Kellnersville musician creates Renewing song
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
Renew me, O Lord,
Touch my heart,
Bring me back to Jesus,
Renew me O Lord,
Touch my heart,
Bring me home again.
These lyrics are from the refrain of Renew Me, O Lord. You won't find this song in your
Renew materials or any songbook. If you wish to hear it, you won't find it on CD. The
song was written especially for Renew at St. Joseph Parish, Kellnersville. Parish
musician John Van Dyke composed the song at the start of Renew 2000 and it is sung at
Masses during each Renew season.
"It's actually my second Renew song," said Van Dyke. "It's a recessional song. People
seem to really like it. They ask for it once Renew starts."
Van Dyke wrote his first Renew song in the mid 80s, the last time diocesan parishes
participated in Renew. Songwriting comes naturally to Van Dyke who has written
numerous pieces over the years.
"I don't know how I go about it," he said. "It just comes together."
The verse of Renew Me, O Lord compares Renew to the story of the Prodigal Son.
Like the Prodigal Son in the story, Who lost his father's home,
I've been away from my Father, And I feel so all alone.
Take my hand and lead me, Back where I belong,
At your table feed me, Once more make me strong.
Van Dyke recalls talking about the story of the Prodigal Son at the start of Renew 2000,
so he put it to music.
"The first time we had a Renew committee meeting I played it at the meeting," he said.
"It's easy for the people to learn. They are used to new music being introduced, so we
practiced it quickly before Mass and have used it during Renew ever since."
St. Joseph has 30 to 40 participants in Renew 2000. Van Dyke's song helps parishioners recognize the start of Season V, said Sr. Marlene Greatens, ANG, parish director at St. Joseph.
"John has written many great songs," she added. "He is very talented and very humble."