Parish History - The Bell Tower

The Chapel bell tower - click to view largerThe original Sacred Heart Church was constructed without benefit of a bell tower. Consequently, a bell was hung from a limb of a nearby tree. A free standing campanile was constructed in 1855 when the chapel was rebuilt after the 1853 fire. Construction of the frame vestibule tower was completed in 1876 and rebuilt in the early 1900s. The topography of the area and the height of the tower made it possible for the gilded cross, added between 1889 and 1891, to be seen from miles away.

A 1,000 pound bell, in the key of G-sharp, was purchased by the parishioners of Sacred Heart in 1889 from McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore for $221.80. The purchase was made from the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore. On November 24, 1889, the bell was blessed and dedicated to the Pope of that time, Leo XIII, in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the American Hierarchy under Archbishop John Carroll, who was nominated Bishop at White Marsh. Included in the inscription are the names of the parishioners of Sacred Heart who contributed to buy the bell.

This bell was removed from the tower in March 1967, repaired and polished for display with two new bells to be installed in the Memorial Bell Tower of the new Sacred Heart Church. Three times a day at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. it chimes out the Angelus to the neighborhoods of Bowie. At 7pm it chimes for the faithful to pray for the dead. A new bell, donated in memory of the Coyle and Kavetski families, was installed in the Sacred Heart Chapel bell tower on August 4, 1975. The chapel replacement bell is named "Francis" after St. Francis Borgia, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier and St. Francis DeSales. Its bells can be heard every weekday before the beginning of daily Mass.

16501 Annapolis Rd., Bowie Maryland 20715 | Office: 301-262-0704 | CCD Office: 301-262-1221 | Fax: 301-805-4686 | email: