For the bells are the voice of the church; they have tones that touch and search the hearts of young and old. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
From some distance in West Houston you can see the bell tower and hear the bells of St. John Vianney Catholic Church. It is an ancient practice to summon the Christian people to the liturgical assembly by means of some sign or signal and also to alert them to important happenings in the local community. The peal of bells, then, is in a way the expression of the sentiments of the people of God as they rejoice or grieve, offer thanks or petition, gather together and show outwardly the mystery of their oneness in Christ.
The St. John Vianney Bells were purchased from one of the oldest companies in the country, McShane Bell Foundry in Maryland. Ten of the bells were cast in 1907 and originally belonged to St. George Catholic Church in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, the first Lithuanian Catholic Church in the country. St. George Catholic Church was closed and demolished in December 2009 but the bells were saved and restored for our use at St. John Vianney in Houston, Texas. Click here to read more about the rich history at St. George’s Catholic Church and click here to learn more about its demolition.
With SJV celebrating our Golden Jubilee, the remodeling project included the addition of a bell tower and bells. With our ten restored bells we added four new bells to complete our set totaling a combined weight over 15,000 lbs. and all to be housed in a bell tower that soars 120 feet tall. Even though St. George Catholic Church is no longer in existence, the bells and their history will live on and continue to be heard here at St. John Vianney by our parishioners, visitors and our Houston neighbors.
Restored Bells – 1907: St. Peter and Adam; 3100 lbs.
St. George; 2100 lbs.
St. John; 1550 lbs.
St. Joseph; 1250 lbs.
St. Casimir; 850 lbs.
St. Vincent; 650 lbs.
St. Augustine; 550 lbs.
St. Paul; 500 lbs.
St. Stanisiaus; 500 lbs.
St. Matthew; 300 lbs.