St. Aloysius Church in Ridgewood celebrated the closing of its 125th year with renovations to their church bells that rang for the first time in years.
Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski blessed the bells and celebrated the Mass last Saturday. The readings were offered in English, Polish and Spanish to reflect the diversity of the parish.
The bell refurbishment was paid for by donations: school alumni ($10,000); Deacon Fabio Flaim memorial event ($30,000) and Generations of Faith ($240,000).
The late Deacon Flaim was an important figure in the life of the parish until his death two years ago. He dedicated his work to the parishes of St. Aloysius and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal nearby.
His children attended St. Aloysius School from kindergarten through eighth grade. During this time, the deacon and his wife became volunteers helping with many church and school functions. His daughter Maria was the cantor and sang for the anniversary Mass.
“The Mass was very beautiful and brought back a lot of people that have moved or not been around for other reasons,” Maria Flaim said.
“Growing up we always heard the bells and hearing them again brings back so many wonderful memories. For my father to be honored in such a way is very beautiful. He loved it here and would be so proud to hear the bells once again.”
Two Decades Out of Commission
The parish bells have been out of commission for at least 20 years and for this anniversary, the pastor, Father George Poltorak wanted to bring them back.
“The bells were made in 1935 and now have been restored. Even the clock on the towers have the right time for the first time in a long time,” Father Poltorak said.
“I have been here for 11 years and have never heard the bells sing. It’s been 20 years since they have. Today they sound so beautiful.
“There are so many people to thank and this was a parish effort and now we celebrate as one. It is a great joy to be here together and to be able to celebrate our great history.”
Bishop Mroziewski was happy to hear the bells ring and proclaim the Word of God.“Skyscrapers represent the great things that humans can do here on earth and what they are capable of. No matter how high they go they still stem from the earth.
Symbol of Strength
“The bell towers are symbols of something different – they represent the power of the Church. They are a symbol of the Church and the strength of the community. They send out an invitation for all to come and see as we are all connected here.
“Now after the renovations, they have been restored and once again the bells ring for all to hear,” the bishop said.
“The bells are a symbol for God’s love. As they are heard, we are reminded He is here with us. We need that in society and to remind people that His love will always be here.”
Parishioner Gisela Sterbenz said, “the day was just excellent, the bishop gave a great homily and so many people came out to celebrate.
“We are such a diverse parish and to have the American, Polish, Spanish, and Filipino communities all represented was amazing for our parish.
“This was the first time I have ever heard the bells here and they were so beautiful I am so happy we finally have them back.”