Joining with Catholic churches in the Archdioceses of Boston, New York, Philadelphia along with the Diocese of Brooklyn and numerous dioceses throughout the country, many parishes in the Diocese of Trenton rang their church bells at noon Dec. 30 to honor the almost 339,000 people who have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began last March. In New Jersey, 18,777 COVID deaths have been reported.
Apart from their regularly appointed times, church bells are rung to mark significant milestones or occasions.
"It is my hope that, as the year 2020 comes to an end,” observed Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., “the tolling of bells in churches throughout the Diocese will invite us to pray for our beloved dead while calling us to compassionate solidarity with Catholics throughout the nation. May the coming year quickly see the end of this pandemic.”
St. Michael Church, West End, was among the local parishes to ring its bells.
“The familiar tone of the bells recognizes the sadness and the grief and at the same time expresses comfort, consolation, and an uplifting sense of faith, hope and encouragement,” said Father John Butler, parish pastor. “As the sound of the bells travel, it unites individuals within a community, and it also unites nearby communities with each other by crossing lines of religion and politics and other differences that can separate us. The power and gentle beauty of the bells inspire strength and perseverance, confidence and prayerfulness in a simple yet moving and memorable way.”