The Hibernian Mass was written by Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack of the duo Switchback. It was created to play upon the words Hibernia and Hibernate. With the coming of Saint Patrick to the tribes of Ireland, the people awake from their winter of not knowing Christ and become one with the Lord.
The entrance hymn is the “Arise Today” which is attributed to his prayer that he uttered before meeting the fierce tribal chieftains. The offertory hymn is “Come to Altar” which is about the dispelling of fear. Patrick’s Jesus is a loving God, who is very different from Crom Cruach, the bloody god of the Celts. Coming to Crom’s altar would have had sinister implications prior to the arrival of Patrick. With Patrick, the Lord dispels all fear and replaces it with love as He has made the sacrifice for His sheep. The Communion hymn “Gather in the Glen” is a joyful celebration of the open air Masses that took place in the early days of the Celtic Church. During times of persecution, the Irish resorted again to meeting in the open. With Christ, all nature becomes the church, the glen the sanctuary. “Simple Benediction” is the meditation piece which emphasizes that even in parting we are still united. The fear of oblivion in death for the pagan Celt is now replaced with a belief that “we shall see the rising of the Son.” Finally, with the arrival of Patrick, the Church gains some of her most fervent saints which are celebrated in the recessional of the Mass, “Holy Saints of Ireland.”
Visit our sacred music website www.jubilationmusic.net