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The Blessing of Bells

(incorrectly called a Baptism)

 

The Church has been blessing church bells since the sixth century. Amid beautiful prayers the bells are washed with holy water, that they may become a pure agency in the worship of God. They are anointed with oil for the sick in the form of a cross, then seven times outwardly with the same oil, and seven times inwardly with holy chrism. The seven-fold blessing with oil and chrism signify the fountains of grace flowing through the seven sacraments to which the bells call us. Thymia, incense and myrrh are burned under the bell. This fumigation symbolizes the fragrance of prayer to which the bells call us. The gospel of Mary and Martha is read, because the bells call us to the one thing necessary: the hearing of Godís word. A name is given to the consecrated bell, because of their respective names the bells are distinguished from one another and are placed under the protection of a patron saint.

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