Did they sing this at your parish today?

Given the readings, “Here I Am, Lord” is a natural.  We sang this at my place.  How about you?

Here’s one of the prettiest versions I’ve heard, from a boys choir.

YouTube Preview Image


  1. Yes.

  2. Yes!

  3. janet Mansfield says:

    Yes, It was our communion hymn. Everyone along with the choir sounded beautiful.

  4. Yes, we sang this hymn….one of my favorites!!

  5. Ryan Ellis says:

    No. Since my parish actually follows the GIRM and the mind of the Church since Pope St. Pius X, we used Simple English Propers.

  6. Fr. Matheus says:

    Our Choir sang it as communion meditation. I used the one “Here I Am” by Rory Cooney as part of my homily today.

  7. Yes we did :)

  8. Oregon Catholic says:

    Yes, for communion. Beautiful hymn.

  9. Yes, we sang this one; it is a favorite of our congregation.
    “Here I Am, Lord” has even crossed denominational lines; whenever I attend a wedding or funeral in another church, I always check out the hymnals that are in the pews. I noticed this one in a Lutheran hymnal.

  10. It will never go away
    Like my cold, it stays and stays
    All the songs that we could sing
    We get this thing?
    Used to like the tune and rhyme,
    But the fifty-thousandth time
    Gets a little tedious
    Oh, don’t it just?

    Here I spam, Lord.
    Is sad I, Lord?
    I have heard this earworm in the night.
    I will go, Lord,
    To Mongolia
    I will hold my ears, do myself harm.

  11. Fifty songs a year at most,
    Sometimes twenty, coast to coast.
    Sing a new song is a joke.
    We never do.
    Repertoire lives in a hive:
    ’92 to ’75.
    Do we need to pass a bribe
    To get more through?

  12. It is not in our hymnal. It is from 1981 and apparently does not meet local standards.

  13. Yep, at our local college campus Mass, and at the Lutheran church where I direct music.

  14. We sang ”On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”, which felt like Advent but worked with the gospel reading. And we used to do the Simple English Propers and a hymn, but that was two directors ago. I miss it.

  15. justamouse says:


  16. Nope, that song and many others are no longer used at mass and are no longer even in the hymnal.

  17. “No. Since my parish actually follows the GIRM and the mind of the Church since Pope St. Pius X, we used Simple English Propers.”

    We are somewhat on this notion, using “Shepherd Me, O God” for Communion, which was the Roman Missal’s assigned psalm. We’re also of the mind of the GIRM: program music people can and will sing. I’m not a big fan of the new-music-of-the-week approach. Alienates too many people who attach to the familiar.

    “Here I Am, Lord” is coming up later in this stretch of ordinary time. Using Psalm 40 was enough, I thought.

  18. Yes! and I love that song so. I was so surprised to see it I made sure I sang along. :)

  19. Of course, the propers in the missal are not for singing, but for saying (i.e., the little old lady Mass at 7AM, and ferial Masses during the week). If you want to put something to song, you’re better off keying off the Gradual, which has a different Communion Antiphon this week from the Roman Missal. #ordinarytimeproblems

    This is why the Gregorian Missal or Simple English Propers is the way to go in most parishes. Introit, Offertory, Communion. Give the Baby Boomers their rousing recessional and be done with it.

  20. I hope one day your parish returns to what the Church calls for in the GIRM and consistently in the last 100 years of opinions on music. I really do.

  21. “This is why the Gregorian Missal or Simple English Propers is the way to go in most parishes.”

    No thanks. Most parishes will agree with me on that one. The given antiphons in the Missal or in the Gradual were never harmonized with a three-year Lectionary cycle. They’re remnants from an outdated rite. Any good music director with a sound knowledge of Scripture and musical repertoire can improve on the Gradual, especially during ordinary time.

    I have no problem with sound music based on the Scriptures, harmonized to the readings of the day. It has nothing to do with rousing music. It has everything to do with participatory, spiritual music the people know.

  22. Nope. At the choir Mass (I’m in the choir) we had “Hymns of Thankfulness and Praise” for the procession. Then, Felix Mendelssohn’s “I Waited for the Lord” for offertory. And at Communion George Friedrich Handel’s “Behold the Lamb of God” (from “Messiah”) and Aaron Copland’s “At the River”. The recession is an organ voluntary at all Masses.

    It wasn’t sung at the non-choir Masses either. They had the same opening hymn. Then “Be Not Afraid” for offertory and “Behold the Lamb of God” for Communion.

  23. yes… :)

  24. “…sound music based on the Scriptures, harmonized to the readings of the day. It has nothing to do with rousing music. It has everything to do with participatory, spiritual music the people know.”

  25. We did not have that hymn offered today. It always reminds me of my ordination!

  26. LOL, this is one of the most overused songs in the repertoire! It’s like this with Eagle Wings are the only tow songs left.

