The bells of St. Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, will be ringing on March 19 to signal solidarity with immigrants.
Taking place at 11:05 a.m. as morning service begins, the peal of 10 bells will ring out following an invitation to the dean and bellringers of St. Macartin’s Cathedral from the dean of Waterford, the Very Rev. Maria Jansson, who is originally from Sweden.
In the summer of 2014, a fascist demonstration was organized in the area surrounding Västeras Cathedral in Sweden. As the rally began, with swastikas and hate-filled speeches, the cathedral bells tolled loud and clear over the city, drowning out the sounds of hate and racism.
A spokesperson for St. Macartin’s Cathedral stated: “It is time for the Christian message of love to raise its voice in protest and make a call to solidarity. At a time when there is worldwide fear and disquiet, we will use this opportunity to peal a very different message on that day, in protest and in hope.”
The spokesperson described the rising cacophony of racism and xenophobia across the world as alarming and said sometimes symbolic actions can say it all.
“Bells sound alarm but also a gathering of people for good. They are part of many cultures and religions, ringing out the old and bringing in the new.
“That the bells will ring on St. Patrick’s weekend is appropriate; St. Patrick was the stranger brought to this island as [a] slave but who returned later in life to transform our history, bringing the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of love. St. Patrick’s Day is known across the world wherever the Irish have gone seeking sanctuary, opportunity and a new life. Issues of being the stranger and welcoming the stranger have been central to our cultural and often-troubled history.
“[As] all bells ring throughout the country together, we hope to make a different sound: ringing out misogyny, hate, xenophobia, exploitation and fear: ringing in solidarity, truth and justice.”