christmas day

The toll of evangelization: Historic bells at Sts. Peter and Paul Church call people to God, faith, prayer

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | Twitter: @aeternusphoto

The bells at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Soulard were restored with the intention of ringing them on Christmas Day to call the faithful to prayer and to God. Phil Dravage installed a hammer to the largest bell — a 6,000-pound bell known as Peter and Paul. The other bells are named Joseph, Mary, John and Francis de Sales.

Standing inside the bell tower that overlooks much of St. Louis, Phil Dravage demonstrated the path a new striker will take to impact a bell. The toll will will resonate over Soulard from Sts. Peter and Paul Church's steeple towers, a monument to the countless German immigrants who built the church and neighborhood.

These bells have not functioned correctly for decades, but were scheduled to proclaim the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day in their full glory.

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