards" and even if they are cut at parishes here and there, what happens when the kids go out and are no longer at their home parish?

    But I'm certainly open to the idea; I've probably paired 8-10 different texts with Jesu Dulcis Memoria at this point. I'm open to other good melodies that could be used in the same way.
    Thanked by 2LauraKaz DavidOLGC
  • davido
    Posts: 791
    Vernacular hymns aren’t going away. The vernacular hymn is THE congregational music, which is why it was successful in Catholic and Protestant Germany, in Protestant France, why it took over Anglican worship in the 18th/19th centuries, and why every Christian community that has prioritized communal singing has featured the form. It is not Roman, but as our current church troubles demonstrate, ultramontanism and imitating Rome at every turn is not the answer to every problem.
    Children benefit from learning the theology in the hymns.

    Also, I think putting multiple texts to the same tune should be done sparingly. Identifying a particular text with a particular tune is important for (less musical) lay people.
  • Asking for a return and embrace of the chant patrimony is hardly ultramontanism or imitating Rome at every turn. Using chant is a charge given to us by a Council. One of the reasons American churches are where they are now is because American bishops and conferences took permissions to an extreme. I am not citing a particular pope’s personal agenda on chant. The organic evolution of chant in the Church has given us a full repertory that is sitting largely unused in English speaking churches. Vernacular hymns are not the ultimate expressions of sung worship.
  • What a lovely thread.

    I might add
    ** Glory Be to Jesus
    ** Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • .
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,620
    Vernacular hymns aren’t going away.
    Well our young people hear fewer than 10 per Year. As for N.O parishes in England they have their own selections so when you travel you can't join in.
    Looking at Germany and Switzerland, the number of young people attending Mass is so low you will be able to start from scratch, when they return and ignore the Vernacular Hymns. Many of the young people attending TLM events don't understand why the choirs are singing German hymns that mean nothing to them.
  • Sorry for the digression, but I've never understood trad animosity toward vernacular hymnody. Should they replace the propers or ordinaries? Absolutely not. But theologically and musically solid vernacular hymnody book-ending the Mass is hardly objectionable and is, in fact, often very rousing. It's okay to like the TLM AND good vernacular hymns. I know I love both.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 673
    There are a couple of hymns I learned as child in school for First Communion.

    Jesus, Thou Art Coming
    Jesus, Teach Me How to Pray

    A few others that I think children should know are:

    Jesus, Jesus, Come to Me
    Jesus Gentlest Savior
    Soul of My Savior
    To Jesus Heart All Burning
    Faith of Our Fathers
    Sweet Sacrament Divine
    God of Mercy and Compassion
    Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All
    Mother Dear, O Pray for Me
    Hail! Queen of Heaven, the ocean star
    O Lord, I Am Not Worthy
    Ave Maris Stella (Italian melody)
    Adeste fideles
    Hymn to the Holy Name (Wm. Cardinal O'Connell)

  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 413
    I would cut o lord I am not worthy. It’s not a very good piece of music and the text is sappy.

    Agreed. And I'd say the same about the Lourdes Hymn. Absolutely drossy tune, with words to match.
    Thanked by 2LauraKaz tomjaw
  • oldhymnsoldhymns
    Posts: 216
    I think O Lord, I Am Not Worthy is a very appropriate hymn for students graduating from Catholic schools to know. Since the first verse of the hymn comes directly from Matthew 8:8, what could be a more appropriate Eucharistic hymn? I wouldn't call that "sappy." Of course, in this post-modern climate, perhaps we all deem ourselves "worthy."

    Another hymn I would suggest is "O Sacred Heart, O Love Divine."

    Many good recommendations have been posted here. Realistically, however, it's doubtful that graduates of today's Catholic schools would have much in their repertoire other than OCP-GIA "stuff."
    Thanked by 2Don9of11 CHGiffen
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 673
    If you're interested in the top ten Catholic hymns from 1947, you can read about them on my HYMN OF THE MONTH series, the featured hymn was Ave Maria Bright and Pure. https://www.motherofmercycatholichymns.com/ave-maria-bright-and-pure/
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,619
    Hymn to the Holy Name (Wm. Cardinal O'Connell)
    I'm having one heck of a time tracking this down. Anyone have any PDFs or resources you could point me to?

    PS—Thank you for all the replies!
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,863
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,297
    Hymn to the Holy Name is in the hymnal you can find at :
    on page 24 (25 of the pdf).
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 673
    @ServiamScores, the hymn is called "O Holy Name" with the first line of text being "O Holy Name of Majesty and Power" see the attached.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen