Hymns for Palm Sunday

(Trachycarpus Fortunei – A Palm which grows happily in Brighton)

Hymns for Palm Sunday :-

I am not going to put any hymns on the list in place of ‘Hosannah in Excelsis’ the opening Antiphon for Palm Sunday. It is really very simple to sing . Square note  in English and in latin here.  Modern notation in Latin here. (It’s page 69)

Hymns for the Procession – Remember that generally congregations find walking and singing very difficult. Processions are every choir directors worst nightmare, especially when you get back into the church and discover that the back of the procession are three verses behind the front.  Don’t attempt to sing something that EVERYONE isn’t familiar with.  I would also recommend a processional rehearsal or recce if you are walking round the block a few times. You need to time how long it takes to sing the hymns to ensure you are all still singing when you reach the church again.

All Glory, Laud and Honour    –  The original hymn written by St Theodulph ‘Gloria, Laus, Tibi’  had 39 verses – Imagine how long their processions used to be!

Ride on, ride on in majesty

Christus Vincit  (This was sung at the Vatican Processional last year)

The Royal Banners Forward Go.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle (our congregation wouldn’t be able to sing this at a processional)


Hymns for the Rest of Mass   the congregation will know- Ideally, these should be sung unaccompanied to reinforce the tone of Passiontide.

My Song is Love Unknown  (popular at wedddings)

When I survey the wondrous cross

Vexilla Regis

O Sacred Head Sore Wounded

O Christe Domine Jesu (Taize)

Stabat Mater (At the cross her station keeping)



Hymns for the rest of Mass our congregation wouldn’t know-

Ah Holy Jesus how hast thou offended

To Christ the Prince of Peace

Jesus Christ is Lord

Sion’s Daughter, weep no more

O Sinner, lift the eye of faith.

In the Lord’s atoning grief

Glory be to Jesus, who in bitter pains

All ye who seek for sure relief

O come and mourn with me awhile


We are all supposed to carry a cross particularly at this time of the year but we still won’t be singing these hymns:

The Servant King – Graham Kendrick

Unless a grain  – Bernadette Farrell

Meekness and Majesty

At the name of Jesus

There are some interesting hymn suggestions on the BBC website

“Songs may include Make WayHosanna, and (for children) We have a King who Rides a Donkey.”

I’m afraid l am not familiar with ‘We have a King who Rides a Donkey.’  so unfortunately will have to leave that one out this year.

Motets for Palm Sunday

Christus Factus Est – Various composers

God So Loved the World – We are singing the Stainer this week

O Crux Spes Unica – Victoria

Stabat Mater – Various composers

Drop drop slow tears – Orlando Gibbons


3 thoughts on “Hymns for Palm Sunday

  1. Patricius says:

    The plainsong Gloria Laus et honor tibi sit is quite possibly one of the best tunes ever written! It has five verses in the Liber Usualis.
    Also: if you stick to “hymns everybody knows” the risk – in my experience – is that, as time passes, one ends up drawing from a steadily diminishing repertoire.

  2. Clare says:

    Patricius. I agree with you on the hymns everyone knows theory.

    The reason l do the ‘hymns our congregation won’t know’ list is not so people should avoid singing them, but that they are prepared in case people don’t join in.

    What l try and do is introduce a hymn less well known usually during the Offertory. If people pick it up then l try to sing it again a couple of weeks later if it is still fits with the liturgy of that day. I just think it is important to be prepared for the ‘nobody sings’ scenario. l always make sure the choir have the music in front of them and they know the hymn well.

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