The Origins of Veni, Veni Emanuel


“Veni, veni Emmanuel! Captivum solve Israel! Qui gemit in exilio.” This enchanting tune was most familiar in the English-speaking world dating back to the 15th-century in France. As for the text, it was first document in Germany in 1710. The pre-history of the text goes back to the origins of the O Antiphons which were around since the eighth century.



The songs Latin roots began in the Latin masses of the day and it eventually made its way to a bigger audience. From, Bereket Kelile gave the story behind “O come, O come, Emmanuel” in it he said “The initial Latin text, framed in the original seven different verses, represented the different biblical views of the Messiah. One verse per day was sung or chanted during the last seven days before Christmas.



For the people of the Dark Ages—few of whom read or had access to the Bible—the song was one of the few examples of the full story of how the New and Old Testament views of the Messiah came together in the birth and life of Jesus. Because it brought the story of Christ the Savior to life during hundreds of years of ignorance and darkness, ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ ranks as one of the most important songs in the history of the Christian faith.”


John Mason Neale on January 24, 1818 is responsible for making the song known worldwide. He was and Anglican priest that was educated at Trinity College in Cambridge. Mr. Neale knew how to speak and write more than twenty languages. He was thought to be too evangelical so he was sent by the Anglican Church to the Madiera Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. He translated the song from Latin to English with his translation being “Draw Nigh, Draw Nigh, Emmanuel.”



This tune has quite an exquisite history and should be shared with all.


The Prodigal Musician

I am sure everyone has experienced the power of music. Surely everyone has heard a song which makes them draw in a breath and contemplate God’s majesty more deeply when they hear the sweet chords begin to play. This feeling is amplified when we realize the beautiful words which many times describe the majesty and purity of our Lord and Savior.

I am sure everyone has experienced the power of music. Surely everyone has heard a song which makes them draw in a breath and contemplate God’s majesty more deeply when they hear the sweet chords begin to play. This feeling is amplified when we realize the beautiful words which many times describe the majesty and purity of our Lord and Savior.

Mozart composed his Ave Verum in 1791 for the Feast of Corpus Christi. It was frequently sung in the Middle Ages during Benediction and at the elevation of the host. In Latin the word are: Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine, vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine: esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.

This translates into: Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary, having truly suffered, sacrificed on the cross for mankind, from whose pierced side water and blood flowed: Be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet] in the trial of death!

Mozart wrote this only six months before he died. In his brilliance he tugs on our emotions by combining major and minor keys in his Ave which leaves us feeling both happy and sad because we are not sure what our emotions are saying by the end of the piece.

There are many different settings for the Ave Verum Corpus including one by Byrd and Franz Lisvt. A particularly beautiful version of Mozart’s is played by Kings College Choir:

The next time you hear this eighteenth-century hymn, pay special attention not only to the words but also the beautiful harmony in proportion to the words. When you realize the beauty of this special piece, surely it will become one of your favorites and you may even find yourself humming throughout the day, calling Jesus to be with you in everything you do.

Regina Caeli

The Regina Caeli, a prayer which requests Our Lady to rejoice in the Resurrection of her Son, has an incredible traditional story behind it. In the Golden Legend, a book dating back to the thirteenth century regarding the lives of the saints, there is a beautiful story connected with Pope St. Gregory the Great.

The book recounts a procession held sometime during the sixth century imploring Our Lord to end the epidemic that had fallen upon the city of Rome. The procession was lead by St Gregory and an icon of Our Lady, painted by St Luke. As the air filled with a beautiful fragrance, St Gregory gazed up and beheld a group of angels singing, “O, Queen of Heaven rejoice, Alleluia! For He whom you deserved to bear, Alleluia! Has risen as He said, Alleluia!” In response, he said, “O, pray to God for us, Alleluia!” These are the words from which the hymn is derived. At that moment, he looked over and caught sight of an angel protecting, with his sword, the Hill of Hadrian.

The Regina Caeli is a Marian antiphon and is one of the four antiphons (a short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle) attributed to Our Lady. It is commonly recited or sung from Easter to Pentecost Sunday in place of the Angelus. This hymn is considered one of the most beautiful and joyful hymns in the Church. The translation from Latin gives us splendid and glorious English expressions.

The Regina Caeli is a delightful reminder for Catholics to remain living always rejoicing in Our Savior’s glorious Resurrection triumphing over His grueling and heart- wrenching Passion, through which humanity was saved. Whenever this song is sung, or prayer is said, we unite ourselves with the Blessed Mother in our expression of joy and gladness in Our Saviors ultimate sacrifice which earned, for us, our salvation.

Faith of Our Fathers, Hymn of the English Martyrs

Hymns praising God and his saints are one of the most beautiful ways Catholics can honor God and his Christian faith. Numerous hymns have been created by priest and laymen alike. Faith of Our Fathers is one of such hymns.

Faith of Our Fathers was created by Fredrick Faber an Anglican convert to catholicism. Faber was a priest for the Church of England but later converted to the Roman Catholic Church and became a catholic priest. Father Faber moved to London where he established the Oratorians with blessed John Newman also a priest and hymn writer.

