DPPL 195: The Angelus

STA altar at night smallThree times a day the encounter of Gabriel with young Mary is recounted by many Christians in prayer.

195. The Angelus Domini is the traditional form used by the faithful to commemorate the holy annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary. It is used three times daily: at dawn, mid-day and at dusk. It is a recollection of the salvific event in which the Word became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the salvific plan of the Father.

Aside from the rosary, this would be the most-utilized Marian prayer in my American experience of the Church. At least three Hail Mary’s: how many do people say in your experience of this prayer?

The recitation of the Angelus is deeply rooted in the piety of the Christian faithful, and strengthened by the example of the Roman Pontiffs. In some places changed social conditions hinder its recitation, but in many other parts every effort should be made to maintain and promote this pious custom and at least the recitation of three Aves. The Angelus “over the centuries has conserved its value and freshness with its simple structure, biblical character […] quasi liturgical rhythm by which the various time of the day are sanctified, and by its openness to the Paschal Mystery” (Cf. . Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 41).

There is a more formal version, with music, Scripture, and bells. How often have any of you experienced this “high” Angelus Domini?

It is therefore “desirable that on some occasions, especially in religious communities, in shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and at meetings or conventions, the Angelus be solemnly recited by singing the Ave Maria, proclaiming the Gospel of the Annunciation”(CDWDS, Circular Letter, Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian year, 61) and by the ringing of bells.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to DPPL 195: The Angelus

  1. John Drake says:

    The recitation of three Hail Marys is the only way I have experienced the Angelus. I have never experienced a “high” Angelus.

  2. Liam says:

    I love the Angelus, but I’ve never experienced a “high” version either. It does have a famous contemporary choral setting by Franz Biebl.

    The versicles are short, and the concluding prayer is easy to memorize if you are patient with yourself (it’s the collect for Advent IV). The Regina Coeli is even easier (I say it on all Sundays of Ordinary Time, as well, and from the Assumption through its non-octave. Because I can.) I think of the Angelus as a prayer for theosis, to become an bearer and ikon of Christ.

    V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

    Hail Mary…

    V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

    Hail Mary…

    V. And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt among us.

    Hail Mary….

    Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
    That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Pour 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.

    Regina Caeli

    Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia:
    For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
    Has risen as He said, alleluia.
    Pray for us to God, alleluia.

    Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
    For the Lord is truly risen, alleluia, alleluia.

    O God, who gave joy to the whole world through the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

    * * *

    There is also the custom of Angelus bells in Catholic bell towers – thrice ringing thrice. Famously, the Angelus bells punctuate Irish public television, as shown in this thread:


  3. Melody says:

    Used to say the Angelus every day in grade school. We used to joke that hearing it made us hungry, because it was said right before lunch break. I always liked the Regina Caeli, which we recited for a change during Easter season.

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