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Pescador de Hombres (Lord, You Have Come)

posted Jan 20, 2018, 12:19 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jan 20, 2018, 12:20 PM ]
Born in 1936, Cesáreo Gabaráin was a Spanish priest who began studying music while at the minor seminary of Zaragoza. Also an athlete, he coached basketball and became known as the “priest of cyclists”. In 1966 he joined the Chamberí School of Marist Brothers in Madrid, where he discovered, like the St. Louis Jesuits did here in the U.S., that post-Vatican II there wasn’t a lot of singable music in his native vernacular. One of his concerns was that liturgical melodies be easily understood so that everyone could sing them. So he started composing his own, eventually writing over 500 songs in a Spanish-folk style.

While visiting Galilee, he was inspired by the passages in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in which, after the miraculous catch, Jesus announces to Simon and his brother Andrew that he “will make you fishers of men.” They, and their companions James and John, leave everything behind and follow Jesus. Trying to share this experience with his own followers back in Spain, he wrote “Pescador de Hombres”.

In 1974, a Salesian priest translated it into Polish, calling it "Barka" (The Barge). A missionary then took it all over Poland, teaching it to people, especially at youth events. At some point, Pope John Paul II hears it, and it quickly became a favorite of his.

The Holy Father himself translated it into Croatian. It’s popular in a number of countries, and at least three different copyrighted English translations exist. It appears in the hymnals of numerous Christian denominations. And in a survey of more than 3,000 Catholics conducted online by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, it ranked 17
th in a preference of liturgical hymns.

In recognition of Fr. Gabaráin’s work in religious music, Pope John Paul II appointed him chaplain to His Holiness in 1980. Unfortunately, in 1991, Fr. Gabaráin unexpectedly died of cancer just before turning 55. But the gift of his music remains with us.