This week, the congregation from one of East Boston’s oldest churches that was recently restored will take part in a citywide celebration to mark the raising of an historic bell, made by Paul Revere in 1801, to the Old South Meeting House clock tower.
On October 12 at 2 p.m. Eastie’s Holy Redeemer Church will chime its bells as a crane hoists Paul Revere’s bell up to the Old South Meeting House tower. The Holy Redeemer’s bells and bells throughout Boston will chime in unison in a citywide salute to mark the special occasion.
The 879-pound Paul Revere bell is one of 46 surviving church bells made by the famous patriot. The bell was acquired from the First Baptist Church of Westborough, which closed its doors in 2007.
The Old South Meeting House, the famed place where the Boston Tea Party was formulated, has not had a bell in its clock tower since 1876. The bell will be connected to the original 1766 tower clock and will once again ring out the hour as it did in Colonial Boston.
The historic bell will be on display to the public at Old South Meeting House through October 16. The bell raising celebration on October 16 will take place on the plaza across the street from Old South Meeting House and is free and open to the public. The celebration will include performances by Old South Church Choir, Boston Children’s Chorus, the Landmark’s Orchestra Brass Ensemble, and the Back Bay Bell Ringers.
“How remarkable that a wonderful bell crafted by one of America’s renowned patriots will find a home at Old South Meeting House,” said Emily Curran, executive director at Old South Meeting House. “Just as a bell chimed from the tower before the Boston Tea Party meetings, this historic bell will ring out daily for the people of Boston punctuating the many events and programs that take place at Old South Meeting House today.”
The Holy Redeemer Church was Eastie’s first Roman Catholic Church built by Irish Immigrants in 1844 and designed by renowned architect Patrick Keely (known for his work on the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Brighton).
The church hosted the 1849 wedding of President John F. Kennedy’s great grandparents, Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy, who had both immigrated to Eastie from New Ross, Ireland.
In 2010 church leaders began an ambitious $300,000 project to restore the historic structure’s façade and bell tower.
“The building had to be re-pointed,” said Most Holy Redeemer Church’s Pastor, Father Tom Domurat. “In some places in the tower the mortar had turned into sand and we wanted to make sure the church stayed as solid and beautiful and historic as it has been for over 150 years.”
Over the course of six months scaffolding had been placed around the church as work crews fixed the problems. All the louvers were replaced, the stone re-pointed and the entire structure went through a restoration wash and waterproofing.
It’s Father Domurat’s hope that special lighting can be placed outside the church in order to illuminate the structure at night.
“I think that would really be a nice touch and would beautify the church and neighboring park as well,” he said.
The Most Holy Redeemer Church on Maverick Street has been an anchor in the community for 164 years. On its grounds the church houses a place of worship, a parochial school and a homeless shelter for families in need of help and compassion.