Christ be Near at Either Hand

This is a hymn of petition for Christs presence.  It is sometimes called the Celtic Invocation, and is an English setting of excepts from St Patrick's Breastplate.

It was written by Irish Roman Catholic priest, liturgical reformer (ref) and poet, John Fennelly (1890–1966).

Recordings have been made by Steve Warner, Tony Alonso, Marty Haugen, Jan Michael Joncas, and probably others.

With meter of 77 77, tunes that it has been set to include:
  • GARTAN - a  a traditional Irish melody 
  • GREYSTONES - a traditional Irish melody   (is this actually a separate tune, or is it the name of the area Fennelly came from)
  • GOTT SEI DANK by Lubeck. 


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Folk-choir in a church service:

Choir with folk-band, professional recording:

Small group with chamber orchestra? - professional recording, tune TBA

Choir with organ, setting by Ephrem Feeley



Christ be near at either hand,
Christ behind, before me stand,
Christ with me where e’er I go,
Christ around, above, below.

Christ be in my head and mind,
Christ within my soul enshrined,
Christ control my wayward heart;
Christ abide and ne’er depart.

Christ my life and only way,
Christ my lantern night and day,
Christ be my unchanging friend,
Guide and shepherd to the end.

Christ be all my strength and might,
Christ my captain for the fight;
Christ fulfil my soul’s desire;
Christ, ennoble and inspire.

Christ the King and Lord of all,
Find me ready at his call;
Christ receive my service whole,
Hand and body, heart and soul.

Christ the King of kings descend
And of tyrants make an end;
Christ on us and all below,
Concord, love and peace bestow.

Thanks to him, who for our food
Gives his sacrifice flesh and blood;
Praise to him unceasing rise,
Christ whose glory fills the skies.

Irish lyrics

Gu robh Criosda dluth rium air gach taobh
Criosda bhith romham is air mo chul
Criosda bhith rium gach ait’ dhan teid mi
Criosda mun cuairt’ agus shuas agus shios.

Criosd’, mo shlighe is mo bheatha
Criosd’ mo lanntair oidhch’ is la
Criosd’ bi dhomh ‘nad charaid fior
Stiuir is ciobair gus mo chrioch.

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  1. God bless you. .. Preapare a new song for the lord!!

  2. This setting by Brother Colin D Smith is popular in Australia: