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For centuries, Church bells have sounded, serving as timekeepers, calling the faithful to prayer and Mass, glorifying our religious celebrations, ringing joyously at weddings or tolling solemnly in memory of loved ones.

Many major Cathedrals around the world boast a peal of bells. The dream of installing a peal of bells at St Patrick’s Cathedral dates to 1853. The recent arrival from England of eight specially commissioned bells, begins the final chapter in an epic 165 year quest to install a ‘ring’ of bells in the spire of St Patrick’s.

But we need community support to help fund the bells’ restoration and installation—and to ensure that the long-held dream of a peal of bells for St Patrick’s Cathedral, ringing melodiously throughout Parramatta, becomes a reality.

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Making History in Your Name

The Bells of St Patrick’s Cathedral Appeal offers a rare opportunity to create history and donate a bell that commemorates a loved one or honours your family name, organisation or community group. As a Bells of St Patrick’s Benefactor, you will also have the privilege of naming your bell in honour of a revered Catholic Saint.

The Bells of St Patrick’s Benefactors will be gratefully acknowledged through a dedication in the Book of Memories, showcased in the Blessed Sacred Chapel.

Our benefactors will also be invited to the Bells of St Patrick’s Christening and Dedication Ceremony and presented with a commemorative medallion, engraved with their bell’s name of dedication and Saint’s name.

Peal of Bells

The new bells – ranging in weight from 150 to 450 kilograms are now on display in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Six of the bells are over 100 years old and were sourced from St Paul’s Anglican Church in Widnes, Liverpool, England.

An additional two bells, including the tenor bell, were newly cast at John Taylor Bell Foundry in Leicestershire, England.

Together, the eight bells were tuned into an octave in the key of A Major at Matthew Higby & Co., Holcombe, Bath, England.

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Christening Our Peal of Bells in Honour and in Memory

Each bell will be blessed, consecrated and christened - and named by their benefactor, after one of these remarkable and influential Saints:

St Alban St Anne
St Anthony of Padua
(name of our third Bishop)
St Bernadette
St Bede the Venerable St Brigid of Ireland
(to accompany St Patrick Bell)
St Benedict St Catherine of Siena
St Charbel St Clare
St Kevin
(name of our second Bishop)
St Mary MacKillop
(first Australian Saint)
St Michael St Mary Magdalene
St Peter Chanel
(first Saint of the Pacific)
St Therese of Lisieux

St Alban 

St Anthony of Padua
(name of our third Bishop) 

St Bede the Venerable
(name of our first Bishop)

St Benedict

St Charbel

St Kevin
(name of our second Bishop)

St Michael

St Peter Chanel
(first Saint of the Pacific) 


St Anne 

St Bernadette

St Brigid of Ireland
(to accompany St Patrick Bell) 

St Catherine of Siena

St Clare

St Mary MacKillop
(first Australian Saint) 

St Mary Magdalene

St Therese of Lisieux

Named by our Bells Benefactors

If you are interested in creating history and a memorable tribute, please contact Dianne Wigan, Head of Fundraising, on 02 8838 3443 or dianne.wigan@parracatholic.org for more information.

Your donated bell will be christened with your preferred Saint’s name on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

We hope to install the Bells of St Patrick’s into the Cathedral bell tower in early to mid 2020. Dedications will remain for the lifetime of the bell.

This is the sound OF THE ACTUAL BELLS which will be installed into the cathedral

Chime In For St Patrick’s Cathedral

The funding needed to install a peal of bells into St Patrick’s Cathedral is more than $150,000. 

Costs include buying and re-tuning six historical bells; buying two new treble bells, clappers, headstocks, wheels, ropes and steel frames; international shipping; installation; sound control mechanisms; and building a bell chamber floor in the St Patrick’s Cathedral tower.

You are invited to become a Bells of St Patrick’s Benefactor by donating a bell or giving a gift. Your support will resonate daily, calling us to worship, and in glory to God.

For more information or to donate to the Bells of St Patrick’s Cathedral Appeal please contact Dianne Wigan, Head of Fundraising, on 02 8838 3443 or dianne.wigan@parracatholic.org

 

 

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Prelude to a Peal of Bells

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta – the Cradle of Catholicism in Australia, is steeped in history and Catholic tradition. It is home to the site of the first Roman Catholic Church dedicated to St Patrick in Australia. It has the oldest Catholic Parish School in Australia and the oldest mortuary Chapel. The first convent, Sisters of Charity, was established here and the first nun was professed in Parramatta.

On 19 April 1803, a proclamation by NSW Governor Captain Philip Gidley King at Government House, Parramatta permitted Rev Fr James Dixon to say Mass at Sydney, Parramatta and Hawkesbury. Parramatta’s first Mass was on 22 May 1803, in the vicinity of the present-day Cathedral. The foundation stone for the first St Patrick’s Church was laid on St Patrick’s Day 1836 and was consecrated on 28 May 1837.

Talk of raising a set of bells in St Patrick’s dates to 1853, when the second St Patrick’s Church was remodelled to accommodate twice as many parishioners as the first. Plans for that new Church were described “as being of purely Gothic architecture that embraced a noble spire crowning the tower, in which a sonorous chime of sweet-toned bells would enliven with many a peal, the inhabitants of Parramatta.”

The new St Patrick’s was consecrated in 1854, but it wasn’t until 1878 that the foundation stone for the bell tower and spire was laid.

“Patrick”

By 1904, a peal of bells was yet to be realised, but a single bell, named after St Patrick, was hung in the spire to commemorate parish priest Monsignor John Rigney and his life of service.

“Patrick” chimed faithfully for 92 years, until 19 February 1996, when our beloved Cathedral and spiritual home of our Catholic family, was destroyed by fire. Only the stone walls remained.

Stranded in the charred ruins of the tower, “Patrick” was removed for cleaning and conservation.

In 2003, “Patrick” was restored to the spire of the newly completed St Patrick’s Cathedral, to again call the faithful to Mass and prayer, and to ring in The Angelus.

Heralding St Patrick’s Peal of Bells

During the Cathedral’s building and restoration, provision was made for a peal of eight change-ringing bells to accompany “Patrick”.

The Parish of Parramatta was established under an English Benedictine Archbishop of Sydney, so it was fitting that we embrace this esteemed tradition of bell ringing, calling God’s people to worship and expressing the hopes and joys of the community. But at that time, there were other more pressing needs in ensuring that a new St Patrick’s Cathedral would arise from the ashes.

On 29 November 2003, the new St Patrick’s Cathedral was dedicated, rebuilt through the love, faith, commitment, enthusiastic efforts and generosity of our community.

Throughout St Patrick’s history, two constants have remained – the faithful support of our parishioners and their strong sense of community – and the dream of a peal of bells to call our community to prayer and worship.

The chime of Church bells invites us to pause and reflect, reminding us of God’s presence and the intrinsic roles that our faith and the Church play in our lives.

With the continued generosity and support of our community, we hope to install the Bells of St Patrick’s into the Cathedral bell tower in early to mid-2020.

A melodious peal of bells will be a glorious musical addition to St Patrick’s Cathedral, resonating daily, calling us to worship, and in glory to God.

For more information or to donate to the Bells of St Patrick’s Cathedral Appeal please contact Dianne Wigan, Head of Fundraising, on 02 8838 3443 or dianne.wigan@parracatholic.org.

Thank you for your consideration.

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