Subject: Queensland church bell rings support for East Timor

Queensland Times

Booval church bell rings support for East Timor

20.07.2007 A PIECE of Booval history will soon ring out the Christian message of charity to East Timorese villagers.

The Sacred Hearth Catholic Church in Booval is sending its old church bell to a village in East Timor.

Parishioner Les Scott said an East Timorese nun had been in Australia looking for church bells and Booval Sacred Heart had heeded the call, giving up its old church bell.

Mr Scott said he believed the bell dated back to 1915, when the church was opened.

Parish priest Father Bob Harwood said masses were not celebrated at set times in East Timor.

"The situation there is that a church building exists in the middle of a village and the people of the village are spread throughout the surrounding hills," Fr Harwood said.

He said mass times were subject to a priest's unscheduled arrival and the bell was used to call congregation members.

"How does the priest notify the parishioners that he has arrived, and that a mass is about to be celebrated, when there is no electric power and there are no telephones?" Fr Harwood asked.

He encouraged the parish to support him in his plans to send the bell to East Timor.

Parish secretary Cathy Peacock said there were no objections to the donation.

"This is not surprising and is in keeping with the caring and supporting nature of the people of the parish," she said.

Mr Scott organised a plaque for the bell, stating it was a gift of the Booval church to their "brothers and sisters in Christ of East Timor".

He said Sacred Heart Booval hoped to develop a sister school and sister church relationship in the village.

Sacred Heart School assistant principal Gerard Marsh said the project would help students develop an understanding of their global role.

"These kids know we in Booval are doing something to help outside our own community," Mr Marsh said.

"We want to teach the kids it is important to give to those in need."

The heavy bell is expected to begin the journey to East Timor next week along with other bells handed over by churches in Australia.

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