Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly
and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion Lord, I am
The Church, in her profound love for the presence of the
Lord Jesus in this holy Sacrament, as reflected in this paragraph,
call us to constantly remember the importance of what we do and
invites us as well, to always enter into this mystery, fully,
actively, and consciously. In order to help us to do this, the
Church, through the rubrics, provides us with assistance in entering
more deeply into the mystery. For example, we are called to kneel
during the Eucharistic prayer, we are called to adore the Lord
Jesus, now Sacramentally present, during the elevations of the
Host and the Chalice, and the priest genuflects after these elevations,
that he too might pause and adore the Lord Who is now present
in this wonderful, mysterious way.
One way in which the attention of the Faithful was also focused
was by the ringing of a bell during the Eucharistic prayer. It
was briefly rung at the Epiclesis (literally, the "calling
down upon"--the point at which the priest extends his hands
over the offerings and prays that the Spirit descend "upon
these gifts,"), signaling that the consecrating action was
beginning. It was also rung, more extensively, at the Elevation
of the Host and the Elevation of the Chalice, drawing special
attention to the fact that the Eucharistic Lord was now present.
The ringing of the bells, while continuously maintained at some
parishes, had fallen into disuse at many other parishes. The
variety in practices in different locations led to a request that
Rome clarify whether it was appropriate or not to ring the bells.
The following question was therefore posed to the Sacred Congregation
for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: "Query:
Is a bell to be rung at Mass?" That Congregation responded:
From a long and attentive catechesis and education in liturgy, a particular liturgical 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 there is a different level of liturgical and religious education and where often people who are visitors 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.
(emphasis added.) (Notitiae 8 (1972) 343)
Therefore, from now on, we will ring the bells at these points in the Mass.