“The Vatican has chosen a composition by English Catholic composer Paul Inwood to be the official setting for the hymn of the Holy Year of Mercy.
Paul’s setting was judged the best entry in an international competition organised by The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation and judged by a committee that included Mgr Massimo Palombella, Director of the Sistine Chapel Choir. The hymn, which is available in Italian, English and French, has been recorded with the Sistine Chapel Choir and the support of Vatican Radio.
The text, which runs to four verses, has a Latin antiphon and refrains.
Paul Inwood, a former director of Liturgy in Portsmouth Diocese, said that his setting was inspired by music from the Taizé Community, the ecumenical monastic order from France that uses a contemplative, repetitive style of music to enhance prayer and meditation.
“I deliberately kept the music very simple so that even the smallest parishes can hopefully make use of it,” he added. “There are even guitar chords, so it should be doable even in the smallest groups.”
As someone who has written and composed Liturgical music for decades, Mr Inwood said: “You get used to hearing your music slaughtered in parishes around the world. But you realise that if it helps them pray, that is what matters.”
Jesuit Fr Eugenio Costa, who told Vatican Radio that Mr Inwood ‘is very talented and understands what it means to compose with a precise intention —not “for angels and archangels,” but for a real assembly, nonprofessionals, people who sing because they are gathered to pray and to sin,’ wrote the text of the hymn in Latin and Italian.
Paul Inwood has donated all rights to the setting to the Pontifical Council to aid its diffusion around the world.”
It is heartening to see Paul honoured in this way, and it is richly deserved. It can only be a positive ‘sign of the times’ that the Vatican’s Sistine Choir should record his music.
The hymn can be accessed through the links below:
The text is important, and could serve parishes well even as a refrain throughout the Jubilee of Mercy.
The music is attractive and very fitting. It is is not difficult, but it may yet be felt to be beyond some parishes.
Some may prefer to use it in an English language version, or to use the Antiphon in
an English version such as below.
With an added ‘Glory be to the Father..’ the Antiphon might serve as an Introit for the start of Mass, or as a Communion verse, or as a final hymn at the end. Or it could be attached to an Alleluia or a ‘Praise to you, O Christ’ and be used
as a Gospel Acclamation. Or it could be sung before or after the Intercessions.
Click on the file below to see an example.
Mercy Introit page – Full Score
We will put on an audio file of the Refrain plus a Glory be (Introit or Communion song)
and of the refrain alone (for before or after the Intercessions)
During the Jubilee of Mercy there will be occasions when the intercessions could be punctuated with the
response: Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer
Lord, in your mercy org