Washington National Cathedral Bell Tolls for One Million COVID Deaths

Washington National Cathedral held a special prayer service on May 9, to honor the one million Americans who died of COVID-19.

The service included the tolling of the cathedral’s funeral bell one thousand times, once for every 1,000 dead, with the bell tolling one additional time as a reminder of the ongoing dangers presented by the virus.

“This gesture cannot replace the lives lost, but we hope it will help each American mourn the toll of this pandemic” the cathedral added in a post to their official YouTube channel. Credit: Washington National Cathedral via Storyful

Video transcript

RANDOLPH MARSHALL HOLLERITH: My name is Randy Hollerith, I'm the Dean of Washington National Cathedral. Today, we reach a tragic milestone in our nation-- one million Americans have died as a result of COVID-19. Throughout this pandemic, we at the Cathedral have paused to grieve and remember those who have died, ringing our boarding bell, the largest bell here at the cathedral, the bell that we ring for funerals in honor of all those we have lost and love.

Today, we pause to ring the bell 1,000 times. one ring for every 1,000 Americans who have died because of this virus. Also, this evening, I would like to offer three prayers one for those who have died, one for the families of those who have died, and then a third prayer for the doctors and the nurses and the frontline workers who have been so phenomenal in caring for all those who are sick. So if you are a person of prayer, I invite you to join with me. Let us pray.

Oh, God whose mercies cannot be numbered except our prayers, on behalf of all your servants who have died from COVID, often alone and without the comfort of family and friends or loving embrace, give them your peace and grant them an entrance into the land of light and joy in the fellowship of your Saints through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. One God now and forever. Amen.

Most merciful God whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, deal graciously with the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones to COVID. Be with them in their grief, surround them with your love that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss but have confidence in your goodness and strength to meet the days to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We give you thanks to God for the courage and sacrifice of all those who have put themselves at risk for the safety and care of others during this pandemic. First responders, aids, frontline workers, physicians, nurses, and health care workers who have stood on the front lines of care for those with COVID. Bless them, strengthen them, and protect all who continue each day to provide essential services to meet the needs of our daily lives in communities around this nation. Grant this, oh Lord, through your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

And may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds and the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you all this day and forevermore. Amen.


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