top of page

What is the spiritual meaning of a 'pelican'?

Q. At Mass we recently sang a hymn that referred to a “pelican.” What is the spiritual meaning here?

A. This reference appears in the classic devotional hymn “Godhead Here in Hiding” (Adoro Te Devote). It’s one of five Eucharistic hymns that were composed by St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274) in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. Thomas was responding to a request of Pope Urban IV (1261–1264) when the latter established the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) in the year 1264.