St. Macartin's Cathedral

Last updated 19th April 2020
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                                         On-line Hymns During the Coronavirus Crisis 2020

For people of faith in these difficult times, listening to Christian music, or better still, watching it being performed on line, is very uplifting - a real spiritual experience. During the Coronavirus crisis, this page will carry links to music videos which we hope will be a blessing to all.

To see our choir singing two of the best known hymns by old Portoran Henry Francis Lyte, "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven" and "Abide with Me" Click HERE

23rd March: The hymn "Nearer My God to Thee" is one of our most loved and is associated with the Titanic Disaster in 1912, even if the story about it being played by the ship's band is probably untrue. The version of the tune, performed by André Rieu and his orchestra and choir at a concert in Amsterdam is extremely beautiful and moving. Can you view it without tears in your eyes? Try it and see! Click HERE.

24th March: The communion hymn "I am the Bread of Life" is usually associated with the Roman Catholic interpretation of the Christian faith, but it is in our Church of Ireland hymn book - number 420. The particularly jolly version featured here is performed by The University of Notre Dame Folk Choir. The basis of its chorus "And I will raise you up on the last day" should be a joy to all believers! (There is an ad. before it plays, but you can skip it if you wish.) Click HERE

25th March:
Today's musical treat is "If Ye Love Me" - composed by Thomas Tallis in 1560 - it uses the words of Jesus found in the Gospel of St. John chapter 14. It was used beautifully during Prince Harry's wedding (search for it on YouTube). It is sung in four parts (complicated!) so the video I'm referring to in the link here shows the lyrics to make it generally easy to follow. (You may have to endure a very short ad. before it starts!)  Click HERE

26th March: And another treat: the supremely beautiful "Ave Verum Corpus" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Our choir sometimes sings this during communion - sadly it could be quite a long time till those days are back with us. It is sung in Latin but the English translation appears on screen. Click HERE

27th March: As I was taking out the bin on a beautiful calm and starry night about 8pm yesterday,  I looked up to the sky and into the depths of the universe and it struck me that our God is bigger than it - and I am so small. Yet He knows my every thought, even the hairs on my head are numbered. The words of the hymn "How Great Thou Art" came to mind. Then, by coincidence, on Facebook our head projectionist Ronnie Carson requested that very hymn - so here it is! Click HERE.

28th March: At this point, as we listen to the beautiful "Hymn to the Fallen", we might reflect on the many who have lost their lives as a result of infection by this terrible virus and remember in prayer their relatives and friends in the enormous sorrow that they suffer. Not forgetting the wonderful teams of scientific researchers, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, many of whom daily risk their own lives in the fight against the infection. Click HERE.

29th March: The hymn "Be Thou My Vision" is very commonly sung in St. Macartin's Cathedral in normal times. The words are based on an ancient Middle Irish poem translated by Eleanor Hull in 1912 and has been sung to the tune "Slane" since 1919. This YouTube version has had nearly six million views. To listen and to read the lyrics, click HERE.

30th March: I stumbled upon this "virtual choir" (the only sort allowed at present) singing "Down to the River" - a song which I first heard on the soundtrack of the wonderful film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" starring George Clooney. In it, he and two other not-very-intelligent convicts meet a baptismal party heading towards a river in the deep south of the United States. Click HERE for the virtual choir. It's a bit repetitive but the harmonies are gorgeous.

31st March: I only remember the old hymn, "Tell Me the Old Old Story" being sung once in the cathedral, but on that occasion it was done with enthusiasm. I think t generated nostalgic feelings in many of those present. If you have an Alexa and ask her to play the hymn, this version by Ann Williamson pops up. Click HERE to listen to it.

1st April: Another old, but much loved hymn, "Rock of Ages" - which always reminds me of a hanging scene in the 1968 Clint Eastwood Western, "Hang 'em High"! Click HERE for a version where no one dies!

2nd April: The hymn, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" is very popular, indeed it was sung at the wedding of Harry and Meghan. Click HERE for a sub-titled version.