    Yes, we sang it, and am tiered of it, really.

  27. YES !!!!! Glad to hear that !!

  28. yeah — glad to read this.

  29. Has the parish actually tied to learn the music of the propers and integrate it into the Liturgy? Dont knock it till you have made the effort.

  30. Agreed.

  31. BTW — how can I stop the pop-us from zedo — they keep showing up everytime I come to this site.

  32. Ryan Ellis says:

    To say nothing of the fact that this attitude arrogantly sets up music tyrants as the masters of liturgical choices. Instead, we should let the GIRM do that, since, you know, those are the rules of the Mass as given us by the Church. The first option is the antiphon from the Gradual (if sung) or Missal (if said). Your little ditties are choice four out of four, and clearly implied to be the exception rather than the rule.

    As to the substance of your statement, a quick look at SEP shows that there are three sets of Offertory and Communion chants most weeks of Ordinary Time, for just the reason you give–to tie the texts to the Lectionary Cycle. For example, yesterday I got to hear all about Simon and Andrew at communion time. Next year, I will hear all about the Wedding at Cana.

  33. Ryan Ellis says:

    We have a wonderful parish and pastor–St Rita Parish in Alexandria VA, Diocese of Arlington. A budding St. John Cantius.

  34. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Musical selection is obviously subjective — as is musical taste. It is one thing to follow, letter by letter, note by note, the guidelines in the GIRM. It is another to incorporate music that is uplifting, prayerful, meaningful and singable.

    I’m sure “Here I Am, Lord” isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea; but as countless people will tell you (and I’m one of them), it strikes a chord and often stirs deep spiritual feelings, for one reason or another. Maybe it’s just trite sentimentality — responding to hackneyed music that we connect with particular moments in our lives.

    But even trite sentimentality and mediocre melodies can draw us closer to God, and can be an instrument (yes, pun intended) for His use.

    And isn’t that the point?

    Don’t dismiss this kind of music so easily. I’m not convinced that God does.

  35. Holly Hansen says:

    Yes we sang it at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church Springfield IL. Our lectionary is very close to the RC lectionary. LOVE IT by the way.

  36. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    One of the more unusual experiences I had singing this hymn was at an interfaith service around Thanksgiving a couple years ago. A significant number of people there — maybe most of them? — were Jewish. I doubt they’d ever heard it before. But the message is obviously universal.

  37. How about the rest of the options in the GIRM?

  38. I agree, Deacon Greg!

  39. Some comments indicate that the GIRM excludes songs, such as “Here I am, Lord”. They read only what they want in the GIRM. Following is part of the GIRM:

    The Importance of Singing

    39. The Christian faithful who gather together as one to await the Lord’s coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (cf. Col 3:16). Singing is the sign of the heart’s joy (cf. Acts 2:46). Thus Saint Augustine says rightly, “Singing is for one who loves.”48 There is also the ancient proverb: “One who sings well prays twice.”

    40. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are of themselves meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.

    In the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, however, preference should be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those to be sung by the priest or the deacon or the lector, with the people responding, or by the priest and people together.49

    41. All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.50

    Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.51

  40. Regina Faighes says:

    Asfo I.

  41. Regina Faighes says:

    I meant to type: As do I. Darn this online keyboard.

  42. Regina Faighes says:

    The Jewish attendees might have thought about God’s call of Samuel: the Old Testament reading for yesterday’s Mass. :-)

  43. The propers inform our musical planning, but we are not slaves to them. Sometimes there are better texts, songs that the assembly knows.

    Dan Schutte’s fine song is based on another call, Isaiah 6–not quite the same as Samuel. But not unlike the call of the apostles Andrew and Peter. I respect the song, but we’ve saved it for another Sunday. I’d rather spread the message of “Here I am” from Psalm 40 and Isaiah 6 around.

  44. CCC 2478 would indicate that you might refrain from calling sister and brother Catholics “tyrants.” You know nothing about how tens of thousands of English-speaking parishes plan music.

    If, Ryan, you find that singing the propers is spiritually fruitful for your parish, by all means make the case. Give us a video of your parish singing the propers. But please, spare us the myth that everybody must have a uniform approach to music ministry.

  45. Thanks you, Will. Not only do some miss what is in the GIRM, they overlook the prescriptions of the Order of Mass itself, as well as the reasons for singing the Mass.

  46. wineinthewater says:

    That’s not quite what people are saying. They are saying that the singing of hymns such as this, in place of singing the parts of the mass, is the less desirable option. Just because you aren’t singing a hymn, doesn’t mean you aren’t singing.

  47. I keep hearing the theme from The Brady Bunch at the refrain: “Here I ammm, Lord. Is it IIII, Lord? Who was bringing up three very lovely girls…” Hymn written in 1981. Brady Bunch theme in 1969.

