by Cary Anne Fitzgerald, PDHP Parent/Community Outreach Coordinator
“The bells would ring and no matter where you were, you would stop and pray. It was a collective silence all around. When that time had passed, we all went back to what we were doing.” This is a paraphrase from part of a Sunday homily I heard years ago. The description with which this priest recalled this scene from his childhood was so in depth that the visual I was left with kept me wondering about this infusion of prayer into daily life.
When I was getting married, the principal of my school at the time called me into her office where she gifted me with a beautifully wrapped package. She watched excitedly while I unwrapped it, ever the educator, she informed me that the beautiful crystal bell I now held in my hand had a deeper purpose than its surface good looks. “When you and your spouse have an argument, ring the bell. It will clear the discord.”
In so many religions, times and cultures, bells, chimes, gongs, singing bowls have long been used to denote the sacred, to banish the negative.
We have spoken often about the need for self-care. The filling of one’s cup before they can use that cup to fill for another. In PDHP, when our team does crisis work, they end the time with a de-briefing. This period of time allows the team members to process what has happened, let go of any lingering concerns and plan to engage in activities to promote self-care. For each person, self-care differs. Spiritual practices serve as a source of self-care, as well as transition, bonding and focus. Again, for each of us, spiritual practices may differ as well. That is the beauty that comes from a religion whose name itself is rooted in the word “universal.”
As you hear the ringing of the bells from the Catholic Churches of Brooklyn & Queens, let it will serve as the reminder for us all who hear it – no matter what our beliefs, backgrounds, locations, and so on and so forth – that while alone, we are together, that we can meet as we are to unite for healing, strength and hope beyond this moment. Fill your cup.