Hymns for the vigil of the feast of John the Baptist (St John's night - 23 June)

Hymn and song suggestions, based on themes from the Roman Catholic lectionary for the vigil of the feast of the Birth / Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, ie the evening on 23 June (St John's Night).

Most are "Free-to-use" meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.

Many of these hymns are old / traditional - but where possible a variety of styles and genres are included.

A small selection of hymns which are still copyright may be included if they are particularly relevant.

See hymns for the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist for suggestions based on the day-time readings.


First: Jeremiah 1:4-10 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you ... I have appointed you as prophet to the nation ...Go now to those to whom I send you  ... do not be afraid .

Psalm 70:  From my mother's womb you have been my help / I you O Lord I take refuge / Be a rock where I can take refuge / It is you, O Lord, who are my hope / My lips will tell your justice.

Second - I Peter 1:8-12 - You did not see Christ, ... yet you are filled with joy ... because you believe.

Gospel - Luke 1:5-17:   Zechariah and Elizabeth were childless and getting on in years - the angel appeared to Zechariah while he was burning incense in the sanctuary, and promised that they would have a son, who they must call John - and that this child would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb.


Faithfulness.   The depths of Christian joy.  God's knowledge of a child from before birth.  The promise of John the Baptist.

Free-use hymns

Enquire Ye Pilgrims for the Way

For all the Saints

Hail Harbinger of Morn

The Great Forerunner Of The Morn

How Can I Keep from Singing

Join all the Glorious Names - Watts

Lo From the Desert Homes - Williams

Lo in the Wilderness - Dearmer  (sheet music)

On Jordan’s Bank

Sing we the Praises of the Great Forerunner

The Great Forerunner of the Morn

There's a Light Upon the Mountains

Ye Watcher and Ye Holy Ones

Hymns which may still be copyright

A Hymn for the Nativity of St John the Baptist - Roberts, alt (details and example)

Before the Sun Burned Bright - Schutte

God Called Great Prophets to Foretell - Stanbrook Abbey

His Name will be John (Tell us Zechariah) - Evans (for children)

Loving Spirit, Loving Spirit - Murray

O Prophet John O Man of God - Wright

Song for a Young Prophet (O the Word of my Lord) - Lundy

St John was Like a Flaming Torch - St Cecilia‟s Abbey

Wonderfully Made - Rose

Zechariah Do Not Fear - Tietze

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