3rd April: Today's musical piece is a variant of the very popular "Amazing Grace" a hymn written by former slave trader John Newton who later found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This video was uploaded to YouTube on 15th March and shows many photographs taken in China in the early days of what became a pandemic. Click HERE

4th April: Just about everyone who visits this page will have a favourite hymn, but few would remember the first time they ever heard it. For me, this one is an exception. One Sunday evening over ten years ago, I was sitting at my computer with "Songs of Praise" on the telly in the background. I was suddenly struck by the beauty of the words and music of one of the hymns - an instant like and a favourite ever since. "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" was written by Stuart Townend, one of the best modern hymn writers. Click HERE to listen. You can also watch a short video in which Stuart talks about its composition by clicking HERE.

5th April: On this Palm Sunday, some of our congregation would normally parade to the morning service waving laurel branches (not many palms in Enniskillen) but sadly not this year - the Coronavirus crisis has prevented it from happening. Had there been a service, we would probably have sung this hymn, "All Glory, Laud and Honour" - listen to a variant on it by clicking HERE

6th April: A hymn that seems very appropriate for the Christian believer during the present crisis  - "Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow" - click HERE.

7th April: A very beautiful setting of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu" (Merciful Jesus) was performed at André Rieu's 2014 concert in Maastrict. The words are in Latin, so just enjoy the music! Click HERE

8th April: This worship hymn is fairly new to me - "What a Beautiful Name" - Click HERE

9th April: Joseph Scriven was born in 1819 in Banbridge, County Down. Tragically, his fiancée accidentally drowned in 1843, the night before they were to be married, then in 1860 his second fiancée suddenly fell ill of pneumonia and died. While living in Canada he wrote a poem in 1855 to comfort his seriously ill mother in Ireland called "Pray Without Ceasing". This poem became the famous hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". Click HERE to listen to a version of it - a favourite of many.

10th April: Good Friday, when we remember what in human terms was the greatest injustice in human history, but one that brought the promise of eternal life to all believers.  I can't say I'm much of a fan of Daniel O'Donnell, but hey, he's popular in this neck of the woods, so here he sings "The Old Rugged Cross" - Click HERE to listen.

11th April: For Easter Saturday, what better than "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" sung by Cliff Richard, no less, in 1985 - click HERE

12th April: Easter Sunday: Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! The hymn, "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" would be sung today in numerous churches of many denominations - if it weren't for the necessary social isolation imposed by so many governments around the world. But there is nothing to stop us tuning into this old hymn on-line. This particular one has only organ music and lyrics - a Karaoke version, one might say. Try singing along either aloud or in your mind, concentrating on the great meaning of the words - you'll be blessed!  Click HERE.

13th April: I heard the beautiful old Welsh hymn "Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean" on "Songs of Praise" on Easter Sunday and felt it would be ideal for today. This version is by Robin Mark. Click HERE.

14th April: With such terrible figures in the news every day for deaths as a result of Coronavirus infection, it is inevitable that many people think about the fickleness of life and their own mortality. Many years ago I was at a funeral in a County Fermanagh village. While waiting for the coffin to be brought out into the churchyard, a total stranger to me (don't know who he was, never saw him again) started talking to me about death. His conclusion was that if our souls are right with God, we don't need to fear death. And that is the message of hope for the believer at this Easter time. If our trust is in Jesus who died to make our souls right with God, then we need not fear, because we will live with Him for ever. That is the theme of the old hymn by Horatio G. Spafford, "When Peace Like a River" otherwise known as "It is Well With My Soul". Click HERE to listen.

15th April: "The Lord's My Shepherd" must surely be the best known of the Psalm's of David. To listen to a beautiful modern take on it by Stuart Townend, click HERE.

