What is the Angelus?

Question: 

In our neighborhood, the local Catholic church rings bells at Noon and 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. When I called the church, the secretary said is was because of the "angelus" that the bells are wrong. What is the angelus?

--Inquisitive in Indy

Answer: 

The Angelus is a Catholic prayer and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God or Jesus that reminds us of the incarnation of Jesus - becoming a human being and dwelling on earth. It is the custom of the church to pray this prayer at the beginning (6 a.m.), middle (Noon) and end of the work day (6 p.m.). It was a way to call people to prayer - and since many were not able to know or memorize the prayers of Morning or Evening Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours), this prayer was said by those working around the church or area. This call to prayer reminds us of the presence of God in our lives and the sanctity of the day. The prayer is thus:


Leader: The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
All: And she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Leader Hail Mary! Full of grace the Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus
All: Holy Mary, Mother of God! Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Leader: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
All: Be it done to me according to your word.

Leader: Hail Mary! Full of grace (continue as above)

Leader: And the Word was made flesh,
All: and dwelt among us.

Leader: Hail Mary! Full of grace (continue as above)

Leader: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
All: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Leader: Let us pray:
All: Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
Your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation
of Christ your 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.

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