2022 Bell Tower Renovation

Bulletin Article for May 1, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Our annual celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection began on joyful note this spring of 2022. We were liberated from the COVID restrictions that deprived the liturgy of some of its most beautiful and sacramental elements. We were not required to wear masks, nor distance ourselves socially, nor sanitize our hands upon entering the church and before receiving Holy Communion. Once again we permitted to sing with a full choir and incorporate wind instruments in our hymnody. We were able to greet one another with a tactile Sign of Peace. We baptized a young woman by full immersion  in our baptismal font at the Easter Vigil and three infants (all cousins) at the 11:30am Mass.

Perhaps the most unique feature to this year’s celebration of Easter was the pealing of our newly refurbished bells. Their sound announced the most central and fundamental belief in Christendom – that Jesus, once crucified, has been raised to new life. No other faith tradition has ever made such a claim, and our parish bells called us together to rejoice in this belief through solemn ritual and joyous song. In The Fourfold Way, by Angeles Arrien, an anthropologist and lecturer on religious traditions author notes:  

In most cultures the musical instrument that is equated with spirituality or calling people together is the bell. Archetypally, the bells serves a sonic voice calling us back to remember our authentic purpose or “calling.” Cross-culturally, the bell is a way to connect us to the spiritual aspects of ourselves. In some shamanic traditions, people tie bells to their ankles and wrists to serve as a reminder to bring tribal dreams, visions and prayers to Mother Earth. Tibetan bells, Hindu bells, Oriental gongs, African bells, and bell choirs are ways to reinforce life dreams, prayers, visions and spiritual inspiration.

These essential insights are reflected in the Czech inscription found on our largest bell which was originally from St. Wenceslaus church in Chicago. The translation of the text reads:

Oh, sacred bell given to us by God!
As your heart [=clapper of the bell] starts the sound
Let everyone’s heart drown in an earnest prayer.
Let your pure sound protect everyone’s purity!
When your voice invites all to the mass,
Let your people be drawn to the altar by your sweet power.
Let newlyweds have their blissful dreams,
And your prayer reach to God himself,
And a soul to whom you’re tolling,
Your music guides it all the way to the Heaven’s gate.

There remains to put the finishing touches on the bell arch by covering its columns with stonework similar to that which is on the church.

Some people have asked when they can expect to hear the bells ring. The following is the schedule:

May the majestic and powerful call of our bells summon our minds and hearts to an attitude of adoration and thanksgiving for the gift of redemption that we have received through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.