Ring out the bells at Lindfield!


13 November 2017 General Interest

By Colin Blayney

Bishop Peter A Comensoli joined the Parish community at the 6pm Mass at Holy Family church at Lindfield last night for the Dedication of the Ring of Bells.

 The local band of ringers, ranging from 11 years old to a grandparent, pictured with Bishop Peter A Comensoli and Fr Colin Blayney.

We have eight young adults (uni students) who have been learning for a year and are now quite proficient (they are all members of our parish Young Adults Group). Amongst the newer learners we have six who are in upper primary-lower secondary, 5 Year 10s, 3 dads. One of our ringers was a ringer in her youth and returned to it when we got our bells. She is a grandmother. The Parish Priest is also a ringer (i.e. Me)!

All the ministries at the Mass were taken by our local bellringing team - Adult and junior Servers, Readers, Prayers of the Faithful, Eucharistic Ministers - which are ministries they already occupy .

Background to the project
In October 2015 our parish received a letter from Thomas Perrins, Vice-President of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Bellringers (ANZAB) proposing that a ring of five bells be placed in the tower of Holy Family Church at Lindfield to enable traditional changeringing to take place.

This proposal came with the possibility of:
- donations totalling over $9000 from ANZAB and NEANZAB
- a personal donation of nearly $2000 from a member of ANZAB
- a donation from a British trust which fosters the installation of changeringing bells to the value of $3,300.
- a now confirmed donation of $5000 from another trust which seeks to support the continuation of the traditional art of church bellringing.

With around $18,000 being offered to the parish we would have been foolish indeed to ignore this project. Of course no parish funds are to be used for this project. The funds have come entirely from the above grants and donations along with many generous donations from parishioners (parishioner donations have so far totalled $16,000).

The existing bell is to be retained for its current purpose as a Service bell, for the ringing of the Angelus, and for the Consecration.

They are a lightweight ring of bells and so will produce a melodious rather than a cacophonous sound and since we will be installing sound controls in the tower at the same time they will only really be heard within the church and its grounds.

The ringers
In the meantime we have been very blessed that no less than nine of our young adults have been to other towers (St Mary’s Cathedral, St Leonard’s Naremburn and St James’ Anglican Church Turramurra) every week for the last four or five months learning how to ring. They have progressed remarkably – to the astonishment of bellringers across Sydney and wider Australia. One veteran ringer opines that our tower will probably have the best band of ringers in Sydney by the year’s end!

The bells
The bells arrived in the parish from England on 11 April 2017. They were blessed at the 6pm Mass on Sunday 7 May 2017. 

Each of the bells has been inscribed, according to tradition, in honour of a saint:
The Treble (No. 1 – the lightest bell in the note of B) is to be dedicated in honour of St Brigid, recalling that the Brigidine Sisters taught in our Parish School for so many years and honouring and remembering their work. St Brigid was renowned for her care for the poor. May the sound of this bell remind us of our own call to be people with a passion for justice.

No. 2 bell (in the note of A): is to be dedicated in honour of St Aelred of Rievaulx, both because St Aelred was a Cistercian monk and so forms a link to our parish retreats at Tarrawarra Abbey, and because of a personal bias I must confess - the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire are a hauntingly beautiful place and a personal place of pilgrimage. St Aelred gifted us with his beautiful adaptation of the words of 1 John ‘God is love’ – ‘God is friendship’. May the sound of this bell call us to that friendship with God in the depths of our hearts.

No. 3 bell (in the note of G#) will be dedicated in honour of St Benedict, another link to our parish retreats at Tarrawarra Abbey, which follows the Rule of St Benedict. It is also appropriate since the heart of the monastic spirituality gifted to the Church by St Benedict is the seven-times-daily call to prayer – usually done by the ringing of a bell! It speaks then of the rythmn of prayer which is to be part of every disciple’s life. The first word in St Benedict’s Rule is ‘Listen’. The disciple is called to listen for the call of God in all things. May the sound of this bell call us to that deep listening for God’s voice in our world.

No. 4 bell (in the note of F# will be dedicated in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the title under which Our Lady is patron of our church at Killara. May its sound remind us be people whose lives imitate the joyful acclamation of Mary as she carried the Word within her:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my saviour’ (Luke 1:46).

The Tenor (No. 5 - the heaviest bell - in the note of E) will be dedicated to the patron of the church in which it’s found, the Holy Family of Nazareth. May its sound call us into community of life, a family of faith, with our brothers and sisters.

Thank you to Noel Debien for the photos.


Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram

Login to CuriaNET