“The strong right arm of the Church”
Pope John Paul II
On Founder’s Day this March 29th, we celebrate the anniversary of the Knights of Columbus on 1 April 2012 at Our Lady of the Mountains Church. As we celebrate the legacy of Father McGivney and the contributions of our brother Knights since 1882, we also prepare for an even greater future as we live out the vision of our founder. The anniversary of the realization of Father McGivney’s dream is a cause for celebration. We observe this day – among their own members and with the community at large – as a reminder of what the Knights of Columbus has accomplished in the past years, the ideals of the Order, and their own local achievements.
Fr. Richard Voight wrote that the St. Andrew Apostle Parish became a mother by giving birth to a mission church. Because of our missionary activity and the growth of the Catholic population in the Sierra Vista area, we need to build a mission church. It would remain a part of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, but will be a center from which we can further extend God’s Word and better meet the spiritual needs of our people South of Sierra Vista.
During Fr. Voigt’s pastorate the two mission churches – OLM and Good Shepherd, Whetstone, were firmly established to meet the expanding population of the area.
St. Andrew Mission Church complex started construction in November 1981.
Regina Angelorum Bell
A search of where the “REGINA ANGELORUM Bell” originally came from has revealed that sisters at the Clyde, MO monastery who were at the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Church in Tucson in the 60’s had received information “that the bell was given to the Clyde, MO monastery by some man who was returning from “the sea” and brought this bell from the ship.
It is unknown why he gave the bell to the monastery in Clyde, MO; but they remember using it.”
A further search revealed that the Blue Army – group of men and women formed in the early 1960’s at the St. Andrew Apostle Church were responsible for bringing the Regina Angelorum Bell to Sierra Vista, which now rang across the San Pedro Valley from the St. Andrew Mission Church.
The bell and the tower were removed from the St Andrew church grounds because of safety hazards. In the spring of 1970, the bell was stored in the rectory. In the fall of 1972, the Regina Angelorum Bell was taken from the rectory and given to Lillian Jones for safekeeping since it was a “blessed article”.
After Ms. Jones’ house was burglarized, the Regina Angelorum Bell was then given to Everett & Marie Pierce in Carr Canyon for safekeeping.
Soon after, someone from the Holy Trinity Monastery at St. David remembered the bell, Regina Angelorum that had rung out from St. Andrew’s Apostle Church at one time and came seeking it so that it could be used at the monastery.
Fr. Voigt was delighted to learn of the bell’s existence and decided it would be used at the new mission.
In April 1981, St. Andrew Mission Church broke off from St. Andrew and held its first Mass. The St. Andrew Mission Church was built on the solid foundation of people working together to advance and continue the Ministry of Christ in the Sierra Vista area.
“Upon this rock I will build my church.”
Ralph Peters devoted many days to cleaning and burnishing the bell.
When the bell was located it was donated by St. Andrew Apostle Church to the St. Andrew Mission Church. The Regina Angelorum bell raised its voice again by ringing out over the San Pedro Valley and the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains.
Sometime in August 2000, the Regina Angelorum bell fell from the OLM Tower when it was being rung by one of OLM’s parishioners.
The bell cracked during the fall from the St. Andrew Mission Church’s Tower. The bell was not repairable; therefore, it would no longer ring out over the San Pedro Valley and the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains.
A search of information on the Regina Angelorum bell revealed that the bell was made of cast iron (with no tone). There were no markings on the bell reflecting when the bell was made and who the manufacturer of the bell was.
A second bell, according to Fr. Robert Bryerton that was donated to the St. Andrew Mission Church from some place in Mexico, did not sound right; therefore Fr. Robert Bryerton, the St. Andrew Mission Church Pastor asked Jim Dobis, one of the Mission’s parishioners to research the possibility of getting a new bell to replace the Regina Angelorum bell to again ring out over the San Pedro Valley and the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains.
OLM Parishioner Jim Dobis located a manufacturer in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Burdin Bell Manufacturing Company in an attempt to purchase a new bell for the OLM Church (formerly known as the St. Andrew Mission Church). A new bell was purchased on 18 April 2001 for $3500/132 lbs. for the OLM Church and again it ring out over the San Pedro Valley and the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains.
A decision was made by Fr. Robert Brackas, OLM Pastor to replace the ringing of OLM’s bell with a Bell System BRG Precision. The new bell system was installed in the OLM Tower, and the existing bell was never heard from again.
That’s the end of the story of the Regina Angelorum Bell.