It may have come as surprise to some to hear the Angelus sound at 7 a.m. this Saturday. That signals the return to service of the St. Michael bell at St. Augustine’s.
This comes after the bell being silent for a week while essential repairs were undertaken. The bell itself was not level, which stresses both the old striking hammer, but more seriously, risks cracking the bell itself!
The other issue that we’ve become aware of is that the sounding mechanism, and the clockwork timer, were no longer working properly, most typically skipping tolls. That equipment was originally provided by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio in the early 60’s.
They’re still in business, and their Ontario representative, Ernie Houthuyzen came out to effect the leveling of the bell, and replace the hammer and timer. He was assisted by his son, David who represents the third generation of the family to be in the business of installing, servicing and repairing bells.
With the new system, we will have four regular tolls through weekdays and Saturdays: the Angelus at 7 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.; and the De Profundis, a tolling in memory of the dead, at 9 p.m.–this is a slow toll that lasts for one minute. Once the diocese announces the conditions for reopening, Fr. Whitfield will be tasked to program in the mass time ringings.