Bells to Recall WWI Usher in New Year in St. Peters Square

Pope Says Tolling Expresses Hope for No More Wars

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An audible symbol of hope for an end to war and start to peace ushered in the New Year toward the conclusion of Pope Francis’ Angelus address New Year’s day.

Speaking to thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square at the conclusion of his Angelus address following the Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, the Pope gave warm wishes to those gathered and welcomed the tolling of bells to end war and promote peace.

«In this moment we are joined with Rovereto, in Trentino, where you will find the great bell known as ‘Maria Dolens,’ which was made in honor of the fallen in all the wars, and was blessed by Blessed Paul VI in 1965,» he said. «In a little while we will hear the tolling of that bell that expresses the hope that there will never again be wars, but always a desire for and a commitment to peace and brotherhood among peoples.»

The tolling of the bells was heard on speakers in the Square, courtesy of CTV. It was also transmitted through the Italian channel RAI.

As it does every night, the Maria Dolens bell rang 100 times to commemorate World War I and in remembrance of the Fallen of all wars and of all the nations of the world.

Rovereto’s Bell of Peace has become an international meeting point for different religions, cultures and nations seeking ever deeper, constant meditation on the themes of peace, tolerance and human rights.   

On the body of the bell of «Maria Dolens» are engraved the autographed comments of the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII «With peace nothing is lost. Everything is to be lost through war.» John XXIII: «In pace hominum ordinata concordia et tranquilla libertas.» 

Other warm wishes

The Holy Father also wished a happy New Year to everyone, praying 2015 «be a year of peace in the tender embrace of the Lord and with the maternal protection of Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.”

After giving greetings to various nations and pilgrims present, he gave a heartfelt greeting to a German group called the Sternsinger [“Star boys”] who came from the Diocese of Fulda in Germany. He thanked all those from the group in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland «for their commitment to go from house to house to proclaim the birth of the Lord and to collect offerings for needy children.»

“Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr [German: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year],” the Argentine Pope said.

The Pontiff turned his attention to dioceses around the world who have promoted moments of prayer for peace, and recalled national marches that took place Wednesday, such as the “Pace in tutte le terre” [“Peace throughout the world”] in Rome, which was promoted in various cities around the world.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Translation:

Article on Maria Dolens Bells:

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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