CHURCH bells will ring out all over the world in defiance of racism and xenophobia on 19 March, as a result of an initiative by the Dean of Waterford, the Very Revd Maria Jansson, at Christ Church Cathedral, in the south-east of the city.
“The bells of the cathedral have been silent for 18 months due to repairs. Known locally as the ‘joy bells’, their relaunch across the city will offer an opportunity to make a statement of what we stand for as a community,” Dean Jansson said on Monday.
“Parishioners from 12 different nationalities, and many faith backgrounds, join together in worship and fellowship. God has brought us together in our diversity and this is a real joy,” she said.
The former Irish President and now Canon Lawyer Mary McAleese will launch the bell peal, having preached at the 10 a.m. service. Through social media, Dean Jansson asked people to join in ringing bells on that day, and responses came in from all over the world: City of Sanctuary (a network of more than 100 cities and towns in the UK and Ireland); St Chad’s Anglican Church, Fullarton, in South Australia; Notre Dame RC University, and Newark diocese, in the United States; All Saints’ Anglican Church, Rome; St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Dublin; and St Mary’s RC University, Twickenham, in south London, are among the participants. The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams has also endorsed the initiative.
Dean Jansson said: “The rise in hateful racist attitudes in the public realm is alarming, because it draws upon the basest instincts in humankind, with appalling consequence for any society. In utter contrast, Jesus ever draws forth the best in us. ‘Love one another as I have loved to you’ is not a call to sentiment, but to a practical and sincere commitment to uphold the dignity and well-being of others. So this is a time to protest against what is utterly wrong in our world, and, at the same time, give witness to the hope to which we are all called.
“That the peal will ring out on St Patrick’s weekend is pertinent. On that day we remember the immigrant who brought Ireland to faith, as well as the millions of Irish emigrants who sought opportunity around the world. Let us mark this day by a show of solidarity with all desperately seeking welcome and new lives among us.”