The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception


The Angelus Bell by Van GoghThe Angelus.

V.The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

R. And she concieved of the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary,full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

R. Be it done to me according to thys 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. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; thet 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.

 Traditionallly said three times a day, at morning, noon and evening and accompanied by the ringing of a bell, this devotion takes its name from the opening word of the prayer in Latin. It is believed that the origins of this devotion is related to the ringing of a curfew bell. Pope Gregory IX (1227-1249) is thought to have exhorted people to pray for the success of the Crusades at the ringing of the town bell. In 1269, the Francicans were being urged by Saint Bonaventure to say three Hail Marys when the bell was rung for Compline - it was a popular belief that the Annunciation took place at about the time that Compline was being celebrated. The practiice of the saying of these prayers in the evening had become widespread across Europe by the fourteenth century. In 1318, there is evidence from Parma of a bell being rung in the morning and of the citizens bing encouraged to say three Hail Marys for peace.

The middday prayer sems to have originated at te Synod of Prague in 1386 when a bell was rung and prayers said, although only on Fridays in commemoration of the Passion of the Lord. It gradually spread to other days of the week and lost its distinciveness. In 1456, Pope Callistus III asked forprayers to be said in this manner for victory over the Turks.

The present form of three verses separated by three Hail Marys first appears in the mid-sixteenth century and the version as it is now recited does not appear until the second decade of the seventeenth century.

Traditionally the bell is rung eighteen times during the recitation of the Angelus marking the supposed age of Mary at the Annunciation.