‘Adeste Fidelis’

Although attributed to St. Bonaventure by some folks, the popular Christmas hymn. “Adesete Fidelis” (“O Come, All Ye Faithful”), is now believed to have been written by Catholic layman who lived in England.

John Francis Wade (c. 1711-1786) was a musician who made his living copying the teaching music. At age 32, he composed the music and words for “Adeste Fidelis.” When Catholics were persecuted during the Jacobean rebellion, Wade fled to France where he died at age 75.

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This hymn was often used at Benediction and as a Christmas Eve processional in Germany, France and England.

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One of the most familiar translations of “Adeste Fidelis” was done by a Church of England clergyman named Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880). Oakeley later converted to Catholicism with his friend, John Henry Newman.

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