Too Loud Too Early for Manayunk Church Bell, Neighbor Complains [CN-USA]

For 104 years, the bell at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in hilly, blue-collar Manayunk has joyfully summoned the faithful to prayer, celebrated marriages, and marked the ends of wars. *


I usually enjoy the sound of church bells. You don’t hear them much anymore, and they kind of take me back in time. But at 7:00 AM? That’s just a bit too much.

I was a bit puzzled why, if the bell had been tolling for 100 years, anyone would complain. But apparently the bell stopped working in 2007 and wasn’t restored to operation until January this year. The complaint came soon after bell began working again.

Maybe instead of complaining, they could pray the Angelus. :slight_smile:

My goodness, the Muslims (whom everyone is always complaining about), are called to pray five times a day! If only we could follow that example.



There was a time when almost everyone within earshot of the parish bell belonged to the Faith and the parish, not so today. I understand the desire to ring the bells but to what end? They once called Catholics to prayer but based on attendance at the morning Mass few are heeding the call. I think I’d have a real problem being roused from sleep at 7 AM, especially on my only day of rest, Sunday; not to mention those who work second or third shift and especially the non-Catholics. The pastor is digging his heels in but in the end he may lose all ability to ring those bells; cooperate, negotiate, mitigate.

And if it were a mosque they would be crying religious intolerance. :rolleyes:

I say good for Father, and he should never compromise.


and people just complain about everything Catholic. they just want everything Catholic to disappear. what amazes me is that they also have the support of many Catholics. very sad.

So no matter what, no matter how it may affect the neighbors, no matter if it might violate a town ordinance we Catholics can do whatever we feel like doing whenever! That attitude is going to get us a long way in discussions over things that really matter like a public display of the Crèche at Christmas or blocking a street for a procession and festival on a saints day, or a host of other civic issues we constantly battle.

This bell was silent for years and now he wants to use it a the neighborhood alarm clock!

By the way, I haven’t heard a Muslim call to prayer any where around here, not even near the mosque. When I do I’ll side with your religious intolerance in the bell case.

That’s because you’d get the same complaints…that it’s too loud, too early (the first prayer of the day for Muslims is before sunrise).

I know I’m going to get in trouble with this sarcasm but does that mean the Muslims are more considerate of their neighbors than us?

I have at least seven mosques near me, maybe more, and not once in all the time I’ve lived here have they made a public call to prayer because also in my area are at least 15 other major religions or minor denominations.
You see muslim men walking quietly and orderly to the mosques nearby at prayertime. Not once has anyone had cause to complain, as the muslims respect those nonmuslims around them.
Respect for those around them - something this priest seems to lack.

Having grown up in Manhattan, with church bells ringing all over the place, I always found them a reassuring and beautiful background sound. After all, it isn’t as if the neighborhood has their collective heads stuck in the bell tower! Good for Father! Stick to your guns, padre!



*And Father Lyons?

“Unless the city or the archdiocese tells us we can’t, they are going to keep ringing.”*

Perhaps the neighbors should get together and host a VERY loud party next door to the church during Sunday mass. Maybe the good father would reconsider and try being a good neighbor for a change.

Curiously, in our parish we ring the bell at 4:45pm on Saturday for the 5:00pm Mass, but never on Sunday mornings. Perhaps same reason? The non-Catholic residents complain of the bell on Sunday mornings?

I used to rally with others for a 6 AM bicycle ride of 10 miles or so. When we would meet around 6 AM, on a weekday, I could hear the Presbyterian church bell tolling out the hours. I mentioned once to another rider how nice it was, and he replied that I wouldn’t feel that way if I lived in the neighborhood.

I have to admit, he had a point. It is one thing to ring the church bell as a summons to religious service, one in which most residents will want to participate. But beyond that… it can be an unnecessary nuisance.

Where I grew up, for several years I lived a quarter mile from the local mosque. In addition to the Call to Prayer 5 times a day from loudspeakers, make that very loud speakers, for Ramadan they had an additional signal. At sunrise and sunset they would fire off a cannon to let everyone know it was time to either stop or start eating.

Being awakened at sunrise by a cannon is a very rude awakening indeed. Muslims were not awakened by the cannon because they were up much earlier cooking and eating. We got used to it after a while and actually came to like the evening Call to Prayer. It was something I missed when I left.

This church has been ringing its bells for 104 years. It hasn’t rung them lately because they were broken. I bet there were a number of local residents who have missed hearing the church bells. I hope they will come forward in support of them. Perhaps some sort of compromise could be reached.

There’s a very simple compromise - the residents are only objecting to the ringing at 7am - no other time - and it’s for the Angelus (I thought the Angelus was midday and 6pm but I digress) not a call to Mass. If the priest is too bull headed to simply stop one set of ringing at 7am when people have clearly said they dont want it, well, maybe the suggestion mentioned earlier should be taken up :frowning:


I miss the Philippines. When its Simbang Gabi, Church bells are ringing at 4am, and no one is complaining (or they can complain and be promptly ignored). Our parish even has religious Christmas songs on loudspeaker for 30 minutes before Mass.

I say, if people are going to complain about church bells, they they shouldn’t take Christmas off from work. :stuck_out_tongue: