Blessing of the Angelus Bell
Bishop Robert Byrne of the Oratory, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, blessed our new bell last Thursday when he came to the Musical Oratory in celebration of St John Henry's canonisation. The bell was given the name "John Henry".
This impressive blessing, full of scriptural references, is sometimes known as the "baptism of a bell". The bell is anointed with the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Chrism and washed with holy water.
The bell will be installed in the tower in the next few days and will start ringing the daily Angelus soon after. (The Angelus is a prayer commemorating the Incarnation of Our Lord and traditionally rung each day at 12 noon and 6pm.)
We are especially pleased that our new bell was formerly hung in a buoy in the English Channel as a warning to shipping in danger of running on to the rocks in darkness or fog. That seems a fitting metaphor for the bell's new and spiritual purpose, calling us to prayer....St Wilfrid's Bell Ringers. Often heard, rarely seen!