For historic Catholic church, bell silent no longer

From The Advertiser:

It's time for the bell to ring again at St. Paul the Apostle. The oldest African American Catholic church parish in the Diocese of Lafayette dedicated the erection of a new bell tower on Tuesday, the signature event of a year-long capital campaign marking the church's century of service in Lafayette.

"This is our 100th year," said the Rev. Robert Seay, who has been at St. Paul for 10 years. "The bell tower is one of many improvement projects we're working on this year."

For many, it will be the highlight project as it focuses on a bell that has an even longer history than the church.

"The bell was cast in 1884 by the McShane Bell Co.," Seay said. "African Americans here wanted the bell for St. John Cathedral, and raised $1,500 at the time to purchase it. Then when St. Paul was founded, the bell was hung in the tower."

When a new St. Paul the Apostle church was built, however, the tower was eliminated. The 3,000-pound bell with the rich history has sat on a pedestal on the church grounds since 1973 and has been silent for almost 38 years.

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