Tag Archives: Passing bell

Kneeling and prayers in the streets

Archival Moment

2 November

Photo Credit: The Basilica Cathedral bells, St. John’s, NL

The parishioners of the Roman Catholic Cathedral (now Basilica) in St. John’s were informed  at the end of every Sunday mass  in  November of 1902 that

“During the month of November the “De profundis bell” will be tolled at nine o’clock every evening for the Holy Souls.  All people who at the sound of the bell shall recite, on their knees (if possible) the Psalm De profundis with the verses and responses.

The De Profundis is found in scripture – Psalm 130.

Upon hearing the sound of the church bell wherever Catholics were at 9:00 p.m. they would fall to their knees and recite Psalm 130.

The Roman Catholics in the town of St. John’s  were also informed that:

“Those who do not know the De profundis  may say instead an Our Father  and Hail Mary  for the repose of  the faithful departed.”  (Source: Basilica Cathedral Publication Book, October 26, 1902.

And there was no escaping the toll of the Cathedral (now Basilica) bells. It is said that the bells could be heard as far away as Torbay.

The De profundis  bell was not the only one that was sounded.

A beautiful and pious custom which prevailed in many countries was the “passing bell,” which was rung slowly when a death was imminent in the parish. When the sick person was near his end the solemn tones of the bell reminded the faithful of their Christian duty of praying for his happy death and for his eternal repose; and after his spirit had departed, the bell tolled out his age — one short stroke for each year.

A bell that continues to be sounded in St. John’s  is the Angelus Bell.  The Angelus, consists essentially in the reciting of certain prayers at the sound of a bell at fixed hours. At the Basilica Cathedral the angelus bell is struck at noon each day.

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to certain devotion. In November, it is the Holy Souls in Purgatory, described in Catholic theology asthose faithful Christians who have died and gone before us.” Praying for the dead, especially for those we have known, is a requirement of Christian charity.

New Word:  De profundis    (Latin) “out of the depths of misery or dejection” (from the first words of Psalm 130

Recommended Archival Collection: Search the online database at The Rooms for archival records and to view thousands of digital photographs. Search the Archives: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Song: Psalm 130

The ‘passing bell’ has tolled for Loretta Dohey


Loretta Dohey

1933 – 2014

LorettaLoretta (Nash) Dohey, a woman of faith, an exceptional cook and  avid gardener left this place on July 14th surrounded by the love of her family, to be with those who have gone before her.

Her faith, which she held with a quiet dignity, told her that she would be with her son Billy who died in 2009. Our hearts are at peace knowing they are united once again.

She remembered in heart, thought and prayer, during her life, those that had predeceased her including her parents Patrick and Mary (Barry) Nash, her sisters: Sadie Squires, Agnes Careen, Nora Corcoran, Carrie White, Mary Ryan and Clara Lundrigan and her brothers Mike, Jimmy and Benny. She was with them all at their end and she looked forward to them welcoming her into the place they have prepared for her. She said “they promised a big time on her arrival.”  She leaves Delores Wade, her niece and friend to hold the memories of the family.

She leaves to mourn in sadness, but with great thanks for all that she has done, her children’s father, Clem Dohey and her children Eta (Anthony Nash), George (Patricia), Eric, Frances (Fred Mills), Pat, Larry (Ian Martin), Doreen (Dominic Traverse), Father Wayne, Jean, Sandra (Fabian Manning), Orinda (Jerry Careen), Marie (Lloyd MacKenzie), and daughter-in-law Amanda Ferguson.

Her great love and joy were her 23 grandchildren Janice, Ian, Kim, Tracey, Elizabeth, Freddie, Sandra, Carrie, Justin, Pat Jr., Ashley, Peter, Christopher, Jordan, Fabian Jr., Mark, Heather, Amy, Marcus, Kindra, Evhan, Joshua and Grayson;  and her seven great-grandchildren. She will be remembered with love and affection by all of them as a mother and grandmother of remarkable strength and grace, whose love will transcend the generations.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Manning’s Funeral Service. Resting at Sacred Heart Church, St. Bride’s. Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday, July 17, at 2:00 p.m.

Flowers gratefully accepted or donations to the Sacred Heart Parish Cemetery Fund, St. Bride’s.

She passed in silence with a smile. We all begin a new day, holding her memory.

What is the ‘passing bell’?  Read more: http://archivalmoments.ca/2013/11/kneeling-and-prayers-in-the-streets/