By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

My parish church of St. Vincent de Paul, established in 1844 and the second-oldest church in St. Louis, recently rang its bells for the first time in several years.

Since the supports for the heavy bells were in dire need of repair, we were advised not to ring the bells until they and the church tower could be fixed.

So the bells were silent for too many days.

When we celebrated the feast of St. Vincent on Sept. 25, the parish members gathered on the church steps to hear the bells’ music again.

The bells are sound and symbol of a place of peace and refuge for our parish and for the homeless who spend a lot of time on our parish grounds.

When the bells ring, the pealing reminds us that we are here to pray together, to serve, and to care for some of the most forgotten folks in our society, people that others might want to ignore and discount.

The music of the bells soothes us and calls us to pause a moment to ponder the Gospel message. We have a parish mission, and the bells help us remember why we are here.

As I stood on the steps with a happy group of parishioners, I wondered what else has been silent for too long in our lives.

What inner bells do we need to reawaken to remind us of the Gospel message of love, justice, equality and service?

The joyous pealing floating out of the bell tower and over the neighborhood is more than sound.

Coming from a place of peace and prayer, it’s a reminder to pause, to listen, to be happy, and to continue the mission.

What sounds and sights help you remember Mystery, Presence and service to others?