By LINDA M. LINONIS
The historic bronze bell at the former Immaculate Conception Church, 811 Oak St., was relocated to its new home at St. Angela Merici Parish at Sacred Heart Church, 400 Lincoln Park Drive, on Monday.
The 35-inch diameter bronze bell, with an estimated weight of 600 pounds, was placed in a metal, A-frame support for the
short trip. The total weight was about 1,000 pounds. The bell is imprinted with the name of the church’s first pastor, the Rev. William J. Manning.
The 42-inch diameter bronze bell from the former Immaculate Conception School, 810 Oak St., also was removed. It tips the scales at 1,500 pounds and was cast by the Meneeley Bell Co. of Troy, N.Y.
The Rev. Kevin Peters, St. Angela Merici Parish pastor, said the church bell was cast by Henry McShane Co. of Baltimore, in 1883, a year after the church was founded. The first Mass there was celebrated Dec. 10, 1882; the church marked its 125th anniversary in 2007.
Immaculate Conception and Sacred Heart churches merged Jan. 9, 2011, as part of the Diocese of Youngs-town’s Parish Implementation Plan. A new name, St. Angela Merici, was adopted for the parish based at the Sacred Heart site. The last Mass at Immaculate Conception was Jan. 30, 2011.
Father Peters said the whole removal and relocation process for the bells took from 9 to about 11:30 a.m.
The pastor said the parish plans to place the Immaculate Conception bell and Sacred Heart bell in a tower on parish property. He said Boak and Sons Co. handled the removal and transfer of the bells — and donated time and equipment. “They have been very generous and gracious,” he said, adding the parish was “very grateful.”
The Verdian Bell Co. of Cincinnati, which installed the church bell originally and still is in business, will reinstall both bells at the Sacred Heart site. The tower will be reconfigured and fortified to accommodate both bells. The pastor said the parish hopes that the bells may be rung.
“We’re so happy to preserve the history of the churches,” Father Peters said about the bells. “We also see bringing the bells together as a sign of unity and healing in the parish.”
Father Peters said stained-glass windows with sacred images also have been removed from the former Immaculate Conception Church and have an estimated value of $80,000. Father Peters said the windows may be headed to Nebraska — possibly to the new Newman Center at the University of Nebraska or to a church in Nebraska. He said the parish just wants to recoup the $10,900 it cost to remove and crate the windows, which were original to the building.
Jeff Byce of ByceAuction and Realty is auctioning the Immaculate Conception Church and school properties at noon Saturday.
He said there are several interested parties including a potential telephone bidder from the West Coast.