The practice of commemorating the mystery of the Incarnation by reciting certain versicles, three Hail Marys, and a special prayer while a bell is being rung at 6 a.m., 12 noon, and 6 p.m. Although the origin is obscure, it is certain that the morning, midday, and evening Angelus did not develop simultaneously. While no direct connection can be claimed between the evening Angelus and the ringing of the curfew bell in the 11th century, Gregory IX is said to have prescribed the daily ringing of the evening bell to remind the faithful to pray for the Crusades. In 1269 St. Bonaventure admonished his friars to exhort the faithful to imitate the Franciscan custom of reciting three Hail Marys when the bell rang in the evening. John XXII attached an indulgence to this practice in 1318 and 1327. The morning Angelus again seems to be a 14th-century outgrowth of the monastic custom of reciting three Hail Marys at the sound of the bell during Prime. The noon Angelus originated in a devotion to the Passion that occasioned the ringing of the bell at noon on Fridays; it also came to be associated with praying for peace. The practice is first mentioned by the Synod of Prague in 1386 and was extended to the whole week when Callistus III in 1456 invited the whole world to pray for victory over the Turks. The 16th century saw a unification of the three customs.
Bibliography: w. henry, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 1907–53) 1:2069–78. h. thurston, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932–) 1:1164–65.
[a. a. de marco]
An·ge·lus / ˈanjələs/ (also an·ge·lus) • n. [in sing.] a Roman Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation of Jesus and including the Hail Mary, said at morning, noon, and sunset. ∎ a ringing of church bells announcing this.