A talented German Catholic priest has added another worthy hymn to the Catholic songbook. Father Thomas de Beyer, who has previously made headlines for composing a full-scale Mass, “Missa Lucis,” with little to no formal musical training, recently released “Meadows by the Riverside,” which was recorded in Fr. de Beyer’s own voice.
“Meadows by the Riverside” is a new hymn based on Psalm 23, one of the best known Psalms, which begins “The Lord is my Shepherd …” Fr. Thomas explained that he wrote the tune with two themes in mind: “the good shepherd,” and “saying goodbye.”
“Most Christians know the first verse of Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’ I turned it into ‘The Lord is YOUR shepherd,’ thinking of the many goodbyes we all have to go through in our lives.” Fr. Thomas explained, “Trusting in God’s guidance and protection is a great comfort for parents, whose children have their first day at school or university. It’s a hope for the families of our soldiers and many others. In all these situations Christian faith is giving us strength. Even those who suffer after a beloved one passes away, live in the promise of a reunion.”
While Fr. Thomas is not a professional singer, he gives an excellent performance of the new song, supported by several women’s voices on the choruses. “Meadows by the Riverside” would be right at home in a liturgical setting and it only grows in the second half, building to bring an almost Broadway quality to the piece. The lyric video is filled with beautiful graphics and evocative images that emphasize the emotional latter half.
The prolific priest said that he was hesitant to record the song himself, but thought it was worth a try. He modestly hopes that his vocals can inspire a professional singer to give the piece their own treatment. Opening up a little more about the song, Fr. Thomas revealed that this hymn has a special meaning to him:
“My family lives in different parts of Germany and Italy. That’s why we always had a lot of moving welcomes and goodbyes. In my memory I often see my dear mom, who passed away three years ago, waving from the window. My dad passed away many years ago at the age of 57 years. I will never forget that late at night after a busy day, he carefully opened the doors of his children’s rooms in order to bless us. Now it’s my privilege to share some of the love I experienced with all the people I meet in my pastoral work. I dedicate this song to my parents in gratitude for God.”