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Century-old Holy Trinity Bells find new home at St. Malachy in Brownsburg

Century-old Holy Trinity Bells find new home at St. Malachy in Brownsburg

By Lindsay Doty

As parishioners walk into mass at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Brownsburg, they are greeted by the ringing of three large bronze bells swaying from a 40-foot four-legged tower outside the parish entrance. The century-old bells of Holy Trinity that date back to 1907 were recently relocated to the Brownsburg parish.

Father Sean Danda, pastor of St. Malachy Catholic Church, blesses the bell tower during a ceremony after mass on Sept. 12. (Photo by Rick Myers)

The bells have been silent since Holy Trinity Church on Indianapolis’ west side closed down in November of 2014 when it merged with nearby St. Anthony Parish. Now, they have a parish home once again.

“I couldn’t be any happier. Here they are after a six-year effort. I’m hearing the same sounds as I did going to church as a kid. It means a lot to me,” said former Holy Trinity turned St. Malachy parishioner Paul Barbarich,  who helped spearhead the project.

The 61-year-old who grew up just a few blocks from Holy Trinity still remembers ringing the bell as a kid in his neighborhood of Haughville.

“The big bell had its own cadence, then it was joined by the other two. It’s a rhythm that you have to do by hand.  When they got swinging, you had to be careful where you sat so you didn’t get knocked over!”

A year after the Slovenian-founded parish of Holy Trinity closed,  St. Aloysius lodge was awarded ownership of the bells and was looking to find a suitable parish home. “Their first wish was to find a parish,  not a university or something like that. We knew through our relationships with St. Malachy they had the one bell but that was not working,’ explains Barbarich.

He says St. Malachy was also chosen because parishioners had connections to Holy Trinity, including former St. Malachy pastor Father Vince Lampert. He was on board

The bell project took six years of planning and fundraising and a challenging move across town on a flatbed.

Barbarich says the project totaled around $300,000 with support from a parishioner benefactor and others, including St. Als and the St. Malachy Knights of Columbus that raised nearly $30,000 for the project.

On Saturday, St. Malachy Pastor Father Sean Danda blessed the bells at their new home with parishioners gathered behind him.

“To see a crowd come to the blessing made me feel good. I couldn’t be happier,” said Barbarich.

“We thought the bells would just be tucked away for infinity.”

Instead, the historical bells of Holy Trinity will once again call parishioners to prayer, toll the passing of loved ones, and joyful arrival of holydays and parish celebrations.

The bells are each engraved with a name after the fraternal lodge of the Holy Trinity parish. The smallest and middle bells were named for the local Slovenian lodges: St. Joseph and St. Aloyisius. The largest bell was named Holy Trinity in honor of the parish.

The bells weigh a total of 3,400 pounds and originally cost $1,189 in 1907. Today, they would be valued at around $90,000.

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