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Pope blesses bell destined for Kazakhstan

Francis said the 'Voice of the Unborn' bell will serve as a reminder 'to protect human life from conception to natural death'
Pope Francis reads the catechesis during the weekly general audience on May 15 at St Peter's square in The Vatican.

Pope Francis reads the catechesis during the weekly general audience on May 15 at St Peter's square in The Vatican. (Photo: AFP)

Published: May 16, 2024 05:27 AM GMT
Updated: May 16, 2024 05:31 AM GMT

"The Holy Spirit always raises us to a higher level of selfless and practical love towards the poor, the sick and the vulnerable, such as conceived children."

Pope Francis offered that reflection during his greetings to Polish pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audience.

He praised an initiative that will bring a bell called the “Voice of the Unborn” to Kazakhstan, saying it will “serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting human life from conception to natural death.”

Ahead of the General Audience, the Pope blessed the bell and rang it with two Polish children.

The initiative was promoted by the Yes to Life Foundation of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, based in Poland.

Awakening consciences

Archbishop Thomas Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, told Vatican News that the consecration of the bell was a “very family-oriented and personal event.”

“One could see the enormous joy of the Holy Father,” he said. “The Pope, together with the children, was the first to ring the bell. It was a momentous event as the question of defending life from conception to natural death is a worldwide concern. According to the Yes to Life Foundation, such bells are to be installed in every country to remind us of the sanctity of life.”

During the ceremony in the Vatican, Pope Francis greeted the Yes to Life Foundation.

Bogdan Romaniuk, the Foundation’s president, told Vatican News that when blessing the first bell, the Pope observed that it should awaken the consciences of lawmakers and people of good will regarding the protection of life from conception to natural death.

Global goal to protect the unborn

The first "Voice of the Unborn" bell was cast in 2020 in Poland.

Emblazoned on the bell is the fifth commandment of the Decalogue "Thou shalt not kill", as well as the words of a saintly defender of life, Blessed Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, who said: "The child's life begins under the mother’s heart."

The bell was set in motion for the first time by Pope Francis on September 23, 2020, during a General Audience at the Vatican.

More bells were created in 2022, this time for Ukraine and Ecuador, in 2023 for Zambia, and in 2024 for Kazakhstan.

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From womb to tomb life is sacred.
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