Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2001

Archbishop’s intercession quiets 6 a.m. bells

April 26, 2001


Ask for whom the bell tolls not.

The answer would be Rich Davis and other neighbors of Corpus Christi Church. Their complaints about the early-morning peal of church bells prompted Archbishop James Keleher of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas on Wednesday to issue a cease-and-desist order.

Neighbors had appealed to city commissioners for relief, but the archbishop acted more quickly.

The Rev. Jim Shaughnessy, pastor of Corpus Christi, said Keleher told the church to stop ringing the 6 a.m. bell because of neighbor complaints. Shaughnessy said the dawn bell would halt, but that the bell will continue to be rung at daily 7 a.m. Masses and then again at noon and 6 p.m., for weekend Masses and at funerals.

"Hopefully, it should resolve the neighborhood situation," Shaughnessy said.

Davis, who lives across the street from the church, said he was pleased with the archbishop's decision.

"My kids are going to be really happy," Davis said. "Because when they get up at 6, they put the pillows over their heads and try to go back to sleep."

His children are ages 9, 11 and 14.

However, Davis said he thinks the 7 a.m. bell still is a little unreasonable, especially for families with infants or toddlers.

"I think if you took the opinion of parents of small children and asked if they wanted someone to wake up their children before they wanted them to be up, I don't think anyone would agree," he said.

Davis said he still plans to talk with the city commissioners.

Another neighbor, John Bush, said he was pleased with the decision to halt the 6 a.m. bell tolling. Like Davis, he said that if neighbors, particularly those with small children, found the 7 a.m. wake-up call too early, he would continue to lobby city commissioners to eliminate it as well.

"I hate to speculate on 7, 8, 9 what is too early?" said Bush, who can hear the bell ringing at his house near the South Lawrence Trafficway. "I just know 6 is."

"I think it's certainly a step in the right direction, a step towards common sense and the Golden Rule," Bush said.

In January, the church began ringing the 100-year-old bell daily at 6 a.m.. Neighbors have not appreciated the wake-up call.

The bell from the first Catholic parish in Wyandotte County was installed in the new bell tower when the church moved to its present location.

Lawrence Mayor Mike Rundle and City Commissioner David Dunfield said they have talked with several neighbors about the situation, but have not had a chance to talk with the church. The issue has not been discussed at a city commission meeting.

"I think everyone wants to avoid going to a big pubic meeting (about this)," Dunfield said.

The significance behind the daily bell ringing comes from the Angelus devotions, and dates to the Middle Ages: For centuries the bells have reminded people who were working in the fields or elsewhere to pray at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

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