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.

Mr Inwood’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.

Mr 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.

Mr Inwood has donated all rights to the setting to the Pontifical Council to aid its diffusion around the world.