Canticle of the Gift (In the stillness of the night)

This folk-style Communion hymn, with verses for Easter, was written by Canadian composer Pat Uhl Howard (details unknown).

 It was originally released as a single under the Tower label in 1966 (ref) and published in 1967 and 1970 by American Catholic Press of Illinois. It was also released on the album "Hallelujah, Jesus Is King " (1971), and later by the Fisherfolk under the Celebration Services label in 1975 (ref) -  they credit it as Anonymous.

With irregular meter, the tune it is set to is simply called CANTICLE OF THE GIFT, also by Uhl Howard.    This has a 4/4 time signature,  and in the key of Am the first few notes of the chorus are c cc B BB A E EE.   The tune has the feel of a Hebrew folk-song, although there is no evidence that it was adapted from any particular tune.

Hymn-books which it has been published in include:
  • Church Family Worship - Jubilate Hymns, 1988, England
  • Complete Mission Praise - England
  • Together in Song: Australian hymn book II
  • The Catholic Book of Worship, Canada, 1980
  • The Johannine Hymnal, American Catholic Press, 1970.
Second hand copies of these books are one source of sheet music for the song.   Also, sheet music arranged for cantor and Congregation with scored for piano and guitar and optional bass is still available from American Catholic Press - along with demo recordings which can be downloaded.

It is not the same as the song of the same title by Andrew Moore, published by Kevin Mayhew Ltd n 2001.


Downloads


Examples

Original recording - small group with guitar and percussion backing:



Instrumental - organ:


Lyrics

The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website.  A rough outline is:
1 In the stillness of the night
when the world was asleep,
the almighty Word leapt out.
He came to Mary, he came to us
Christ came to the land of Galilee.
Christ our Lord and our King!

Refrain:
O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!
Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?
Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts
It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

2. On the night before he died
it was Passover night,
and he gathered his friends together.
He broke the bread, he blessed the wine,
it was the gift of his love and his life.
Christ our Lord and our King!

3. We are gathered here to remember that night;
To break the bread and bless the wine.
Open your eyes, your ears and your hearts.
This is his peace and unity:
Christ our Lord and our King!

4. On the hill of Calvary
the world held its breath,
for there for the world to see,
God gave his Son, his very own Son
for the love of you and me.
Christ our Lord and our King!

5. Early on that morning when the guards were sleeping,
back to life came he!
He conquered death, he conquered sin,
but the victory he gave to you and me!
Christ our Lord and our King!

6. "It is the Lord" cried Peter from the boat.
"It is the Lord" cried Magdalen.
"It is the Lord" cried Thomas the doubter.
"It is the Lord" cry we.
Christ our Lord and our King!

7. Some day with the saints
we will come before our Father
and then we will shout and dance and sing.
For in our midst for our eyes to see
will be Christ our Lord and our King.
Christ our Lord and our King!

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