STATEMENT OF THE FALL RIVER DIOCESE ON THE SALE OF THE
BELLS OF ST. LAWRENCE MARTYR PARISH, NEW BEDFORD
November 21, 2017
At the request of Father Robert Powell, pastor of St. Lawrence Martyr Parish in New Bedford, the Fall River Diocese, acting in a fiduciary role, oversaw the sale of the parish’s 14-bells to the Verdin Bell Company. The parish will receive the $32,000 proceeds remaining from the sale after Verdin covers its cost for their removal from the bell tower.
The decision by the parish to sell the bells, which have not worked in some time, followed the parish’s receipt of a proposal of $66,000 to repair their deteriorated mountings and an additional $73,838 estimate not including electrical work to make them operable again. An electronic carillon system was installed in 2016.
Father Powell had previously surveyed parishioners on the prospective sale of the bells, receiving support for going forward with it. He likewise received advice to proceed from members of both the parish Pastoral Council and Finance Council.
The Verdin Company had initially given Father Powell an anticipated date of November 19 or 20 for removal of the bells. However, because their necessary preparatory work took less time than expected, they began that work last week without prior notification to either St. Lawrence Parish or the Fall River Diocese.
Work is well underway on the St. Lawrence Parish bell tower to repair the leaks, repoint the stone, and replace the crumbling traceries.
The Fall River Diocese is researching the lawsuit that was filed, but feels there is no merit to it nor any misappropriation of funds by the Diocese as claimed.