Trumpets Announce That Jesus Is Present
There is an interesting custom at the Church of St. Mary’s in Krakow, Poland. A trumpet sounds a hymn every hour on the hour – day and night. This custom has its source in a legend of the trumpeter of Krakow. It’s about a young boy who made a vow to play a hymn to Our Lady every day – every hour of the day from the tower of the church.
By playing it, he would remind everyone of the love of Mary and the fact that Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, IS in the church. It was his prayer and gift to God.
One day the city of Krakow was attacked and overrun by the Tartars. Everyone who could, ran off to hide in the Wawel Castle or deep in the woods. Anyone left behind was murdered. Homes and churches were burned. The young boy refused to run off. He had made a vow to Our Lady, and he would keep it, even if it cost him his life.
He hid in the church tower and waited for the appointed hour to play the hymn. When the time came, he went out to the tower window and began the hymn with his trumpet. The Tartars below were busy at their evil work of death and destruction. When they heard the sweet hymn to the Virgin Mary, they began cursing and tried to stop him. They began shooting their arrows up to him, high in the tower window. He had just about finished when one arrow struck him in the throat. The last note was broken and never finished.
To this day, from that same church, the hymn is still played every hour to remind the city that Our Lord is present… Come and worship Him with Our Lady! And in memory of that boy’s faith and courage, the last note of the Hejnal hymn (as it is called) is not played… the hymn remains unfinished just as it was when the boy was struck down by the arrow.
An interesting side note: If you ever visit Turners Falls, Massachusetts, please visit Our Lady of Czestochowa. The Hejnal Hymn is also played from the tower of Our Lady of Czestochowa church at twelve noon, announcing that even in this little Massachusetts village church… “Our Lord is present. Come and worship Him with Our Lady!”