We toll the bell each time an execution takes place no matter where it is happening or to whom.
Why would a small town like Oldenburg Indiana, population just under 700 people, toll the bell for a convicted criminal in Texas, for example? There is most likely not one person in Oldenburg who knows the individual, or the crime committed. All they know is that there is a person whose life is being ended.
Prayers for the salvation of that person’s soul are sent heavenward when the bell tolls. That also includes prayers for the end to the death penalty.
Every person is entitled to have someone praying for him or her, especially at the time of death. The bell gives us the chance to know at a specific moment, the time some person’s life is being ended.
In classrooms, we taught children to pray every time they hear an emergency vehicle, fire truck, ambulance, police car. Someone needs help. To pray that the help will arrive in time and alleviate the situation seems to me to be one of the great acts of charity. It takes little time, costs nothing, and connects you to a brother or sister in need. Who knows, next time it may be you! If so, I will be praying for help to arrive in time.
Peace and Prayers,
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg