Posted: Dec 6, 2012 6:22 PM by Chris Welty
Updated: Dec 6, 2012 6:41 PM
A new bell now sits a-top of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Washington.
Nearly two years ago the more than 150 year old church burned to the ground. Since then, parishioners have held mass next door in their family center while the church is rebuilt.
It's a delicate task of installing a bell in such a tight space and it's a tricky jog.
"As the years go by, you get better at this and we seem to be pretty lucky we haven't damaged anything."
Phil Borel is a bell master installing bells for 35 years and donating his time to installing this historic bell. An apprentice built the bell in Philadelphia in the 1800's. Before making its way to Washington, it was refurbished in Tennessee.
It weighs just under 800 pounds and is made 80 percent of copper and 20 percent tin. Carefully maneuvering it into the steeple, in all it took nearly thirty minutes to install.
"Bells usually outlast the church, but the previous one melted in the fire," said Borel.
Within a matter of minutes, flames quickly spread through the church and very little was salvageable except for a few bricks and pieces of wood. A door made from an old beam in the church which will now be used here in the new church.
"Such a historic building and we've all grown up for generations coming to this church. It's kind of a bridge between the past and the present if you will," said parishioner Joey Bordelon.
Parishioners are looking forward to hearing the sounds of the church fill the air again.
The bell's first sounds a simple reminder they'll be home for mass this Christmas.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is set to open December 22nd. Rebuilding it cost nearly two million dollars. If you would like to donate to their building fund, contact the church.