Expert Answer Forum

Ringing of bells during Mass QUESTION from Bobbie March 3, 1999
I miss Incense and the ringing of bells during consecration of Body and Blood of Jesus. Why in the world would they rid the ringing of the bells? Let me tell you about 3 teenage boys in the back of the Church I was behind them sitting with my grand child. The boys (standing room only)was talking up a storm the bells was ringing for the coming of the consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ, the three boys stopped talking and knelt down when they heard the bell, everybody in the back saw them and knelt down too. That is beautiful! Are the bells taboo, too? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on March 21, 1999
Dear Bobbie, I miss incense too. The main problem is the modern phenomenon of asthma. It's nearly epidemic. Several years ago, my then 16 year old son almost died from a sever asthma attack. Luckily he was home when it happened and it was witnessed by mom and dad. Unfortunately nowadays whenever incense is used we almost inevitably see some poor soul or souls scurrying for the exit in respiratory distress. The bells on the other hand are not taboo, in fact they're still in vogue in most places. The idea behind using the bells is wonderfully illustrated in your story about the 3 teenage boys. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 109: A little before the consecration, the server may ring a bell as a signal to the faithful. Depending on local custom, he also rings the bell at the showing of both the host and the chalice. The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship says of the bells: It all depends on the different circumstances of places and people, as is clear from GIRM no. 109: A little before the consecration, the server may ring a bell as a signal to the faithful. Depending on local custom, he also rings a bell at the showing of both the host and the chalice. From a long and attentive catechesis and education in liturgy, a particular lturgical assembly may be able to take part in the Mass with such attention and awareness that it has no need of this signal at the central part of the Mass. This may easily be the case, for example, with religious communities or with particular or small groups. The opposite may be presumed in a parish or public church, where often people who are visitors or are not regular churchgoers take part. In these cases the bell as a signal is entirely appropriate and is sometimes necessary. To conclude: usually a signal with the bell should be given, at least at the two elevations, in order to elicit joy and attention. Based on these statements, it is highly recommended that in parishes bells be rung before the consecration and at the elevations. I hope this helps. Yours in Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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