Communion Songs - Not just any song

I am a Cantor and guitarist for a church. The music book of choice in our church is Breaking Bread by OCP. My wife (pianist) and I only assist the congregation in song on the first Saturday of the month for the Sunday Mass.
I have an issue that bothers me every month. I would appreciate help from some of the great members on this forum.

There does not appear to be any songs (in my opinion) that are fit for communion. I have read through all the lyrics of most of the songs and it seems to me that most that are designated for communion are not Christ focused, are horribly written, or are just plain blaaaah. The only song that I have found that I really like is “I received the living God”. The lyrics are great and the music is nice.
I can only do “O Sacrament Most Holy” and “I received the Living God” so many times before everyone gets sick of me.

If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it.

Thank you,

Maybe you could put music to some of the beautiful Communion prayers written by great Saints. These have no ‘copy right’ and the words may inspire people and help them pray. :gopray: :gopray2:

Or maybe you could just play something in your guitar without lyrics. This may also help people enter into the mood to pray after Communion without listening to words that may distract them.



I’ve gone through some of my parish’s old bulletins and regarding the Communion songs, here’s what I found:

O Bread of Heaven:
On Page 29:
Soul of My Saviour
On Page 30:
O Jesus Christ Remember
On Page 29:
Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All
On Page 27:
Sweet Sacrament Divine
On Page 30:
See us, Lord
***Warning: In regards to this hymn you may want to review the controversy of mainly the 3rd verse: ***
Hymn Link:

Also, you may want to join the MusicaSacra Forum, if not already as the community there specializes in Catholic musical interests:

Below are some other suggestions, that may or may not be applicable.
All People That On Earth Do Dwell
Godhead Here In Hiding
Sing My Tongue the Saviour’s Glory
Hail Redeemer

God Bless,
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us!

Do you have the 2010 issue of Breaking Bread from OCP? If so, I can help you with numbers.

Some good ones for communion are:

#367 “Shepherd of Souls”
#368 "Lord, Who at Thy First Eucharist
#369 "See Us Lord, About Your Altar
#370 “Panis Angelicus”
#347 “Eat This Bread”
#340 “I Am the Bread of Life”
#338 “The Supper of the Lord”
#336 “Jesus, the Bread of Life”
#330 “Taste and See”

How about all the Taste and See songs? There must be 3 or 4 of those.

I don’t have a Breaking Bread here, but I have the list of what we’re singing for the next few weeks. We’ll be doing Table of Plenty, which is very communion-y, and the Blest Are They and the Prayer of St. Francis. Neither of those would be my choices for Communion although I really like the St. Francis one. I’m not sure I’m thinking of the right one for the other song.

Other ones that come to mind are Like a Shepherd and One Bread, One Body.

I’ve been cantoring for the last 9 years and can’t think of a single song beyond those few. Yep, getting old.

You might be able to make use of the already suggested Musica Sacra resource. The default for the Communion hymn is the Communion antiphon. If you catch a broadcast of the Papal Mass, you will note that most of the times, the antiphons are used.

Table of Plenty, Blest Are They and the Prayer of St. Francis are not really all that great for Communion. Neither is One Bread, One Body.

On the other hand:

I Received the Living God (which you already use)
At That First Eucharist
Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether (from GIA Worship III and not suitable for Lent)
Alleluia, Sing to Jesus (beautiful, but, not for Lent)
–the problem is that OCP chops up this song and removes all of the Eucharistic elements
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (all but the last verse are suitable for Lent)
Love’s Divine, All Love’s Excelling
Shepherd of Souls
Sing My Tongue the Savior’s Glory (perfect for Palm Sunday and Good Friday)
Amen - bilingual song by Fr. John Schiavone

make great Communion hymns.

Do you mean “We Will Rise Again” by David Haas?

I, personally, don’t care for the music for ‘I Received the Living God,’ though I like the lyrics.

You rejected EVERY other communion hymn except ‘O Sacrament Most Holy?’

Re: Communion Songs - Not just any song
Do you have the 2010 issue of Breaking Bread from OCP? If so, I can help you with numbers.

Some good ones for communion are:

#367 “Shepherd of Souls”
#368 "Lord, Who at Thy First Eucharist
#369 "See Us Lord, About Your Altar
#370 “Panis Angelicus”
#347 “Eat This Bread”
#340 “I Am the Bread of Life”
#338 “The Supper of the Lord”
#336 “Jesus, the Bread of Life”
#330 “Taste and See”**

I’d be curious to hear the issues you have with the list above. #336, #338, and #347 are more challenging to sing, melody wise. We use the others, though, and the congregation will sing them with us.

How about - #428 - ‘Christians, Let Us Love One Another’ or #535 - ‘We Remember’ (though, this may be better as an offertory hymn)?

Another excellent song is Where Charity and Love Prevail. While this can be used throughout the year, it is quite well suited for Lent.

