The newly-restored bell of Shrewsbury Cathedral has been named 'John Henry' after England's newest saint.
The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, dedicated the bell to St John Henry Newman, who was canonised by Pope Francis last October, partly because it was first installed in the same decade that the Victorian cardinal preached his famous sermon on "the second spring" of English Catholicism.
Bishop Davies said: "I was asked to give a name to our Cathedral bell that is about to be rededicated and return to its place high above town and Cathedral. "I thought of England's newest saint, John Henry Newman, and so named it 'John Henry'.
"Cardinal Newman knew this Cathedral of Shrewsbury and had announced a second springtime for the Church in our land in the 1850s - the same decade when our Cathedral bell first sounded."
Bishop Davies added: "May this bell continue to sound a call to prayer and mission for the great renewal of Christianity in our land."
The bell has not rung out for several decades after wear and tear stopped it from swinging and rendered its iron clapper immovable. But after a month-long project, the bell has been repaired, cleaned and restored and it is also refitted with an advanced automated ringing system. It will be blessed by Bishop Davies in a ceremony in the Cathedral on Saturday March 14 before it is installed above the building.
Bishop Davies is keen for the bell to be in place by March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, so that it can be chimed to mark the Angelus. Bishop Davies has asked the Catholics of the Diocese to say the prayer daily ahead of the rededication of England and the 'Dowry of Mary' on Sunday March 29, and had sent out Angelus prayer cards to all parishes.
Twitter: @ShrewsRCnews and @ShrewsCathedral
Diocesan website: www.dioceseofshrewsbury.org
For details on the rededication of England as Mary's Dowry: www.behold2020.com
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