18 October 2011

The blessing of bells for our new church

After struggling for years after its founding in 1955 and drifting from church to church as guests, our Old Catholic parish in Hannover finally fulfilled the dream of having our own church, which was consecrated by Bishop Matthias Ring in September. The diocese came together to help finance the construction, which all told cost around €1 million, which all came from the parish itself, the diocese, the Bonn parish, and numerous donations from individuals.

However, the church is still lacking some things that were planned, in particular bells. If you look at pictures of the church, you can see the bell tower on one side of the roof, between the church and parish hall, but it is as of now still empty.

As a sign of the warm ecumenical relations we have with the other parishes in the area, the next-door EKD Lutheran Parish of St. James (Jakobikirche) donated one of their bells for us to install, which as it happens is g´´. We then ordered a second bell, which is e´´ and thus goes well with the smaller, older bell, and it was cast in a small ceremony. The bell will then come to join its older sister, and both will be consecrated Bishop Matthias in the name of our patron, Maria Angélique, on November 18. I'm happy to say that it was entirely financed by donations, to the tune of €12,000 -- something which I never dreamed would be possible just five years ago. But it is a further sign of how our parish is really flowering in recent years, by the grace of God and the hard work of our members, in spite of the general decline of churches in Germany and Europe as a whole.

The bells will be installed in early December this year and will be heard for the first time, fittingly enough, during the Christmas midnight mass, where we will no doubt sing "Ding! Dong! merrily on high" or something similar. (Hey, I always loved the Gloria in that hymn...one of my favorite carols.)

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