Sebastian Temple

A folk Mass composer-pioneer from the era after the Second Vatican Council, †Sebastian Temple (1928–1997) is best remembered for "The Prayer of St. Francis," one of the most popular songs for worship ever written.


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Prayer of St. Francis/Oración de San Francisco

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†Sebastian Temple (1928–1997) is one of the most influential folk Mass composers from the era immediately following the Second Vatican Council. He grew up in South Africa and later (1951) moved to London, where he worked for the BBC on news broadcasts relating to South Africa. After moving to America in 1958, he converted to Catholicism and joined the Franciscan Third Order. Based in Los Angeles, he began composing music, both secular and religious, including music for the folk Mass.

He is best remembered for "The Prayer of St. Francis" (Make Me a Channel of Your Peace), one of the most popular songs for worship ever written. The song was part of his first collection of liturgical music, Happy the Man, songs about St. Francis of Assisi. “The Prayer of St. Francis” was sung by the Westminster Abbey Boys Choir at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997 (it was one of her favorite songs). It is an anthem of the Royal British Legion and is usually sung every November at the Service of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall, London. It was sung by Sinéad O'Connor on the Princess Diana tribute album.

Sebastian died in 1997 in Tucson, Arizona, not long after the great honor and joy of having his best-known song used at Princess Diana’s funeral.

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