Bells to Ring for ‘Hundreds of Years’
September 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM
Bells that once signaled the faithful in Schuylkill County are summoning the faithful once again to practice their faith at Mass, religious celebrations and funeral rites at St. Benedict, Mohnton.
Father Philip Rodgers welcomes faithful to the solemn blessing and dedication of the new church bells at St. Benedict. From left are Deacon Gerald Schmidt and Bishop John Barres. (Photos by Richard Patrick)
Three church bells from the former St. Bartholomew, Brockton, which was built in 1846, were rededicated and solemnly blessed Sept. 17. St. Bartholomew, along with St. Bertha, Tuscarora, was consolidated into St. Jerome, Tamaqua in 2008.
Bishop John Barres was the principal celebrant at the Mass, and presided at the blessing and rededication of the bells, which were caste in 1929 and donated by St. Bartholomew.
“The ringing of the bells for the very first time at St. Benedict's reminds all of us to continue to ring the bell of our Catholic faith, the bell of the New Evangelization and the bell of religious liberty throughout the world,” said Bishop Barres.
Before mass communication, a bell was rung in the Catholic Church to signify the hour or the time for worshippers to go to church for Mass, or to attend a wedding, funeral or other services.
The Catholic Church also engages the ringing of a church bell to create joyful noise and for the Angelus prayer. The Angelus is a short practice of devotion in honor of the Incarnation repeated three times each day: morning, noon and evening.
“The bells are essentially a call to prayer. They will ring five minutes before Mass. They will toll for all funerals and peal for all weddings,” said Father Rodgers, pastor.
Father James Bechtel, former pastor of St. Bartholomew, said the idea to donate the bells to St. Benedict arose when a parishioner mentioned that the parish was interested in adding a bell tower to the church that was built in 2000.
“Since the bells were previously blessed and consecrated, they could not be sold for other purposes,” said Father Bechtel.
Clergy and faithful process to the new bell tower constructed to encase three church bells donated by the former parish of St. Bartholomew, Brockton.
“They are beautiful bells, and what a blessing that they are still being used to call people to practice their faith,” he said.
The trio of bells was blessed when the second St. Bartholomew church building was erected. The large bell was consecrated in honor of the Holy Family, the medium bell honors the Blessed Mother and the small bell venerates St. Joseph.
The bells are encased in a complete standing tower that lights up at night.
Father Rodgers said the project was funded by a few financial gifts from donors and dozens of parishioners who purchased pavers for the garden area.
“It was a small project but the parish was very excited. There was so much enthusiasm,” said Father Rodgers.
“We are so pleased with the gift from St. Bartholomew. And our hope is that the bells will ring for hundreds of years,” he said.