Father Faber had been writing hymns as an Anglican, and became reinterested in hymn writing after his conversion. “It was natural then that an English son of St. Philip should feel the want of a collection of English Catholic hymns fitted for singing. The few in the Garden of the Soul were all that were at hand, and of course they were not numerous enough to furnish the requisite variety. As translations, they do not express Saxon thought and feelings, and consequently the poor do not seem to take to them. The domestic wants of the Oratory, too, keep alive the feeling that something of the sort was needed: though at the same time the author’s ignorance of music appeared in some measure to disqualify him for the work of supplying the defect.” Father Faber described in his book Jesus and Mary: Catholic Hymns for Singing and Reading (1849).

One hundred and fifty hymns were written by Father Faber, however he always regarded Faith Of our Fathers as his most spectacular work. The hymn draws parallels to the English Catholic martyrs. Which is appropriate regarding Father Faber’s conversion from Anglicanism. The main refrain of the hymn is as follows:

Faith of our fathers, living still,

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whenever we hear that glorious word

Faith of our fathers, holy faith.

We will be true to thee ’til death.”

Father Faber understood the price his English ancestors payed to keep their Catholicism, one can clearly see he had a sort of ethnic pride as he wrote the words to the hymn honoring the English martyrs.

Years later, this hymn has become very famous. Many renditions have been made and choir voices can be heard resounding the hymn in praise.                                                                                                                                                         The lyrics to the hymn can be found here 


Is there any grief like a mother’s when she loses her child? There are many songs that try to answer this question, but many come out with less than satisfactory results. There is one hymn, however, that is perhaps the best piece of sorrowful music in the Catholic Church, and perhaps the world. The Stabat Mater, a Latin hymn that can also be recited in prayer, reminds us of the Blessed Mother’s intense sorrow at seeing her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the cross so that we might have Eternal Life.
This masterpiece of music is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary,which (as mentioned before), portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ’s mother during his crucifixion. A Franciscan friar named Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi is said to have written the original text in the 13th century, although some scholars have attributed it to Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which, loosely translated, means “the sorrowful mother was standing”.
The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many composers, most famously by Palestrina (~1590), Vivaldi (1712), Domenico (1715) and Alessandro Scarlatti (1723).
There are over 60 English translations of the Stabat Mater, including this one. The Stabat Mater was used frequently in the Liturgy for centuries before it became a sequence (a hymn spoken or sung before the Gospel) in 1727 for the feast of the Seven Sorrows. Its use as a sequence is optional now on that feast day (now called the feast for Our Lady of Sorrows), but the hymn is often prayed with the Stations of the Cross at Lent. The Stabat Mater brings to mind front and center just how fully our Blessed Mother suffered along with Jesus, like Him on our behalf! St. Alphonsus Liguori once wrote, that “two hung upon one cross.”
Youtube- Stabat Mater-

“Ere the day of retribution”

The “Dies Irae”, or “Day of Wrath” in Latin, was written in the fourteenth century. Originally emerging as a poem penned by Thomas of Celano, the work was later put to music and incorporated into the Mass of the Dead. It speaks of the end times and the final judgment. Later revitalized by Mozart, with each new chorus, the Dies Irae warns of the countless sinners that will be cast into hell. Describing the rise of Jesus Christ to His throne in Heaven, the chorus cries,”When the Judge his seat attaineth, And each hidden deed arraigneth, Nothing unavenged remaineth.” Continue reading “Ere the day of retribution”

Holy God we praise thy name

The trinity, a beautiful mystery. Gods holy name, a sacred word. Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, a glorious reality. All these truths of the Catholic faith are contained within the masterpiece of the hymn “Holy God we praise thy name.”

This beautiful hymn written in the eighteenth century by a German catholic priest in Poland, was later translated from German to English by Clarence Walworth. Its origins are from the Te Deum.
The author’s name was Ignace Franz. He was born on October 12,1719, and died on August 19,1790, in Breslau Silesia, now Wroclaw, Poland. Franz worked as a chaplain at Gross-Glogau in 1753, an arch-priest at Schlawa, and an assessor to the apostolic vicar’s office in Breslau in 1766. Although he did all these things, he was first and foremost a hymnologist and compiler. Among his works is “Katholisches Gesangbuch” dated c. 1744.
The translator for “Holy God we praise thy name” is Clarence A. Walworth. Walworth was also a roman catholic priest, although he originally studied to become a minister of the protestant episcopal church.
The source for “Holy God we praise thy name” is the Te Deum, as it is a paraphrase of it. The original German song was written in 1771 The Te Deum is a hymn written in the 4th century in Latin.
The original German title of holy god we praise thy name is “Grosser Gott wir loben dich.” As it has a memorable melody, the song still to this day is popular in German speaking communities. It is now used frequently as an ending hymn for Christian ceremonies. You can find the lyrics at , and the sheet music at .
Holy god we praise thy name is mainly a sung hymn, as seen in the videos below.

Holy God we praise thy name has lasted throughout the centuries as a tribute of the faithful’s confidence in god and will continue to preserver along with the church.

Feature College: Salem State University

Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts was founded in 1854. Salem State University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., which is a non-governmental, nationally recognized organization. They have a school of art and science, a school of business, a school of education, a school of graduate studies, and a school of continuing and professional studies. Continue reading Feature College: Salem State University