Today, Pange Lingua is the Catholic Church’s Eucharistic hymn par excellence.
It is to the preeminent philosopher and theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, that we owe one of the most beautiful Eucharistic hymns of the Catholic Church. St. Thomas composed the Pange Lingua for the liturgy celebrating the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, instituted in Orvieto, Italy, in 1264 following the miraculous events that occurred in the nearby town of Bolsena the previous year. The hymn recalls Christ’s Last Supper. As a prayer of adoration of the Holy Eucharist, it is sung at the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. In any liturgy that concludes with Eucharistic Benediction, the last two stanzas of this hymn are customarily sung under the title of the Tantum ergo.