Across the country and, indeed, around the world, Catholic worshippers are likely to find Oregon Catholic Press missals and songbooks in the pews. When I’ve worshipped elsewhere, from Florida to California, I’ve always felt a flush of pride at finding OCP’s books.

OCP also publishes the Catholic Sentinel, and Archbishop Alexander Sample is president of the board.

So you can understand my delight on hearing President-elect Joe Biden quote from the OCP hymn “On Eagle’s Wings” in his speech Nov. 7.

Biden, a cradle Catholic, said the hymn meant a lot to his family, in particular his deceased son, Beau. “It captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America.”

He then shared verses from the hymn, drawn from Psalm 91, Exodus and the Gospel of Matthew.

“And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings

“Bear you on the breath of dawn,

“Make you to shine like the sun,

“And hold you in the palm of his hand.”


The following Monday morning Wade Wisler, OCP’s publisher, sent employees an email. “It was a proud moment for OCP and [composer] Father [Michael] Joncas,” he wrote. “The whole world was watching and listening. My ears are still ringing from my daughter’s screams. There was much excitement and rejoicing in the Wisler household at that moment!”

“On Eagle’s Wings,” was also sung at Luciano Pavarotti’s funeral — and at the first memorial service for the 168 victims of America’s worst domestic terrorist bombing, at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Cathy Keating, Oklahoma’s first lady and a Catholic, planned the service. Then-President Bill Clinton spoke and received a standing ovation in that Red state.

“If anybody thinks Americans have lost the capacity for love and care and courage, they ought to come to Oklahoma,” he said.

Just as those shaken Oklahomans — and Americans — were called to heal in 1995, we are called to that now.

How good that a Catholic hymn may again play a role.