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Saturday 28 November |
Saint of the Day: Pope St. Gregory III

Hymn of the Week: 'The Angel Gabriel'

ARCANGEL GABRIEL

Wikipedia-PD

La anunciación (Murillo, 1648)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/23/17

Here’s a haunting old hymn we’ll be hearing during Mass this weekend, performed here by the incomparable Kings Choir.

Background:

This English-language hymn was based on a translation, by English Anglican priest Sabine Baring-Gould (1834 – 1924), of a Basque-language folk-style Christmas carol about the Annunciation, “Birjina gaztetto bat zegoen”. It is based on Luke 1:26−38, 42−48.

In recent years, it has been performed by artists including Sting – but it works well as a congregational hymn, with or without accompaniment, provided you take time to learn the slightly unusual phrasing.

The tune which it is usually sung to is based on a traditional Basque tune, arranged by Edgar Pettman and published in 1922.

The lyrics:

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,

With wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame:

“All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary,

Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

“For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,

All generations laud and honor thee;

Thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,

Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head;

“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said.

“My soul shall laud and magnify God’s holy name.”

Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born

In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn,

And Christian folk through-out the world will ever say:

“Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

For an Advent chaser, here’s the beautiful interpretation by Sting:

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