Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Handbells during Lent

Handbells during Lent QUESTION from Adrienne on January 15, 2003 Dear Mr.Slavek
as the Musical Director in church, I am compelled NOT to allow my handbell ringers to ring from Ash Easter Vigil. We have thoughtlessly done it for years past,and I was wondering ifit would be allowed to ring for Palm Sunday or not at all. I need something to back upmy decision to the parents and children who do not understand why we are no longer ringing during Lent. (and ADvent). Thank you. Adrienne
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on January 19, 2003 Dear Adrienne,
You are correct in not allowing the handbells to be rung during Lent. There is a liturgical document, Paschales Solemnitatis which gives additional rules for Lent and Holy Week. One of them is that instruments are only to be used for the purpose of supporting the singing (during Lent). It seems to me that handbells would be something extra. I interpret this to mean that the organ alone should be used, and only used while the congregation is singing.
So when the parents and children ask why there are no bells, you can say that during the penitential season on Lent we do not use extra instruments. I suspect that they will understand just fine.
Oh, also there is no exception mentioned for Palm Sunday.
Thanks for writing,
Mr. Slavek
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