Hymn #346: Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken

Reginald Heber (1783-1826) intended this text to be sung before the sacrament, as its title suggests.  It was not made public until the year after his death in 1826, when his hymns were collected and published as Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year.

 


Reginald  Heber was appointed bishop of Calcutta, India, but refused the call until 1822.  He brought great energy to his new job, ordaining the first native Indian to the Christian ministry.  But the job demands of long hours and travel took their toll, and Heber died on a visit to Trichnopoly in 1826,

John Sebastian Bach Hodges (1830-1915) composed the tune EUCHARISTIC HYMN for Reginald Heber's text.  The name was given to this tune by the hymnal editor of Book of Common Praise (1869).  Other hymnals call the tune Panis, Latin for "bread" or "loaf of bread."

 

John S. B. Hodges was born in England and immigrated to the United States when he was fifteen years old.  As an Episcopal priest, he served churches in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New Jersey, finally serving thirty-five years at St. Paul's in Baltimore, Maryland, where he reinstituted the men and boy's choir.