We live a few blocks from the main Cathedral here in Mazatlán, and we sleep with a window open. I love the sound of the bells and I’ve gotten so I rely on them to tell me the time since I no longer wear a watch!
Here’s what I hear pretty much every day (and night):
2 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then two gongs
3 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then three gongs
4 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then four gongs
5 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then five gongs
6 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then nine gongs
6:15 AM: Random number of gongs
6:30 AM: Random number of gongs
7:00 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then ten gongs; then a song (we call it Red River Valley)
9:00 AM: A light wind-chime sound and then some gongs, not always nine; then a song
12:00 Noon: A light wind-chime sound and then twelve gongs; then the song Avé Maria
3 pm: A song
6 pm: A song
I have tried to figure out the rhyme or reason of some of the random bell ringing and have been unsuccessful. From Wiki Answers I found some information helpful – here’s a snippet:
regarding bell ringing in Catholic Churches:
The bells are rung (i) to summons parishioners to Mass (ii) to announce the Angelus at noon and at 6pm (iii) as part of a Funeral service (iv) to celebrate the church’s Patron Saint…. and at Weddings.
To summons parishioners to Mass, the bell is normally rung 15 minutes prior to the time of the Mass. The amount of times the bell is sounded is of personal choice of the bell ringer or with the advice of the parish priest. Normally around 15 times. However, a lot depends on the location of any neighbors. Not everybody likes the ringing of church bells at 7 am on a Sunday morning!
The Angelus bell is rung at 12 midday and at 6pm. It has 18 rings> one two three:- short pause;- one two three;- short pause;- one two three:- short pause and then nine times.
The bell at a funeral is again as normal for summonsing the faithful : and also at the end of the funeral mass, as the coffin is carried down the church : and it is customary for the bell maintain ringing until the hearse has departed from the church (or if the cemetary is alongside the church – until the pall bearers reach the grave. This bell is rung slowly, not at the pace of a ”summonsing to church bell”. So, when at the end of the funeral mass, the pall bearers lift the coffin onto their shoulders ( or the coffin is wheeled down the aisle) the bell should be rung slowly : ring count to 15 ring and so on…….
That explained why sometimes the church bells bang on and on for minutes on end – that a funeral was departing from the church.
I enjoy listening to the bells throughout the day, and even in the middle of the night I like to hear that gentle – gong – gong – and know that I have lots of sleeping time left.