Faith of Our Fathers (hymn)

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"Faith of our Fathers" is a 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 and Elizabeth.[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, Scotland, Wales and Ireland it is usually sung to the traditional tune Sawston; in the United States, 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]

In countries outside of England, the words "Our land" have been substituted for "England".

Protestant adaptations[edit]

Many Protestant churches and hymnals use an adapted version with a third verse altered to remove Marian references:

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.

This song is among the most common songs in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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]