by Antonina Zielinska
Hundreds of Catholics gathered in front of St. Rose of Lima Church, Parkville, on Nov. 21 to hear their new church bells ring for the first time.
Msgr. Steven A. Ferrari, episcopal vicar of Brooklyn, led the community of faith in the blessing of the bells. He explained the importance of the new addition to the parish during his homily at the Mass that followed.
“The bells remind us of who we are,” he said. “They call us. They invite us to come and to worship and praise Jesus Christ the King of the Universe.”
Leanne Joice, a lifelong parishioner of St. Rose, attended to show her support and dedication to the parish. She said she is pleased to hear the bells ring again as she believes they are a central part of the parish.
“I grew up hearing bells, as a sign that God is calling us,” she said. “Today is the Feast of Christ the King. And this couldn’t be a more perfect day to ring the bell, to remind us that Christ is the Lord, the King.”
Dianne Mahon came to the event with her husband, John. The couple said St. Rose has been a big part of their family life. Both of their sons served as altar boys. They said the bells can bring the larger parish family closer together.
St. Rose is home to parishioners who have come from all over the world. Mass is celebrated in English, Polish, Spanish, Urdu and Filipino. Msgr. Ferrari said this is a reflection of the Brooklyn Diocese where Mass is celebrated in 22 languages every weekend.
“Brooklyn has always been a church of immigrants and migrants,” he said. “And people who are trying to find a good life for their families.”
Father Luke Trocha, pastor, said the bells are a way to bridge the cultural and language barriers that his community faces.
“The bells speak one language: the language of love, of joy,” he said. “And that is a quality we all have, no matter what corner of the world you come from.”
After Mass, attendees were invited to a social gathering to continue the celebration. During the event many different languages could be heard as parishioners enjoyed one another’s company over coffee and dessert.
James Cyprian, a Pakistani native, was among those who attended. “We had the opportunity to meet people from different nations, different countries,” he said. “And we all feel like one family here.”
Joan Vuolo, a parishioner for nearly 50 years, volunteered setting up, cleaning and directing people. She said diversity enriches the community and language barriers can be overcome. “Even if I don’t really understand my fellow parishioner’s language, there’s always a way to connect, with your eyes or a smile or something to come across,” she said.
When Father Trocha announced a raffle, Msgr. Ferrari broke the language barriers and translated the event into Spanish.
The bells will ring three minutes before each Mass time. They were brought back to life after a long silence through a donation from an anonymous parishioner.