Message from the chaplain - 1 February 2019

The Angelus

As part of our Christian and Anglican ethos here at St Mary’s, the chapel bell intones the Angelus daily, immediately after the second break bell rings. The girls observe the Angelus by pausing from what they are doing and spending a moment in prayer and reflection.

The Angelus bell tolls for three sets of three rings, each separated by a pause, and a final pause followed by a final set of nine rings. Its name is derived from Luke 1:30: “and the angel said to [Mary] ...”, the opening words to the story of how the angel Gabriel told Mary she was to bear a child, and to name him Jesus. In general, therefore, the devotion that has come to be known as the “Hail Mary” is prayed during the ringing of the Angelus.

The Angelus, therefore, could be said to be a reminder of God Incarnate among us: a reminder to us to pause and give thanks for the ways in which God has revealed God’s self to us as we have gone about our days. As the chapel bell tolls, interrupting the business of our day, God’s loving presence among us is reiterated – a God worthy of our pausing in awe.

Over time, however, the tradition that has evolved at St Mary’s is that many girls choose to pray the Prayer for Africa, penned by the late Fr Trevor Huddleston during the ringing of the Angelus:

God bless Africa;
Guard her children;
Guide her leaders;
And give her peace, for Jesus Christ’s sake.


Revd Claudia Coustas