Sancti venite Christi



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This hymn text is attributed to St. Sechnall (d. 457), otherwise known as St. Secundius, who was the nephew of St. Patrick. A longstanding legend states that St. Patrick and his nephew St. Sechnall heard angels singing it in the church at Dunshaughlin during the offertory before communion. From that time forward it was adopted there for use during the reception of Holy Communion. The hymn appears in the late 7th century Irish Bangor Antiphoner, which makes it perhaps the oldest known Eucharistic hymn. A popular English translation, titled “Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord”, was done by J. M. Neale (1818-1866). It first appeared in his Medieval Hymns in 1851. The translation below is perhaps a bit more literal and was done by Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1874-1924). It appears in his book “Latin Hymns”, 1913.

1. Come all ye holy, take the Body of your Lord, Drink of His chalice, take the Blood for you outpoured. 2. Saved by His Body, by His sacred Blood, we raise grateful our voices unto God hymns of praise. 3. By this sacrament of the body and blood all were stripped from the infernal chasms. 4. Giver of life, He Christ our Savior, Son of God, bought our redemption by His Cross and precious Blood. 5. Dying for all men, he the Lord prepared this feast, offered as a victim, offering Himself as priest. 6. God to our fathers ordered sacrifice of old; so He in symbols Christ the victim true unfold. 7. Giver of light, the one Redeemer of our race, He to His hold servants gives abundant grace. 8. Come, who with pure hearts in the Savior’s word believe; come and partaking saving grace from Him receive. 9. God our defender, guardian sure in this our strife, gives to His faithful after death eternal life. 10. He to the hungry gives as food this heavenly bread, fountain of life, He gives to drink the blood He shed. 11. Christ, the source of all things, who here feeds us sinful men, when this great day dawns, judge of all, will come again.