ASK FATHER: Two hymns to memorize for times of danger

From a reader…


Could you recommend 1-2 songs for all of us to memorize so, should we find ourselves being marched somewhere or on a plane in danger or any situation where we may be heading towards our death, we may sing these songs in unison. Thank you, Father, for all you do for us. May God bless you always!

Hmmmm…. lot’s of choices.

I’ll limit myself to English language hymns.  I’ll limit myself to hymns written by Catholics for Catholics.

How about…

  • Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
  • Faith Of Our Fathers.

There are a couple melodies for Faith Of Our Fathers, I believe.  Either one will do.

I am confident that everyone else reading this will be in exact agreement and will have no other suggestions.


That said, I also suggest that priests memorize at least one Mass formulary, against the day that they are thrown into the future Democrat reeducation camps for torture and brainwashing.

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  1. The Egyptian says:

    Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
    Faith Of Our Fathers.
    Two for the REAL Catholic hymn book, Amen
    beats eagles wings any day

  2. Josephus Corvus says:

    My first thought when reading the question before getting to your response was Holy God We Praise Thy Name because of its basis in the Te Deum, so I’m in complete agreement. I also like your suggestion of Faith of our Fathers. BUT we need to add a big warning message on that one. Before memorizing it, make sure you have a good traditional hymnal in your hand. The lefties got to that one and gutted every verse but the first one. Faith of our mothers….faith of our schnauzers….or something like that. :-)

  3. APX says:

    I think it depends on your end goal. If you’re looking for something more tactical, I’d go with Ashes or Gather Us In. My theory is if you sing two of the most annoying songs sung in Catholic Churches, they’ll either a) hurry up the process in killing you, or b) go mad and leave you alone.

    But on a more serious note, yes Faith of Our Fathers is a good one. I’m a particular fan of Rejoice, the Lord is King. I think something Marian as well would be fitting, so Hail Holy Queen. I’m also particular to Alleluia, Sing to Jesus. At the risk of being lynch mobbed for suggesting something written by a Protestant, though fully Catholic in content, a rousing Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling, also sung to the hymn tune, Hyfrydol. I’m particularly fond of the last verse.

  4. APX says:

    One last thought, one of the greatest ways to memorize hymns is to sing them during Mass with the choir.

  5. Luminis says:

    I would memorize “Salve Regina”
    and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”

  6. sibnao says:

    @Luminis, I second your suggestion. “Salve Regina” — it is incomparable for singing unaccompanied and in times of trial.

  7. eamonob says:

    I would also add Be Thou My Vision. That and Holy God We Praise Thy Name are my two favorite hymns.

  8. Gaetano says:

    Poulenc clearly affirms one in Dialogues des Carmélites:

  9. The original Mr. X says:

    O God our Help in Ages Past“.

    One of the more common settings of the Nicene Creed would be good, as well.

  10. jltuttle says:

    I always thought “Oh God Beyond All Praising” by Michael Perry(?) and sung to Holst’s Jupiter is particularly inspirational. I can see myself going down inflames (or up for that matter) while singing it.

  11. majuscule says:

    “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” is our most often used recessional hymn. It’s also our go-to hymn when our musicians aren’t there. We also use it at the end of Benediction.

  12. WmHesch says:

    For a long time, it was custom for the first three Masses of a newly ordained priest to be:

    Votive of the Holy Spirit
    Votive of the BVM

    Those would be three good Mass formularies for priests to memorize… and for pious laymen, too- should the time come when the internet’s gone and our books are burned.

  13. mibethda says:

    Actually, I would have another suggestion. It is not by a Catholic, though written by an Anglican after coming over to the Oxford Movement – and written shortly before his own death. It is Henry Francis Lyte’s “Abide With Me” – particularly when sung to Monk’s ‘Eventide’. The first two and last two verses would seem to be particularly appropriate for the use suggested.

  14. ArthurH says:

    “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” is surely one on my list as well, going back to my youth. I had just turned 10 (in 51) when our fledgeling parish (still two years before our Church/school would be built) had its first annual father-son Communion breakfast sponsored by the Holy Name Society. We had breakfast after Mass in a nice reception-kind-of restaurant (many rooms) in NYC and we closed the breakfast after speeches and prayers and such with this wonderful hymn. It was my first experience with an all-male (at least half adult) group singing, singing THAT, and that powerful male sound is with me today when I even hear the title spoken. On my dining room wall is a large pic of all from that breakfast, one of my greatest treasures.

