Praise for All Seasons:
The Hymns of James Quinn, SJ
Hymn text collection
Author James Quinn, SJ
Released September 1994
Catalog no. 125-408 (Soft-cover, 128 pp.)
Currently available only from www.ocp.org
"Selah Publishing Co., Inc., should be applauded for publishing this compilation of the collected hymn texts of James Quinn. I have enjoyed Quinn's use of language for many years. I first became acquainted with his work in the 1969 collection New Hymns for All Seasons, my copy of which has become well-worn from use through the years. It is good to have his texts more easily available to those of us on the Western side of the Atlantic now that Selah acts as his copyright agent.
This collection includes 121 of Quinn's hymn texts, printed in poetic format. The texts are grouped topically under the chapter headings "Hymns for the Church Year," "Biblical Songs," "Hymns for the Church at Worship," "Hymns for the Church in the World," and "Hymns for the Saints." Standard meters are identified where they exist, suggestions are made for possible tunes for singing, scriptural references are included where pertinent, and topical suggestions for use are included with each text. Many of his texts are well-suited for enhancing worship across denominational lines. His own denominational perspective on theology does occasionally limit the use of some texts, especially the eucharistic hymns, and hymns to the saints (Quinn is a priest in Edinburgh, Scotland). I make this comment not to condemn, but to caution and to counsel a thorough reading of all the hymn stanzas to see if they are reconcilable with your own denomination's theology and practice before using them. They are always honest and faithful representations of Catholic theology, and with this I have no quarrel. Some will, however, make a Protestant congregation squirm with their imagery.
As pleased as I am to see this volume in print, I do question whether perhaps it was rushed a bit to meet publication deadlines. I noticed several errors which are not typical of the high standard of quality control that Selah usually upholds in its publications: 1) The text "Now Let All on Earth Fall Silent," found on page 68, is missing a line from the third stanza (only 5 lines of text instead of 6). 2) The text "Now Fades All Earthly Splendor," found on page 77, is also missing one line from the first stanza. This omission has caused a metrical mis-identification of the text: It should scan as 76 76 D, based on stanzas two and three; not 76 76 766 as stanza one would indicate. Granted, in a collection of over 200 hymns, a few errors like these are a relatively minor flaw; they are, however, frustrating when one is attempting to use this resource in worship planning.
A comprehensive set of indexes includes topical, scriptural, metrical, original title or first line of translated texts, and first line and title combined. The thorough indexing makes the task of locating a text for a particular occasion or scriptural passage a relatively easy job.
Quinn's texts have appeared frequently in recent contemporary hymnals. It is good to be able to read a broader spectrum of his work in his collected hymn texts." The Hymn, January 1997
"...it is Fr. Quinn's ability to articulate the orthodox aspects of Christianity in new and fresh ways. Congregations, spirituality groups, and composers seeking new texts with Celtic influence will particularly relish Quinn's Praise for All Seasons." Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, September 1998
Praise for All Seasons contains the collected hymns of James Quinn, SJ, one of the finest writers of hymn texts of our time. Quinn's hymns are found in almost every contemporary hymnal, and yet most of these texts are drawn from his earliest works, published in 1969 in the collection New Hymns for All Seasons. Fortunately for the church and all Christians, Quinn has continued to write hymns and paraphrases that help us better understand the mystery and presence of God in our world today.