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Bona’s to Toll Bells to Mark Anniversary of WWI End

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St. Bonaventure University will ring in Veterans Day at Sunday Mass to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

University Ministries is joining a community-wide tolling of church bells on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

All military veterans or current members of our armed forces are invited at 10:50 a.m. to line up outside the University Chapel in Doyle Hall (or inside the atrium area if the weather is poor).

After the significance of the day is explained shortly before 11 a.m., Mass participants will be invited to say aloud the Prayer for Peace that Pope Benedict XV recited 100 years ago.

The chapel bells will then toll for five minutes in unison with other community churches, led by Olean’s Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, whose largest bell woke up Olean residents in 1918 to the news that “the war to end all wars” was over.

While the bell rings, all will be invited into a silent prayer for peace and for the protection of those in the military serving in harm’s way, said Amanda Naujoks, director of University Ministries’ San Damiano Center.

In the pre-dawn hours of Monday, Nov. 11, 1918, Olean alert whistles blew and newspaper boys hit the streets shouting.

Rev. Edward Rengel, pastor of St. Mary of the Angels, awoke to the commotion outdoors and immediately ran across the street to ring the church’s giant bell 100 times so there was no doubt in anyone’s mind within the bell’s two-mile audible range that the war was over.

Other city bells joined in ringing in the joyous news of the signing of the Armistice. Shops, schools and factories closed as thousands of citizens poured onto Union Street in celebration.

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