Historic St Francis Xavier Cathedral Geraldton to ring in new era

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Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
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The bells at the foundry in England where they were made.
Camera IconThe bells at the foundry in England where they were made. Credit: Supplied

Nearly 10 tonnes of bells will soon ring out on the hour during the day in Geraldton.

Described as a “unique mix of ancient and modern”, the 27 bells will be welcomed to the city in two or three ceremonies before being placed at St Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral.

The bells, decked out in floral wreaths, are likely to be paraded through the streets of Geraldton on a truck or semi-trailer and could be treated as a special “guest” at the Wind on Water Festival.

Before heading north, they will be blessed by either Barry Hickey or Justin Bianchini, the most recent Archbishops of the Diocese of Geraldton, who are both retired in Perth.

“Everything depends on when the bells arrive,” Father Robert Cross, chancellor and director of heritage with the Diocese of Geraldton, said.

“They are on the container ship the OOCL Scandinavia, and have had to get through a cyclone.

“It depends when they are unloaded and how long it takes before they are given a customs clearance. Certainly we would be looking at doing something special around Easter.

“It will take a month to get them installed and operational, at which time we will have an official dedication, blessing and first ringing.

“That will probably be May or June.”

Father Cross said the bells had “full IT control” and could be played through the internet, and they had a wi-fi keyboard capable of being played from the forecourt of the cathedral and a link to the organ keyboard.

It was planned to ring the bells daily at midday and between 8am and 6pm, Father Cross said.

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