Panis Angelicus

Posted: December 4, 2015 in World On The Edge

In Public Domain

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Public Domain

One of my favorite Catholic hymns is Panis Angelicus. It was sung at my wedding, and at the weddings of my children. It is special to me, too, because my oldest grandson, a Voice major at Vanderbilt, performed it at my youngest daughter’s wedding a few years ago. If only I had a video of that! I could literally listen to this hymn for hours.

Panis angelicus (Latin for “Bread of Angels” or “Angelic Bread”) is the penultimate strophe of the hymn “Sacris solemniis” written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi as part of a complete liturgy of the feast, including prayers for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.

The strophe of “Sacris solemniis” that begins with the words “Panis angelicus” (bread of angels) has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn. Most famously, in 1872 Cesar Franck set this strophe for tenor voice, harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe à trois voix, Op. 12.–Wikipedia

Latin Text

Panis Angelicus fit panis hominum
Dat panis coelicus figuris terminum
O res mirabilis!

Manducat Dominum
Pauper, pauper, servus et humilis
Pauper, pauper, servus et humilis

English Translation

The angel’s bread becomes the bread of men
The heavenly bread ends all symbols
Oh, miraculous thing! The body of the Lord will nourish
The poor, poor, and humble servant
The poor, poor, and humble servant

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