MACON, Ga. —

This report has been contributed by Rylee Kirk, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Every morning starting at 9 a.m., downtown Macon briefly fills with the sound of the bells from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. 

The first time the bells ring in the morning, they ring longer, as well as at noon, and 6 p.m.

“It really goes back to a tradition in the Catholic Church for several centuries in which the bells would ring at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m, and when the bells would ring it was called the Angelus,” said Father Scott Winchel of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. 

The ringing of the bells is originally from scripture and served a purpose. 

“There was a time in which that it would call the people to prayer,” Winchel said.

Originally, ringing the bells was done by the churchgoers.

“When the church was first dedicated it was more of a type where you had a rope that came down through, through the tower and individuals would go over here to the church and then they would have to pull the bells to get them to ring,” he said.

Now, with updated technology, the church no longer has to manually pull the bells.

“Currently, today we have an electric box that we can program, that we can set the time for the ringing of the bells, and it will automatically ring the bells,” Winchel said. 

Now the sound of bells fill the downtown air, but with less of an arm workout for its residents. 

“It’s still bells being rung, but it’s not having to be done manually,” Winchel said.

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