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UPDATE: Church bells toll as Polish Catholics pray for end of epidemic

25.03.2020 13:45
Church bells tolled throughout Poland on Wednesday as the country’s Catholics prayed for an end to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Roman Catholic bishop Wiesław Mering (centre) leads a prayer at a basilica in Włocławek, north-central Poland, on Wednesday.
Roman Catholic bishop Wiesław Mering (centre) leads a prayer at a basilica in Włocławek, north-central Poland, on Wednesday.Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski

Hundreds of bells rang out in cities and villages across the nation to remind the faithful to respond to Pope Francis’ plea for prayers at noon on March 25.

For Catholics, the day marks the Feast of the Annunciation, which refers to the biblical scene in which the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary announcing the birth of Jesus.

The ringing bells included the 16th-century Royal Sigismund Bell at the Wawel Cathedral in the southern historic city of Kraków, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

One of Poland’s national symbols, this iconic bell tolls only on special occasions, mostly religious and national holidays.

The press spokesman for Poland's Catholic bishops, Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, has called for prayers for all those afflicted with the Covid-19 disease, the medical personnel who care for them, and for those who have passed away.

A total of 957 people have tested positive for the Covid-19 disease in Poland, with 13 deaths from the coronavirus so far, officials said on Wednesday.