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Fake Church Bells Silenced as Loyola Installs Real Bronze Bells at Chapel

By Benjamin Woodard | November 6, 2014 5:27am | Updated on November 7, 2014 7:37pm
 The Jesuit university had used an electronic system with speakers in the tower.
Loyola's Chapel Bells
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ROGERS PARK — The sound of church bells ringing has been heard for decades at Loyola University.

But there have never been real bells swinging atop the campus' Madonna della Strada Chapel. The Jesuit university has used speakers to simulate ringing in the tower, which was built during the Great Depression and opened in 1938.

The church couldn't afford the bells during the tough economic times back then, said Steven Betancourt, the university's assistant director of campus ministry and director of music at the chapel.

Ben Woodard admits that he always thought the tower had real bells playing:

But times have changed.

On Nov. 16 the university will ring four new bronze bells after Sunday Mass, said Betancourt.

"This is yet another tradition, another part of the fabric of our community that will carry on," Betancourt said of the bells, which will be controlled automatically to ring on the hour.

Betancourt said the four bells — the biggest weighing 1,990 pounds — were hoisted to the top of the tower Wednesday morning.


The bells were made by Ohio bell-maker The Verdin Company for $250,000 — while preparation and installation work brought the entire cost of the project to $850,000, Betancourt said.

The project was mostly funded through the church's donors.

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