  48. What is given above is a general principle about the importance of singing at Mass. N.B. that Gregorian Chant holds first place.

    This is what the GIRM says about the Introit. Similar instructions are given for the Offertory and the Communion. Notice that there is a hierarchy of preference, and notice that the fourth option (which in most parishes has become, strangely, the norm) doesn’t even assume hymnody. This is also clearly the direction that the Church wants us to go. Read anything written by the bishops on this in the last ten years, for example.

    47. When the people are gathered, and as the Priest enters with the Deacon and ministers, the Entrance Chant begins. Its purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.

    48. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

    If there is no singing at the Entrance, the antiphon given in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a reader; otherwise, it is recited by the Priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation (cf. no. 31).

  49. “Here I Am Lord” is not a hymn. It is a song with the identical structure to a proper: a common antiphon intended to be sung by the community, and verses originally designed to be sung by a solo voice or choir.

    I have no problem with sung propers, as long as the assembly sings either the antiphon or the psalm verses.

  50. Ryan, I believe you are misreading the GIRM and interpreting the musical choices of many parishes incorrectly.

    The first option is for a proper to be sung in dialogue between the people and the choir. If you have a schola singing the proper, then you have chosen option 4 from one menu, and option 1 from the other.

    Option 1 includes the antiphon from the missal sung to “another setting,” so by singing “Shepherd Me O God,” my community adopted option 1. Not 4.

    Option 3 is far more frequent for American communion music: another Biblical setting. While Isaiah 6 is not a psalm, it would seem to be more in keeping with option 3, a biblical setting of church music.

    By all means, continue promoting the propers. But you will do your cause more credit by being more persuasive of the superiority of your choices, rather than dismissive and insulting of what other people sing.

  51. Mr Schutte’s George Harrison moment?

  52. Correct. To amplify, here is what “Sing to the Lord” says (the current instruction on music in the Mass from the USCCB). Note that hymns are permitted as a secondary option to the chants of the official books:

    144. The text and music for the Entrance song may be drawn from a number of sources.

    a. The singing of an antiphon and psalm during the entrance procession has been a longstanding tradition in the Roman Liturgy. Antiphons and psalms may be drawn from the official liturgical books—the Graduale Romanum, or the Graduale Simplex—or
    from other collections of antiphons and psalms.

    b. Other hymns and songs may also be sung at the Entrance, providing that they are in keeping with the purpose of the Entrance chant or song. The texts of antiphons, psalms, hymns, and songs for the Liturgy must have been approved either by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or by the local diocesan bishop.110

  53. A Trip down Memory Lane:
    Before Vatican II, normally, we did not sing hymns at Mass. (That was what the Protestants did. After all, it was Luther who promoted congregational singing in the language of the people.)
    But then, the Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, encouraged us to sing at Mass: “Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out according to the norms and requirements of the rubrics.” (121)
    When we did sing in pre-Vatican II times, it was usually at extra-liturgical services like novenas or May Processions and the hymns expressed popular piety, e.g.,
    Sacred Heart: “Like a Strong and Raging Fire”
    Mary: “Mother, At Your Feet is Kneeling” “On This Day, O Beautiful Mother”
    Private Prayer: “Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All” “Soul of My Savior”
    And, most memorable, “Long, Live the Pope”
    Thanks goodness for composers like the St. Louis Jesuits, who produced hymns that represented our new emphasis on Scripture in the Liturgy of the Word and Bible Study, (again, an emphasis that we thought previously was Protestant – “sola Scriptura”) and followed the directive in the document on the Liturgy:
    “The texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine; indeed they should be drawn chiefly from holy scripture and from liturgical sources.” (121)
    To the best of my knowledge, their hymns were always drawn from Scripture, e.g., “Here I Am” (Isaiah 8) and my favorite that was the recessional at our wedding, “Sing a New Song” (Psalm 98).

  54. Trite and sentimental it is. I do not object to that per se, but to the fact that in many parishes, this selection and a couple of others have become about the only repertoire and are played again and again with all the feeling of empty wind.

  55. Regina Faighes says:

    And it also might have invoked for them Isaiah 6:8. So even if they had never heard the hymn, they would have been familiar with the text. :-)

  56. Oops, correction:
    not “Here I Am” (Isaiah 8)
    but “Here I Am” (Isaiah 6:8)

  57. David_J_White says:

    No; but then, I attended the Traditional Latin Mass, where readings were those of the Second Sunday after Epiphany: Romans 12:6-16 (Epistle), and John 2:1-11 (Wedding Feast at Cana, Gospel).

    I’m sure “Here I Am, Lord” isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea; but as countless people will tell you (and I’m one of them), it strikes a chord and often stirs deep spiritual feelings, for one reason or another.

