Project Description

When I let you know in last week’s bulletin column that we were going to introduce the ministry of Master of Ceremonies (MC), I told you that one of the functions that the MC would perform would be ringing the bells at the consecration.  This week I’ll elaborate a little on that change so that it doesn’t catch you by surprise when we begin it!

 

The ringing of the bells during the consecration is an optional practice that a parish can choose to take advantage of.  Our liturgy is full of symbols that are designed to appeal to all five of our senses in such a way that we can enter more deeply into the Mass.  In that spirit, the bells are intended to draw attention to the consecration, during which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ.  The bells are rung during two important moments during the Eucharistic Prayer:  (1) during the epiclesis, which is the part of the Eucharistic Prayer when the priest asks God to send the Holy Spirit upon these gifts of bread and wine so they might be transformed; and (2) during the Words of Institution, when the priest repeats the words that Jesus used at the first Eucharist, the Last Supper.

 

Many of you may have grown up with this practice or seen/heard it at other parishes.  The bells serve as a reminder that something extremely important is happening at that moment.  As someone who gets distracted easily, I especially appreciate these sensory reminders to help me get my attention back where it belongs!  I have also had many parents tell me that they like this practice because it gets their children’s attention and provides a good opportunity for them to teach their kids about the Mass.  For all of us, hopefully it reinforces the reverence of the moment at hand.

 

As with any change in the liturgy, we tried to get a lot of parishioner input as we considered whether or not to do it.  We discussed it quite a bit as a Pastoral Team and had multiple conversations about it in the Pastoral Council.  We also had less formal conversations in other parish groups, such as the School Board, St. Gianna Moms’ Group and Surviving Hearts Widow/Widower Group..  I didn’t really hear any negative comments; the feedback ranged from neutral to very positive.  It was from these conversations that I determined that this would be a good practice for us to implement.

 

Any time that we introduce a change in the liturgy, one of the first questions that people ask is, “Are there more changes on the way?”  The answer is “no”.  While we’re always looking at our liturgical practices and seeing if there are things we can do better, we don’t have any other changes planned for the liturgy at this time, and the introduction of the bells isn’t part of any bigger ideological shift.  It’s simply a practice that I hope will help all of us engage more deeply with the Mass, and especially with the consecration.