Office hymns for a Pope

Among the hymns in the Liber Hymnarius, some hymns are sturdy workhorses, built for multitasking. For example, some hymn texts are used in every season at Compline, but sung with melodies designed to correspond to the season at hand.

Another kind of multi-tasking hymn appears in the Common of Pastors. Both Christe pastorum and Inclitus rector have a replaceable second verse, enabling each of them to be sung in honor of a Pope, Bishop, or Priest, depending on the feast of the day.

Those who have sung the more modern hymn By All Your Saints Still Striving (also known as From All Your Saints in Warfare) will recognize the usefulness of this structure. In this hymn, here is a removeable, generally applicable component–the second verse–that can be replaced with a verse written for a specific day.

Here are Christe pastorum and Inclitus rector in the form they might take today, October 22, in honor of a Pope.

Christe pastorum

Christ, great high prince and leader of the shepherds,

Wishing to laud this holy pastor’s feast day
With sacred music, we acclaim his honor
singing due praises.

As once you gave the care of sheep to Peter,

So that the world might be a holy sheepfold,
So this good shepherd, raised to highest honor,
Pastures your people.

He was a guide and pattern for the sheepfold,
Light for the blind, and solace for the weary,
Good to each person, providential father–
All things to all men

Christ, who in heaven render to the holy

Crowns for their merits, help us then to follow,
That with this teacher, we may be obedient
And rise to heaven.

 May equal honor celebrate the Father,

And You, O Savior, loving King forever,
And may the glory of the Holy Spirit,
Sound the world over.


Inclitus rector

Come let us raise our songs of celebration,
Joining the triumph train of this confessor,
Father and leader, now above the heavens
Reigning forever.

Bishop and teacher of the great assembly,
seated upon the cathedra of Peter,
Ruling creation, opening the heavens,
Key-keeper holy.

Now let us ask him earnestly for favor:
Cleansing of all the sins of his beloved;
And by his fervent prayers may we be lifted
To the high heavens.

Glory and power, praises in the highest,
to the one God, and honor everlasting,
for His dominion, orderly and lawful,
governs creation.

2 Replies to “Office hymns for a Pope”

  1. Or you could sing #503 or 504 from the Summit Choirbook on this opt. mem of Bl. John Paul II! 🙂

  2. i enjoy listening to hymns and watching or attending ordinations. i want to see more. God bless u

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