Omer Westendorf

Omer Westendorf
Short Name: Omer Westendorf
Full Name: Westendorf, Omer, 1916-1997
Birth Year: 1916
Death Year: 1997

Omer Westendorf, one of the earliest lyricists for Roman Catholic liturgical music in English, died on October 22, 1997, at the age of eighty-one.

Born on February 24, 1916, Omer got his start in music publishing after World War II, when he brought home for his parish choir in Cincinnati some of the Mass settings he had discovered in Holland. Interest in the new music being published in Europe led to his creation of the World Library of Sacred Music, initially a music-importing firm that brought much of this new European repertoire to U.S. parishes. Operating out of a garage in those early years, Omer often joked about the surprised expressions of visitors who stopped by and found a wide range of sheet music in various states of “storage” (read disarray). Later, as World Library Publications, the company began publishing some of its own music, including new works with English texts by some of those same Dutch composers, for example, Jan Vermulst. In 1955 World Library published the first edition of The Peoples Hymnal, which would become the People's Mass Book in 1964, one of the first hymnals to reflect the liturgical reforms proposed by Vatican II. Omer also introduced the music of Lucien Deiss to Catholic parishes through the two volumes of Biblical Hymns and Psalms.

Using his own name and several pen names, Omer composed numerous compositions for liturgical use, though his best-known works may be the texts for the hymns “Where Charity and Love Prevail,” “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing,” and especially “Gift of Finest Wheat.” As he lay dying, his family and friends gathered around his bed to sing his text “Shepherd of Souls, in Love, Come, Feed Us.” NPM honored Omer as its Pastoral Musician of the Year in 1985.



Paul Francis
Mark Evans
J. Clifford Evers

--Letter from Tom Smith, Executive Director of The Hymn Society, to Leonard Ellinwood, 6 February 1980. DNAH Archives.

Featured Article:
Sent Forth By God's Blessing: Roman Catholic Hymn Text Writers after Vatican II by Alan J. Hommerding (from The Hymn)

Texts by Omer Westendorf (42)sort descendingAsAuthority LanguagesInstances
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failingOmer Westendorf, 1916- (Author (vs. 3))English1
A mighty fortress is our God (Westendorf)J. Clifford Evers (Author)English4
Accept, O Father, in Thy loveOmer Westendorf (Author)4
All praise to you, O Lord of all creationOmer Westendorf (Author)English4
All you on earth rejoice and singOmer Westendorf (Author)English2
As when a shepherd calls his sheepOmer Westendorf, 1916-1998 (Author)English43
Ave, Maria, gratia plena (Hail, maiden Mary, laden with graces)Omer Westendorf (Translator)English, Latin2
Francis, friend of all things livingJ. Clifford Evers (Author)3
God, our God of distant agesOmer Westendorf (Author)English2
God's blessing sends us forthOmer Westendorf, 1916-1997 (Author)English6
God's holy mountain we ascendOmer Westendorf (Author)English5
Great Shepherd of a loyal flockOmer Westendorf (Author)4
Hail, Christ, our royal Priest and KingOmer Westendorf (Author)3
How happy you who fear the LordOmer Westendorf (Author)English4
Humbly we adore thee, Christ Redeemer KingOmer Westendorf (Translator (vss. 5-8))English2
Let the hungry come to meOmer Westendorf (Translator)English1
Lord, we gather at your altarOmer Westendorf (Author)3
Loving Father, ever waitingOmer Westendorf (Author)4
Members of one mystic bodyOmer Westendorf (Author)4
My soul give glory to the Lord; My spirit rejoices in God, my SaviorOmer Westendorf, 1916-1997 (Paraphraser)English2
O God, all knowing and all justJ. Clifford Evers (Author)3
O Lord, our God, the source of loveOmer Westendorf, 1916-1997 (Author)English3
O Lord, you are my shepherdOmer Westendorf, 1916-1997 (Author)English2
O Lord, you know our weaknessOmer Westendorf (Author)3
Praise God in this holy dwellingOmer Westendorf, 1916-1997 (Author)English10
Saint Joseph was a just manOmer Westendorf (Author)3
Salve, Regina (Hail, blessed Lady)Omer Westendorf (Author)English2
Sent forth by God's blessingOmer Westendorf, b. 1916 (Author)English38
Shepherd of souls, in love come, feed usOmer Westendorf (Author)4
Shout the glad tidings high from the hilltopsOmer Westendorr (Author)English2
Sing of Mary pure and lowlyOmer Westendorf, 1916-1998 (Author (st. 3))English1
[Sing Out Your Praise]Omer Westendorf (Author)English2
Sing praise to our Creator, Redeemed of Adam's raceOmer Westendorf, 1916-1998 (Author)English5
Sing praise to our Creator, O you of Adam's raceOmer Westendorf (Author)2
The Lord is my true Shepherd, My need and wants he knowsOmer Westendorf (Author)3
These forty days of Lent, O LordOmer Westendorf (Author (vs. 1))English2
We gather together to sing the Lord's praisesOmer Westendorf (Author)English3
We honor good Saint JosephOmer Westendorf (Author)2
Where charity and love abide, We know that God is thereOmar Westendorf (Author)1
Where charity and love prevailJ. Clifford Evers (Author)English39
Wisdom calls throughout the cityOmer Westendorf, 1916-1997 (Author)English3
You have looked upon the lowlyOmer Westendorf (Author)English2

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