16th April: Now for something completely different.Thvaikovsky's "Hymn of the Cherubim" is sung in Russian. No, I don't speak it either, but the beauty of the music can be very spiritually soothing. Over nine million YouTube views in one post. Click HERE

17th April: In the 70s there was a Christian group called "The Second Chapter of Acts" which produced many great songs and hymns with beautiful harmonies. This old hymn "My Jesus I Love Thee" is one of the best. Click HERE

18th April: One of the finest and most prolific hymn writers in the last two hundred years was Fanny Crosby (1820 – 1915) - she just wrote 8000 of them or so under about 200 pseudonyms! She was blind, but the reason for the condition is uncertain. One theory is that as a baby, mustard poultices were applied to her infected eyes causing major damage, but there is a possibility that the severely defective vision was congenital. Perhaps her most famous hymn is the rather jolly "To God be the Glory". Click HERE to listen.

19th April: Here "The Second Chapter of Acts" sings "Holy Holy Holy", an old hymn, but the words of which capture magically and mystically the holiness and majesty of the God who made us all, something that is sadly lacking in so many modern Christian songs. Click HERE to listen.

20th April: I stumbled upon this video - a chanted version of "Saint Patrick's Breastplate" - entitled A Hymn of Blessing for those Infected and Affected by Corona Virus Pandemic - it contains some beautiful and also some harrowing images capturing the theme of the current crisis. Click HERE to view.

21st April:This very recent video of an unnamed girl singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" was, I think, filmed in Liverpool. What a voice! Click HERE.

22nd April: "And Can It Be" - this must be the greatest and most meaningful hymn of Charles Wesley, in which he reflects on the wonders and mystery of the atonement of our sins by God in human form. Click HERE

23rd April: "Praise Him, Praise Him" is a great hymn of Fanny Crosby (see the 18th April entry), but not one we sing in cathedral, more's the pity. You can listen by clicking HERE

24th April:
Here's quite a modern hymn, "Before the Throne of God Above" - it speaks of the spiritual security of  all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This version is from the BBC's "Songs of Praise" - Click HERE

25th April: One of the most beautiful Christian songs is, unusually, half in Hebrew and half in English. It is called "El Shaddai" and the most famous version is by Amy Grant. The meaning of the Hebrew words is: El Shaddai - "God Almighty";   El-Elyon na Adonai is a combination of two names for God, meaning "God Most High, please my Lord"; and Erkamka na Adonai  means "I love you, my Lord". Listen to it and hopefully be enthralled! Click HERE

26th April: I know that "Amazing Grace" has been featured here already, but it is only a part of this amazing video which is a real revelation. The presenter and singer is the very gifted Wintley Phipps. Click HERE

30th April: Here is another famous hymn by Fanny Crosby - "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine" - a Country and Western version! Click HERE

1st May: "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" has never lost its popularity despite having been around for a long time - since 1708  in fact.  It was written by Isaac Watts and paraphrases the 90th Psalm of the Book of Psalms. Click HERE

2nd May: One of our most rousing hymns is "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord" - sometimes known as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". (American one, that is.) It is sung on this video by the audience at the BBC's "Big Sing" in the Royal Albert Hall in 2012. And, as a bonus, is followed up with "O Praise Ye the Lord".  Click HERE

3rd May:This modern hymn, entitled "Well Done" by The Afters, is very moving and echoes Matthew 25:23 - "Well done, good and faithful servant" - words that every Christian should hope would some day be addressed to him/her. It has over seven million views on YouTube. Click HERE

6th May: Another old hymn by Fanny Crosby - "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" - wise policy! Click HERE

8th May: A beautiful modern hymn, "Faithful One" sung by Robin Mark - emphasises our complete dependence on the Lord. Click HERE

9th May: And another Robin Mark song, "All I Once Held Dear" - Click HERE

Not a hymn but here is choir member Jane McKinley singing "We'll Meet Again" on VE Day 75. Click HERE

10th May: Based on words from Psalm 42, "As the Deer Pants for the Water" is a recurring favourite in the Cathedral. Click HERE to listen.

12th May: Classical music fans will be familiar with the famous work "Finlandia" by Sibelius and the beautiful tune nesting within it which has become a well known hymn "Be Still My Soul". Click HERE to listen to a version featuring the angelic voices of the boys' choir "Libera".

13th May: Here's a great modern Resurrection hymn - full of joy, from Stuart Townend : "See What a Morning". Click HERE