May 08, 2012

International Eucharistic Congress Bell Comes to Baggot Street

The Eucharistic Congress Bell began its pilgrimage through the Dioceses of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day in 2011. Like St. Patrick’s Bell, the Congress Bell is being rung across the land calling God’s people together, to hear anew the good news that God is present among us and calls us to communion. The forthcoming Eucharistic Congress offers us an opportunity to reflect together on the place of the Eucharist in our lives, as individuals and as communities.

The Congress Bell has its origins in the Dominican Convent in Portstewart in Co Derry. It was used
most recently to ring in the Jubilee Year 2000 in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. Starting on St Patrick’s
Day, 2011, the bell has been brought on foot from diocese to diocese in Ireland by teams of volunteers. It has also made its way to Rome, where it was rung by Pope Benedict, symbolically calling pilgrims to Ireland for the International Eucharistic Congress in June. The bell will end its 500 day pilgrimage at the opening ritual of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June.

On Monday, 30th April, the Congress bell and its accompanying four icons came to the chapel of Mercy International Centre. An international community gathered to welcome the Congress Bell to this sacred space.


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An extract from the Prayer Ritual used highlights the symbolic richness of the bell in our Christian and personal journeys:

  •  Hand bells were first used in the catacombs of Rome. Let us remember those who first believed in the Gospel and in silence renew in our hearts our own faith (pause - ring).
  •  In the fifth century St. Patrick rang his bell heralding a new age for Ireland and the presence of the Good news in the midst of the Irish people. In silence let us thank God for the gift of faith (pause - ring).
  •  In the eighth century bells were first used at funerals. Let us pray for all who have died, whose faith is known to God alone. (pause - ring)
  •  Since the eleventh century, monastic bells have called the Christian community to gather for prayer. Let us in silence renew our pledge to respond ourselves to that call (pause - ring).
  •  Throughout the ages, at both religious and secular events, bells have rung in joy and in sorrow, in invitation and in warning. Let us take a moment to recall times when bells have rung for us (pause - ring).
  •  Bells have long been associated with music and with joy, and with the immanent beginning of something new. Let us in silence thank God for new beginnings (pause - ring).


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