Warsaw, Poland, Jun 30, 2021 / 08:00 am (CNA).
A bell blessed by Pope Francis is touring Poland to highlight the 42 million lives lost to abortion worldwide each year.
On June 29, the “Voice of the Unborn” bell arrived at All Saints church in Kolbuszowa, southeastern Poland after two days of spiritual preparation in the parish.
Bishop Jan Wątrobya of Rzeszów celebrated a Mass marking the bell’s arrival at the church.
The pope was the first person to ring the symbolic bell after giving it his blessing at the Vatican after his general audience on Sept. 23, 2020.
He noted that the bell would “accompany events aimed at remembering the value of human life from conception to natural death.”
The bell weighs more than 2,000 pounds and is nearly four feet in diameter. It was cast from bronze at the Jan Felczyński bell foundry in the southeastern Polish city of Przemyśl.
Preparations for the bell’s arrival at All Saints church were led by Fr. Przemysław Drąg, national pastor of families, who spoke of the importance of defending life from conception to natural death.
Bogdan Romaniuk, vice-president of Poland’s Yes to Life Foundation, said: “The bell, which began its pilgrimage in Rome, is on its way all over Poland.”
“Today, it was solemnly introduced in the parish of All Saints in Kolbuszowa, where it will stay for a time before going on other pilgrimage routes.”
The bell is decorated with a DNA double helix and an ultrasound image of an unborn child.
It bears the words of the Fifth Commandment, “You shall not kill,” and a quotation from Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
Romaniuk said that his foundation had received requests from pro-life groups outside Poland to cast other bells highlighting the dignity of unborn children.
“We have been approached by a pro-life organization from Ecuador,” he explained. “We are seriously discussing the possibility of such a bell, that its heart may ring for the people of this country. A similar request came from Ukraine.”
A landmark decision on abortion by Poland’s constitutional court came into effect in January.
The Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw ruled on Oct. 22, 2020, that abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional.
The court’s verdict prompted a wave of demonstrations across Poland. Protesters directed their anger at the ruling Law and Justice party, but also at the Catholic Church, which welcomed the decision.
The ruling, which cannot be appealed, could lead to a significant reduction in the number of abortions in the country. Abortion is now permitted only in cases of rape or incest and where there is a risk to the mother’s health or life.
“We cannot remain indifferent to how many children die because of abortion,” commented Romaniuk, who initiated the project to cast the bell.
“Today it rings to recall the inalienable right to life, to sensitize and awaken consciences, not only of people in Poland but all over the world,” he said.
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