Prayers Wrapped in Songs

2 11 2006

“Jesuit hymns are prayers wrapped in music. They are songs in search of souls”.
Fr. Johnny C. Go, SJ

When Fr. Eddie Hontiveros wrote his first liturgical hymn in the 60’s, all he wanted to do was to come up with a song that people could easily learn and sing at worship. He had no idea that in writing that first song and in teaching it to a group of young boys and girls in Barangka, Marikina, he was actually starting a whole tradition of religious and liturgical music in the country — which would later come to be known simply as “Jesuit Music.” Today, thirty years after Father Honti’s first composition, his songs–as well as those of other Jesuit musicians that he has inspired–are sung in churches all over the country, as well as in other parts of the world, wherever Filipinos gather in worship and prayer.

Jesuit hymns are prayers wrapped in music. They are songs in search of souls. Anyone who has heard them and prayed with them knows what this means. For Jesuit songs have a way of inviting you to dive deep into your heart to seek your soul–truly a practical and valuable habit in a world where we all tend to scatter and lose ourselves.

Jesuit Music Ministry is very much Father Honti’s offspring. In 1990, he suffered a serious stroke that impaired not only his speech, but also his ability to write music. Be that as it may, Father Honti continues to make music through his now-immortal hymns, but also through the many beautiful songs that the Jesuit Music Ministry continues to create for God and the Filipino music.


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