Church bells ring often to thank people on the front lines of COVID-19

Everyday at 3 p.m., area church bells now toll for a special reason. They ring loudly for workers on the front lines helping to fight coronavirus.

BOSTON — The bells at Gate of Heaven high above Southie toll daily on the hour.

But their echo is now heard more often across the neighborhood. Michael Joyce has noticed it.

“Yeah, just the last 3 or 4 days. It’s been kind of nice,” he said.

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Everyday at 3 p.m., the bells now toll for a special reason. They ring loudly for workers on the front lines helping to fight coronavirus like Mari Cooney, a nursing assistant.

“I’m very impressed. I think it’s great we’re being recognized,” Cooney said.

The Rev. Robert Casey is the pastor of Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid churches in South Boston, where the bells also toll at 3 p.m.

“We’re doing it at 3 o’clock for shift change… it’s one of the ways that we want to say thank you at this challenging time,” Casey said.

That thank you is for firefighters, police, doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and everyone who is putting their life on the line for us.

So now the bells ring loudly and strongly. Their message is clear and appreciated. Cooney told Boston 25: “Not just for my hard work, but all the people on the front lines."

Casey says what they’re doing is inspirational. And people on the front lines tell him they are thankful for his gesture.

“They’re very much touched by it, knowing that we are praying for them and thinking of them and the bells are a way of doing that,” he said.

Casey said the tribute will continue as long the battle against COVID-19, to thank those who go above and beyond for the rest of us.