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Friday 16 April |

Hymn of the Week: ‘Be Thou My Vision’

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/06/17

A fitting anthem for the Feast of the Transfiguration, don’t you think?

This is a traditional hymn from Ireland. Wikipedia tells us:

The most well known English version, with some minor variations, was translated by Eleanor Hull and published in 1912. In 1919, the lyrics were set to the tune of the Irish folk tune“Slane”, to which the song is sung to this day, both in English and Irish. The song has often been attributed to the sixth-century IrishChristian poet Saint Dallan, though some scholars cite an eighth-century date. The original Old Irish text, “Rop tú mo Bile” is often attributed to Saint Dallán Forgaill in the 6th century. The text had been a part of Irish monastic tradition for centuries before its setting to music. There are two manuscripts, one at the National Library of Ireland, and a second at the Royal Irish Academy. Both manuscripts date from about the 10th or 11th century. The prayer belongs to a type known as a lorica, a prayer for protection.

This was our recessional hymn this Sunday. I like the rendition here, performed with a simple piano accompaniment—much the way it was done in my parish this weekend. We are in the middle of replacing our organ—it should be hoisted into the choir loft and fully functional in a couple weeks—and we’re getting by with a baby grand piano for the time being.

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