Sunday, May 10, 2009



At the First Holy Communion Celebrations in our parish, our pastor calls the boys and girls up around the altar before he consecrates the host. He has the two altar servers stand on either side of the altar, near the candles, so the boys and girls can't get hurt.

It is really a beautiful sight to see the children gather around the Table of Our Lord, just as the Twelve Apostles gathered with Jesus, so long ago.

At the first celebration last Saturday, with the altar servers guarding the candles, there were no Sanctus bells at the consecration.

Afterward, I asked father if he would like me to ring the bells for the next celebration. His "yes" made me joyful. I asked one of my favorite 16 year old parishioners (an experienced altar server, lector, AND catechist whom everyone has watched grow up in our parish family) to give me a quick lesson.

You see, I grew up in the 60's and 70's, we had ALTAR BOYS not Altar Servers. I knew when the bells were to be rung, just not how. With a quick lesson, (she told me to ring them loud, and as father began to bring the host and chalice back down to the altar, to let them linger), I was ready, willing, able, and waiting to announce the presence of our Lord at the exact moment of transubstantiation.

My first time!

What a thrill!

What an honor!!

Having grown up in the 60's and 70's, I attended many years of Latin Mass at OLBS. To this day, when the host and chalice are lifted high, and the Sanctus bells ring, if I am in a standing position, I bow my body to my Lord. If, I am in a kneeling position, I bow my head.

Either way my heart, my soul, and my mind pray: "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Lord Jesus, come to me: body and blood, soul and divinity - cleanse me of my sins, heal me of my iniquities. Fill me up, Lord pressed down and overflowing, so I may do the Father's will."

I don't know if that whole prayer is the prayer everyone prays in their souls at that moment; or, if it is even THE accepted church prayer for that moment...but, it is the prayer that works for me...and apparently, for Jesus.

This week, we again had two altar servers for our celebrations.

I was so excited! I would be able to ring the bells, and announce the presence of our Lord, not once, but TWICE!!

At the first celebration one of the altar servers said to me, almost incredulously: "Father said, you're gonna ring the bells."

I smiled and said: "YES, I AM!"

At the second celebration the other altar server told me: "Father said, you do a pretty good job with those bells."

My smile was even broader, then!

I would ring those bells at every mass, every single day of the week, if I was allowed!

To be able to announce the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to the congregation is a phenomenal thing!

To announce the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to the world is equally spectacular!

This week, how will YOU announce Jesus' presence to those you meet?

This week, how will YOU model Jesus' presence to those around you?

This week, how will YOU recognize the presence of Jesus in others, without the help of bells?

How Will I?

For more information on the use of Sanctus bells go to:
Sanctus Bells Their History And Use In The Catholic Church

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