Last Sunday I was in Switzerland, and was having breakfast at a streetside cafe.
At about 10 minutes before 9, I heard one of my favorite sounds ... church bells. In my opinion, this sound is one of the best things about Europe. Since many towns there were built around churches, you hear them almost everywhere you go - many times not only at the hour but half hour as well.
But these bells were different. They rang, and rang, and rang. (Or is it tolled and tolled and tolled?) About five minutes into the ringing, I looked at my watch and realized it was not the top of the hour, but merely five minutes of. I was confused.
As the bells continued their melodious song, I overheard a fellow tourist ask the waitress what the bells were for. She replied "They let everyone know that Mass is going to start soon. This way residents know they need to get going, and visitors know where to find the Church. They just need to follow the bells!"
What a beautiful thought! Imagine if all our Churches adopted this policy. Rather than the 30 seconds of bells that signify Mass is starting in most of the U.S., what if they rang for a full 10 minutes, summoning everyone within earshot?
Maybe more people would be on time for mass. Or maybe, just maybe, a lost soul will find there way there for the first time ...
God Bless you.