MEYCAUAYAN, Bulacan, Dec. 14, 2015 – A small park that houses three century-old bells was inaugurated and consecrated at St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Sunday, Dec. 13.
Malolos Diocese Bishop Jose Oliveros led the unveiling ceremony after the Holy Mass which he concelebrated with parish priest Msgr. Adalberto Vergara, Parochial Vicars Fr. Norberto Ventura and Fr. Jose Luis Perez, and guest priest Fr. Marcelo Sanchez.
“The parish bell tower used to occupy three bells namely, Señor San Josep (1863), Maria Concepcion (1868) and San Francisco de Asis (1881). Maria Concepcion, the largest bell, was said to be the mightiest in the whole province of Bulacan. However, consistent ringing and exposure to weather elements caused a huge crack on Maria Concepcion and damage on San Francisco’s counterweight,” Robby dela Vega, a member of the Committee on Church Cultural Heritage, told CBCP News.
The Meycauayan Heritage Bells
He also shared that after more than a century, the three bells were taken down in October 2015 and replaced with a new set of bells cast by the Grassmayr Bell Foundry in Austria.
“The heritage bells were placed in a small park dedicated to the memory of Fray Francisco Gascueña, OFM, parish priest of Meycauayan (1799-1831),” he added.
“Many experienced joy after hearing the sound of the new carillons,” said Vergara in his message. “Our parish is indeed blessed by God for these three bells as well as for the Gascueña Park where the heritage bells were exhibited.”
He also expressed his gratitude to the people who took part in the realization of the said project, especially those who have shared their resources to acquire the bells and to construct the park.
Parish Pastoral Council co-chairman Felix Dumigpe said the “echo coming from these bells signifies a call for all of us to come, worship, and serve God.”
Door of Mercy
Meanwhile, Oliveros also led the ceremonial opening of the “Door of Mercy” together with the priests, different church organizations, and the parish faithful. “We are called to rejoice and thank God for this Jubilee Year of Mercy,” he said in his homily. “The open door is a sign that God is opening His heart for us, especially to those who repent and seek for His mercy.”
St. Francis of Assisi Parish church is a designated pilgrim church for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy together with the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Malolos, three national shrines, five diocesan shrines, a parish church, and a chapel, which are all situated across the diocese.
Oliveros concluded the Mass bestowing his blessing and plenary indulgence on behalf of Pope Francis. (Myraine Carluen Policarpio / CBCP News)