Bells Chime Again at St. Joan of Arc


After years of silence, the bells of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community are ready to bring their joyous sound to the neighborhood again.

Church bell ringing goes back thousands of years. Historically, church bells announced the time of day, ringing on the hour and sometimes on the half hour. They called people to church services. They rang at 6 in the morning, noon, and at 6 in the evening as a signal for saying the Angelus. They tolled slowly at funerals. They rang joyously to celebrate weddings. They reminded people of the glory of God.

In Europe, and in many neighborhoods in the United States, the buoyant sound of bells is still honored. As St. Joan of Arc parishioner Don Hall points out, “When you live in a neighborhood where planes are roaring overhead, the sound of church bells is a welcome change. They are the antithesis of airplane noise.” Yet, for many reasons, often the cost associated with repair, many church bells stay silent. Such was the case at St. Joan of Arc. With parishioner contributions, the bell system has been repaired and upgraded.

St. Joan of Arc always strives to be a good neighbor.  So the bells will not ring at 6 a.m., nor will they ring prior to the 7:45 a.m. Mass. The plan is to ring them prior to the Saturday 5 p.m. Mass, the Sunday 9 a.m. Mass and the Sunday 11 a.m. Mass. They will ring daily at noon and at 6 p.m. They will toll at funerals, and, if the family desires they will play “Taps” for veterans who have died. They will celebrate weddings. They will mark special occasions, e.g., tolling 11 times on Nov. 11 in honor of veterans. The bell system is capable of chiming a variety of hymns. Neighbors will recognize many of them.

The church hopes its neighbors will enjoy the ringing of the bells and maybe will hear them as an invitation to visit one of St. Joan of Arc’s services. In attending worship one has an opportunity to meet neighbors and some of SJA’s parishioners, who come from more than 200 zip codes. SJA says to all of its visitors: “We welcome you wherever you are on your journey.”

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