St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen gets new bells to cap years-long renovations
There will be a new sound coming from the belfry at St. Mary Catholic Church as three news bells were hoisted into the tower Friday morning while onlookers, including new pastor Father Darrick Leier, watched with anticipation.
The new bronze-cast bells, which were baptized during a ceremony Wednesday night, each have a name. The largest, which weighs just shy of 1,000 pounds and was the last to go in Friday, is Maria Gaudens; the second largest is Saint Gabriel (485 pounds); and the smallest is Little Saint John (311 pounds).
The bells were cast over the summer by the historic Royal Eijsbouts foundry in The Netherlands, St. Mary’s music director Kevin Kaukl said. Then, the bells were fitted for the church tower by The Verdin Co., which has specialized in bells and clock towers for nearly 200 years, in Ohio.
They made it to Aspen this week and up to their new home Friday morning.
“This has been about a year in the running to get the bells in there,” Kaukl said. “These bells are pitched to ring in a major triad together.”
The church had a set of bells delivered a year ago but did not like the sound and pitch when they were together. Those remain in the church’s garage.
One of the church’s original bells, which is about three times the size of the largest new one and made of steel, will remain in the tower and may some day be fitted with a toll, Kaukl said.
The three new bells will be able to swing to ring out or hit with toll. Father Leier is still working on a schedule for when and how the bells will be used.
The installation of the bells caps the nearly two-year, $7 million renovation of the church, which was dedicated in March 1892.
“I can’t wait,” Father Leier said, “to hear the big one ring up there for the first time.”