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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sanctus Bells

Small bronze door bell with cross on top.As I tour and explore these wonderful historic churches in "The Land of the Cross Tipped Churches, I am always amazed at how something little can turn into something big. How looking up something you think to be a small thing can have such a long and rich history. Such was my surprised when I started coming across and taking note of the bells I found in the churches.

When I did a search on "Bells used in Catholic Mass" I was overwhelmed by the information I found. The text that I used for this post is Sanctus Bells History and Use in the Catholic Church by Matthew D. Herrera.

The bell pictured here is not a Sanctus bell but the one used to announce the priest. It was this bell that I researched and then discovered the Sanctus bells. I had seen them but did not know they were bells.

According to the article "The ringing of Sanctus bells is still required during the celebration of the Tridentine Mass (or Latin Mass) even today. Conversely the ringing of the Sanctus bells was made optional during the celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae (Latin for New Order Mass) -- also known as the new Mass which was introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1969"

Sanctus bells lit by light coming through stained glass window.

The Sanctus bells (pictured above) are rung at three points during the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass (New Mass):

1. Prior to the consecration at the epiclesis where the priestly celebrant prays to the Holy Spirt to change the gifts of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

2. A second time as the priest elevates and presents the Body of Christ.

3. A third time as the celebrant elevates and presents the chalice filled with the Precious Blood.

There is a lot more than what I want to go into here, but if your truly interested in more click on the link above which will take you to the PDF article I used. I thought it made for an interesting read.

Door Bell picture taken at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cassella Ohio.
Scanctus Bell picture taken at the Immaculate Conception Church Botkins Ohio.


Kurt H said...

Great pictures, as usual. I just noticed the caption that appears if I hold my pointer over the picture. I like it!

I'm not sure whether it's part of the official rite, but I've been to several Easter Vigil masses where the sanctus bells are rung throughout the Gloria. It sends chills (good ones) down the spine!

When you start using Greek words like epiclesis in your posts, you know that you're starting to wander into Catholic sacramental theology territory, and that you've gained more than just a superficial understanding of what the mass is.

Most churches don't ring the sanctus bells anymore. I find that a little sad. I'll be watching with interest to see if your post provokes a rant from the Egyptian.

Russ Martin (AKA "Steeple Chaser") said...

Thanks Kurt,

It is my understanding that the bells are no longer used in SOME churches either because they do not use Alter Servers or their not properly trained. I actually read one post where a person claimed to have been an Alter Server but had no idea what the bells meant. I find that hard to believe. I really found the article I used and the others I found online very interestig.

The more I dig the more I learn and the more I learn the less I know.