Saturday, September 11, 2010

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Maybe you've heard about the fracas in Manayunk about the Angelus Bell at St. John the Baptist Church and the threat of a citation by the city of Philadelphia. All because of one Grinchy neighbor. Last night I was blasted out of my sleep by a screaming teenager being hauled home by her irate father at about 1 am. Not long after that, the charming sound of drunks trying to find their way home after a night of carousing echoed through the street and into our window. This morning, at the once civil hour of 9am, the speakers of a car stereo blared salsa music down Broad Street whether the citizens enjoying the beautiful morning wanted to hear it or not. And some crackpot is worried about church bells????????

One of my fondest memories of my trip to Panama was hearing the bells of Iglesia del Nostra Senora de Carmen each morning at 6am as we made our way down to breakfast. To say that the bells were pealing would be an understatement. I've never heard bells so loud and I actually think that if I'd been on the street while they were ringing, I would have felt the ground vibrating. The bells at St. John's aren't anywhere near that loud.

In an area where public urination and drunkenness threaten to supplant the hills as the hallmark of the neighborhood, you'd think people might find a more worthwhile cause to champion that silencing a 106-year-old bell. As our world continues to spin out of control, you can expect to see more of this type of nonsense. I hope the pastor of St. John's, Father James A Lyons, holds his ground and keeps that bell ringing at 7am (an hour later than it used to ring at 6am).

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