Catholic churches across Sydney will ring their bells five times each day, calling on the faithful to unite in a prayer for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time when all churches are closed due to government restrictions, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP says he hopes the ringing of the bells will remind the faithful of the importance of pausing and uniting wherever they are in prayer for those suffering due to the coronavirus.
“The ringing of church bells is deeply entrenched in our Christian culture, whether that be to announce the beginning of Mass, the Consecration at the heart of the Mass, weddings, funerals, the election of a new Pope or the end of war,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“With public Masses now suspended across Australia and private prayers in our churches also banned by the government, our focus has been very much on helping people find ways to pray and nurture their faith from home, as well as increasing the availability of pastoral care, healthcare and welfare services.
“The ringing of church bells is a powerful reminder to the faithful that we are all united together in a prayer for all those impacted by the coronavirus.”
Parishes with bells, including St Mary’s Cathedral, will start ringing them from Sunday March 29 five times each day. Each of the prayer times will be dedicated to a specific group affected by the pandemic:
9am- Prayer for those infected with COVID-19 and all those who are sick
12pm- Angelus prayer for health professionals, clergy and all those caring for the sick
3pm- Prayer for the unemployed, financially stressed, isolated or lonely due to COVID-19
6pm- Prayer for the people of Australia and especially our political leaders and health authorities
9pm- Prayer for those who have died from COVID-19 and their families.
Fr Dominic Murphy OP parish priest at St James Forest Lodge and St Bede Pyrmont Parish said that ringing his church’s bells will be a powerful symbol of solidarity.
“It’s a great way of letting people know that we are still here, we are thinking of you and you are being included in our prayers,” he said.
The archdiocese will provide short prayer intentions on its COVID-19 prayer resources page and social media pages, with a special intention of the day announced at the daily Mass from St Mary’s Cathedral which is being live streamed here.