Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saint Mary the Virgin

Many Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Orthodox churches observe this feast day dedicated to Mary, the mother of Christ.  This hymn for the day begins with the same words as an ancient antiphon to Mary, Ave regina caelorum, which is still part of the daily office of the church.  It also refers to another title for her that you may have heard, the ocean star, or Star of the sea.

Hail, Queen of heav'n, the ocean star,
Guide of the wand'rer here below;
Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care;
Save us from peril and from woe,
Mother of Christ, star of the sea,
Pray for the wand'rer, pray for me.

Sojourners in this vale of tears,
To thee, blest advocate, we cry,
Pity our sorrows, calm our fears,
And soothe with hope our misery.
Refuge in grief, star of the sea,
Pray for the mourner, pray for me.

And while to Christ who reigns above,
In Godhead One, in Persons Three,
The source of life, of grace, of love,
Honor we pay each day to thee.
Heavenly Queen, star of the sea,
Pray for all people, pray for me.

Latin; tr. John Lingard, 18th cent.; alt.
Tune: STELLA (
Henri F. Hemy, 1851

Henri Frederic Hemy was a Roman Catholic composer, and this tune first appeared in his collection Easy Hymn Tunes for Catholic Schools (1851).  It it supposedly based on an English folk melody and has been matched with this text ever since.

Five Years Ago:  Ye who claim the faith of Jesus

Four Years Ago: Hail, holy Queen

Three Years Ago: Sing, sing, ye angel bands

Two Years Ago: Virgin-born, we bow before thee

One Year Ago: Let this day, above all other

No comments: