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Though We Are Many, the 50th International Eucharistic Congress Hymn is available to download on iTunes.
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Though We Are Many - (Bernard Sexton)
Though we are many, we are one body,
we who come to share this living bread;
Cup of salvation, shared among all nations,
nourishing us now and evermore.
1. We gather in this place
round the table of the Lord.
Christ’s presence is revealed
in our communion and his Living Word.
2. Now our communion recalls
Christ’s death and resurrection.
This living sacrifice
is our salvation now and evermore.
3. And through this shared Eucharist
we are the living Church.
We witness to Christ’s love
His living body active in our world.
4. This bread unites the baptised
who are called to this great feast.
The feast, a sign of God's love,
a great communion with the saints above.
5. And when we leave here today
with hearts renewed in joy,
So nourished, we will embrace
the challenge now to live the Christian call.
6. As Patrick prophet of old
trod the path we tread today,
so we proclaim the Good News
and share the living message with joy
Sheet Music is available by clicking on the PDF icon.
About the Hymn.
The anthem of the 50th International Eucharist Congress brings together a variety of themes that feed into the theme of the Congress –The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.
The Eucharistic Congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In addition to drawing on the Scriptures, the theme hymn reflects elements of Sacrosanctum Concilium, Lumen Gentium, and Gaudium et Spes, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Thus this anthem sets before both eye and ear a feast of themes relating to the Eucharist and the lifestyle it inspires, making this a hymn for all times and all occasions.
The refrain of the hymn invites us to reflect time and again on the core theme of the Congress. Inspired by LG §7 and §23 we who are many are one body in Christ and our communion must be authentic. The hymn reminds us more than once that communion cannot be bound by social division of any sort. (LG. §7; I Cor 10:17; Rm 12:5)
Verse 1 acknowledges the journey each had to make to be present at this gathering around the table of God's Word. It calls to mind phases on the journey of the disciples to Emmaus – gathering and recognising a longing for Christ as the word was being broken. We acknowledge Christ's presence in our gathering and in the Word. (Lk 24:13; CCC 1346,1347)
Verse 2 celebrates our participation in the living sacrifice of Christ, our new and eternal lives with Christ. Our communion with Christ and one another is not only the memorial of the saving mysteries but also the realisation in our lives of the fruits of Christ's love for us and for all. (1 Cor11:26; SC § 47; CCC 1364)
Verse 3 returns to LG§7 drawing our attention to the identity of the Church as the living body of Christ. We are reminded again of our mission, our call to be witnesses and ambassadors of that love in the world. (LG. §7,8; Eph 6:20)
Verse 4 has us revisit the beginnings of the Christian life and at the same time look to the goal of our journey, the heavenly banquet in the house of the Father. The Eucharist offers us a foretaste of what is to come. (1 Cor 12:13; Song 2:4; Lk 14:13; Mt 22:2; Rev 19:17; CCC1326 See also St. Thomas Aquinas, O Sacrum Convivium).
Verse 5 takes us back to the Emmaus story, reminding us that Eucharist does not end at the altar. The intended outcome of Eucharist is that God's people go out, nourished with the Word and with the Bread of Life and entrusted with a mission in the world. (Lk 24:32-35; GS §3; LG §32,33; SC§ 2).
This final verse is for everyone. St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland, is presented as one who despite adversity proclaimed the Good News with conviction, love and joy. He presented a living message that lives on to this day. This is the call of every Christian, to know Christ and to live our communion with Him and with one another in our daily lives, just as we celebrate it at our Sunday Eucharist. (Preface for the Feast of St. Patrick; Heb 4:12.)