By The Message staff
Thanks to the research efforts of Brian Lankford of Evansville’s Good Shepherd Parish, The Message can report with a high level of confidence that the 24-inch bell in the new tower at the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Center came from the former Assumption Church, which served as the diocese’s first cathedral.
Lankford uncovered records and news reports indicating that this bell joined the original 12-inch bell in the tower of the second Assumption Church, which was built in 1872. He told The Message, “I believe the 12-inch bell was the ‘Historic Bell’ donated by Francis Linck, who owned the Mansion House on First Street. He used it to call people to dinner. He gave it to Father (Anthony) Deydier, who installed it in the first Assumption Church on Second Street.”
Father Deydier was the first pastor of Assumption and, indeed, the first Catholic pastor in Evansville. The smaller bell is now part of the collection at the Evansville Museum.
In late December 2021, workers with KM Construction Services of Evansville installed an impressive new bell tower at the Catholic Center, along the walk between the Catholic Center and the Sarto Retreat Center. The old tower was located in the same spot, and it had deteriorated to the point where replacement was deemed necessary. The 24-inch bell from Assumption had been installed at the top of the old tower. Workers cleaned and sealed the bell, then installed it at the top of the new tower.
The project was made possible by a generous bequest to the Diocese.
Evansville architect Michael Buente designed the new tower. His design honors the Holy Trinity, and the base of the tower will include symbols honoring God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Buente told The Message, “We knew that we wanted the tower to have more verticality than the old tower. So, when the diocese brought out an old cast iron cross that a parishioner had donated and asked if it could be incorporated, we knew that it had to be on top of the tower. The foundation is in the shape of a triangle with trefoil, which, with the three wood columns, are meant to represent the Holy Trinity. The triangle and trefoil shape is repeated at the top of the tower and supports the bell. Steel struts angle upward from the three corners of the triangle and apexes of the trefoil, supporting and leading to the cross, which, of course, is God’s plan for our salvation.”
An electronic striker will complete the installation. Once in place, the bell will toll daily for the Angelus at 6 a.m., Noon and 6 p.m.