CNS has the backstory:
With churches under lockdown and parishioners and clergy unable to gather in person, Catholics connecting online for prayer have begun to sing a new hymn of hope and trust in God, composed specifically for this time of pandemic.
Rev. Michael Joncas, a prominent and longtime American composer of liturgical music, said the idea for the hymn woke him up at 3 a.m. March 26.
“I awoke with the germ of an idea for a prayer-song to respond to what many are feeling in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Father Joncas, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “The basic composition was finished by about 10 a.m.”
Father Joncas, well-known for the hymn “On Eagle’s Wings,” said his new composition, “Shelter Me,” is a paraphrase of the well-known Psalm 23.
“These are difficult times for all of us, individually and globally,” said Father Joncas in his composer’s note. “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life as normal and called for acts of corporate and individual heroism in the face of present suffering and an uncertain future.
“People of faith may be struggling to articulate their belief in an all-good and all-powerful God in this new era,” he continued. “‘Shelter Me’ is my attempt as a church composer to find God’s presence even in these fraught times.”
Father Joncas offered “Shelter Me” to one of his music publishers, GIA Inc. They rushed the score into production and uploaded it to their One License website by March 29, “with the understanding that people could download it and reproduce it for free for the next year,” he said in an interview for The Lay Centre, a non-profit organization in Rome.
He urged those who download the song to direct the cost of the license fee they normally would have paid “to groups (that) are offering physical, emotion and spiritual care in this time of crisis.”
Read more. And you can hear a performance of the hymn below.