Catholic church bells in LA mark holy day, prayer for Ukraine
Bells tolled at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles and at numerous other Catholic churches throughout the Archdiocese of LA at 9 a.m. Friday — inviting the community to participate in a special moment of prayer, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
The bells tolled 29 times to mark the 29 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, according to a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, which consists of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Ringing the bells was among the ways Archbishop José H. Gomez invited priests of the archdiocese to lead their parishes and school communities to take part in the consecration.
Others were watching the live-stream of the Consecration with Pope Francis beginning at 9 a.m., celebrating a Mass with their parish or school community with the intention of praying for peace in the world — in particular for the people of Ukraine and Russia, and reciting the Prayer of Consecration with their parish and school community.
Christ the King Parish in Hollywood hosted a special student school Mass for the consecration at 9:15 a.m. Immediately following Mass, students participated in a candle lighting ceremony for peace to commemorate the consecration.
During the ceremony, students also presented a peace mural created in partnership with Scholas Occurrentes USA, which they created to add their prayers for peace to those of young people around the world.
Scholas Occurrentes USA is part of the worldwide organization founded by Pope Francis when he was an archbishop in Argentina. It seeks to create a culture of encounter and bring young people together in an education that generates meaning.
The faithful were also encouraged to engage in an act of charity by donating to the special collection handled by the Missions Office of the Archdiocese, which fully goes to support the people of Ukraine. More information about the collection is available at lacatholics.org/ukraine-donations/.
Online donations can be made at missionsla.org/product/donate-1312/ and specifying Ukraine Disaster in the memo box.
In the prayer, Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, entrusting their peoples to her maternal care and protection and for the end of the war and violence.
“Friends, we are all deeply disturbed by the war in Ukraine, and the unconscionable attacks on innocent men, women and children in their homes and neighborhoods,” Gomez said in a video message.
“In this time when our world is weighed down under the shadow of war, I invite you to enter into this solemn moment of prayer with the Holy Father. Together with him, let us ask our Blessed Mother to turn her eyes of mercy towards all her children. Let us ask her to intercede with her son, to deliver her children from evil and grant us peace.”
The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord refers to the time when the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her she would be the mother of the savior. A solemnity holds the highest rank among church celebrations and there are 24 days so marked on the annual liturgical calendar.
During this day, the faithful are called to help pregnant women. The Hail Mary prayer was created based on the Annunciation of the Lord.