Pentecost is upon is today, and Veni Sancte Spiritus, sometimes called the “Golden Sequence” or “Pentecost Sequence” is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost. It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III or to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton, although it has been attributed to others as well.
Veni Sancte Spiritus is one of only four medieval Sequences which were preserved in the Missale Romanum published in 1570 following the Council of Trent (1545–63). Before Trent many feasts had their own sequences. It is still sung today, having survived the liturgical changes following the Second Vatican Council.
It has been set to music by a number of composers, especially during the Renaissance, including Dufay, Josquin, Willaert, Palestrina, John Dunstaple, Lassus, Victoria, and Byrd. Later composers who have set the text include Arvo Pärt, Morten Lauridsen, Frank La Rocca and most familiarly to Catholics, Samuel Webbe.
Come, O Holy Spirit, come!
From your bright and blissful Home
Rays of healing light impart.
Come, Father of the poor,
Source of gifts that will endure
Light of ev’ry human heart.
You, of all consolers best,
Of the soul, most kindly Guest,
Quick’ning courage do bestow.
In hard labor You are rest,
In the heat You refresh best,
And solace give in our woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Let Your radiance in us shine,
And our inmost being fill.
Nothing good by man is thought,
Nothing right by him is wrought,
When he spurns Your gracious Will.
Cleanse our souls from sinful stain,
Lave our dryness with Your rain
Heal our wounds and mend our way.
Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful who in You,
Trust with childlike piety,
Deign your sevenfold gift to send.
Give them virtue’s rich increase,
Saving grace to die in peace,
Give them joys that never end. Amen.