Hymns for Sunday June 29, Saints Peter and Paul

Every few years (the last one was 2009), the civil and liturgical calendars coincide in such a way that quite a few Sundays in Ordinary Time are replaced with some of the greatest feasts and solemnities of the sanctoral cycle. It’s an opportunity for parishioners who do not ordinarily attend daily Mass to experience the feasts of the Presentation, Sts. Peter and Paul, the Triumph of the Cross, and the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

2014 is just such a year.

Later this month, we will celebrate the great ecclesially-minded Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, on Sunday June 29. Since there aren’t a lot of choices for this feast in the average hymnal, I thought I’d point to three of my own texts, in case they come in handy.

Here is a hymn published by CanticaNOVA Publications in my collection Hymns for the Liturgical Year in 2005. Like all the texts in the collection, it can be sung to very familiar tunes, and can be reprinted ad libitum for a parish or school with the purchase of one copy of the collection. Here is Mark Husey’s excellent rendition of The Son of Man, to the tune NEWMAN.

The Son of Man has come to save

The lost and dark of mind.
All men and women bound in chains
In Him their freedom find.

In Him the blind shall come to see,
The deaf shall understand,
For Jesus guides the erring soul
With His redeeming hand.

So Peter learned to call Him Christ,
And Paul to call Him Lord;
So Peter died upon a cross,
And Paul beneath a sword.

And on their martyrs’ witness grows
The Church of endless days.
Its rock no more denies the Lord
Its foe now leads His praise.

The Son of Man has come to serve
To seek and save the lost.
Blest be the Lord whose saints reveal
The triumph of His Cross.

 Copyright © 2005 CanticaNOVA Publications. Duplication restricted.

Following the jump, please find my translations of two Long Meter office hymns. These may be used freely this year for any good liturgical purpose.  

Aurea luce, from the 8th or 9th century, calls St. Peter the “janitor”–the keeper of the keys–and St. Paul is as always the teacher of the whole world. The hymn plays continually upon the idea of doubling. These two great saints are both like, and equal, and yet unlike. They are equal in dignity, irreducible to one another, and always “at work” together for the good of the Church.

And Apostolorum passio, attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan, like Aurea luce, attributes the dignity of Rome to these two saints, pre-eminently in their martyrs’ blood.

O light of dawn, O rosy glow,
O Light from Light, all ages show
Your beauty, and the martyrs fame,
That gain us pardon from our blame.

The heavens’ porter, and earth’s sage,
The world’s bright lights who judge the age.
One wins by cross, and one by sword,
And life on high is their reward.

These are your princes, happy Rome!
Their precious blood clothes you, their home.
We praise not you, but praise their worth,
Beyond all beauty of the earth.

One love, one faith, twin olive trees,
One great strong hope filled both of these.
Full fonts, in your matched charity,
Pray that we may in heaven be.

Give glory to the Trinity
And honor to the Unity,
And joy and pow’r, for their reign stays
Today and through all endless days.


Blest day by suff’ring sanctified:
Christ’s chosen high apostles died.
Today St. Peter wins renown.
Today St. Paul accepts the crown.

Together, equally, they bled:
Together: the victorious dead.
They followed God and sacrificed
And now their faith is crowned by Christ.

St. Peter holds the highest place,
Yet Paul is not the less by grace.
An equal faith was giv’n to Paul:
The chosen vessel of God’s call.

St. Peter, downward crucified—
To honor God in how he died—
Securely tied, he sees unfold
The death his Shepherd once foretold.

On such foundations Rome may claim
The highest service of God’s name.
His noble blood has dignified
The city where this prophet died.

Let all the world, then, run to Rome.
Let families of nations come!
The head of nations teaches there
Beside the nations’ teacher’s chair.

O Lord, we ask that we may be
In their exalted company,
And with our princes sing Your praise
Forever, to unending days.