I’m not a music director, but based on my listening with the congregation, it’s a very wise move to note on #347 “Eat This Bread” to have the cantors sing the verses. I think it’s even noted in the Breaking Bread. The congregation has never really had a problem with #338 “The Supper of the Lord”, but maybe when you get to the part in the refrain where it’s a whole note, tie, half note, 2…3. Most of them drop out after like 2 beats. #336 can be difficult. We sang this about 2 years ago and it was hard for the congregation to sing. It’s noted in the book that the cantor should sing the verses. It’s wise to go over the refrain maybe before Mass so they’re confident with it.

#428 “Christians, Let Us Love One Another” is very suitable, especially on the Sundays of Praying for Christian Unity. #535 “We Remember” is also suitable. We use that for Communion annually.

To the OP: Some others I saw when I was flipping through were #333 “In the Breaking of the Bread” and #334 “Behold the Lamb.” I don’t know if you like those, but those are suggestions.

You might try digging out the old St. Gregory or St.Basil Hymnals. I’m quite certain the St. Gregory hymnal is on line through Google books as are a few others. You could also check out this other post on the forum, Music Leaders Show us your song list

Off the top of my head you could do, At That First Eucharist, Soul of My Savior, Panis Angelicus, O Sacred Heart! O Love Divine, O Cor Amoris, Veni Jesu Amor Mi, Adoramus te Christe, O Lord I am Not Worthy, O Most Holy One. There are a lot of choices.


The only music that doesn’t distract me (other than instrumental music) is Gregorian Chant (in Latin, of course) – paritially because my grasp of Latin is poor so I’m not distracted by the lyrics.

There’s a song called One Bread, One Body by John Foley. That’s not the one I was thinking of, but the first lines are One Bread, One Body, One Cup, One Call…and the tune is The Water is Wide. Now I remember, One Love Released.

The Communion songs are sort of gathered in the 300 range in Breaking Bread. I think that was the only resource the OP had. We don’t have any other hymnals either. The previous choir director had a lot of choral music we used for meditations, but it all belonged to him.

If it was up to me, we sing a lot of different stuff, and there’d be some Latin thrown in there. We did a beautiful song at Easter a few years ago, and we do some service music that’s a combination of the men singing the regular part in English and the women singing an echo in Latin. That’s really swell, and we get lots of compliments on it, so I guess people like hearing the Latin as much as I like singing it. I usually have to fuss to get one verse of Adeste Fidelis in Latin at Christmas. I’m the only one in the choir old enough to remember any of the Latin and I think the others are little intimidated by it. They did take 4 years in grade school and 4 years in high school like I did. The only other person over 50 is a convert, so he doesn’t know the old stuff either.

I really like that one, but I think of it for the Offertory. I guess I want to hear something about bread and wine, body and blood at Communion.

Something that never gets old is singing the propers of the Mass. This is the timeless music of the Church. If Latin is too intimidating for a starting cantor or schola, the communion proper can be sung in English, using a resource such as the Anglican Use Gradual or the American Gradual. The seasonal propers from By Flowing Waters are also a good choice.

This is beautiful - #317 in 2009 Breaking Bread.

Some others:

#534 “Age to Age” (Really doesn’t speak of bread and wine/body and blood, but it’s something my church has used for Communion.)
#588 “In the Land there is a Hunger”
#632 “All Good Gifts”
#582 “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”
#524 “Adoro Te Devote”
#448 “Seek Ye First”
#441 “We Will Rise Again”
#420 “For the Fruits of this Creation”
#416 “How Great Thou Art”
#396 “Fill My Cup, Lord”
#332 “God’s Holy Gifts”
#324 “Gifts of Finest Wheat”
#208 “Humbly, Lord, We Worship You”

Thank you all for the suggestions. I am sorry for not responding earlier I have been spending a lot of time on It is very interesting and I have learned a lot. I have am very glad to see that some others on this forum are like minded. I do not have a music theory degree or Catholic liturgy back ground but it just seems to me that a communion song should be about the glorification of God not a communication between each other. I do not believe that we are eating simple bread. I did not like Panis Angelicus until I read the translation in the Adoramus Hymnal. So I might try it in Latin during Lent if my pastor will let me. The English translation in Breaking Bread is not very good. I will look into some of the other suggestions, but if the song does not bring everyone to a higher place in thought and spirit about what has just happened to them then I can not bring myself to sing/play it. This is whether it is new or old.
None of the other cantors in my church will touch Latin or Chant and the last time I tried to slip in O Lord I am Not worthy I got scolded by my Paster for doing to many slow songs.

I do not want to make the Paster mad but I do not want to do the newer (70 - 90) songs.
That is why I like “I received the Living God” it has good lyrics and a semi modern feel.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.

I’ve loved that melody since I was a teenager. My friend Mary sang it in a production Spoon River Anthology. I don’t know if they just added it, but it was the first time I heard it and it stuck with me. The version in BB is a good key for me, and the phrases aren’t so long that I can’t find a place to breather, so I like when I get to sing it.

I don’t know what exactly is in your hymnal, but I know that we often sing “One Bread, One Body”, “Gift of Finest Wheat”, and I think another one is “I am the Bread of Life”. Heck, I can’t even remember what we sang this past Sunday (It might have been “Here I am Lord”). Then again, with all due respect to the musicians and singers that have prepared very hard to sound good, the music shouldn’t be the most memorable part of the mass.