TULALIP – After seven years of silence, the bell at St. Anne Church on the Tulalip Reservation is ringing again.
After the Saturday Vigil Mass on February 22, Father Peter Mactutis climbed into the newly reinforced bell tower and through a narrow opening to perform the Rite of Blessing of Bells, rededicating the 32-inch steel bell. After the blessing, elders from the Catholic community took turns ringing the bell, followed by children and then everyone else.
“Everybody was ecstatic to have it working,” said parishioner Mark Brown. “It put a smile on everyone’s face.”
Installed when the church was built more than 100 years ago, the bell had to be removed because the bell tower was separating from the building, according to Father Mactutis, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Marysville and St. Anne Mission. The bell was put into storage at St. Mary’s.
When he became pastor in 2017, “one of the first things parishioners asked is if they could have the bell back,” Father Mactutis said.
“It has a lot of history with the people,” said parishioner Don Hatch, who was one of the first people to ring the bell after the blessing.
St. Anne parishioners took turns ringing the bell after it was reinstalled in the church tower and blessed by their pastor, Father Peter Mactutis. Photo: Courtesy Marcie Kleisath
Parishioner Greg Kleisath studied the history of the bell, produced by American Bell and Foundry in Northville, Michigan. Weighing 610 pounds (including its bracket), the bell is coated in aluminum to better stand up to the weather, he said.
Hatch said the bell used to ring 15 minutes and five minutes before Mass.
“The sound of that bell echoing across Tulalip Bay let everyone know it was time for church,” Kleisath said.
Parishioner Pauline Williams said she got to ring the bell as part of catechism classes while growing up. “It was just kind of fun,” she said.
Typically, Father Mactutis said, 60 to 100 people attend the Saturday Vigil Mass (the only weekend Mass) at St. Anne.
After celebrating the bell’s return, those parishioners will have to wait until at least Easter before they hear it again — traditionally, Father Mactutis said, the church doesn’t ring bells during Lent. They hope to ring the bell during the Gloria at the Easter Vigil; after that, it will sound twice before Masses, he said.
“It’s really tremendous to have it up there where it used to be,” Hatch said.