by

Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still – Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Author: Frederick William Faber
Birth Year: 1814
Death Year: 1863

Frederick William Faber

Faith of our Fathers is a Catholic hymn, written in 1849 by Frederick William Faber in memory of the Catholic martyrs from the time of the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII and Elizabeth. Faber wrote two versions of the hymn: with seven stanzas for Ireland and with four for England. The Irish version was sung at hurling matches until the 1960s.

Raised in the Church of England, Frederick W. Faber (b. Calverly, Yorkshire, England, 1814; d. Kensington, London, England, 1863) came from a Huguenot and strict Calvinistic family background. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and ordained in the Church of England in 1839. Influenced by the teaching of John Henry Newman, Faber followed Newman into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 and served under Newman’s supervision in the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Because he believed that Roman Catholics should sing hymns like those written by John Newton, Charles Wesley, and William Cowpe, Faber wrote 150 hymns himself. One of his best known, “Faith of Our Fathers,” originally had these words in its third stanza: “Faith of Our Fathers! Mary’s prayers/Shall win our country back to thee.” He published his hymns in various volumes and finally collected all of them in Hymns (1862).

Lyrics
Faith of our Fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword:
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our Fathers! Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to thee:
And through the truth that comes from God
England shall then indeed be free.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our Fathers! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife:
And preach thee too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life:

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

In countries outside of England, the words “Our land” have been substituted for “England”.

References

  1. Routley, Erik; Paul Akers Richardson (2005). A panorama of Christian hymnody. GIA Publications. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-57999-352-8.
  2. Osbeck, Kenneth W. (1982). 101 hymn stories. Kregel Publications. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-8254-3416-7.
  3. O’Sullivan, Patrick (1996). Religion and identity. Leicester University Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7185-1424-2.
  4. O’Sullivan, Patrick (1996). Religion and identity. Leicester University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7185-1424-2.
  5. Terry, Richard. “The Westminster Hymnal“. 1912, p. 196.
  6. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/f/a/faithoof.htm

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