    The other hymn was one played at the time of my first Communion, although I had heard it before: “Oh Lord I Am Not Worthy”. There were 3 first grades receiving the sacrament in my NYC school, the average size of EACH class being about 70 (mine was the smallest at 68)–total about 200 kids. And we received, each of us, one at a time, with one parent on each side and also on the altar. The song was played/sung by the choir endlessly, we sang it to start, as the Communion line slowly moved forward. Mass– with its unhurried pace and the fasting, impacted everyone far different from today’s hurry-up liturgy where fasting is barely expected and rarely followed. Today someone would complain about having innocent little kids associated with that hymn; I found and find it stunningly beautiful. Lastly, a big treat for someone quite poor at the time, my parents, my sister and I ate out in a diner after Mass, probably at about 11 or so, fasting back then having been from midnight. Let us return to that state of unhurried beauty.

  15. FranzJosf says:

    I grew up singing this hymn to “Adeste Fidelis” as a Presbyterian, before I converted. The author of the text is unknown, but I find the words reassuring in time of trouble.

    1 How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
    is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
    What more can He say than to you He hath said,
    who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

    2 “In every condition, in sickness, in health,
    in poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
    at home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
    as days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.”

    3 “Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
    for I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
    I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
    upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”

    4 “When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
    the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
    for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
    and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”

    5 “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
    My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
    The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

    6 “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
    I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
    that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”

  16. Just Some Guy says:

    “During a riot at Rome, a mob came to the house where St. Bridget lived; a leader talked of burning Bridget alive. She prayed to Our Blessed Lord to know if she should flee to safety and He assured her to stay, saying: ‘It doesn’t matter if they plot thy death. My power will break the malice of thy enemies: If mine crucified me, it is because I permitted it.’ The Blessed Virgin added:
    ‘Sing as a group the Ave Maris Stella and I will guard you from every danger.'”

  17. Sportsfan says:

    The King of Love my Shepherd is.

  18. Andreas says:

    Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (Großer Gott, wir loben Dich) is wonderful. As Organist, I play it here at our village St. Ulrich’s Church on many of our feast days; they are some of the rare times I am able to pull out all of the Registern (stops). I recall that it was sung at the end of the ‘Missa Papalis’ when His Holiness, Pope Benedict visited Munich back on 2006. Happily, a rather grand arrangement of this hymn from this Mass can be found at:

    I must admit a great fondness for Welsh hymns and would consider the English translation of ‘Cwm Rhondda’ appropriate for such a terminal event.

  19. David says:

    Good suggestions so far. I would also consider “Let all mortal flesh keep silence.” Although it is a bit odd, isn’t it, singing about how we should be silent?

  20. ps23 says:

    Battle Hymn of the Republic
    “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
    While God is marching on!”

  21. “Holy, Holy, Holy” might be a good one. I certainly second “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”, as well as “How Firm a Foundation”.

  22. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I think on the way to the gallows, I’d sing the 2 songs you mentioned.

  23. JesusFreak84 says:

    I think the only additions I might suggest are the simple tone for the Te Deum, and a Credo (III, perhaps? It seems by far the most well-known.)

  24. seattle_cdn says:

    Credo in unum Deum…

  25. grateful says:

    “Bless the Lord, oh my soul”- refrain
    3rd verse-“And on that day when my strength is failing The end draws near and my time has come Still my soul will sing Your praise unending Ten thousand years and then forevermore ”

  26. JonPatrick says:

    Perhaps instead of Salve Regina, a hymn that even most Novus Ordo Catholics know is “Immaculate Mary”. Then again, singing in Latin might be a more powerful witness. “O Sanctissima” is another one that most traditional Catholics will know.

  27. Luminis says:

    Salve Regina is such a beautiful hymn and so very appropriate in times of danger or persecution. Immaculate Mary is better known these days but maybe it would be a good time to teach the Salve Regina. I would not argue against Immaculate Mary though. I would have to include Marian hymn though of the two hymns.I could not leave out Our Blessed Mother.

  28. Sonshine135 says:

    Rise up oh men of God!

  29. KAS says:

    Anyone else have the SAINT JEAN de BREBEUF HYNMAL FOR BOTH FORMS OF THE ROMAN RITE? I am enjoying it so very very much! All the hymns have multiple tunes, and the latin with a more literal meaning translation, THEN it has the singable translation– I cannot say enough nice about this marvelous hymnal. Oh that every parish would buy and use this hymnal for all the music for mass!!!!

    I am eagerly awaiting the version for the organist, etc.

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