Faith of Our Fathers (hymn)

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Faith of our Fathers is an English Catholic hymn, written in 1849[1] by Frederick William Faber in memory of the Catholic martyrs from the time of the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII.[2] Faber wrote two versions of the hymn: with seven stanzas for Ireland and with four for England.[3] The Irish version was sung at hurling matches until the 1960s.[4]

In England and Ireland it is usually sung to the traditional tune Sawston; in the U.S. the tune St Catherine by Henri Hemy is more commonly used.

Lyrics[edit]

Faith of our Fathers! living still

In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword:

Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy

Whene'er we hear that glorious word.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,

Were still in heart and conscience free:

How sweet would be their children's fate,

If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Faith of our Fathers! Mary's prayers

Shall win our country back to thee:

And through the truth that comes from God

England shall then indeed be free.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Faith of our Fathers! we will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife:

And preach thee too, as love knows how

By kindly words and virtuous life:

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!

We will be true to thee till death.[5]

Protestant Adaptations[edit]

Many Protestant churches and hymnals use an adapted version with an altered third verse:

Faith of our Fathers! we will strive
To win all nations unto thee,
And through the truth that comes from God,
Mankind shall then be truly free.

The final line of this verse has also been adapted as, "We all shall then be truly free."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Routley, Erik; Paul Akers Richardson (2005). A panorama of Christian hymnody. GIA Publications. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-57999-352-8. 
  2. ^ Osbeck, Kenneth W. (1982). 101 hymn stories. Kregel Publications. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-8254-3416-7. 
  3. ^ O'Sullivan, Patrick (1996). Religion and identity. Leicester University Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7185-1424-2. 
  4. ^ O'Sullivan, Patrick (1996). Religion and identity. Leicester University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7185-1424-2. 
  5. ^ Terry, Richard. "The Westminster Hymnal". 1912, p. 196.
  6. ^ http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/f/a/faithoof.htm

Further reading[edit]