La Union church bell reinstalled

Jun Elias - The Philippine Star
La Union church bell reinstalled
Photo taken from asianjournal.com shows workers removing the San Pedro bell from its base in West Point, New York.

BAUANG, La Union, Philippines – After 115 years since it was taken by American soldiers, the 400-year-old San Pedro bell of the Saints Peter and Paul Church in this town was reinstalled yesterday.

“Bells are the voice of the church...after more than a century, we are glad that we have the opportunity to once again hear the call of San Pedro to our church services. Thank you for giving back to us our voice,” said parish priest Ronald Chan during the unveiling and ceremonial rites.

The bell, which weighs 834 pounds, was installed in front of the church.

San Fernando, La Union Bishop Rodolfo Beltran celebrated the mass during the ceremonial rites, which was attended by representatives of the US embassy, US war veterans, West Point Association of the Philippines, parishioners, local officials and residents.

“I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the US military for the return of the bell, the voice of God,” said Beltran, who also led the ceremonial ringing of the bell.

Bauang Mayor Martin De Guzman thanked those who facilitated the return of the bell, particularly retired US Navy officer Dennis Wright.

The bell was transported on April 30 from the Most Holy Trinity chapel of the US Military Academy at West Point, where it had been kept for years, and arrived at Clark on May 17.

American soldier Thomas Barry took the bell in 1901 during the Philippine-American War and gave it to the US Military Academy.

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