Can you help us get our bells ringing again?
Dear Friends of St. Anthony Shrine,
My name is Br. Vince Delorenzo, OFM, and I am the Guardian for the National Shrine of St. Anthony in Cincinnati, Ohio. I light the candles for your intentions each week.
I wanted to let you know that on October 4, 2021, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, there was a lightning strike very near the St. Anthony Shrine and Friary. It caused damage to the elevator control board, the Wi-Fi system, and the control mechanism to the bells.
The Verdin Company, a trusted family manufacturer of bells, evaluated the damage that was done to the mechanical bell ringing equipment. During their evaluation, they discovered that some of the wooden timbers supporting the four bells have deteriorated significantly over the years and need to be replaced. They could very well be the original timbers from when the chapel/friary was constructed in 1889.
It was highly recommended to us that we stop using the bells until the proper repairs can be made, as they could fall from the tower. The good news is that our insurance company will cover the expenses for the repairs to the mechanical bell ringing equipment caused by the lightning strike, which totals $18,040.00.
Unfortunately, the cost for the wooden timber replacement is not covered.
The cost for the timber replacement is $18,500. The replacement timbers would be of treated lumber and would last well into the future. We humbly come to you today to ask for your help with this project.
We did consider installing “electronic bells,” or just not having the present bell system repaired. In either case, the four bells would need to be removed with the knowledge that the supporting timbers would continue to deteriorate and eventually give way under the weight of the bells. The largest bell weighs 724 pounds; bell #2 weighs 414 pounds; bell #3 weighs 206 pounds; and bell #4 weighs 124 pounds. The bells were originally cast in 1889 in bronze. This would be a costly task in and of itself.
According to The Verdin Company, these bells remain in good condition even though they are 132 years old. The bells play the exact same notes that they played when they were first cast! Quality bronze bells like these do not deteriorate or corrode over time—neither time nor weather will harm the bronze bells.
If you are able to help us get our bells ringing again, please consider making a donation at StAnthony.org and leave a note in the comments section that you’d like to designate your gift for “the St. Anthony Shrine bells.” All gifts to help us restore our beloved historical Shrine are greatly appreciated, no matter the amount.
If you would like more information, please email us at Shrine@Franciscan.org.
Thank you and God bless you!
Br. Vincent Delorenzo, OFM
Guardian, St. Anthony Friary/Shrine
P.S. Bells in the Bible were a reminder of all things holy, and our Shrine has been a spiritual beacon for pilgrims near and far since the late 1880s!
Posted in: Saint Anthony