Favorite Lenten Hymns

I don’t know about the rest of you, but, I am sooo happy that we have begun Lent. Lent is my favorite liturgical season. There is something intrinsically special about this particular time of the Church year. I can’t put my finger on it, but, it touches me deeply.

With this in mind, I ask what y’all’s favorite Lenten hymns are. Here is my list:

Attende Domine (English translation found in the older translation of the Worship III hymnal)
O Sun of Justice
Again, We Keep This Solemn Feast
The Glory of These 40 Days
Parce Domine
Our Father, We Have Wandered
O Sacred Head Surrounded
Stabet Mater
Come, Let us Return to the Lord
Lord of all Nations, Grant Me Grace
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (3rd Sunday of Lent-Cycle A)
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
Draw Near and Take the Body of Your Lord

For Holy Week, I love the following:
All Glory, Laud and Honor
At the Name of Jesus (Kingsfold tune)
Pange Lingua
At that First Eucharist
What Wondrous Love is This
Sing My Tongue, the Song of Triumph

I have never heard either of these. Are they the same hymn but with different Latin words? Are both available in English? What are the English translations?

I like Attende Domine and Parce Domine also. If only I could find other people who’d like to chant one (or both!) of them. Or a parish that would sing them…

Anyway, I also like “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” and “The Glory of These Forty Days”. I’ve heard “O Sacred Head Surrounded” before, and like it too.

I love “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, too. I think it would work as a wonderful Lenten Communion hymn if we just skip the verse that has all of those Alleluias in it. :smiley:

The Attende Domine is a hymn that dates back to the 10th century. It is one of the oldest Lenten hymns. OCP botched the translation of it, though. A better translation can be found in the older Worship III hymnals. Ditto for Parce Domine.

Are Attende Domine and Parce Domine different melodies or just different words? What are they in English?

Attende Domine:


Parce Domine


Not the same chant, Laura but both are penitential chants.

I like both of those. Now I just wish I actually heard them during Mass. Until reading this thread, I had never heard of them. :frowning:

I am blessed to have heard these as a child and have sung these with my cathedral choir.


This was also quite well sung during Lent.

There are hymns for Lent? I never knew that! I know at least 60 hymns, of many different syles, but not a single Lent one! I’m going to look for some.

During last year’s Ash Wednesday telecast from Rome, the choir chanted the Attende Domine during the offertory. It was beautiful. I’m a little miffed at EWTN for not rebroadcasting this year’s Mass at 11PM (Texas time). :mad: It would have been nice to see the Papal Mass.

I am trying to get our music director to put Attende Domine into our Lenten rotation. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the OCP version which significantly waters down the original translation that Brother Rolf linked for us to see. She is willing to look at O Sun of Justice, which is another ancient Lenten hymn.

The hymn is very easy to sing and you don’t even need to have an organ accompany it (it sounds horrible with a guitar). Besides, the instruments are supposed to be subdued during Lent.:thumbsup:

I chanted Iesu dulcis memoria during Adoration last month on a retreat (since January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus). Someone else knew a couple verses of it too… a former seminarian.

You can hear them as MIDIs here and here.

Japhy, you almost made me cry. Please pray for me. I am trying to get our music director to put the Attende Domine and O Sun of Justice on the rotation for Lent.

Would you happen to know where I can fine a midi or the sheet music to O Sun of Justice?

I don’t know “O Sun of Justice”… however, this came up in a Google search: " Hymns: O Sun of Justice (Jesu, dulcis memoria) W424". It’s got the same tune as Jesu, dulcis memoria, it seems. And then I found the Latin name – Iam, Christe, sol iustitiae – so here’s another link that might prove helpful (its English translation is probably different from what you’re familiar with). That link also has (very) different words from the 1632 revision of the Breviary.

Japhy, it’s beautiful. I kept singing along with the midi player (I think I made my dachshunds sleepy:D ). I am going to hunt down the sheet music for this hymn because I would love for our choir to sing it. O Sun of Justice and Attende Domine are THE hymns of Lent (along with Parce Domine). Just listening to all three of them gave me a spiritual jumpstart.

There is something penetrating the soul when these hymns are sung. It is certainly a lot deeper than Hosea.

A few that I like are:

The Lamentations of Jeremiah (Thomas Tallis) - my favorite
Salvator Mundi (Thomas Tallis)
Pange Lingua
Tantum Ergo
Pueri Hebreorum
O Sacred Head Surrounded
All Glory, Laud and Honor

In Christ,

One of my favorites I came across a few years ago in the missalette. It was one of my childhood favorites: * Near the Cross.*

Gosh Benedictgal - I love all the hymns you mentioned on here. My favorites from there are:

  • O Sacred Head Surrounded
  • At the Name of Jesus (Kings Weston - Vaughn Williams setting, althought I like that Kingsfold tune as well.)
  • I Heard the Voice of Jesus (Kingsfold)
  • Attende Domine
  • O Sun of Justice

Almost all choral motets and other works set for Lent. Some of the most beautiful and poignent compositions are set for Lent.

I was finally able to find a parish with the sheet music to O Sun of Justice, but, the title is O Christ, Bright Sun of Justice. It’s from OCP and the words are different from the O Sun of Justice version that is in the Worship hymnal.

I hope that the melody is the same as the one that japhy sent me. When I told my PV that I was requested by the music director to get the accompanyment for both the Attende Domine and O Sun of Justice, he shuddered. He thinks that both hymns work with minimal instrumentation. He is right; however, in order to placate the music director, I figured I would find the music for her as this will increase the chances of getting these hymns into the Lenten rotation.

Have any of you heard, O Christ, Bright Sun of Justice? Is it sung to the same tune as O Sun of Justice? I ask because I can’t read music and I have the accompanyment books.


I pretty much agree with the OP on his selection of music. The church I work for has a hymnal that I do not like and the selection for Lenten hymns is sparse considering its massive size, so I can’t always play the ones I prefer since I’m supposed to “stay within the hymnal”. Is everyone else here under similar restrictions?


…This music director played (and chanted) both Attende Domine and Parce Domine today. I just wish that there could be more than one person who is capable (or willing/available) of singing in the whole church!

I also like Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. I will be using it for a communion hymn.