Metric Hymns

All hymns on this site are in the traditional metric style.  Lyrics and tunes are considered as separate entities:  in other words, the tune matched to a particular text is rarely fixed.  Texts are typically written in a particular meter (a fixed progression of syllables, stresses, and pattern of phrases) which enables them to be used with any tune written for that meter.  Hymn tunes are normally given names and these are conventionally written in capital letters.  See the Wikipedia article Meter (hymn) for more details.

Liturgical Suitability

This curated collection only includes hymns that are believed to suitable for use in a Catholic liturgy.  All have appeared in at least one officially approved Catholic hymnal, and are believed to have literary merit.  Music is in a key that is hopefully accessible to anyone who can hold a tune.

Catholic Worship Book II

Australia’s officially approved hymnal is Catholic Worship Book II (CWB2), but it is probably not getting as much use as the compilers would have hoped.  Given its cost, poor physical design, and the lack of chords for most hymns, it is unlikely that this situation will change.  To make matters worse, those congregations wanting to sing in a more traditional style find that quality of text modernisation is somewhat variable.

Nevertheless, CWB2 contains many hymns of substance and beauty that are being lost to Catholic memory, and aims to address this situation by providing a collection of hymns heavily influenced by CWB2 that are freely available in a variety of formats on this site, supplemented with some worthy copyrighted texts that are either in CWB2 or can be downloaded elsewhere for a small cost.  It is useful for the music director to at least have a copy of the pew edition.

Traditional and Contemporary Language

In many cases, the website has two versions of each hymn:  one with traditional lyrics, which may include archaic language and/or non-inclusive language; the other has modernised lyrics, mostly from Catholic Worship Book II.


Only copyright free hymns and music can be included here, but there are cases where the most used keyboard arrangements are copyright, though the melody is copyrighted.  In these instances, generic accompaniments have been written, but better quality arrangements will be found in CWB2 and elsewhere.  It should be noted that there are instance of old hymn texts being extensively altered and copyrighted, though the original hymn is still in the public domain.  Texts with minor changes to modernize normally remain in the public domain.

The Communion Hymn

The ideal Communion hymn has a short refrain that people can sing while processing; a cantor or choir sings the verses.  A good source is Australia's own James McAuley and Richard Connolly in their (copyrighted) “Year of Grace” collection from  Most Australian hymnals have included at least some of these hymns.  Unfortunately, no chords are provided in the current edition.

Usage Suggestions

Typically, the Entrance hymn is seasonal, directed to God, somewhat exuberant, and perhaps related to the Entrance Antiphon; the Gifts hymn is related to the Liturgy of the Word; the Communion hymn should be unifying, perhaps related to the Communion Antiphon; and the Recessional hymn might be thanksgiving or encouraging us to put the liturgy into practise.  Choices and positions are somewhat subjective, but provide a starting point for hymn selection.

Naming Conventions

Metric hymns are are almost always titled with the first phrase, which can cause confusion when modernized.  Alternate titles are show when necessary.