Hymns for the feast of Our Lady / Mary Help of Christians (24 May)

A selection of  English-language hymns and songs, of hymns about Our Lady Help of Christians.

Usually these would mainly be free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free), so the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing.

However so far no few free-use English-language hymns have been located, so a number of items that are still copyright are listed.

About  Our Lady / Mary Help of Christians

The title Help of Christians has been used in the prayer of the church since at least the 16th Century, and Mary was widely recognised as advocate’ and ‘intercessor’.

The early Roman Church in Australia had a particular devotion to Mary, because for a long period they had no access to priests and so the main public expression of faith was the Rosary.   In 1844, the three Bishops in Australia requested the Pope to declare Mary the Mother of God, under the title of Mary Help of Christians, as as Australia’s patron saint, with her feast to be celebrated on May 24th.   This request was eventually granted in 1852, after having been observed locally since 1844.

In the same time-frame, Italian priest Don Bosco (1815-1888) who founded the Salesian order, had a particular devotion to Mary under the titles of Immaculate Conception and also Mary Help of Christians. (ref).   He spread this through his work, and it appears that there are a number of devotional songs about Mary Help of Christians in Italian and other languages.

Eventually, Pope Pius VII instituted the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians in 1915.   Officially this was to give thanks for the Holy See and the Papal States being freed from Napoleon's reign.  But at a deeper level, it marked the church's emergence from the darkness and trouble of the 18th and early 19th centuries, and it was of course influenced by the Australian use of the title.


Suggested free-use hymns

None have been located - can you suggest any?   Please leave a message in the Comments box near the bottom of the page.



Suggested hymns which may still be copyright

Help of Christians Guard our Nation

Help of Christians Guard this Land - McAuley and Connolly

Mary Help of Christians - John Burland

Mary Help of Christians - Rose / Conlon

Mary Help of Christians Hymn -  composer unknown, example here

Mary Help of Christians we are Yours - sung by Salceda / Sabal (here)

Mother, Friend, and Guide - Steven Aldorasi - example here

O Help of Christians Virgin the Fairest - source unknown

Our Lady Help of Christians - Andrew Chinn



Mass settings

Mass for our Lady Help of Christians - Connelly
ICEL-2010 text, scored for cantor or unison choir, and congregation, with organ accompaniment.    available from As One Voice



Resources for church-music selection



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