Do you ever hear church bells ringing at noon? If it’s coming from a
Catholic church, it’s likely those bells are ringing for the Angelus.
long-held devotion, which commemorates the Incarnation of Christ and
highlights Mary’s role in salvation history, dates back to 11th century
Italy, where Franciscan monks said three Hail Marys during evening
It developed over the centuries and now typically
includes the recitation of the prayer in the morning, at noon and in the
evening. Some churches ring bells, most often at noon, which encourages
the faithful to stop and pray.
The name Angelus comes from the Latin version of the first line, “Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ …”
prayer includes reciting a versicle, which includes three biblical
verses narrating the mystery and alternating with three Hail Marys.
to the U.S. bishops’ conference, the end of the prayer comes from a
seventh-century papal practice at Rome where it was assigned to March
25, the feast of the Annunciation, when the angel appeared unto Mary
when she conceived Christ; for the 1970 Latin edition of the Roman
Missal, the prayer was transferred to the last Sunday before the birth
of our Lord.
The prayer also preserves an early insight that the
whole mystery of Christ — from His incarnation, passion, death and
resurrection and His continuing presence in His body the Church — is one
integral mystery. The bishops note that specific moments of this
mystery in salvation history are mapped out over the course of the
Church year, but the prayer reminds us that every Sunday, every liturgy,
celebrates the whole mystery and our share in it.
The Angelus Prayer
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary …
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary …
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary …
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray
forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to
whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of
an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His
Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.