No bells and no bowing at Mass?


The deacon at my church said that there will be no more bells during the consecration because the Rubics says it is wrong to use them.

The deacon also said that nobody is supposed to bow when passing or walking onto the altar. When I asked where that rule is, he said it’s just a general rule.

I looked for both of these “rules” and found nothing. Can anyone tell me if any of this is correct? If it is, where can I find this information?


First, clarify both issues until you are certain that you understand his words and intent. Then, if it is as you now understand, go over his head, as this does not square with reverence or past practice. We bow before the altar for two reasons: it contains a relic of the Saint for which the parish is named in the altar stone. We also bow since the Lord is made present to us upon it. Bells are not absolutely required, but have both spiritual and liturgical significance. Liturgically related matters would be described/permitted/prohibited in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Anyway, Deacon is not the Ordinary Minister - Father is.


Talk to your priest.
Also yes, bow to the altar unless Father tells you not to.


I’d insist on bowing even if Father told me not to!


Wow, that was one of my favorite parts of the mass, when the bells ring.


Bells at consecration are not required. It can be nice to have them, but ultimately it is up to the Pastor if they are used in his parish.

As far as bowing to the altar, that should be done once when you enter the pew, and once again when you leave the pew. It does not have to be done every time one passes the altar.

And yes, a Deacon is an “ordinary minister”. To dismiss what he is saying simply because he is “just” a Deacon is wrong. More than likely, the Deacon is just enforcing what the Pastor told him.


Where does it say that bells are not required? And where does it say it is not always necessary to bow in front of the altar?

I am not dismissing the deacon, I’m just curious because this decision was so sudden and the people are surprised it did not come from the priest.


The GIRM does not say that bells ARE required, so you won’t find a statement saying that they are not.

I did not say to NOT bow to the altar, I said it only needs to be done once when you enter the pew and once when you leave the pew. You do not need to bow every time you cross the path of the altar. I was taught that by my Bishop and the Rector of our Cathedral.

And, how do you know the decision did not come from the priest and the Deacon is just relaying the message?
Most Deacons I know would never make a decision like that on their own.


Bells are required during Latin Mass to alert the faithful what was going on at the altar.

Now that Mass is said in the vernacular, it is still allowed by not really necessary as the people can tell from the words being spoken by the priest how the Mass is progressing.


Bells during the consecration are optional. Whether you have them or not is a decision made at a higher pay grade than you or I.

Sections 273-274 of the GIRM talk about genuflecting and bowing. I don’t actually see any instructions there about bowing to the altar during Mass so I guess I would follow the pastor’s instructions, especially if carrying out a liturgical ministry.


I am part of the liturgy committee and his decision came when the priest was in the Philippines. When the priest came back, he said he would speak with the deacon on why he said that. I have not seen the priest, but the deacon said he found someone to train the Altar Servers the new way of doing things.


I prefer genuflecting to bowing , but I can do without the bells .


No worries, they are still ringing at many if not most parishes. Almost every church I attend has bells at Sunday Mass and many, though fewer, have them at daily Mass also.


I, too, prefer to kneel. I have never been into the bowing thing.


I genuflect. To me, it’s Protestant to bow before the altar, unless your knees do not work to genuflect so a bow is the only gesture you can make.
And I was taught that you genuflect each time you pass it outside of a Mass.


Walking into the Sanctuary but I knew what you meant.

Well I beg to differ with the Deacon. I will bow any time I am crossing in front of the Tabernacle while in the main body of the Church. When I am walking directly behind the altar directly in front of the Tabernacle I genuflect. When I enter my pew and leave my pew I genuflect. AS a reader Father has us bow to the altar before we enter the Sanctuary and after we leave the Sanctuary before going back to our pew.

Sad that the bells won’t be rung at your Church. We have them when we have altar servers to do so. None when there are no altar servers.


I taunted my daughter that when she hears the bells, that’s when the Eucharist becomes the body and blood of Christ, not like the fake cookie and juice at mommy’s Evangelical Church.


I hope that was in jest!..


We all go to mass together, so she needs to know the difference. Its all said in good love.


Genuflecting is appropriate for the tabernacle, but not the altar. One bows to the altar.

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