blessing of bells

[blessing of bells]
A solemn benediction of church bells, in which each bell receives a name, hence incorrectly termed the baptism of bells. The long and solemn ceremony, which may be performed only by a bishop, or a priest especially designated, consists of washing the bell with holy water, anointing it with the oil of the infirm without, and chrism within, and offering prayers that these sacramentals of the Church may, at the sound of the bell, put the demon to flight, protect from storms, and call the faithful to prayer. The fuming censer is then placed under the bell, that the smoke may fill the cavity, and the ceremony is concluded with the reading of the Gospel concerning Martha and Mary. The identical ritual is found in use in Carlovingian times and probably dates from about 750. Simplified blessings are used for other bells.