By Jessica Easthope
Stanley Davis has been retired for more than a decade but every day he has a job to do.
He gets up, leaves the house and walks, but the trip isn’t far. It’s just across the street to St. Peter Claver Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where he has a duty to fulfill, ringing the bell.
Every day of the pandemic, Stanley’s been ringing the bell at St. Peter Claver to pray for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
“When people hear the bell I want people to know that we’re still praying for them, day and night, I don’t care what the weather is. We’re praying. We’re praying constantly,” Stanley said.
His orders came from the top – Pope Francis asked everyone to pray, Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DeMarzio asked that bells in the Diocese of Brooklyn be rung at 3 p.m. signifying the time Jesus died on the cross. So when that message got to Father Alonzo Cox, the pastor of St. Peter Claver, he knew exactly who to ask.
“St Peter Claver Church is his second home, there would be days when I would walk in there, all the lights are off and Stanley was there, praying the rosary or praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. So that’s how I knew the person to ring the bell at 3 o’clock would be Stanley,” Father Cox told Currents News.
But it’s not just the time of day that’s significant. Stanley rings the bell, praying for the intercession of St. Therese the Little Flower.
“When I ring the bell, I ring it 24 times for St. Therese, for when she died at the age of 24,” he explained.
Stanley stopped ringing the bell during Lent to mark a solemn time in the liturgical year, but on Tuesday April 6, he was back at it.
Like many New Yorkers, Stanley lost a family member to COVID-19: his younger brother, Franklin.
“Nobody could even visit with him and you just had to accept what the reports were, and then he passed,” Stanley said of Franklin, who was in a nursing home.
He wants everyone who’s lost someone to know their loved ones are not forgotten. It’s Stanley’s way of living out his faith.
“Nothing else matters. If you’re trying to please Him, you know you’re doing something right,” he said.
More New Yorkers are now becoming eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but until the last coronavirus death Stanley will be at the bell at 3 o’clock.