Sanctus Bells

Dearest Brethren,

Most of you know of the gift we received of beautiful sanctus bells.  Many of you have asked when we will begin to use them.  I made a commitment to first teach on the subject before we began using them so we all would appreciate the answer to the question:

“What are sanctus bells and why use them?”

Yesterday for Church School I distributed a handout which may be found here:   

Just in case you won’t have time to read the whole thing you might benefit from the abstract I provide below. There are still some hard copies available.


Fr. Wayne

Sanctus Bells Abstract

Sanctus bells derive their name from being rung first during the the part liturgy formally called the Sanctus:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts,

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory,

Glory be to thee, O Lord most high.

Bells have been rung as part of the celebration of the Holy Communion in the Church for more than eight hundred years and they signify many significant and rich intentions with regard to our worship. Their primary function is to announce the holy and draw attention to some extraordinary aspects of our worship: our ascension into heaven when we join all the saints of God around the heavenly throne, and the mystery of the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ at the moments of consecration.

Not all parishes use bells. In fact, in the last century they have fallen into much disuse but today there is a growing desire to restore them. There certainly is no command in Holy Scripture and there is no ecumenical conciliar decree regarding their use. However, if we  benefit by this brief study we can understand how we might profitably make use of them as many Christians have for centuries as a small part of our Eucharistic devotion. In the end it is not our desire for aesthetics or beauty in worship that should govern our decisions in these regards. What matters when all is said and done each Lord’s Day is not our pleasure but this: Did we worship well, and was God pleased?


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