Eucharistic Congress Bell

What does the ‘Ringing of a Bell’ mean to us?

Here at St Alban’s all 3 of our bells now work. The Funeral Bell; the 2 tone Swinging Bell used especially for Weddings and our newly working Angelus Bell. These are all ‘calls to prayer’ and send a message both to our minds and well as our ears.

In times past the ringing of a bell has been a sign of warning of coming danger – like air-raids - but for early Christians it was an ‘invitation to kneel and pray’ telling us that something good that was coming.  Bells are found on Wedding and Christmas cards reminding us that God is with us bringing ‘Good News’ of hope and happiness.

The Angelus Bell used to be rung at 6pm inviting the Christian community to pause at the end of a busy day and reflect on Christ our God being born a man, the Word made flesh and Our Lady’s place in our faith and history.

On Tuesday 22nd of May 2012 at 7 pm here at St Alban’s Church in Blackburn the very BELL which the Holy Father will ring to open the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin later in June will be coming to our Church. A special service of prayer has been composed for us to share and celebrate as the Congress Bell is carried down the aisle and placed on a special plinth here on the Sanctuary.

A precious ICON of Our Lady of Refuge, showing Mary and St John at the foot of the Cross will also present on the Sanctuary and we will have a prayerful explanation of the Icon as well as the opportunity to venerate it somewhat similar to the veneration of the Cross that we have on Good Friday.

The Service of prayer, reflection, Scripture readings and hymns will surround the actual ‘Ringing of the Bell’ during the Service. Hand Bells were rung in the Catacombs before the reading of the Gospel in ancient Rome. In the 5th century St Patrick rang his bell to herald a new age for the Irish people. In the 8th century bells were first ruing at funerals. Since the 11th century bells were rung in monasteries to call people to prayer. Throughout time bells have rung at religious and secular events announcing joys or sorrows. Bells are often rung in music and always for joy.

The Congress Bell is only coming to a small number of Churches in the Diocese during the week of the 20th to the 27th and its visit to St Alban’s is for the whole of East Lancashire  -  it is an honour and a privilege for us and I we hope the Church will be filled on the 22nd May 2012.

Please God we will gather on the 22nd of May for the 7 pm Service to pray for the success of the Eucharistic Congress in June and God’s blessing on our Holy Father Benedict. It will be a call to prayer for us all to deepen our love for the Lord. The BELL will ring and we will hear it both in our hearts and our ears; a call to prayer and belief  -  a call to celebrate with joy that ‘the Lord is with us’