Hymn to St Thomas of Canterbury

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Hymn to St Thomas of Canterbury

Post by JW » Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:09 pm

Our church is dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury (who is also the Patron of secular clergy in England). I've just knocked together some words for a hymn to use at Mass or at Morning Prayer on the 29th. It is in LM (i.e. will fit the tune to 'When I Survey' etc). I make no claims for it, only that I was unable to find any Hymn to St Thomas via Google. Feel free to use it (with acknowledgement) - the third line of the third verse needs some quavers inserted as I wanted to fit in the famous quotation from King Henry II.

From times long past you speak to us,
Good Thomas, patron of this church (or Good Thomas, servant of the church)
We gather here in faith and love
To celebrate your life and work.

You served our land, worked tirelessly,
Though England’s Henry disapproved.
You stood your ground so valiantly
And into exile were removed.

When you returned, your trials increased,
And Henry’s anger was renewed:
“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
His knights went out and martyred you.

All England travelled to your shrine
The sick were made well at your tomb
We ask that God’s great love may shine
On us who follow after you.

John Wilkins

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Re: Hymn to St Thomas of Canterbury

Post by Peter » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:44 pm

Thanks for posting this, JW. The last time we printed a Mass sheet for the feast of St Thomas, my then PP included the hymn below. I don't know where he found it or what its copyright status is, so if anyone can enlighten me I'd be interested to know! It will fit "St Thomas" (appropriately!), "Westminster Abbey" or any other suitable 87 87 87 tune.

    Hail the love and power amazing
    of the incarnate living Word!
    Year by year the song upraising,
    join we all with one accord,
    blessed saints and martyrs praising,
    who have died for Christ, their Lord.

    Sing we now, for naught esteeming
    Tyrant’s rage, saint Thomas dies,
    how the murderer’s weapon gleaming,
    place of prayer and praise defiles;
    yet the martyr’s life-blood streaming
    still for pardoning mercy cries.

    How he lived a life laborious,
    be the wondrous story told;
    how he died a martyr glorious,
    bishop wise, confessor bold;
    how he reigns with Christ victorious
    clothed in white with crown of gold.

    To the Lord of all creation,
    in whose love the martyrs rest,
    to the God of our salvation,
    whom their dying breath confessed,
    honour, praise and adoration,
    Father, Son and Spirit blest.

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Re: Hymn to St Thomas of Canterbury

Post by docmattc » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:11 am

Peter wrote: I don't know where he found it or what its copyright status is

It is apparently number 195 in the St Alban Hymnal (1921) which seems to be an organ of (or at least used by) the Liberal Catholic Church. This organisation is not however connected with the Roman Catholic Church. If it was in print in 1921, its almost certainly out of copyright now.

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Re: Hymn to St Thomas of Canterbury

Post by Peter » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:26 am

Thanks, Doc. That makes sense as the PP concerned could certainly be described as "Liberal". Actually, the hymn isn't necessarily out of copyright as the author needed to live only another 20 years after the hymnal was published, but I don't think I'll lose any sleep over it.

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