Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, has invited all 214 parishes of the Archdiocese to ring their bells on the morning of Sunday, March 19 in opposition to the incredible fear that is being generated worldwide toward immigrants and refugees.
The Archdiocese is participating in the international Joy of Bells initiative, an effort by people of faith throughout the world to protest against anti-immigrant sentiment. Cardinal Tobin learned about the effort recently from former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, one of its organizers.
In writing to pastors in the Archdiocese about Newark’s participation, Cardinal Tobin stated: “It actually is fitting that March 19 is chosen as the day for this event, since traditionally the Catholic Church observes the Feast of St. Joseph on that day. As we all know, St. Joseph, in whom was entrusted the care of Jesus and his mother, Mary, understood first-hand the trials and terrors of being a refugee and emigrant, forced from his own land by people wishing to do the Holy Family harm.”
Many have also noted that the Joy of Bells also occurs during the weekend of the celebration of the Feast of St. Patrick, who was an immigrant to Ireland, first as a slave, and then as a missionary.
Parishes are free to choose at what time they will join in the demonstration of solidarity with people of faith throughout the world in the Joy of Bells, so long as the ringing occurs during the morning of March 19. The bells of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the mother Church of the Archdiocese, will peal at 10:15 a.m.
The Cardinal ended his letter to pastors with this entreaty: “Let your bells join those in England and Ireland, the Vatican and Canada, Thailand and countless other countries, cities, towns and villages to help people overcome isolation and hatred throughout the world.”