Bells at Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Our parish began using bells again a few years ago but recently we have started hearing them at the epiclesis and priest’s Communion. We have also added more servers who cross themselves and beat their breasts at places other than the beginning and end of Mass and the Kyrie. They also bring candles out to the front of the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer and Communion or stand behind the priest and deacon during Communion with purificators. It seems rigid, unjoyful, and distracting. I’m not sure how to talk about this to the pastor. Our deacon doesn’t seem to like it but has no authority to make changes. Suggestions?


A: Bells may be rung a little before the consecration “if appropriate” (GIRM 150), but there is no indication that a bell should be rung at the communion of the priest. I know many parishes ring one then, but the rubric changed over 50 years ago.

Regarding adding other gestures, my advice remains the same: “Do what it says. Don’t do what it doesn’t say.” When you don’t do something, the meanings of what you do grow deeper.

Please address your concerns to the pastor. He may need to review Canon 846 §1. If you are not satisfied with his answer, report your concerns to the vicar general of your diocese.