$32,057 to go to meet our Challenge Grant, by December 1st. Your gift now will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic Activity: Hymns and Carols

Discussion of various Christmas carols and hymns.

DIRECTIONS

The singing of hymns and carols is the natural adornment of Christmas customs and stories at home. The great wealth of Christmas carols from many times and many lands should be discovered by American families. Most of these carols have a popular appeal and nearly all of the important ones have been translated into singable English. Many indeed are available in recordings, both in the original tongue and in English. For this reason we have omitted the mention of familiar American and English carols, as well as such hymns and carols as "Silent Night" and "Adeste Fideles"; these are all well known to American homes and shall indeed be fostered by our people. Ancient Latin and foreign carols broaden our understanding of Christmas. They are easily understood by children since they belong to the international treasury of folklore. The children may be given an early appreciation of the universality of the love which all nations have offered to the Infant Saviour.

The hymns which are nearest to the heart of the Church as the Bride of the heavenly Spouse are those which are found in her liturgical books. It would be very appropriate, for example, on this holy night to sing the Vesper antiphon, Jerusalem gaude, followed by the Magnificat of our Blessed Lady on the solemn tone. The Vesper hymn Jesu Redemptor omnium reflects a movement of joyous peace which lies at the heart of Christmas. Some of the simpler elements from the Masses of Christmas are easily sung by children. This is clearly seen as we listen to the recordings of Father Hellriegel's choir of children. For example, the English version of the rhythmic fourteenth-century Latin carol called Quem pastores laudavere is pleasing to the pure minds of children.

It would be totally impossible to mention all of the carols which come from various countries in celebration of Christmas Eve. For Christmas Eve we recommend in particular the following carols: "Come, All Ye Shepherds" (Czech); "Behold a Branch Is Growing," "Sing, O Sing" (German); "Carol of the Children of Bethlehem" (Austrian): and the French carols "Bring Your Torches, Jeannette, Isabelle," "Whence, O Shepherd Maiden" (inspired by the responsory of the second nocturn of the Sunday within the octave of the Nativity), and "Oh, Publish the Glad Story."

Activity Source: True Christmas Spirit by Rev. Edward J. Sutfin, Grail Publications, St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1955

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Putting Our Best Foot Forward 2 hours ago
Contentious Spirits, Beware! 24 hours ago
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6