Pope Francis on Wednesday blessed two large bells headed to Ukraine and Ecuador, where they will serve as a way for people to express their support for the lives of the unborn.
The “Voice of the Unborn” bells received the papal blessing before the general audience at the Vatican Oct. 27.
The bells are part of an initiative by the Polish Yes to Life foundation. Last year, Pope Francis blessed a bell which has now traveled to nearly 30 cities in Poland to be rung in support of the unborn.
“Today I blessed the bells that bear the name: ‘The voice of the unborn,’” Pope Francis said in a greeting to Polish pilgrims during his general audience in the Paul VI Hall.
“They are destined for Ecuador and Ukraine. For these nations and for all they are a sign of commitment in favor of the defense of human life from conception to natural death,” he said.
“May their sound announce the ‘Gospel of life’ to the world, awaken the consciences of men, and be a reminder of the unborn,” he added. “I entrust to your prayer every conceived child whose life is sacred and inviolable.”
One bell will be given to the St. John Paul II Shrine in Lviv, Ukraine, and the other will go to the Diocese of Guayaquil in Ecuador. The bells will travel to various events in those cities so that people can ring them as an expression of their pro-life beliefs.
The bells, like the original in Poland, were cast in the bell-making workshop of Jan Felczyński in the southeastern city of Przemyśl. They each weigh more than 2,000 pounds and are nearly four feet in diameter.
They are decorated with a DNA chain and an ultrasound of an unborn child. There is also an image of the stone tables on which God gave Moses the 10 Commandments. The bells bear the words of the fifth commandment -- “Thou shalt not kill” -- in Spanish and Ukrainian.
The words of Jeremiah 1:5 -- “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you” -- are also written on the bells beneath the image of the ultrasound.
They also have a quote from St. Pope John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium vitae: “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life!”