Feb. 7, 1998, R.R.
The Bells Of St. Raphael Have Been Calling For 100 Years
The big bell of the three in the spire of St. Raphael's Church was rung on Friday, June 17th, to sound the noon "Angelus". This one is not rung regularly; but this was a very special occasion.
The bells of St. Raphael's Church were telling of 100 years of service that day. It was on June 17th, 1860, the three new bells were blessed by the Bishop of Kingston.
St. Raphael's Parish, the cradle of Catholicity in Upper Canada, looks back 175 years to the early days of the settlement of this area when the "Blue Chapel" was built. It was the first church to be built in what is now Ontario and was replaced by the present stone edifice started in 1820.
Tradition has it that a larger bell than the present biggest at St.Raphael was laboriously brought in but could not be used because it was found too heavy for the church spire. According to this legend it was melted down to make the two smaller bells of the trio, now a century in service.
An extract form the records of St. Raphael's parish, page 60, year 1860, reads as follows;
"At St. Raphael's on the seventeenth day of June,eighteen hundred and sixty, the three bells of the Church of St. Raphael's were solemnly blessed by the Right Rev. E. J. Horan, Bishop of Kingston. The Very Rev'd Angus McDonell,V. G., Deacon, and the Rev'd Mr. Cholette, Subdeacon.
"Col Duncan McDonell, Greenfield, and Lady, Gofseps for the big bell under the name of Alexander John. "Charles Leclair, Esq. and Lady, Gofseps for the second bell, under the name of Mary.
"Neal ban McDonald and Lady, Gofseps for the third bell, under the name of Dionisius," Witnef John Macdonald, curate of St.Raphael's.
Gofseps is considered to be the Gaelic for Godparents, and the third bell, Dionisius, might be translated to Denis, according to Rev. D. A. Kerr, pastor.
Miss Margaret Barry of St.Raphael, adds another footnote to the history of these bells.
Allan Ban MacDonell, a resident of Lot 30 in the 6th Lancaster, a relative of Bishop Alexander Macdonell, went to Lancaster with his team to haul the big bell from the wharf to St. Raphael.
Later, when the better of those two horses died, the men in the North Lancaster area fired a volley of shots over his grave and planted a tree to mark the spot. This property is now owned by a relative, Allan Leonard MacDonell, she writes.
end of article as we have it awf nov.9.99
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created Nov 1999, updated 6/12