    Since I went to a Jesuit high school in the late 70s, where the “Songs of the St. Louis Jesuits were relentlessly crammed down our throats, the chord that this and everything else by Dan Schutte strikes with me is, “Yuck!”.

  58. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Sorry to hear that.

    Dcn. G.

  59. I appreciate this reply. I’ve never had an experience like this. My own approach as a Catholic music director is quite eclectic and draws from the full breadth and variety of the sacred repertoire.

    Another frequenbtly-used song was mentioned above, “On Eagles Wings.” My own approach to these immensely popular songs is to program them rarely–maybe twice a year at most, mainly to keep them fresh for my parish and the musicians. I think there’s a craft involved in programming music so that the whole repertoire stays balanced, appropriate, and fruitful. Not everybody has it. It’s not been my experience that the Jesuits have completely nailed down good liturgy. By and large, the Benedictines do a far better job. But they run fewer high schools.

  60. “I went to a Jesuit high school in the late 70s, where the “Songs of the St. Louis Jesuits were relentlessly crammed down our throats, the chord that this and everything else by Dan Schutte strikes with me is, “Yuck!”.’
    Let’s visit this for a moment. I think the operative phrase is “…crammed down our throats…”. Believe me, I sympathize with that. I am a bit older than you, and I was in a grade school choir pre-Vatican II. We sang both Latin and English hymns, chant, high Masses, Benediction, May Crowning, the whole nine yards. Won’t say we did them well, but we sang them. Then along came VII, and it all went away (for awhile). In its place came the first generation of new music, which by the way, was way worse than the St. Louis Jesuits. Think “Shout From the Highest Mountain”, “Here We Are”, “Allelu!”, “Sons of God”….you get the drift. It was a long time before I could take any joy in the newer music, but I finally did gain an appreciation as an adult of the Scripture-based hymns such as “Here I Am”.
    I think the lesson here is that no one likes to feel that something is being crammed down their throat, whether it is St. Louis Jesuits, Latin chant, or English Propers. I think the answer is a balanced repertoire, as Todd says in his next comment. Also respect for one another, in that we recognize that we all relate to Sacred Music in our own way. As a church musician I never want anyone to feel that I am forcing my agenda on them.

  61. I have left behind specific instructions that if either “Here I Am Lord” of “On Eagles Wings” are sung at my funeral, I will haunt all involved.
    These songs weren’t forced on me, but I received a sound musical education when I was younger. “Here I Am, Lord” doesn’t hold a candle to “All Creatures of Our God and King”, “Faith of Our Fathers”, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”, “On Jordan’s Bank” or “Lift High the Cross”.
    Not just not in the same ballpark – not even the same game.

  62. The propers inform our musical planning, but we are not slaves to them. Sometimes there are better texts, songs that the assembly knows.
    - “better texts” certainly an induaction on whare you are with the corrected translation.

  63. “Here I Am Lord” is not a hymn. – you are so correct. Thank you for saying this.

  64. Dan Schutte strikes with me is, “Yuck!”.
    - he had has his time. 15 mins are up.

  65. naturgesetz says:

    Despite the fact that many people find the St. Louis Jesuits’ work yucky, there are many others who like it a lot. “On Eagles’ Wings” is often requested at funerals (and I don’t think people think it’s about Boston College), for one example; and lots of people sing “Here I Am” as willingly as any of the earlier standards.

  66. “Corrected translation” is a misnomer. We don’t have that. Yet.


    I favor an improved MR4.

  67. Yes!
    (I did hear it; I agree it is pretty but highly overused AND bears an uncanny resemblance to the Brady Bunch theme.)

  68. “On Eagle’s Wings” was not written by the St. Louis Jesuits: it is by Fr. Jan Michael Joncas.

  69. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    It’s interesting to me that people consider it overused. We rarely hear it in my parish. Last weekend was an exception.

    One we do hear a lot, though, as a recessional: “Oh God Beyond All Praising.” And “Out of Darkness” pops up frequently around Easter.

  70. David_J_White says:

    I appreciate the thoughtful replies to my comment.

    I think one of the problems I have with the way the “Songs of the St. Louis Jesuits” is they way they are generally presented as Mas. To my ears, they way many of them are written — the kinds of meters and time signatures and notes used — seems to indicated that the writers envisioned that they would be performed by a small group, perhaps with guitar accompaniment. (Personally I don’t care for that, either, but that’s beside the point.) What they seem extremely ill-suited for, musically, is being sung by a large congregation with organ accompaniment. And yet that is the way they seem to be done most often, in most parishes where I have heard them. The songs themselves just seem to be written in a way that is better served, musically, by a more “intimate” kind of performance than they usually get in a parish setting. At least that’s the way they strike my ears. As congregational hymns with organ accompaniment they just seem to d-r-a-g.

  71. David_J_White says:

    (Sorry for the typos in my previous posting. I shouldn’t try to multitask.)

Leave a Comment