Catholic Review of: Eucharistic Hymns
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By Breanne Clarke (CO) - See all my reviews
A much-needed supplement for your parish hymnal
This is an interesting collection of hymns. I picked up Eucharistic Hymns: The Catholic Hymnal because I was tired of 1960's Communion hymns and I couldn't bear the thought of making my cantor sing "Soul of my Savior" one more time. This hymnal has 61 traditional Eucharistic hymns in standard notation.
I like this collection because it infuses some much-needed variety into the OCP Breaking Bread songs. It has hymns by Gounod and Fr. Faber that I had never heard before and there's one in there by St. Alphonsus Liguori. In fact, I was only familiar with a couple melodies in the entire collection. This hymnal is good for feasts like Corpus Christi because it includes some opening and closing songs with a Eucharistic theme that are not meditative enough the Communion.
There are a few things about this hymnal that are a little peculiar. Before I could use it I had to take it to a print shop to get it spiral bound. The standard soft cover binding is not appropriate for an accompanist and the glossy black cover makes it a fingerprint trap. Also, detracting from the usability of this item are the awkward page turns. Many of the two-page hymns start on the right page, creating an unnecessary turn. Better formatting would have made this book much more user-friendly.
It is debatable whether this is a deficiency or not, but there are a lot of duplicate titles. For example, it has five settings of "Jesus, Jesus Come to Me" and four versions of "Soul of My Savior". Each one is by a different composer but the text is the same. This drastically decreases the number of unique hymns but it also means there are treasures no one has likely heard before. You could sing "O Lord, I Am Not Worthy" all month without repeating any music.
I enjoy using this hymnal at Mass and I hope the publisher has received some feedback so that future editions will be easier to use.