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Friday, 26 January 2007

Hymn to St John Fisher

Above the entrance to the John Fisher School Chapel, there is a new statue of the patron. He carries in his hand the Cardinal's hat which he never received. Pope Paul III thought that Henry VIII would not dare to execute a Cardinal. The King's reaction to the news is well known:
"Yea, is he yet so lusty? Let the Pope send him a hat when he will, but I shall provide that whensoever it cometh, he shall wear it on his shoulders, for head he shall have none to set it on."
St John Fisher is the only Cardinal Martyr.

Dan Cooper gave me a copy of the school hymn which was composed by the founder, Canon Byrne. I don't have a copy of the music but will try to get hold of it.
Sharing Christ’s Priesthood, high honour, dread burden,
Steadfast amid all its manifold cares,
Friend of the poor, of the aged, the dying,
Saint of the Priesthood, give ear to our prayers,
And pray for us now.

Patron of learning, enriching, ennobling,
The home of the scholar, inspirer of youth;
Through thy far vision, athwart the late ages,
The lamp of true wisdom, the torchlight of truth.
Illumine us now.

Counsellor of State, ever tireless in service,
Dauntless defender of faith without stain;
Alone thou didst see and rebuke the first heralds
Of heresy, liberty’s cloak – and its bane:
O counsel us now.

Alone of thy peers thou didst brook the displeasure
Of King and his court, God’s law to proclaim;
Loyal to England and Christ’s worthy vicar.
Death found thee fearless, despising the shame.
O strengthen us now.

Gentle yet stern, like John the beloved,
Aflame with the fire of the Baptist’s zeal;
England’s own Chrysostom, Saint of the Priesthood,
St John of England, before thee we kneel:
O plead for us now.
Yes, now would be a good time.
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