Sunday, August 07, 2016

Sandoval church bells abound in mystery

One of the bells that rings before Mass each day from its perch in the tower beside Bernalillo’s Our Lady of Sorrows Church is named “Maria.” A Bernalillo firefighter on Wednesday morning stood atop an extended ladder, his flashlight illuminating the words cast near the top of the lower, larger bell in the high brick tower. He shouted the spelling down to researcher Bob Gajkowski, who under the Placitas History Project, is conducting a survey of the bells in various Sandoval County churches. Gajkowski had already examined photos of the two bells at Our Lady of Sorrows, which were taken in January from the top of a much shorter ladder. But using the fire department’s ladder truck, Fire Chief Mike Carroll and firefighter Bryan Picchione were able to get a much closer look on Wednesday, providing Gajkowski better quality photos and more accurate measurements. What Gajkowski already knew is that castings on the bells and yokes indicate that they were made in St. Louis, Mo., by the David Caughlan foundry. Gajkowski was able to track down Susan Caughlan, a descendant of the foundry’s owner, who confirmed that the bells were made at the foundry or by one of its partners. Gajkowski said the foundry produced bells until it was destroyed by a fire in 1866. The new discovery Wednesday was the “Maria” inscription. “The bell is named ‘Maria,'” Gajkowski said. “We didn’t know that. We don’t know what that means.” He said the bell maker may have named the bell, or it could have been named at the request of the customer, which may or may not have been the Santuario de San Lorenzo, the church next door, which is where the bells hung until Our Lady of Sorrows was built in 1970...more

No comments: