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What Do the Bells Mean?

Question:

What is the meaning of the bells during the Eucharistic prayer?

Answer:

The origins of the ringing of the bells during the consecration date back to the time when the Mass was said in Latin, and many of the words said by the celebrant were spoken in a low voice. Rood screens also became popular in the Middle Ages, and many of the laity attending Mass had an obstructed view. The use of the bells was practical: it called people’s attention to the fact that the consecration was taking place.

Although many of the practical reasons for the ringing of the bells no longer exist, they are still a part of our liturgical tradition and still call wandering minds back to the altar and the importance of what is happening.

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