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New bell tower blessed at Stafford church

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Parishioners at St. William of York Church in Stafford celebrated the completion of their new bell tower and narthex Jan. 19. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the Mass that included the blessing of the bell. 

During his homily, Bishop Burbidge encouraged the faithful to resist the darkness and ask, “What is God’s will for you at this moment in your life?” 

“If we look at the darkness and are deceived into thinking by the Evil One that there is nothing we can do to transform the situations, we would be led to despair,” said Bishop Burbidge. “We refuse to accept such a disposition. Instead, we believe, we pray, we act,” 

The renovation project started last June added much-needed space to the narthex, floor-to-ceiling windows, and attaches to the bell tower by an awning, as well as wheelchair ramps and new bathrooms. Members of the faithful were called to church five minutes before Mass by the ringing of the bell. According to Father Robert J. DeMartino, pastor of St. William of York, a computer chip is being made to control the bell’s ring schedule. Once installed, the bell will ring for the Angelus at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. and during the consecration.

According to the Mass program, ringing the bell is an ancient practice to summon Christians to the liturgical assembly, and as a way to express the sentiments of the people of God as they rejoice, grieve, or offer thanks or petition, gather together and show their oneness in Christ. 

Father DeMartino said the eye-catching new entrance gives much needed “Catholic identity” to the church architecture that was lacking before. He hopes the building additions will act as a Catholic landmark in Stafford and bring more faithful to the church and school.

 

Kassock is a freelancer in Fredericksburg.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020